backpacking poop shovel

I am planning a backpacking trip and did not have a poop shovel. This is one of the cheapest pieces of gear that backpackers carry, but of course, where would the fun be in that.

It had been a while since I welded any aluminum, and this was the first times setting up for welding where I live now. I started by cutting a shovel head from some scrap sheet metal from my friend’s old 2.007 robot.

shovel head

shovel head

bending the shovel head in a vise with the help of some clamps

bending the shovel head in a vise with the help of some clamps

the bend in the shovel head adds necessary stiffness

the bend in the shovel head adds necessary stiffness

For the handle I would have loved to have some thin wall round tubing, but sometimes you have to improvise instead. I cut a little more sheet metal and proceeded to form a “tube” by hammering it around a plywood “mandrel.”

bending the handle

forming the handle tube around a piece of plywood

carefully fold one side down

carefully fold one side down

then the other

then the other

with the vise jaws set to wider than the wood, but narrower than the metal, the wood mandrel can be knocked out of the center with a mallet and screwdriver

with the vise jaws set to wider than the wood, but narrower than the metal, the wood mandrel can be knocked out of the center with a mallet and screwdriver

I thought it might be easier to get the handle to match the shape of the shovel head if it were squashed.

unceremoniously squashed

unceremoniously squashed

So, the first bead of welds definitely weren’t anything to brag about. I think there was too much of a draft coming through the garage that was blowing away the shielding gas. With another project I was able to get better results by closing the side door. Oh well, good thing the consequences for weld failure here are pretty insignificant.

wow…those welds are so….structural? maybe.

wow…those welds are so….structural? maybe.

some much needed sanding to make it fit against the shovel head

some much needed sanding to make it fit against the shovel head

moments before welding

moments before welding

yea…in this case success is defined by the low bar of Good Enough...

yea…in this case success is defined by the low bar of Good Enough…

finished product

finished product

The end product weighs in at 58.5 g (2.06 oz). That’s on par with those orange plastic ones. Hopefully this one works just as well and lasts just as long.

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