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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.
Identify rocks instantly This stone ID app called Rock Identifier (Google Play, iOS) works fast in scanning and identifying rocks, minerals, and crystals. It’s got an extensive database so you can compare your stones to other images, as well as learn its chemical and physical properties, locality, uses, etc. I use it as an encyclopedia to learn more about how to identify minerals and how to tell real from fake crystals or gemstones. There’s a 7-day free trial, but for me it’s worth the $29.99 yearly subscription. — CD
Alternative worlds I have a thing for alternative history or counterfactual stories. You know, what if X did not happen when it did, what would the world be like? These narratives require the longest possible view because the author must be in command of both the past and the future to pull it off. They require uncommon sideways, or lateral thinking. A “Sideways Award” is awarded every year for the best counterfactual book or short story. This Wikipedia list of Sideways Awards is a great way to explore these alternative timelines. — KK
Musical history of rock This fantastic podcast, A History of Rock in 500 Songs, does what it says: it traces the history of rock music in 500 songs. Start with the first episode, which looks at 1939’s “Flying Home” by the Benny Goodman Sextet. The most recent episode, numbered 152, is about 1967’s “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. New episodes come out about once every two weeks. – MF
How to handle chronic over-talkers Writer and podcast producer Rose Eveleth has been interviewed on radio countless times, and she’s had to put up with interviewers who love to hear themselves talk and won’t let her speak. This article in Last Word on Nothing describes how she learned how to deal with chronic over-talkers. Her most important rule: “Start your sentence just before your partner has ended theirs. Do not wait for them to actually end their sentence. Do not let them pause and think ‘am I truly done?’ Because the answer is always no.” — MF
Popular products on Reddit Looria.com took all the most talked about “brand mentions” on Reddit — in posts and comments — and ran it through “sentiment analysis” to identify the emotional tone behind the mentions and determine what are the most popular products and then listed them by subreddit here. — CD
Large apple slicer We eat apples often enough that an apple slicer wins a spot in our kitchen. A good one will core and carve an apple into 8 to 12 slices in one swift motion. There are lots of brands, like OXO’s, that are good enough, but they can’t deal with the largest apples. The apple piecer you want is a Newness stainless steel one with a 4-inch diameter that is heavy duty enough to slice all apples (and pears and onions) forever. — KK