Gareth's Tips

A User’s Guide to Screws and Tap & Die

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #130

Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.

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A User’s Guide to Screws and Tap & Die
In these two clickclackclunk tutorials on Instructables, he offers an excellent beginner’s class on screws and tapping of screws. Knowing how to tap threads for fasteners gives you a new kind of superpower for your projects. It’s one of those skills that seems complicated and intimidating, until you do it. With a few specialty tools, some lubrication, and few important techniques, and you’re in like Flynn.
Making a Camera Tracking Shot Slider from a Measuring Tape
Via Maker Update comes this very clever project to 3D print a housing for a measuring tape and some ball bearing wheels so that you can use it as a non-motorized camera slider for creating linear tracking shots with your phonecam. You can even adjust the speed of the tracking by adjusting the pressure on the tape measure.
Which Rattle Can Paint is the Best?
In this Project Farm test (which took a year to complete), Todd tested rattle can paints that cost from $1 to $15. The paints were tested on a vehicle hood and on metal panels kept outside for a year and then compared for chip resistance, paint fade over a year, scratch resistance, and rust blocking. In the end, the winners were Rust-Oleum Pro ($6 at time of testing), Valspar ($10 at time of testing), and Seymour ($11 at time of testing). The big loser was the most expensive of the lot, Sherman-Williams ($15 at time of testing).
How to Create a Steam Box for Wood Bending
Xyla Foxlin recently made a cool bass guitar that used steam-bent wood in its construction. In this video, she shows how she created the steam box.
TOYS! DiResta Ice Pick
I’ve written about Jimmy DiResta’s ice pick before, but I can’t believe I’ve never recommended it as a tool. I use mine almost daily and am always surprised at the different uses I discover for it. There’s even an Instagram tag to document them. Sure, it’s not cheap, and yes, part of the allure is the hip maker cred, but buying one supports an indie tool maker and they’re beautifully made and hand-crafted by Jimmy and his crew. I’ve given several as Christmas presents and my recipients enjoy them as much as I do.
Maker’s Muse
A Roman “Swiss Army Knife,” some 1700 years old. Complete with three-pronged fork, spatula, pick, spike, and knife. Probably something of a luxury item, made of silver, and likely used by the wealthy Roman on the go.
Shop Talk
In response to a question in the last issue about ready-made racks for portable storage cases, specifically Stanley cases, I got a lot of responses sharing projects on how to build them. The person asking the question wanted to buy vs. build, saving him time for more pressing projects. I swear I saw a project years ago to quickly modify baker’s racks to use for this purpose. If anyone knows a link to such a project, please share.

In the meantime, for those looking to build a rack, here are a few projects that reader Craig shared:
Making a Small Parts Storage Rack
Making a Rack for Small Parts Storage with Stanley SortMasters
Sorta Sortimo Small Parts Rack & Sorting Station
Organize Parts – Storage Stacking Cases

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