SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - This week, our Jill of All Trades, Jill Washburn, shows us how she manufactured a part to repair the front of her fridge. The vent cover, down low on the fridge, had gotten really filthy over time and one of the metal clips that held it in place had disappeared along the way. The cover was just hanging on one side. The whole thing looked nasty and Jill decided it was time to tackle the problem head-on.
First, Jill removed the remaining clip and scrubbed the grime off the cover. Once that was done, it was time to figure out the clip situation. Jill did an extensive on-line search and could not locate the part, or anything even close to it, anywhere. That left one option, as far as Jill could see… manufacturing the part herself.
Jill used the existing clip as a pattern and did her best to trace the approximate shape onto a piece of scrap copper. Copper is soft enough that it may not work for every application, but since this part is stationary and is rarely removed, it should be sufficient for this spot.
Once Jill had the approximate size and shape traced onto the copper, she cut it out with tin snips. Once she felt she had the size pretty close to what she needed, she started bending the piece into shape with a couple of pairs of pliers. Jill cautions that the edges of the metal, especially the corners, can be sharp, so work carefully or wear gloves. As she shaped the piece, Jill kept checking her work against the original part.
Once Jill had the piece shaped how she wanted it, she punched a hole through it with a nail (it could’ve also been drilled through), so that it could be screwed into placed. Again, she used the original piece as a guide for where the hole should be. In hindsight, Jill says it may have been easier to punch the hole through before she started shaping it. As it was, though, the process wasn’t all that difficult.
With the hole punched through, it was time to screw the part onto the cover and try it out. It was a great fit! The cover snapped into place exactly like it should have. It was like the clip was made for it… because it was!
So, sometimes replacing a part means you actually have to make the part. It’s do-able, says Jill, and it’s easier than you think.
PROJECT RATING: Medium
To watch Jill take you through the process, click on the video player above.