Dave's Homemade Tugger
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This is an exploded view of my home-made tugger
I have been experimenting with making tuggers for a few weeks, and I think this one is better than the Tug Ahoy, plus it cost less than $6.00 to make.
The reason I think it is better is that it has a solid inner plug, plus a shell. As you can see the plug is cone-shaped, and while it is harder to see, the shell is also cone-shaped, and the two parts automatically adjust to any thickness of skin.
This one is cast from aquarium sealant, using conical paper cups form the water cooler at work as molds. The sealant sets up in a day or so, even if it is trapped between two paper cups. After it has set, I boil the cup plus the casting in water for a few minutes and the paper gets very soft and can be easily rubbed off with a finger or two.
The components are laid out in a slightly different view below.
In this one, the strap or weight attaches to the small key chain ring. The attachment point on the inner plug is anchored by a nylon screw (#10-32 x 1" long) The copper attachment is a piece of 3/16" tubing, that I cut to 1 1/2" long. I threaded the inside of one end to screw into the 10-32 screw and flattened the other end in a vise and drilled a hole in it for the key chain ring.
If I were to make another one, I would replace the attachment with a piece of heavy wire, bent in a very tight spiral on the part that anchors inside the plug, and about a 1/2" loop on the strap attachment end. Others on the restore list have recommended coat hanger wire, it probably works pretty well. Keep in mind that if the attachment should happen to come loose, the strap tension will pull the anchor out through the fauxskin, which is held tightly around it by the shell.
Make sure that any sharp ends are smoothed and tucked inside, so they won't cut on the way out. It is important to have the attachment be 1 1/2" to 2" long or so, because application is much easier when I push the cone backwards against the glans with the tip of a finger while rolling the fauxskin forward and arranging it under the shell. The plug has a 3/4" hemispherical dimple in it that I made by using the tip of a badminton shuttlecock pressed into the aquarium sealant during the molding. Liquid soap makes a very good mold release for this part of the casting.
Preparing to Cast the Plug
Casting the Plug
The shell is made by casting a 1/8" thick piece of aquarium sealant between two of the conical paper cups. I used a 3/4" o-ring, and a 1 1/4" o-ring to hold the sealant in place, and space the cups apart.
Preparing to Cast the Shell
If I did this again, I think I would use a 13/16" o-ring instead of the 3/4" one, to give a slightly bigger opening in the shell. Again, use liquid dishwashing soap as a mold release on the o-rings. I used Dawn,. but I doubt that brand matters at all.
Casting the Shell
Using this is very similar to the Tug Ahoy, except that the inner plug does not have to fit tightly against the glans, and therefore no vent hole is needed. The dimple is just there to guide the tip of the glans into the center of the plug during application. Once the shell has been placed and tension applied, the plug lifts off the glans and is not in contact with it during use. The paper cups I used are 2 3/4" across the opening and 4" high. If you can't find any of them you can probably make an acceptable substitute out of typing paper and Scotch tape. You will need three of them and they all have to have the same cone angle, or taper. This way the shell fits the plug exactly and the pressure on the skin is even.
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