I’ve been knitting for almost 50 years. Addi Turbo knitting needles are the best: smooth, sleek and well-made.They are made in Germany. I can’t buy them often, but when I need a new size for something, I am willing to pay their premium price. Quality and a size range that can’t be beat. Mostly they make (and I use) circular needles, but they also make 3″ glove needles that I have used for making tiny little finger puppets. No one else makes needles as short (that I know of).
Creative Robotics’ HUB-ee wheels are just what they sound like: hub wheels, where the motor is contained inside the wheel’s hub to save space on your robot. Hub wheels are great for complicated builds like rack-and-pinion steering rigs where you want wheels that both drive the robot as well as turn to steer. They also make for very clean builds because a lot of components you could normally see are hidden.
Each HUB-ee Wheel consists of a 12mm gearmotor, a small circuit board equipped with a motor driver chip and a quadrature encoder, as well a gearbox, all concealed inside the hub. They come in a small number of configurations: 180-1 and 120-1 gear ratios, available in either metric or imperial.
The wheels connect to a microcontroller with a Micro-MaTch ribbon cable, and Creative Robotics also offer breakout boards for managing these connectors, as well as a HUB-ee friendly prototyping shield. If you don’t want to use the breakout boards, Creative Robotics shows you how to cut a Micro-MaTch cable in half and attach the wires individually to the controller.
The HUB-ee wheels attach to your robot’s chassis one of two ways. The first are fairly typical M3 screws. The other is much more intriguing: the M3 holes also double as Lego cross-axle holes that accommodate a standard cross-connector pin. These holes don’t go all the way through, limiting the tensile strength of this attachment method. However, the cross-holes are on both sides of the wheels, allowing you add support to either side.
I’ve used these humble, handheld cymbals for two years running, and they have become an invaluable part of my meeting facilitation toolkit.
I often convene large groups for collaborative working sessions, brainstorming exercises, PechaKucha presentations and the like. When trying to keep 50-60 creative people to a fixed schedule, transitioning from one activity to the next can easily eat into your productive time. Enter tingsha cymbals: one strike of the cymbals produces a high, pure ringing sound that instantly cuts through the chatter and brings everybody to attention–with a relatively low volume output.
Designed for meditative purposes, these cymbals are a portable, low-tech cool tool for corralling large groups.
For some reason my ears get clogged up with earwax (cerumen is the technical term) about two to three times a year. When it first happened, I was told to use a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide and one of those rubber bulbs you use to clear a baby’s nose. This strategy never worked for me, and I would inevitably end up in a doctor’s office hard of hearing. I got tired of paying the copay for something that seemed so trivial, and did some research only to find that for about $12 you could order a near identical chrome syringe as the one they use in a doctor’s office and do it yourself. All it requires is standing (or sitting) in the shower, and carefully syringing your ear with warm water. After a few syringes full of warm water out pops the ear wax plug, and wham my hearing comes back all at once.
At $11, it’s probably one of the better investments I’ve ever made. With that being said, there are some precautions, and you should probably talk to your doctor before you do this yourself.
First, not everybody has wet earwax. Many asians have the recessive trait for dry earwax, and as such they have their own special tools for removing blockages. If you have any pain in your ear you’re better off going to the doctor to get it done lest you damage your tympanic membrane. Also, some people can be sensitive to temperature changes in their inner ear and can experience dizziness and vertigo (some instructions tell you to do it seated in case you fall over; this is made worse if you use cold water). I would also not recommend using these on children given that they have shorter ear canals, and are more prone to ear infections (especially if they’ve had issues with eustachian tubes). Definitely talk to your pediatrician first.
Finally, you shouldn’t be cleaning your ears too frequently. Cerumen serves many functions and as such shouldn’t be removed on a regular basis unless absolutely necessary. As it stands, if you find yourself needing to clean out your ears a few times a year these are great tools. It takes a little bit of time to learn how to aim into your ear canal, but once you get the hang of it you can save yourself an unnecessary trip to the doctor.
Around my house, the best thing about a Lego kit is building it. When it’s finished, it’s fun to admire for a few minutes, but by the next day, my daughter and I have lost interest. We just want to build another kit, but they are too expensive to buy every couple of days.
Pley is a Lego kit subscription service that focuses on the fun part – the building. It’s like NetFlix. Pley costs $15 a month. You make a queue from over 250 kits, and Pley sends you the kit at the top of your queue. When you are done, take the pieces apart and put them in the supplied shipping box. Pley pays shipping in both directions. If you lose a couple of pieces, you won’t be charged.
Pley will then send you the next kit in your queue. Each kit is cleaned and sanitized before you receive it.
I bought two of these Digital Day Counters a few years ago. But I really did not start to use them till I began making water and milk kefirs.
Now I just stick one of these suction-cupped timers on a jar of fermenting kefir, and it lets me know how many days it has been fermenting.
Most timers are set up for seconds, minutes, and hours. These tiny timers count up to 99 days. They are water resistant, and yes they work in the refrigerator.
The Adafruit PCB Ruler is more than just a way of measuring things. It is also the ultimate reference (at least for the size) for folks designing their own PCBs. The ruler is made of a 6” length of PCB laminate, and naturally it offers the requisite inches and centimeters. Where the ruler diverges from the expected is that it is covered, both sides, in reference materials for PCB design: want to know what a 24-mil trace looks like? What about a 28-gauge via? The ruler also has footprints for over a dozen surface-mount components like minuscule SOT-23 chips, the size of half a grain of rice. At $5 the ruler is a great deal anyway, made all the better by the fact that you can get one for free from Adafruit just by spending $100 in their store.
I’ve used the Wagner Deck Mate for years. Its smart design really speeds up staining the planks in a deck. It has an aluminum handle, gravity-feed reservoir, control valve knob, and swiveling paint pad head. The long handle lets you stain the deck while standing up (and off your knees!)
Fill the reservoir with up to a ½ gallon of stain or sealant, and then twist the yellow knob to control the flow of stain down into the paint pad. As you glide the pad along the decking it both applies stain and back brushes for even and full coverage in one step.
A really clever feature is the center brush: a brush-within-a-brush that protrudes down and rides along inside the space between the decking slats. The stiff bristles both keep the paint pad in position as you go and get stain down along the side edges of the decking. Genius!
To clean, just place the Deck Mate in the sink and run water thru it.
I’m glad I don’t have to stain my cedar deck every summer but when I do I’m extra glad I found the Handy Paint Pail. It’s a quart-sized container that holds paint or stain while you do brush work. The wide, rubbery strap works two ways. Slip your hand through the adjustable strap. Your hand relaxes into a gentle curve: no cramps from hours of gripping a paint can. You can also use the handle in reverse: wear the can across the back of your hand. This leaves your hand free to grip ladders or hold things. The unique D-shaped cup is really useful. The curved part fits your hand while the flat side fits the brush.
The pail also has a very clever feature: a strong magnet molded into the inside the cup magically holds your bush up and out of the paint (and catches any drips). Clean up is a breeze — just toss away the used vacuum-formed liner (and slip in a fresh one for next time). As you can see from the photo we’ve used our HANDy Paint Pail for many years of staining and painting, inside and out.
The booq Boa Shift backpack adds a little bit of luxury to the daily task of carrying your stuff around. The cool modern exterior has a look that’s far elevated from your schoolyard backpack, but the style is equality matched in functionality. On the outside the bag features waterproof nylon (thunderstorm tested, it works remarkably well!) as well as vented material on the underside that keeps your back from getting too hot. Inside it has soft creamy fabric that’s ideal for protecting delicate items; it has a laptop sleeve that fits any Mac and most PC laptops under 15-inches. There are a variety of smaller pockets as well. The actual cargo area holds a good amount, while remaining lightweight thanks to the material and cut of the bag.