DIY – How To Turn Your Jag Co-Worker’s Stapler Into A Top Fuel Dragster

Every once in a while you get into a one-upmanship battle where it’s time to put up or shut up. Example: Someone writes “LOSER” in the dust on your car. You just going to write something about their mom on their car, or are you ready to slash some tires? Your move, crazy!

A recent situation regarding a co-worker’s stapler put me in a similar position. Granted, I drew first blood. I ridiculed it for having no staples in it when I went on one of my tri-daily office supply rampages. I called it “for show”. I stand by that. However, this insult was not lost to the day’s unfolding. I received a retaliatory note exceeding 3 full notepad pages, which made numerous references to my clothing that day being too bright and yellow for the human eye and blanketing my behavior as being that of a monster’s.

The offending shirt.
The offending shirt: it was called “Lemonzilla”. Uncalled for.

So I acted like a monster. I turned her stapler into a goddamn dragster.


And you can too!

Total Materials Needed:

  • 2 sets of wheels
  • 2 axles
  • 1 stapler, property of said jag
  • Wire cutters
  • Utility knife
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Drill
  • 5/16th drill bit
  • Gorilla glue
  • Spray Paint (Optional)
  • Additional flair (Optional)
  • Ambitious Vengeance Streak (Mandatory)

Time to Allot – 2 hours + Overnight Paint/ Glue drying + Hangover Recovery

Pairs nicely with – Boulevard Brewing Double-Wide IPA or the distilled tears of your frenemy.

STEP 1 – Find your materials

Obviously, swipe the line-crosser’s stapler. Ideally it is one of these contoured Swingline staplers with a little room in the handle and a removable rubber bottom. Just make sure it’s THEIRS. It also couldn’t hurt to educate yourself with some stapler anatomy:

Biology of an adolescent female staplus metallus.
Biology of an adolescent female staplus metallus.

The wheels you can find on any toy or RC car. But if you have yet to procreate or the Salvation Army donation bin near you is pretty fished out, I would check a Goodwill or garage sale. I wish I could recommend going to Joanns’ or Michaels and finding these sort of things in grand variety. But if you have the Joann’s experience I did, you’re going to stare into the weed-addled eyes of a Daria cosplayer who tries to make sense of the string theory you just threw at her (“Wheel? WheelS? Do I have them? In the store? I work here? Freak ouuuuut….”).

Though, I do confess. I almost caved and took the path more traveled… by sell-outs. This little number showed up on my radar at Joann’s after I walked away slightly dumber from my interaction with Spicoli’s long-lost daughter:


For a minute, I almost caved. I could have glued a pre-made pullback motor to the bottom of the stapler, had a ham sandwich, watched an episode of “The Mindy Project” and gone to bed early. Then I realized I would have had the most unentertaining night of my life. So I put two middle fingers in the air and walked out. Sure, I bought it first, but only to walk back in the store, middle fingers still in the air, and return it.

The wheels for this ‘racepler’ (my affectionately disparaging name for the abomination we’re all about to create) were found at a Goodwill. The front axle came from the saddest sight I’ve come across all year. I swear to God I’ve seen Sarah McLachlan do an infomercial just for this item: a firetruck with only the front two wheels.

I cried twice before I bought it.
I cried twice before I bought it.

The back two wheels needed to be significantly larger to be a real dragster. I might not recommend wheels this large again, but I found what I needed on some sort of kid’s training dolly called “Junior’s Dolly”. This was a confusing product in the first place, and I had questions I knew would never be answered at the register.

 For the 7-year-old dreamers who want to work for a moving company.
For the 7-year-old dreamers who want to work for a moving company?

I was lucky enough that the firetruck already had an axle attaching the wheels, but this was not going to be possible with the training dolly. As it turned out, a standard Bic ballpoint pen shaft fit the bill. It was a smidge too short, so I hammered part of the cap back into the shaft.

Huh. Huh. Shaft...
Huh. Huh. Shaft…

If you want to give it some hot rod flair, have some spray paint ready to go. Otherwise, let’s teach some bitches not to write notes!

STEP 2: Pre-visualization

Plan where your wheels are going to go, and the exact measurement of kick-assery you want your racepler to have.

For this classic Swingline stapler I plan to fit the front wheels in one of the grooves under the crimp area, sandwiched between the rubber footing and the base of the stapler. There are some pegs in the way, so we will have to mow those down. The back axle will go through the handle near the pin, elevating the stapler.

Pimp my stapler.
Pimp my stapler.

STEP 3: Front wheels

Rip that rubber footing off the base like the adult you are and find a corridor that has the least amount of plastic in the way. There was a pretty convenient one in the front, with about three plastic “walls” that needed removing before anything could run through it. Your best cut with this shallow of a depth and this thick of plastic are wire-cutters. Cut a V out of each wall and scrape as much plastic out with a utility knife.

See anatomy diagram.
See anatomy diagram.

Cut the same V out of the sides so the axle can protrude out. Re-attach the base to secure the wheels. No need to glue the base on, as you want the axle to stay loose enough to roll.


STEP 4 – Back wheels

No such luck with grooves back here, bucko! Time to get crafty and make our own. Get an electric drill and a 5/16″ bit. The 5/16″ is right about the size of the pen shaft. Grab the stapler with a clamp or something to keep your dainty mitts away from the drill, and hold it over the edge of a table. Make a mark on your stapler where you are aiming for, and start drilling, Plainview!

You want to avoid the metal end of the carrier if at all possible and go through pure plastic. I tapped the end of the carrier ever so slightly myself, just to let it know I was there and establish some dominance. It will definitely fight back, but just press on, maybe making an initial mark and working on that hole in bursts. Try also to hold the drill as straight down as you can as to keep the passage level when you burst through the other side. Nothing worse than a lop-sided racepler.

OIL! Hills of Oil!
OIL! Hills of Oil.

Once you break on through to the other side, stick the pen through to gauge the opening . It’s OK if it is a little tight. Policy is always better being too tight than too loose. Take the drill and put it through the hole again, rev it and rotate it around to open up the hole a bit more. Do this til the pen shaft fits ever so loosely in the hole.


STEP 5 – F. L. A. I. R.

This thing is basically done, but if you leave it like this, you’re going to look like your family couldn’t afford a real racepler like the other kids on the block. It inspires zero fear. Pick some fly colors and spray those tires down! Wrap some painter’s tape around the axles so they are not coated.

The pink spray paint I had on hand. Ask not.
The pink spray paint I had on hand. Ask not.

I’m going silver metallic on the body and pink on the wheels. It kills me to paint over the ‘Go-Go Babyz’ motto on the wheels, but hard choices had to be made. I trust when the time comes you’ll have a similarly critical choice to make and I hope this gives you the mettle to face it head-on.

Let all the paint dry on one side with two coats for an hour, and do the other side’s two coats for another hour. Paint will still be sticky, but this projects gotta keep moving, so put some gloves on, ya wuss.

Mean scrawlings optional, but you know you're going to do it. Do it.
Mean scrawlings optional, but you know you’re going to do it. Do it.

STEP 6 – Glue it

I recommend Gorilla glue because I could glue two fingers together and have the dexterity of a cartoon character the rest of my life. This stuff doesn’t come off. Divers take one bottle of this stuff down to repair hulls.

This is only for your back wheels, as your front should stay snugly pinned by the rubber base. Take a cotton swab and dip it in water. Rub the swab on the inside of the wheels and on both ends of the pen shaft/ rear axle. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane adhesive, so it needs moisture to chemically bond. One drop of the glue goes inside the wheel, rub some excess on the rear axle  and put them together. Thread the unwheeled side of the axle through our drilled hole to the other side. Repeat the gluing process to the other wheel.  BAM!

The glue also works best clamping the two items together, so either sleep on top of this Easy Rider, or press two heavy items against either side.

Nestled smugly.
Nestled smugly.


Assuming nothing horrific happened overnight, your racepler should be a work of art in the morning. Expect a call from Hasbro.

I challenge any souped-up hole puncher to compete with this.
I challenge any suped-up hole puncher to compete with this.

Give it a few practice rolls and make sure this thing has a sweet, sweet roll to it. Like a dream. Pop the top and make sure this is still a functioning stapler. You are trying to prank, not be charged $3.75 for abuse of company property.

I'm tryin' a find the words to describe this stapler--
I’m tryin’ a find the words to describe this stapler–
without being disrespectful...
–without being disrespectful…

Most important step. Make sure this jagweed starts their morning getting served… with some VENGEANCE. Get there early and set it up where their stapler lived its life before it realized it was trans-staple-uaL.  Let its badass dragster-queen flag fly.

Go, Street Racepler. Go.
Go, Street Racepler. Go.

Tune in this fall for RuPaul’s Drag Racepler.

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