Author Topic: What are some cheap ways to tinker?  (Read 1539 times)

poetdereves

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Dirty South
What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« on: December 12, 2018, 09:36:27 AM »
Now that I have finished all of the home projects I need to do and I have a lot of free time I am looking for some tinkering hobbies that donít take up a ton of space or cost a lot of money. I really enjoy mechanics/machines/engines and want something to work on that takes a while to finish. Iíve rebuilt vintage motorcycles, worked on cars, etc. and need something to occupy my time. I am not trying to turn it into a side hustle or anything at the moment. I just want to be productive with my time. What kind of stuff do you work on and what are the barriers to entry?

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2352
  • Location: Florida
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2018, 10:07:09 AM »
Welding
Think of all the fabulous things you could create - plain fences or awesome intricate fences - artistic gates - a fine arch or entire gazebo for the garden - art - window box holders - lamp posts, mailbox supports or cool shepherd hooks with welded lanterns of your own design.

For the house - cool lamps/lighting - anything from steampunk fun designs to simple wrought iron chandeliers or fancy hanging lanterns. Mirror and picture frames, simple or ornate shelving - bookcases - hanging racks for the kitchen, coat racks for the entry, really tall stand-alone candle holders...
A one of a kind staircase railing or a fabulous headboard or a simple stool and bench for wherever.
Perhaps a plain or fancy window cover for added security on the outside of the house...

Just a thought for short or long term projects - I'm sure there are millions of other hobby pursuits.


 

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1360
  • Location: Seattle
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2018, 10:27:48 AM »
Do you have a local FB neighborhood group? You could post on there you are willing to try fixing broken coffee pots, vacuums, etc.  We have a FB neighborhood tool library and often people sit in there when it's open and offer to try and fix things people bring in.

omachi

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 784
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2018, 10:41:12 AM »
There's a guy near me that collects yard equipment with small engines, rebuilds them, and sells them for minimal costs over what he puts into them. I think he looks at it as a way to keep things out of the landfill and help people out more than a way to make money.

I do some woodworking and there's a lot of small stuff that you can do with just hand tools in a limited space without being too loud or making too much mess. A basic setup would be a saw, some chisels, a plane, maybe some sandpaper, and of course wood. Some sort of workbench helps. Clamps are nice. Glue can help if your joinery isn't great. I'm very much an amateur, but I enjoy it. And I enjoy the fruits of my labor, even if they aren't always beautiful. It'll get there with time.

If there's a maker space in your area, they tend to have well outfitted shops to work in where you could give any number of things a try for a month's membership.

poetdereves

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Dirty South
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2018, 10:47:51 AM »
Those are all good ideas! Welding has always been interesting to me, but the cost of entry is just a little too much at the moment. I browse Craigslist for cheap/decent welders, but no luck yet in my area.

Fixing up small engines on lawn equipment is actually one thing I am starting with now. I have a few really nice thing that were given to me that need simple repairs and they will work like new hopefully.

Woodworking has been something I have done for a while. Iíve built a 10 person dining room table, the desk that my wife works at, shelves, a built in cabinet in a hallway, and a lot of smaller stuff. I think woodworking would be a good thing to work on to build my skills. Working on better joints, quality, etc. instead of just slapping something together in a hurry.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16596
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2018, 10:55:55 AM »
Electrical stuff is fun.  I used to buy parts and build/sell guitar pedals as well as fix up old amps.  All you really need is a soldering iron and multimeter.  You can find a ton of free circuit diagrams online.

BECABECA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
  • Retired since July 2017, not bored yet!
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2018, 11:04:50 AM »
Iíd like to know how long it took you to finish all the home projects you wanted to do? Iíve been retired for a year and a half now, our house was fully remodeled 2002, and I still have a massive home projects list!

Do you have a local mustacian meetup group? Maybe somebody on there has something at their house that doesnít work and needs some tinkering. If you were in my area, Iíve got an oven that I need to take apart and figure out why it isnít heating up to proper temperature and a tv that needs its power board rebuilt.

Thereís lots of stuff on Craigslist that people are giving away for free because they donít work. That could be an endless source of free stuff to tinker around on. And if you fix it, you can post it back on there for free and someone will be glad to come pick it up from you.

poetdereves

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Dirty South
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2018, 11:57:12 AM »
If you ask my wife I am nowhere near done with home projects! Truth be told, I could continue to do them forever. What I really meant is that currently everything that should work is working. Plus, home projects start to feel like ďhave-to-doísĒ and I would like to have something to work on just for the fun of it in between.

I am going to check out some things on Craigslist for sure. There are tons of broken things that I could take apart and figure out.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1634
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2018, 12:50:22 PM »
Do you have a local FB neighborhood group? You could post on there you are willing to try fixing broken coffee pots, vacuums, etc.  We have a FB neighborhood tool library and often people sit in there when it's open and offer to try and fix things people bring in.
Similarly, see if your area has NextDoor (.com or app).  I've recently repaired 3 desk lamps for people that couldn't find a business in the area that would fix them.  People on there are constantly looking for all sorts of services.

slow hand slow plan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
  • Location: Colorado ish
  • Living the dream
Re: What are some cheap ways to tinker?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2018, 01:15:14 PM »
Electrical stuff is fun.  I used to buy parts and build/sell guitar pedals as well as fix up old amps.  All you really need is a soldering iron and multimeter.  You can find a ton of free circuit diagrams online.

Agreed. If you like music try working on pedals, amps, winding your own pickups, adjusting truss rod and action (on a CHEAP guitar first) Making your own bone nut for guitar or bass.

Carving soapstone or wood can be fun too. It all depends what you like.