Mad Max Washing Machine

Have you ever looked at your wife’s washer and wondered if it would clean your shop rags if you poured in about four gallons of kerosene and canceled the cycle that fills it with water?  There are some technical problems to work out, I’m sure we could do it, drain fields, sewers, the EPA and all, but mostly you know better than to mess with your wife’s appliance.  If she finds a grease ring left from a shop rag left in your pocket, you’ll pay one way or the other. It’s just plain smart to leave her washer alone and build your own!  This way you can pour in kerosene, add your dirty shop rags, mix up all kinds of concoctions, heck, you can even use it to mix paint, make home brew, and more, because it’s yours!

I call it the Mad Max washing machine.  More refined folks might call it the gentlemen’s washing machine.

I’m writing this in late July, and we’re headed into Hurricane season, and I was thinking wives would claim the Mad Max washer about the third day the power was out, especially a young wife with toddlers.  There’s no way  you’d get it back till the power was back on.

For the guy who has a shop, there’s plenty of experimenting to do.   Women buy dryer sheets to make things smell pretty and I was thinking about making my own out of a rag full of Hoppes Gun Solvent, I love that smell! Drop that rag in with your shop clothes and maybe you’d walk around with your favorite smell all day. 🙂

Hey BASS! you following this??? Heard you’re headed for the deep piney woods, you might make one of these, and of course you could have Mark brush paint it!

Off grid, we look for certain creature comforts, we quickly understand that men and women have a different idea as to what’s a comfort and what’s a necessity. But if you stay long enough; it’s wash time, or maybe you’ll get too close to your favorite machine and wipe out those brand new shorts your wife just bought you? Just pull out the Gentlemen’s washer from under the car seat, and clean them up, use some of that great industrial soap she won’t let you pour into her washer.

The Gentlemen’s off grid washing machine, still under development, now it’s more compact and has shed a lot of parts over the one shown in the video, I priced a run of key parts I made in CAD at $47 each, that’s way  too expensive for us DIYer types I think, and it brings to mind another thing I need tell you, there’s a lot of work involved in making a REAL kiss design, we must consider material costs, and select the right materials and methods to manufacture same, I will get the cost down to dirt cheap.

We’ve learned to think KISS in our designs, and I instantly recall that visitor to my shop who was so proud to have invested in Serp Pulleys from an Industrial supply, twice the price as those we designed here to take the standard K Section Belts, and 10 times as hard to find when you need them. Since we have customers who have 10,000 hours of running on inexpensive automotive belts, what did he accomplish other than spend too much money, and limit his suppliers when hard times come? I believe it’s critical to keep these things in mind when you design anything, use parts and pieces as common and plentiful as possible. Finding the parts you need in the nearest upside down junk car can be mighty helpful in hard times or an emergency.

In a man’s world, the five gallon plastic bucket is a mighty handy tool, they’re everywhere, and sometimes you find a pile of free ones, think of the nearly unlimited uses, a seat by the camp fire, foot stool, end table, great place to store tools for a job, carry fresh water, brew beer, store food, and you can stack 20 of them in limited space! The third world has lots of them.

Now for the agitator and transmission, we need to get this bucket moving back and forth, and our mechanized method need be reliable, and easy to power, and all parts need be found cheap as dirt. Distill it all down, and being 12 volt powered is certainly an advantage for remote use, an inexpensive transformer and rectifier would work for on gird shop use. A single solar panel to drive it directly, that would be helpful.

I arrive at the windshield wiper motor, there’s a built in gear box, a bell crank, and most all the parts you need are right there.  I grabbed a unit off a car at Binford Salvage in Kent, WA. The reason I chose it was because I went there with no tools and saw that this brand had engineered their unit for a quick and easy placement AND pull, all bolts were 10mm, all were easy to access, and the entire unit came out with all the tie rods, and stuff I might use, it’s also known as a long life bullet proof car, and there’s a zillion of them!  The young guy taking off a part next to me loaned me a 10mm socket and his racket, it was off in my hand in three minutes!  David Binford is a friend, and his yard is one of my favorite haunts.

OK, you have the idea, we create a turn table, it is very compact, close to the ground, and rocks back and forth, we add one of the knuckle joints to the bottom of the turn table and we make an adjuster so we can move it in or out to get the action the way we want, we cut the tie rod in half, and take out a section in the middle to get it the right length, mount the motor and bell crank to a board or metal plate, and we’re done. Certainly ideas evolve, and my design has shed a lot of parts, and it’s far more compact than the one shown in the video clip.

Guys, with your imagination and vision, you realize you can wash some dirty grimy motorcycle parts in one bucket, and tomorrows wash in the next, don’t have the power to run it? raise the hood of the neighbors car,use alligator clips to the car battery. Need parts? Nearest junk yard. Need buckets? Make friends with an interior house painter, they throw out a life time supply every month, and the latex paint doesn’t stick to the inside for very long.

Want to polish some brass for reloading, a little media in the bottom, and pour in some brass.  What happens if you put some old rusty tools in a bucket and add some silica sand? I dunno. did I tell you mine was only drawing 24 watts when washing shop rags?

A note on washing shop rags

OK, you already know your wife will kill you if you dare load up your rags in her washer, but this is something I learned in my first load of rags in the MAD Max washer.

Those magnets in the bottom, the ones I use to make a quick connect between the turn table and the bucket. When I got through washing some incredibly dirty shop rags, I found the magnets heaped with with a thick Goo on the order of Gum. Of course the gum is chock full of metal filings and other ferrous material. We all pick up a shop rag now and then and wipe something off.. Opps! We might have scratched the fridge or paint on the truck as we don’t know all of what was in that rag did we??

There’s no guarantees these super strong magnets will get every thing that could scratch out of a rag, but more of anything out of the rag is better right?  Now, as we process this we are certain to ask ourselves, (us grubby junk yard dogs that can’t seem to keep oil grease, or iron filings off us). If we put a big ole Neo magnet in a zip lock lunch bag and stuck it to the bottom of the Wife’s washer, what would it look like in two weeks?

As for me, I’m going to continue washing shop rags with neo magnets in the bottom of the bucket. There’s something going on here I don’t understand, it’s like that little bit of ferrous material has a static attraction to grease and grime, and I can watch the oil slick at the top of the bucket move towards and become trapped by a neo magnet I placed at the water level, one inside the bucket, with a metal washer outside to trap it there. When you watch the magic, you’ll know that every washer should have a bed of Neos, and some way to remove them and quickly remove all this stuff.  I see something like the dryers lint trap.

There is that one problem, metal snaps and the likes in clothes, so maybe we need do it only in our washer ?? 🙂


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