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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.
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.
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:
A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.
I’ve raved before about the Kindle Fire tablet, the best electronics bargain on the planet, and this week some versions are on the sale rack for Black Friday. The 10-inch version is going for $80 and the 8-inch one (better for reading Kindle books) is going for $60. See all the options, including ones for kids, at this link.
New Airport Near Siem Reap, Cambodia
Getting to Angkor Wat in Cambodia has never been half the fun and the one airline that flew there (from Thailand) had a complete monopoly on the route. Now a new larger airport is open, though it’s 35 miles from the ruins and town. This article in Radio Free Asia is much less chipper than most announcements, noting the trend of China building projects like this to spread their influence and the fact that visitor numbers have not recovered post-pandemic.
Shakira Gets a Tax Fine From Spain
The Spanish government just got 7.5 million euros richer thanks to a plea deal fine with Colombian pop star Shakira, who ponied up the cash (in addition to back taxes) to avoid going to jail for tax evasion. There’s a lesson in here for anyone looking at digital nomad visas in a country like Spain or Brazil where after 183 days, you’re on the hook for major taxes, even on foreign income. She maintains she never spent that long there and was touring, but she owned a family house so it was going to be tough to win the fight.
Two Reasons to Visit South America Now
As you’ve probably heard, the wacky candidate who wielded a chainsaw at rallies won the presidential election in Argentina. Get the popcorn ready for what’s to follow, but one promise he made was to dollarize the economy, so the bargain prices for travelers who arrive with dollars or euros now may not last if he manages to push it through their congress. Also, Brazil is reinstating a reciprocal visa fee in early January that’s going to mean a hefty increase in the vacation budget for Australians, Canadians, and Americans. The latter will owe $160 per person before leaving the airport.
* Correction - I was a little too excited about the current state of that bullet train that just opened on Java, Indonesia. It’s only going 1/3 of the way to Yogyakarta at this point, so you’ll need to change to a regular slow train for the rest of the journey. Thanks to the readers who caught the mistake.