Saturday, March 19, 2016

Do you need washers for your craft projects?

Washers for whirligigs


Always use the manufacturer's recommended replacement parts.

    Nylon washers are not very cheap, but I have found an alternative that cost next to nothing, helps the environment and works almost as well. 
    One of the things that I do on a yearly basis is to do preventative maintenance on my whirligigs and weathervane's. With all the moving parts and high winds, there is a lot of wear and tear on these mechanical wonders. What I found out is metal on wood wears out the most, so I use a lot of plastic or nylon washers. Although washers are not the most expensive part to a whirligig, they can cut into your profits.

  I couldn't help, but share this money-saving and environmentally friendly up_cycling of plastic jugs. As for the patterns, I simply invested in an assortment of metal washers to use as a template for the various size washers that I use in my whirligigs. After all for a couple of bucks worth of cheap metal washers, I now have a set of templates that are worth the investment and will never wear out. I could've very easily used a compass to draw the circles, but I wanted something that was more consistent with actual washers.

(Be sure to use the appropriate safety goggles and other safety equipment when using rotary tools)

    I have found almond milk jugs and other opaque or heavier jugs seem to make the better washers. Anyhow, using a metal washer as my template and a black marker to trace around the metal washer, I create my patterns. Usually, I take the time to make several hundred at a time, so I have washers on hand for later. Then I simply rough cut them using heavy-duty utility scissors, dollar store kitchen scissors or a Dremel with a fine tip rotary cutting blade. (An X-Acto knife on a cutting board will also work as well.) I then finish the washer by sanding the edges or dragging a knife blade crossways against the grain to remove any ragged edges. A Dremel with an abrasive bit also works very well.

For those of you who like to do things the hard way I have included the following photo as a pattern.
Now keep in mind these washers will not necessarily take the place of a heavy-duty nylon washer and will most likely biodegrade over time if exposed to sunlight.

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