Gareth's Tips

Building a Motor on a PCB

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #96

In my ambitious quest to reach 4000 subscribers by my 100th issue, I need a lot of new subscribers. Can you do me a huge favor? Can you talk to just one of your fellow maker/DIY enthusiasts and get them to sign up and give the newsletter a try? If a bunch of you do this, we’ll reach that goal in no time. Thank you!


Coming next issue: The triumphant return of the Molding and Casting Skill Set series!

Building a Motor on a PCB
Last issue, I included Kevin Kelly’s project consideration flowchart which ends with the question: “Would anyone else ever do this?” (If Yes, then don’t do it). If ever there was an electronics engineer who works by a similar credo, it’s Carl Bugeja. Folding circuits, jumping circuits, holographic LEDs, transformer robots, and more, Carl has explored them all. In this recent video, he updates his PCB-based motor project.

Camping Cooler Improvements
In this Laura Kampf video, she looks at 3 things you can do to improve a large camping cooler: Use the outside, use the lid, and add shelves. There is a meta tip here that’s applicable to any storage situation: Always consider the full volume of the available space, or as an organizationally-obsessed friend used to put it: Work the cube!

Magnetizing Your Snips to Catch Metal Offcuts
James at Stumpy Nubs has started a new series of “Weekend Workshop Tips.” This is great news for tips nerds like myself ‘cause he is a constant source of great ideas. In this first episode, among 4 woodworking tips, he shares an idea that can apply to anyone who uses snips in the shop. You have undoubtedly experienced clipping off a brad or other metal piece and had that piece fly into the ether, never to be seen again. By placing a rare earth magnet in the jaws of your snips, that’s where the offcut will go.

Making Drill and Charger Station for the Small but Mighty
Well-known YouTube maker, Izzy Swan, has a new shopmate, Maggie. Izzy is 6’2″ and has designed his shop to accommodate his long reach. Maggie is… well… NOT 6’. They will need to make changes in the shop to accommodate her. In the first such project, they create a drill holder and charging station that has a hinged shelf that pulls down to access the charging units there. In the video, Izzy and Maggie use a Grabo tool, a cool vacuum device that allows both of them to more easily move sheet goods around the shop.

Using Desoldering Annoy on Hard-to-Desolder Parts

In this Collin’s Lab Notes, Adafruit’s Collin Cunningham offers an idea for dislodging a particularly stubborn component that you can’t seem to remove using standard desoldering. Desoldering alloy can be applied and then re-heated to remove the old solder and reluctant component.

Is It Safe to Listen to Music in the Workshop?
In this Stumpy Nubs video, Jim answers the question: Is it safe to listen to music in a shop amongst power tools and other dangers? His basic answer: As in most things in life, your mileage may vary. He offers an experiment: work for an hour doing something (non-dangerous) that requires full concentration while listening to an audio book. If, at the end of that hour, you can’t remember much of what you’ve heard, you may be OK listening to music or podcasts or other things you don’t mind backgrounding. I personally can only listen to non-lyrical, ambient music in the shop if concentration is required. Anything more engaging is too distracting and feels dangerous to me. Jim also points out that you can always wear wireless headphones that have a pause button and engage that when operating a power tool.

Maker’s Muse
Watch Chinese master carpenter, Granpa Amu, cut and carve a foldable Luban stool from a single piece of wood. [Via Laughing Squid]

Shop Talk
In response to my item on chalk spray makers for hole marking, Kurt G writes:

I use the FastCap markers myself, but if a hole is too deep, or I need greater precision, I would use a transfer punch. If I was away from my shop, I would get a dowel or bamboo cocktail stick, dip it into paint, and use that as an improvised deep hole marker. I really enjoy your newsletter!


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