Creative Corner: Making a portable basket personal

Darren Dolezel's lit-up basket at the local Relay For Life event in 2011.

I recently came to the conclusion that I have an addictive personality.

When I get involved in something I like and enjoy, I usually jump in full force and take it to another level.

When I first got into disc golf, the first thing I purchased, besides many discs, was an Innova SkillShot portable basket. It was a good starter basket, but I didn’t think it caught discs as well as a real basket. Next came an Innova DISCatcher Sport, which turned out to be great.

However, even though it was great, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I wanted to find a way to modify the basket to make it better.

Cue the music and let’s hit the garage!

The first thing I did was get rid of the chains that came with the basket and replaced them with stainless steel chains. It’s not a cheap investment, but when you are blinded by the possibilities of what can be done, I tend to forget how much things cost. Not only did I replace the outer chains, but I also added inner chains.

Two of Darren's creations -- one to make the basket taller and one with custom paint.

It amazed me how well the chains caught discs. I was also impressed by the glorious sound that it made when a disc smacked the chains.

The second step was paint.

I took the basket to a friend’s auto body shop and asked him to match the Innova yellow top and paint the rest of the basket, less the chains, of course. It came out great.

At that point, I wanted to take it one step further. I asked myself what it would need and decided it needed lights.

I work for an electrical contractor and we maintain street lights for all of Staten Island, NY. We had some red lights around that were not being used. With a little coaxing, I was given permission to use them.

Oddly enough, they were the exact diameter of the top part of the DISCatcher Sport and the two fit like they were made for one another. This basket was used during one of the putting competitions by Vibram’s Steve Dodge at the Bowling Green Ams in 2011. It was a hit.

We also used the lighted basket at our local Relay For Life event last year.

I’ve since modified this basket to run on an 18-volt rechargeable battery instead of having to have it plugged in.

I was oh-so-proud of my achievement that I started to put it, fully assembled, in the back of my pickup truck. I used sandbags to hold it down. On one trip in New Jersey, two girls passed me in a Jeep. The one in the passenger seat visually asked me what it was. Not thinking, I motioned like I was throwing a backhand. My father pointed out to me that it looked like I was giving them a vulgar gesture.

Oops!

I also learned the hard way that the basket doesn’t stand up to driving fast speeds as the lower pole bent.

Alas, being a bit of a MacGyver person, I took an old coat rack, which had a 50-pound base, and modified it to work as a basket pole and base. When I assembled it, I fell in love all over again because the basket was three-feet higher then normal. It’s almost like putting at an elevated basket.

But, after a week or two, that got old and I was back to thinking what else I could do. I decided to make a camera mount on the basket. I’ve used Gorilla Pods to hold Kodak Play Sport cameras, and there have been other ways to hold the cameras, but sometimes when the cameras get jarred, they don’t hold so well.

See the video below for proof:

After a lot of trial-and-error and a few smashed cameras, I drilled a three-inch hole on top and mounted a camera. I used a Contour HD wide-angle camera (they are priced decently and waterproof) and it seems to be good to go. I haven’t tested it fully yet, but hopefully this will make it easier for doing some disc golf videos, even if it gets plunked by a disc.

It’s safe to say I’ve gone completely off the deep end and there’s no end in sight. If you have any ideas for a future basket post, post them in the comments below and I’ll put them to the test to the best of my ability!

Darren Dolezel is the resident creative guy at Rattling Chains. He often finds odd objects to turn into items useful for disc golf. He’ll share these items occasionally at Rattling Chains. If you have an idea you think Darren should try, e-mail him at: darren [at] rattlingchains.com.

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