Full Trash Can

3 functional transportation devices (made of junk)

I’m no stranger to DIY projects. Why, just the other day I submitted a short tale of my ingenuity to Bytestories.com.

In the past I’ve freely ridiculed insane inventors of questionable self defence gadgets and children’s dolls. Today I do the opposite and bring you three inspiring stories about dreamers who took what most of us would consider complete junk and turned it into transportation devices. What have you done with your free time?

3. Istvan Puskas’ Firewood Motorcycle

What does one do with firewood?

“Throw it into the fire, to make more fire” said pretty much all of you. “Duh!” added those of you especially inclined to celebrate your intellectual superiority. Well, sheeple, how about thinking outside the box for once, like Istvan Puskas? This Hungarian man looked at firewood and figured it would make the perfect material…to make a motorbike out of!

As if firewood-based motorbike wasn’t surreal enough, Istvan used cattle horns to make the exhaust pipe and handlebars. Finally, the gas tank is a wine barrel, because at that point, why the fuck not? I wish I could say the motorcycle is powered by human screams, but alas, it uses a good old conventional Fiat engine. I guess nobody’s perfect.

Did I mention it’s totally functional? Because it totally is. You can even check it out in action:

2. Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi’s Junk Helicopter

While we pat ourselves on the back every time we remember to recycle a beer can, a Nigerian student Mubarak took the “nothing goes to waste” concept to the next level. He acquired some spare parts from old motorbikes and cars, some scrap aluminium, and built himself a little something I like to call a freaking functioning goddamn helicopter.

Junk Helicopter Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi

Image Source

It took Mubarak eight months to build the helicopter, which is capable of flying at a modest altitude of around 7 feet. This may not sound like much, but the only thing I’ve ever been able to make out of assorted pieces of junk was…a pile of junk…with approximately zero ability to fly. So there’s that.

Mubarak is already working on his second helicopter – a two-seater that should be capable of three-hour flight at an altitude of around 15 feet. Mubarak is a truly inspiring man of action. I get exhausted just thinking about it…think I’ll go have a nap.

1. Tao Xiangli’s Oil Barrel Submarine

Most of us, upon seeing a large collection of old oil barrels will just shrug and move on with our lives, making a mental note to never visit that dodgy part of town again. A few of us may borrow a barrel or two to roll down a hill in for the filming of a Jackass re-enactment.

And then there’s Tao Xiangli, who looked at discarded metal barrels and thought “Yes! I can totally see myself being trapped inside these while plunging into the dark depths of a yet-to-be-specified body of water! Where do I sign up?”

Over the course of two years this ambitious inventor built and tested his very own submarine, made primarily out of old metal barrels and refusal to accept the laws of engineering and basic safety measures.

This home-made marvel boasts all the necessary components of a submarine, including oxygen supply, depth control tanks, two electric-motor-driven propellers and a periscope. It even features a manometer, which I can only assume is a tool for accurately measuring Tao’s inhuman levels of manliness.

Behold the glorious fruit of Tao’s labour:

OK, so maybe it could use some work in the not-looking-like-Megatron’s-backup-dong department. I said “functional”, not “pleasing to the eye”, or even “easily distinguishable from the junk it’s made out of”.

All penis jokes aside, this phallic submarine can reach the depth of 10 metres. Tao has been doing test dives in a local reservoir, but his hope is to eventually take it out to the ocean, because when you make submarines out of freaking oil barrels the ocean is just a pitiful puddle to you!

Enjoy Tao’s submarine, while I go re-evaluate my life choices.

Last wish

Today we go even further down memory lane, to the very beginning of my life in Denmark. During the first two years here I went to Rygaards International School.

Our history teacher was an Irish guy by the name of Mr. Murphy. That’s right, back then all our teachers were either a “Mr” or a “Mrs”. To this day I don’t know most of their first names. In fact, I can’t be 100% sure they even had first names.

Mr. Murphy was one of everyone’s favourite teachers, despite the fact that he was one of the strict ones. He had a heavy Irish accent that took a while to get used to (“a while” in my case would turn out to be many months). Many a time he’d go off on a tangential story about something completely irrelevant to the subject at hand. The stories were, without exception, hilarious.

It was also not out of character for him to act out his favourite battles from history by jumping onto desks, running through the classroom, and otherwise re-enacting some epic war scenes.

“Incoming! Think fast, kids!”

He was also famous for his surprise quizzes. He’d walk into the classroom, tell everyone to close their books, grab their pens, and write down answers to a bunch of random questions he asked. Sometimes, however, he’d put a twist on this exercise, just for fun.

One day he walked in and gave the following instructions: “Blank page, name on top. You’re in the navy during World War II. Your submarine has just been hit and is rapidly sinking. You have time to write a letter to your parents, knowing it’s the last thing they’ll read from you. You’ve got two minutes. Go!”

Everyone scrambled to write down some panicked words. After two minutes, Mr. Murphy told us to stop writing, collected all of our “letters” and then proceeded to read some of them out loud to the class. Mercifully, he avoided mentioning students’ names. Less mercifully, he didn’t even try to contain laughter at some of the stuff people wrote.

Surprisingly, this looks nothing like Mr. Murphy

There were some needlessly formal letters, beginning with “Dear mother and father, this is your son writing to you…”. Some letters were otherwise awkward and amusing. However, the absolute best letter read:

“Mom, dad, our submarine has been hit. We’re not going to make it. I’ve got only seconds left to live before we sink. Wish you were here!“…

…I don’t think Mr. Murphy could’ve hoped for a better comic relief that day.