Wink Fun – the best games, toys, and puzzles

what-is-wink-fun

We are excited to announce the launch of Wink Fun, a new Cool Tools website that celebrates fun stuff! And we mean fun things made from atoms – not bits.

Wink Fun celebrates stuff that is fun, and we mean the kind of fun that’s made from atoms – not bits. We mean putty you can bounce, slime you can squish, cards you can shuffle, forts you can build, skateboards you can race, water guns you can squirt – fun that matters, made of matter.

Every weekday Wink Fun reviews one entertaining item: the latest robot kit, a fast-moving dice game, a cool vintage board game, an astonishing magic trick, a role-playing card game, a brain-busting puzzle, a hilarious party game, extreme equipment for high-action fun, and so much more.

As part of the merriment, we’re awarding a GIVEAWAY Perplexus (cool maze ball!) to a lucky reader. Simply find the word “Perplexus” that’s hidden in one of the reviews and you’ll be able to enter.

So pick a square, any square, click and have fun!

>For more information about us, go to our about page.

-- Carla Sinclair  



Zippo Hand Warmer

This little baby has kept feeling in my fingers in an unheated workshop and kept my toes warm in a frigid tent more times than I can count by now. It’s a palm-sized aluminum oval. Inside there’s a chamber of absorbent foam and a reactor made of platinum-coated wire wool. You start the catalytic heating process by filling the chamber with lighter fluid and holding a flame to the burner for ten seconds or so. This done, it will keep producing heat for up to twenty-four hours or so. The temperature is something like a cup of Starbucks coffee, and it comes with a cloth pouch and a little filling/measuring cup.

This warmer stays far hotter, for far longer, than any of the chemical heat packs or microwaveable gel/bean bags I’ve tried, and its long reusability means the only long-term cost is dirt-cheap lighter fluid! The only downside is a very faint smell of lighter fluid while the little fella’s running.

I own two, and would recommend hem to anyone who’s ever spent longer than they’d like with numb fingers in wintertime!

-- Eli Treuherz  

Zippo Hand Warmer
$13

Available from Amazon



iFixit 26-Bit Driver Kit

I often find I want to open electronic things because there’s something broken that’s really easy to fix. I was stumbling around for a long time. I had a collection of weird tiny screwdrivers that were easy to lose and the bits were low quality. Something would go wrong — either they wouldn’t fit or they would strip. This iFixit driver kit is just fantastic. It comes with a magnetized screw driver handle. The bits are very specific to opening up modern electronics: laptops, cellphones, and cameras routers. The bits are incredibly well tempered and they have all the weird star shapes that you need to get basically anything open.

Once, my son was out in the back yard. He had been doing some gardening. He had his cheap RadioShack camera and he was taking some pictures of the plants as they were growing, trying to do stop motion video. He tripped over something and went sprawling and the camera crashed to the ground and cracked open about a half centimeter. And I thought to myself “that will actually pop back together.”

One component was sticking out so I had to get it open but it turned out the camera had some sort of weird proprietary screw. The iFixit kit had the right bit for it. Open up the camera, shove the component back in. Snapped it shut, done! I only use it once a month but whenever I use it it’s the only thing that will fix whatever stupid little electronic thing has fallen apart.

-- Clive Thompson  

[This is from the Cool Tools Show podcast. See all of Clive's picks here. – Mark Frauenfelder]

Available from Amazon

iFixit 26 Bit Driver Kit $20



Milwaukee Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife

I have carried and use this tool everyday for over three years. I work in Solid Waste and facilities maintenance. Lots of hard use.

It is a knife that I can replace the blades on (therefore always super sharp), it can be flipped open with one hand (required), it has heft and that solid feel that makes an impression, I reach for it often because I count on it.

It has a bag/belt cutter built in to the CLOSED knife handle (very handy for cutting shrink wrapped palletized shipments and a large wire bale pocket clip.

I like the cost, and the feel (compared to flimsy plastic cased knives or knives that require a screw driver to change the blade on).

A good value that would not break the bank if I lost it or damaged it.

knife-2

-- Patrick Ward  

Milwaukee Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife
$17

Available from Amazon



SealLine EcoSee Clear Dry Bag

I have never found a fully waterproof backpack that had the fit and features of more general purpose non-waterproof backpacks. So I ended up getting this clear SeaLine dry bag to slip inside my backpack. I got the clear one because I thought I would pull it out of my pack but I find I rarely do that. I use it more like an internal liner or sleeve inside my backpack. Another benefit of this is I also use it inside my commuter bike bag when pedaling to work in the rain.

-- Rob Ray  

SealLine EcoSee Clear Dry Bag
$20 – $100, depending on size

Available from Amazon



 

Combination Knife/Rule

Great little pocket knife with two blades. The handle is a ruler that extends to 6 inches. I can’t count the times that I’ve used it to measure something. I’m a realtor and I use the ruler as a scale for taking photos during inspections.

-- Sean McGarry  

Combination Knife/Rule
$30

Available from Amazon



Leatherman Bit Kit

Every Cool Tools reader likely has his/her own favorite multitool. I happen to carry a Leatherman Charge TTI, and I have noticed that I tend to use the accessory bits by themselves almost as much as my Leatherman itself. Even if you rock another brand of tool or knife daily, you might want to think about grabbing this set of bits.

Though they have been ground flat to fit the Leatherman, these bits work in any standard 1/4″ hex driver. I carry this set in the business card pouch of my work bag and typically use them with a pen-sized screwdriver I got at a trade show. This allows me to use my multitool pliers on a nut while tightening down the screw. In tight spaces, it is actually possible to use these bits without a handle – the flat grind allows you to grip them firmly.

The set packs into much less space than 40 standard hex bits, and it includes enough to tackle most common repairs. The usual sizes of screwdrivers, Torx, square, and hex bits are all there. It even includes a double sided jewelers driver. The two cases store everything firmly, and they slip easily into a pocket. I’m on my original set after 3+ years of use, and besides some shiny wear spots they’re all as good as new. For $15 the bits themselves are a cool tool with or without the Leatherman.

-- Dan Bersak  

Leatherman Bit Kit
$20

Available from Amazon



Olfa Rotary Cutter

I purchased my first rotary cutter (a 28mm) in the fall of 1979. These are basically round razors on handles; they allow for precise cutting of fabric, paper, cardboard, etc.

In the years since then I have purchased larger and smaller diameter cutters (they come in four sizes; which one you choose depends on how many layers you want to cut), ergonomic cutters and brands other than Olfa.

I keep coming back to the Olfa cutters because of the high quality and user-friendliness. I am especially happy with the ergonomic design – for its lock open/lock closed feature for the blade and for the fact that I can cut accurately while seated (my spinal stenosis makes standing to cut painful).

These are quality tools and well worth the expense. Be sure to purchase a self-healing cutting mat (there are many brands and sizes on the market) — this will protect and prolong the blade sharpness on your cutter as well as protect the surface on which you are cutting.

-- Linda Schiffer  

OLFA 9654 RTY-2/DX 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
$15

Available from Amazon



Kyocera ceramic knife

kyoceraA must have in the kitchen. Stays sharp, really, really sharp. Will not react to or stain what you are cutting. I even have a serrated bread knife that can cut old stale baguettes paper thin. The very best for fruits and veggies.

Not for prying or cutting meat with a bone. So hard they are fragile and will not survive a drop on a tile floor. Use them with a wood or plastic cutting board only.

-- Kent Barnes  

Kyocera Revolution 3-Piece Ceramic Knife Set
$79

Available from Amazon