Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Latest DIY experiments

Being an engineer, I often tend to opt for the DIY solution for many situations. I perhaps chose a suboptimal major and university combo since I seem to enjoy tinkering a lot; a cellular molecular bio degree from a university known for its theoretical work was in hindsight probably not the best fit for an eventual engineer. I'm also frugal, which also tends to contribute to my DIY nature. Why spend hard earned cash on something that I can build myself for a lot cheaper?

My latest DIY experiment has been finding a cheaper alternative to the Stick and Tiger Tail. Both are massage tools for loosening up those muscles you've got scrunched up from your crazy workouts. I'm not unopposed to spending money on truly useful tools, but $30 for what is essentially a glorified stick (in both name and function) didn't sit well with me. My alternatives to these products was a really cheap wood dowel that I had left over and a rolling pin from the store. The wood dowel works great, with its biggest downside being that it doesn't rotate freely about an axis. The best you can do is let it roll in your hands as you massage your tight hamstrings, quads, and iliotibial bands. It's not exactly the most convenient tool for the task, but it's perfectly functional. For the price (free since it was scrap material I had left over), I'm not complaining. The rolling pin actually rotates on an axis, which makes it easier to use. You can exert more pressure without having it induce friction burns on your calloused hands, as might be the case with going heavy with the dowel. I may still try out the commercial variants of these tools at some point. For the time being, I'm going to stick with my current solutions, since they are perfectly functional and a heck of a lot cheaper (<$5 vs $30+).

My other recent DIY experiment was making an agility ladder. These things can be had for around $30 on ebay. Of course, $7 worth of hardware store parts also gets you an agility ladder. I used some PVC pipe and some pink nylon rope to build mine. And it works just as well as the commercial product. Though, in this case, it would have probably been smarter to just buy the manufactured solution. The webbing and adjustable rungs are more flexible and easier to pack/unpack than my messy contraption. Nonetheless, I don't regret making my own ladder. Sure, I spent more in time and labor than I saved from the cheaper materials. But I had fun making that ladder, and I'm pretty sure no one is going to mistakenly walk off with my holy mess of pink rope and pvc.

No comments: