Bob Clagett, Maker


Cool Tools Show 119: Bob Clagett

Our guest this week is Bob Clagett. Bob loves making stuff. He loves showing other people how he works to hopefully inspire them and empower them to make whatever is that they’re passionate about.

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Show notes:

AirTable + IFTTT
“So Airtable is, like it was mentioned before, it’s kind of an online spreadsheet. And that’s one way that people use it. But the thing that makes it different for me and the way that I use it is more of a relational database. I come from a software background, so when you’re programming you often have a database of tables, and those tables need to relate to each other. … The way that I use that in my business is I have what looks like a spreadsheet that is my project schedule, and then I have a separate one that is project ideas that I come up with all the time and I just dump into this big list, and I use IFTTT for that. … IFTTT is about taking multiple online services of all different types and connecting them together. So if something happens on one, it can cause something to happen on another. And I use that with Airtable. The IFTTT app, I’ve got a little thing set up where I can open an app on my phone that’s just a text field and a button, and that’s all it is. And if I type in a project idea, and I hit that button, it disappears. It’s gone. But in the background it’s sending that to Airtable. It’s putting in my list of project ideas, and it just keeps it there, and then I don’t have to remember it anymore, but I also don’t lose it.”

Nest Hello
“The Hello is a doorbell, which seems, for the price it sounds so unrealistic to actually get, because it’s several hundred dollars. But it’s an HD camera built into a tiny little doorbell, and it’s the same technology that they have in their security cameras … It’s small and kind of modern-looking and it hooks right up to the normal hookup for a doorbell. So you don’t have to really do anything special to get this in to place. And it’s got some really cool features. It’s very new, so I think some of the features that will be the coolest have yet to be added. But when you get it hooked up and someone walks up to your door, you get a notification on your phone or device or whatever that shows you video of the person who’s walked up to the door. And you can press a button onscreen, and you can talk to them remotely through the doorbell. It’s got some kind of canned responses that you can just press a button and this voice will say, “Just leave the package by the door,” there’s a few things like that. But one of the coolest things, I think, about it is that they’ve got some facial recognition stuff built in to it. So once it starts to take pictures, it gets this video of the people that come up to your door, and it keeps a log of all these pictures of the people.”

ISOtunes Bluetooth Headphones
“They have basically the same features as far as listening that every other headphone in the world. But they have an interesting phone insert on them that you roll it up and you kind of heat it with your finger, between your thumb and your finger, and it squishes it down. And then when you put it in your ear it expands and completely fills the ear canal. So it cuts out basically all the noise that can come in. And the guy that works with me is maybe 10 feet from me right now, and I’ve yelled at the top of my voice his name to try to get his attention with these things in, and it completely blocks it out. But one of the things that I think is even color about them is that they have a, I can’t remember exactly what they call it, but it’s like a consistent noise level suppression. So if there’s a noise in the background, like if you had a saw running that was kind of the same noise the whole time or like a lawn mower or something, it can actively cut that sound out. So you can take a phone call while you’re on a riding lawn mower, and the person on the other end doesn’t really even know that there’s a mower running. They just hear when your voice spikes and things like that. That’s the part that they hear. And I have not heard of any other Bluetooth headphone that does that.”

Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer
“I’ve had several different 3D printers. I use them a lot for my projects. And I’m in a position where a lot of companies will send me things, and I get to try out really expensive things that I wouldn’t ever justified buying myself. But I have a lot of people who ask me about a good first printer. And I think the problem with that question is a lot of people are looking for a good first cheap printer. And what you actually want is a good printer, not a cheap printer, because cheap printers that don’t work very well are gonna make you hate 3D printing and think that it doesn’t work. And so when I’ve looked at a bunch of different ones from the perspective of cost and functionality and tried to find something in the middle, and I got the Prusa I3 Mark 2 a couple of years ago when it came out, and it was fantastic. It was like $699 for a printer that worked almost perfectly every single time right out of the box. You didn’t have to do anything to it, and it was a great printer, I was really happy with it. And then they announced this Mark 3, which is an upgraded version of the same thing. But they added all these features that just make it awesome. It’s now one of my favorite printers just because of its features. And then when you look at the price compared to a lot of other printers, it’s very, very reasonably priced for what you’re getting out of it. … It’s got a panic thing built in to it. So if it loses power, it has a little bit of a battery or capacitor in it somewhere that if it senses power dropping it will write the state of the print to some sort of a memory. And then when power is reapplied it’ll ask you, “Do you want to continue to print?” And you hit yes, and then it re-homes the print head, just goes over to the corner, and then comes right back and starts printing. It’s amazing. I’m sure there are other printers that do that, but I’ve never seen one, and it works great.”

Also mentioned:

Making Time by Bob Clagett

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