Low Budget Homemade Tools for Your Garage

Homemade tire changer

Homemade tire changer

Project bike, ... check. Space cleared out in the garage, ... check. Special tools you'll need to do the work, ... um, maybe we need a few more things, but they can be expensive, so being the ambitious and resourceful person you are, why not just make your own?

Quite a few guys have run into the same situation and a few of them have shared the plans for their homemade tool so you can build some yourself or at least, use what they did as a starting point for your own improved versions.

Homemadetools is a pretty cool site that offers tool users and builders a place to share their ideas. The tools are for almost every kind of work, but just looking in the motorcycle and automotive sections gives you quite a variety, but don't confine your browsing to just those, there's good stuff throughout. These are the kinds of things that used to be common in old issues of Mechanix Illustrated and Modern Mechanix and similar mags, it's just a new place to look.

Is everything well engineered and sure to work? Maybe not, but you can browse around, sift through and decide for yourself what might work for you. Lots of ideas for sure. Cool!

Link: HomemadeTools via Cool Tools

Homemade tire balancer

Homemade tire balancer


  1. todd says

    The first one just looks like a bead breaker, not a complete tire changer.

    I definitely understand the need for specialty tools, I have 11 motorcycles in various states of use, repair, or modification. Of course, those tools also take up valuable motorcycle storage space…

    For some items, like a tire changer, it’s really hard to beat cheap imports like Harbor Freight. With a few simple modifications you can turn one of their tire changers into an asset all for about $100. Plus, it’s amazing how much work you can do with one of their $90 MIG welders.


  2. says

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the mention. We’ve got lots (thousands) of homemade tools in our ever-growing database, spanning a wide gamut of activities and interests.

    To keep this post somewhat on topic, cycle-wise, I’m currently finishing up the restoration of a ’69 Triumph Bonneville. Can’t wait to ride it!


    • B50 Jim says

      Ken — thanks for all the great ideas! You’re probably finding you don’t need so many specialized tools to restore your Bonnie — those bikes were made to be fixed by their owners, and the factory recognized the average owner can’t afford a shop full of specialized tools. Also, the bikes were built using a lot of steam-era machinery and tooling, so naturally they were simpler. I get by with a a handful of special tools I fabricated for my B50, and the one factory tool I bought, a clutch puller, is worth its weight in tool steel. Good luck on the Bonnie — you’ll love riding it!

      • Gbones13 says

        Great website. I’ve just moved into my first house and am trying to set up my garage to be a decent little fab shop. With a couple of motorcycle projects in the works, I’m always looking for some ideas for homemade tools that I can build and possibly improve upon. This is a great source of reference. Thanks!

  3. Pirate Tom says

    I specialize in homemade tools. I just finished a homemade media blast cabinet last weekend. ($76 US) Before that, a metal casting foundry ($8 US) People continually under estimate what you can make at home, just by keeping your eyes open and your brain working.

    • Gbones13 says

      Do you have any pictures posted anywhere of the blast cabinet? I would really like to see that.

      • Pirate Tom says

        I have a bad habit of forgetting to document anything, but in this case, I did take photos, and since you mentioned it, I went ahead and posted them. It’s in this gallery, along with a few other odds and ends. http://s1015.photobucket.com/albums/af279/DonArrival/The%20Work%20Shop/

        The parts I purchased were the barrel, plexiglass, a fluorescent shop light, two rubber grommets, and the gloves, which were the single most expensive piece at a little over $30. Everything else was just grabbed off of a scrap pile. You might be able to make the same thing for $150ish if you had to buy the rest. Of course, a commercial one the same size costs $300-$400. It is rather rough, because I threw it together quite quickly. I needed a blast cabinet before the weekend was over for another project. It will do until I find the need to build a better/larger one. If you want to know anything else, feel free to shoot an email to jacklegproductions (at) gmail(dot) com

  4. joe says

    I used to make all my own tools but I find the cost of materials,time,plus dissapearing yards that sell salvaged steel and other old parts etc ,make it no longer worth the time and effort for a lot of items. I built an hydraulic lift and a press a few years back.Now I can pick up a new hydraulic lift for $400 and a 5 ton press for $500.It’s the way the world is changing with everything.

    • Pirate Tom says

      I agree that it is certainly preferable to buy the tools when you really need one for a project. Often they’re better at what they do. But it’s always nice to know that you’re able to build what you need in a pinch. I’ve gotten fairly good at sourcing material for very low, if not no cost. Obviously, the results aren’t always pretty, but they tend to work. My main motivation for building is cost. The economy is of course a factor. I’ve become over educated and under employed. Between that and other life problems, I’m working one full time job, and about a half dozen odd jobs here and there to support the family. One of those $400 lifts would take me a very good 3-4 months of side jobs to save up for. I don’t have much time or money left, but I’ve still got just a hair more time than money. So if it takes me 12 hours to build a tool, or takes me 40 hours to earn the money, it’s obvious which way I’ve got to go.

  5. says

    I’ve been known to improvise my own tools and such. The last thing I made was a media blast cabinet out of a large plastic bin. It works a lot better than you’d think and it was dirt cheap! Plus I just stick it on a shelf when I’m not using it.

  6. says

    I’m not an expert mechanic by any means…but for some strange reason i get as much satisfaction out of building my own tools and getting the job done using them. My latest was bulding a motorcycle lift using a 4×8 board and some galvanized pipe (found the plans online). thanks for the article and also for the links to those other sites…yummy!