Top 10 Jerry-Rigged Projects for Preppers
In the US these days more in the rural areas we see things that we may think of as Jerry- rigging(also Jury-rigging). Most of the time we just scoff at some of the ridiculous things that are done, but work. Probably one of the most notable “Jerry-riggers” we think about is someone who didn’t even exist, Macgyver. Macgyver was able to fix fuses with gum wrappers and make bombs with fire extinguishers. Usually things that are jerry-rigged are wonky, cheesy, and sometimes trashy looking, but hey they may work. One of the other places we see this going on a lot is prisons. They make some very interesting contraptions like tattoo machines and lighters. If only they would have used their innovations and ideas for good. Sorry for the poor picture quality(it was actually taken on my way home from work when I was looking for a good picture for this post. Don’t ask me what is going on it was a very interesting Jerry-rigged vehicle).
If we look at inventions many have started out pretty primitive and then evolved into much better inventions over time because of demand for these. In a TEOTWAWKI world with very little stores and large production outfits, many people would turn to jerry-rigging and retrofitting to make things they have fit other purposes. Necessity would actually bring about innovation. This is why I believe that having mechanical and some chemical knowledge is very important for preppers.
I have picked out some of my favorite things around the web that I have found.
Coolers and Air Conditioners
A cooler can simply be a cool wet towel placed over a fan or a breeze. The air blown through the towel will need the warm air to evaporate the water in the air which draws out the warm air. Below is a video of a homemade DIY AC. It is a great idea if you have a way to find ice or extremely cold water. This may be something that is not totally necessary in many areas but could increase comfort.
Leveraging the sun light for many different things is very important for a prepper to know how to do. The sun can be used to make electricity, cook food, heat your home, heat water and many different things. Solar water heaters are now even sold residentially and can be used to keep your gas bills down and can be attached to your home to work with your incoming water supply. This link has two different ways to build a solar heater one from cans and one from a window screen. When I get gutters on my home and am able to harvest water into IBC Totes I plan to use the can system to attempt to keep the water from freezing in the winter as tank de-icers are normally 1000-1500 watts and can be quite expensive on your electricity bill. Below is another video of how to make a can solar heater.
This uses essentially the same technology as a solar can heater, but the heat is kept inside the box to allow for cooking of your food. I personally have a solar oven and have used it successfully to cook and heat 4 dishes at once. They are definitely not fast cookers as most of them don’t get over 300 degrees. So it cooks a little bit quicker than a crock pot. There is one that is already built on the market that the builders say will reach temperatures of 400 degrees, it is the All American Sun Oven and it has all the bells and whistles. There are basically three types of ovens the first is a box oven like in the video below, the second is a parabolic ovens and the third is panel ovens. I plan to go into more detail in a later post.
If a TEOTWAWKI scenario happens gasoline will get very scarce so being able to power generators, ATVs or cars could become very difficult. The answer to run these things will most likely be wood gas. The gas comes from the wood being heated and charred rather than it actually just burning up causing smoke. During WWII some cars in Great Britain and the US were converted to use wood gas and were wood gasifier equipped. Depending on where you live there still may be an abundance of trees so this will be a way to use the abundant resource in your favor. There are some companies that make these, but they are quite expensive and can be made for much cheaper. Here are some free gasifier plans so you can build your own. Below is a video of a homemade gasifier that was done pretty well and seems to work well.
Wind generators can be made in a lot of different ways and are great because they utilize another free and normally plentiful resource, wind. There are some premade kits that are actually pretty reasonable, but again there have been many people who have jerry-rigged wind generators. There are many different motors that can be used as the source of electrical power the best are permanent magnet motors with low rpm requirements. They can sometimes be found on washing machines and other larger appliances. The other thing that can be used, like in the video below, is a car alternator. You will need to figure out how to get the gear ratio correct, but this can be a very good system to charge deep cycle batteries to be able to run electrical appliances with an inverter.
Travel Trailers and Cab Over Campers
Quite often I see pickup campers made out of wood. Some of them are quite cheesy and I am surprised they last until the next block, but there are also some very decent ones I have seen. There are also some very nice travel trailers that have just been built on top of a flat bed trailer or in a pickup bed trailer as the video below shows. On my truck I actually have a standard camper shell, but on the inside I have a sleeping platform that can be used to store all of my bug out equipment. On the right is the picture of the sleeping platform and this is the link to the article where I talk about how to build it and why to have it. If you can build something that stays on your truck then you should have no problems building other buildings as framing and woodworking would be a very important skill to have for preppers.
Faraday cages are really extremely easy things to make, but hard to accurately test if they work. A Faraday cage is essentially a box that can store sensitive electronics during an EMP(Electromagnetic Pulse) that would otherwise render the electronics unusable. I have seen them made from many different things from ammo cans to trash cans and there are also some faraday bags that are sold that look like mylar bags. The science is essentially that the pulse will not be able to get through the cage and actually disrupt electronics, by reflecting the signal. These can be tested with cell phones or radios to see if they lose signal. If so then you know you are at least blocking some frequencies and waves. The tough part about testing is that we really do not know how strong an EMP would be as we don’t know how far it would be or the way that the EMP would travel so it is hard to say that your faraday cage would protect against any EMP. The other problem is that many electronics we use everyday so you would essentially have to have backups in the cage, because we never really know when the EMP would hit. If it does hit it should be so fast that we would have no time to put our electronics into the cage. Below is a video of a Faraday cage made out of trash cans that can at least block cell phone signal.
This covers such a broad spectrum of things that it is really difficult to narrow down. There are really a few different genres though I would say they are blunt weapons, slicing and blade weapons, longer range weapons, and actual guns. Over the years there have been many pop guns and guns made with pipe and other very rough guns, but the problem with these is that the ammo will be quickly used up. So while I would recommend stocking up on ammo being able to build other types of weapons will be very important. Here are a few videos of some different kinds of weapons from gnarly blunt and bladed weapons to deadly slingshots and homemade crossbows. Check out Joerg Sprave’s Youtube page for more crazy slingshots and contraptions.
Solar panels are a great way to provide some more electricity during a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Out of all of these listed this is probably the hardest one to do during TEOTWAWKI because broken solar cells are not all that common. There are plenty of companies that make solar panels, but solar panels can be made from damaged panels. With the price of solar panels coming down so much this may not be as good of an idea just because of the time involved. There are many places you can buy the tiny solar cells and broken cells or use found broken cells. Here is a good tutorial on how to make a DIY Solar Panel from broken pieces. The video shows how to make a solar panel from premade 6×6 solar cells.
There are many different water filters, but what do you do if don’t have any of the commercially made water filters? There are ways to make your own. The main thing you need that might be a tad difficult to find is activated charcoal or activated carbon but you can buy or make it yourself. Basically what you are doing is the same thing water going through the ground to the aquifer does. As shown in the video (two parts that is why there is two videos) this will make the water look much better and get most of the junk out of the water. It is much better than nothing, but if possible it is best to still boil the water to make sure you get any bacteria out of the water.