Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Phantom Limb Fruit Picker

I have been designing fancy, new fruit pickers for the children, in readiness for the cherry and plum season. The cherries are looking fatter and redder every day, so it won’t be long now. I’m salivating like Pavlov’s dog as I type...
The simplest picker I have made is for blackberries.
Blackberry Picker
It’s just a metre of thin PVC pipe sawn off at an angle at one end and cut back into two prongs. The prongs are then curled back using heat, and set like two crooked fingers. This is great for young kids, to help them reach inaccessible fruit. Attach a bag to the end of the pipe with an elastic band and the fruit rolls down the pipe to fill it up.
If you are feeling ambitious, you can try something a bit more dramatic like this...
The Phantom Limb Cherry/Plum Picker!
Who's shoes are those btw?
I scaled the original idea up to make new a cherry/plum picker. I used a prosthetic hand, which I crafted out of PVC by drawing round my own and cutting it out with a coping saw.
A Flat PVC Hand Shape
Then I moulded it into a functional shape and attached it to a small bore gutter down-pipe. I think the kids will love using this, and the hand came out better than I expected; it is actually quite spooky.
Moulded Over the Gas Hob (when I was foolishly left alone in the house)
Wait until the captain of the galley is out of the way before trying this shipmates!  If you are a child, get a responsible adult (if you know one) to do this next bit for you...
If you carefully heat PVC up, on a gas hob it becomes pliant and can be set in a new position as it cools. You can also use an electric (paint stripping) heat gun for the same purpose, the same warnings apply to either method.

The Finished Phantom Hand, Spooky!
I say carefully - advisedly because...
1.       The PVC gets very hot and you can burn your fingers on it.
2.       If it gets too hot PVC catches fire, melts all over the cooker (and you potentially) and gives off highly toxic smoke and fumes.
So be very careful, and then you can make great stuff out of it.
This Is Real, Not PVC. A lovely Stag Beatle I Found it in the Garden...
Look Out It's Coming Right At You!

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