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How to Make a Fruit Picker

11/13/2012 4:06:38 PM

Tags: how to make a fruit picker, fruit pickers, DIY, Instructables

This article originally appeared on Instructables and is posted with permission from the author. 

Handmade fruit pickerAre you tormented by ripe fruit that's out of reach on high branches? Would you love to put that fruit to use, but just can't get to it? Follow these easy instructions on how to make a fruit picker and you won't have to watch fruit rot on a tree again.

Step 1: Assemble the Materials

You can make a simple and quick fruit picker out of things you probably have lying around, or that you can borrow: a 2-liter plastic bottle, a long stick, some screws and a screwdriver, and cutting tools such as box cutters and saws.

Marked 2-liter bottleStep 2: Cut the Bottle

Using a box cutter or saw, cut an opening in the bottle that extends from the rim of the neck to about halfway down the side. For illustrative purposes, I've drawn a line on the bottle showing where I cut. If you have a fondness for markers, feel free to do the same, but it's not necessary. Just make sure that the opening on the body is big enough to accept whatever fruit you're going after, and that the neck opening is large enough for thin branches.

It's easier to cut the bottle if you put it on a hard surface. I used a box cutter on the body, and then switched to a small saw to cut through the thick part of the neck. When using a box cutter, extend only the tip of the blade because this gives you more control--and also shallower flesh wounds if you slip. Don't force the box cutter through the threaded neck. Put down the blade and pick up a saw. It's much faster to change tools than to have to stop everything for a trip to the emergency room.

Attach the bottle Step 3: Attach the Bottle to the Stick

The bottle needs to be as stable as possible, and the screws need to be placed on the lower half of the bottle where the plastic was thicker. But that also means the bottle's sides block access to the screws—unless you have a super tiny screwdriver and small hands that fit inside the bottle.

First, poke two screw holes on the sides at the lower end of the bottle's closed side using the box cutter, and then pop in the screws so their tips project slightly outside the bottle. Lay the bottle down onto the end of the stick, pushing the screw tips into the wood to create two marks where you will pre-screw the wood. Cut a small access hatch in the bottle's side opposite the screws, and use a long-shafted screwdriver to reach through the bottle to turn the screws and secure the bottle onto the stick.

Finished fruit pickerStep 4: Pick Some Fruit

You should now have a fabulous DIY fruit picker! Feel free to wave it around proudly while proclaiming how your civilization has progressed to making simple tools.

The wide opening on the fruit picker makes it easy for the fruit to drop inside, and also for your hand to reach in and take it out. This picker easily holds three pears, but it's a lot easier to extend far above your head when it's empty. The neck of the bottle is stiff enough that you can tug down on the fruit and the stems will snap. The shape of the bottle makes it pretty easy to slip between branches, and the pole helps you access fruit growing out of arm's reach. I was so pleased with my prototype that I screwed an extension onto the pole. Fruit picking can be addictive, and I've been tempted to add a third extension because my trees have a bad habit of growing tall.

If had free access to custom materials, I'd probably make a sturdier basket for grabbing the fruit. There were a few times when the bottle collapsed and popped back out again while I was trying to reach some difficult pears.

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7/24/2014 11:08:57 AM
I just did this same thing after reading this article. What I did was buy an 8 ft 1"x2" for $1.50 and used old 1 gallon Great Value vinegar jug. I cut the jug the same way as the bottle pictured here, and attached it to the end of the pole with 3 screws. After using it for a while I noticed that it wanted to pull away from the screws so I cut some slits in sides and ran zip strips through. I also cut an extra 3 inch acute v shape into the jug to help with plucking fruit that didn't want to budge. If I were to build this again, I would fasten the jug using the screws as before but also use some big washers to eliminate the need for the zip strips.

10/3/2013 2:28:56 AM
I would never have thought of this. Great idea!

5/17/2013 12:46:46 AM

GREAT concept - THANKS!!! Made a couple of "improvements," according to me:

Used a 10' Sched 40 1" conduit, 3 screws through a 3"x1" piece of rubber hose as a "washer," to spread the stress on the plastic bottle.

Sue Anderson
11/17/2012 2:28:57 AM
This is awesome! I was telling my hubby I needed to figure out how to make a fruit picker for the wild persimmons I gather. I've been thinking about it and just happened upon this, I'm going to make mine out of a 20 oz. bottle, fits the size of the fruit better. Thanks!

t brandt
11/16/2012 12:19:41 PM
I made a similar apparatus using a wide tin can instead of plastic and added two forked fingers made of coat hanger wire, extending above the can 4 in. and curved (like a "peace sign" with bent fingers) to cover half the can's mouth. (Bend the tips of the wires over so you don't stab the fruit.) The wire fingers allow you to apply a little downward tug to get the fruit before it's quite ready to fall off naturally.

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