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10 December 2009 @ 10:08 am
What's a favorite MacGyver moment in your life, when you made do with the tools on hand to get a job done?

Mine: couldn't find a corkscrew, but did find a screw, a screwdriver, and a hammer ...
I'm feeling: happyhappy
Bad Rabbitzzbottom on December 10th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Not sure if it's a favorite, but certainly recent. I needed to cut down a dead tree as it has a rotting trunk and it was in danger of potentially falling on the shed this winter. The problem was that it was leaning toward the shed, already. I had some twine and wanted to try pulling the top in another direction. I fashioned a grappling hook out of a lock hasp, managed to spin it like a bolas and pitch it right into the crotch of a branch about 20-25 feet up, wrap the twine round the trunk of a tree deeper in the woods and heave on it while my gf's father set at it with a chainsaw. Worked like a charm and all tools were recovered intact.
Bad Rabbitzzbottom on December 10th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
I also needed a plate stand to photograph some cup plates to sell, last week, but all my plate stands were entirely too large (cup plates are about 3.5 inches across). I found a piece of scrap wire from a recent electrical installation and bent it five ways and it did the job nicely.
cinnabarinecinnabarine on December 10th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
My freshman year roommate in college was an engineering major and had a final project due the next day. She had to build a little 9V-battery-powered car from scratch that was not just capable of going forward, but also of completing a very simple course that involved ramps.

She was freaking out with a capital freak because her car would move forward, but wouldn't go up the ramp. If it didn't, she failed the project, which was a huge part of the grade.

So, I did my best to calm her down. Then I got to work on her little frankencar. I hacked off all kinds of itty bitty car pieces. I added smaller chunks from what we had lying around. We tested the thing over and over again. It got speedy and just barely flew over the ramps. She passed. There was much rejoicing. :)
DancingWolfGrrldancingwolfgrrl on December 10th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
I only think this deserves any MacGyver cred because people always appear astonished when I do it: making salad dressing.
Kcatkcatalyst on December 10th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Doing something impressive =/= MacGyver

Salad dressing only counts is you used, like, Elmer's glue and turpentine to make it.
Pierceheartpierceheart on December 10th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Camping, heard some screams, saw some brighter lights than were recommended, ran to center of camp ground, saw a crew hopping into a pick up truck driven by a woman wearing boots, and a tank top, and that's it, with fire extinguishers heading the opposite way, hopped on, all the fire bottles were empty, and putting out an out of control tent fire with dirt.
Stunt Double for the Patriarchystarphire on December 10th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
While driving back to California from Mazatlan on an eclipse expedition, one of the cars in our caravan of two suddenly lost control on a lonely stretch of Mexican countryside, at night. Fortunately, the driver was able to stop it on the roadside without serious incident. The steering linkage had come apart, allowing one of the front wheels to point wherever it felt like going. Seriously not good. No traffic, no houses nearby, no cell phone or AAA. Just a bunch of engineers with time on their hands and nowhere else to go, and some basic tools in the back of the other car.
We determined that it should be possible to re-connect the linkage, since it was really just a long threaded screw fitting and we had a wrench that fit.
But we all knew that the *alignment* of the wheel was critical to getting home safely over 1,000 miles of bad Mexican highways. How to do that from where we stood?
My brilliant idea was to roll two long tubes out of stiff paper and duct tape them to the side of the errant wheel and to the rear wheel on the same side, parallel to the ground (we also had a level). With a flashlight shone into the rear tube, we could adjust the threaded linkage until the light projected a circle onto a piece of paper held in front of the other tube.
The trick worked like a charm. We were able to drive all the way home without further incident, and my friend later reported that he drove his car around LA for another 3 months before taking it to get an alignment, because it drove "just fine".
unintentionally intimidating: like ohmigod...coraline on December 10th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
holy shit.
that is awesome/amazing.
Stunt Double for the Patriarchystarphire on December 10th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
It was an awesome/amazing trip in many ways; that particular event was verging on the denouement of the whole adventure. For context, this occurred maybe 6 hours after a harrowing "We're about to die!" loss-of-control driving incident in the Diablo mountains for four of us. If you haven't heard that story, it's better at a party or something.
harimad on December 10th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
This for the win!
Kcatkcatalyst on December 10th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
That is so awesome I can't stand it.
(Deleted comment)
Stunt Double for the Patriarchystarphire on December 11th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Hee! Thanks!
naiadnaiad on December 10th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Fixing a car with a paper clip and a rubber band
I was back in college, it was Thanksgiving morning, and my roommate and I were driving my very old VW bug to her house in rural Virginia for dinner with her family. The car died while we were out in the middle of nowhere. This was before cell phones, mind you. (Please, no comments from those of you too young to remember a time before cell phones.)

We looked under the hood and I noticed a tube hanging loose. I figured out where it was supposed to go and stuck it back on, but as soon as I started the car, it came off again. We dug around in our purses and came up with a paper clip and a rubber band, which we used to secure the tubing. We were quite proud of ourselves!
Chipceo on December 10th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
A claw hammer, I assume?

There was the time I couldn't find my rolling pin, and resorted to rolling out my pie dough with a fire extinguisher.

Or, when I was building the countertop for my kitchen, I needed to clamp the wood edging to the countertop while the glue dried, which was straightforward enough except for the far end section, where there was nowhere for the other end of the clamp to go. Ended up with two chains of 3 or 4 pipe clamps extending all the way to the other end of this 8'-long countertop.
Mouseketeer Stigmatatrom on December 10th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
A claw hammer, I assume?

I saw her do this. The impressive part was that she used a welding hammer and wedged the pointy end in the cork and the screw driver to pop both out. The screw was just (like communism) a red herring.
Chipceo on December 10th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Ah, naiad's story reminds me of the one I knew I was forgetting: Driving home from a concert in Northampton, very late at night, I'm at the desolate crossroads that passes for Pelham Center when I notice my temperature gauge is pegged. Investigation reveals that the radiator drain valve is, well, draining. Holding it in place stops the leakage, but I can't exactly drive like that, so I dug in my toolbox and came up with a rubber hold-down strap (oh, stop it) that, hooked around the edge of the fan shroud and something else, seemed to do the job.

Refilled the radiator and it still held, but I wasn't confident enough in it to risk the trip home without spare coolant, so I put it in neutral and coasted all the way back down the 7-mile hill to Amherst, then slowly drove to the 24-hour supermarket and bought 2 2.5-gallon jugs of water and three bottles of antifreeze. I was being excessively conservative; the fix held for the entire drive home.
Renata Piper: bricklyonesse on December 10th, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
halfway up a mountain. foot chafed, then started to bleed. thought, "what would _H* do?" and substituted duct tape for inadequate skin :)
Sandrosandhawke on December 10th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
That's a brilliant mental trick!

"I have no idea how to solve this problem. But I have a friend who could solve it easily. How would s/he solve it...? Ah, I know...."
Kcatkcatalyst on December 10th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yes! This is even better than the actual duct-tape solution (which is a good one).
Renata Piperlyonesse on December 11th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
it works much better than i'd have expected. i've used it many times since, but that was the breakthrough :)
harimad on December 11th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
It does hold the world together.

Weightlifters and SEALs use superglue but it hurts like hell coming off.
Renata Piperlyonesse on December 11th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
i left it on til the end of the trip (about a week) and it wasn't on any hairs, so in fact it came off quite gently :)
the best kind of troublezevinboots on December 10th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
You might enjoy this: http://thereifixedit.com/
ruthless compassion: squee!aroraborealis on December 11th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I do!!
unintentional baitredheadedmuse on December 11th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
I misread this as "McGayver". It was a funny moment, in my brain.
ruthless compassion: squee!aroraborealis on December 11th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)