December 16, 2005

Full-on MacGyver: A Mini-boo Update

Here's what's I got so far with the Mini-boo, the Bugaboo-esque toy stroller I'm making out of a Riesenthel Carrybag.

So we've figured out how to do the fabric; we're going to stitch the bag together in a couple of key spots, no sweat.


The wheels are still a challenge, though. I checked out the walker wheels; they're solid rubber and way too heavy. Plus, it was Manhattan, and they were 3x the price of the ones I saw online. But the extruded aluminum smorgasbord offered by the home medical supply industry was very appealing, so I grabbed a couple of crutches from a thrift shop across from Toys R Us [where I'd gone in a futile search for training wheels or tricycle wheels. Damn, but that place was depressing.] I'll scavenge them for parts; if nothing else, I'll attach a wheel to each of the perfectly shaped, pre-drilled footpieces (minus the rubber foot, of course).

Grocery/laundry/bag lady cart wheels might be excellent, if they weren't attached to $40 carts. Where's a guy supposed to get four 4-inch rubber wheels in this day and age?

[click through for pictures and updates, including the sweet tires I found--plus my very own Dremel, which Santa just got for me.]


update: Turns out the crutch pieces are 12" long, with holes already drilled about 1" from each end. Attaching the undercarriage to the basket was going to be a major challenge, I thought, but it turns out to be really easy. I'm replacing the stubby bolt on the inside of the handle with a longer one of the same gauge that threads through the strut as well. Then I'll stuck a rubber cap on the inside end of the strut. Clean and simple.]


12/17 update: I scored at Hobby Town today with wheels and parts for radio-controlled airplanes:

  • 4" Du-Bro treaded lightweight wheels [kind of pricey, $27 for two]
  • 3" Du-Bro low bounce treaded wheels [$6 for 2]
  • 1/2" x 12" aluminum tubes, one for an axle/brace and one to cut into two small struts.
  • .0905" Great Planes threaded pushrods for axles, plus some brass wheel collars.
  • A Dremel--no, I admit, I didn't own one--7.2v MultiPro Cordless, which I'll use to cut and drill the pipe and axles. Suddenly, with a Dremel, it all seems so easy.

    I still need the bolts to put the struts together, but I can get those tomorrow. Today's haul cost around $97. The bonus of all this, of course, is that no matter how it turns out, the Mini-boo will be like the Bugaboo in at least one respect: it'll cost three times as much as any other toy stroller out there.


    Canal Street used to be the place to go for all things industrial like that, but these days they sell mostly Kate Spade knock-offs there. All those suppliers have probably moved out to Jersey, or more likely, China, so good luck.

    Get a $20 umbrella stroller and chop it up. Seems like you could use the wheels and aluminum frame for parts.

    Have you tried hobby shops that sell model airplanes (and their parts)?

    Have you looked at IKEA? They have various and sundry nice looking wheels for making their furniture mobile.

    [unfortunately, they're all casters, really. That was my first stop. My second was the IKEA As-Is department. -ed.]
    A DIY archi-daddy's best friend.


    I hit the jackpot, and I think I figured out all the tiny technical and parts issues, thanks to the 16-yo clerk with braces who I would've ignored--at best--as a shop nerd if we had been in high school together. So not only do I get my wheels, I get a moment of self-reflection and a resolve to be nicer to nerds thrown in for free. Merry Christmas everybody!

    Check on ebay for stroller wheels, I've seen sales of many sets, sometimes in large lots - just bid low!

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