Gareth's Tips

Edge Gluing Tip

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #91

This is going to be a somewhat brief newsletter. Still in the throes of moving and have little time, but I wanted to get something out.

The final installment of the block mold skill set is postponed again. Thanks for your patience.

Edge Gluing Tip

Smear the glue over the edge, not down along it.

Smear the glue over the edge, not down along it.

North of the Border is a YouTube channel where crafter Adam makes really clever book nooks (little dioramas that go on bookshelves). During this Mines of Moria infinity mirror episode, he shares a great tip. When gluing two pieces of material together (especially something you want to keep clean and glue-free, like mirror glass), don’t apply the glue all the way to where the two pieces will join or smear the glue down along edge (as it will accumulate as you go). Apply a thin bead of glue along the edge and then smear it out and over the over the edge. This way, when you join the two pieces, there will be no glue squeeze-out along the seam of the join. (See the video if this to too confusing).

The Virtues of Vacuum Forming

Mattel Vac-u-Form toy flashbacks.

Mattel Vac-u-Form toy flashbacks.

In this Tested Tools videoAdam Savage talks about the utility and wonders of having a vacuum forming machine in your shop. In specific, he talks about a 5″ x 5″ budget dental vacuum former which you can get for around $150 online. This device is perfect for scale modelers, terrain and prop makers, prototypers, and anyone who wants to reproduce small plastic parts.

Upping Your YouTube Game

In this nearly 30-minute video, YouTuber Zach Fredman shares a lot of really great tips on how to improve your own video content. All online content creators should watch this.

Packing Box Tip

See what's inside from all 4 sides.

See what’s inside from all 4 sides.

Moving. It’s something most of us hate doing. So many boxes to pack, move, and then unpack. You can makes things go a little smoother with a few simple improvements. Using uniform, reasonably-sized boxes, such as banker boxes, can help in easier moving and efficient stacking. And clear and smart labeling. Often, people write on the box lid, but the lids can get mixed up, or they write directly on the box (and cross out and write over the labels for a subsequent move or other reuse). I find the best way is to use two 3×5 cards per box, folded over the two opposing edges of the box. This way, a box label is visible regardless of how the boxes get stacked. The cards can then be removed or new cards taped over the old ones for future moves or other uses.

Yard Sales: Arrive at the End
Everyone knows the yard sale wisdom of getting there at the very beginning of the day to snag the prime pickins. But showing up at the very end of the day has its rewards, too. Most people don’t want to haul everything back into the house, so they’re in the mood to sell super cheap or just give stuff away. We had a yard sale last weekend and after it closed, people were still coming. We didn’t want to deal with any of it (we were so exhausted), so we just told people to take whatever they wanted.

Shop Talk

Dummy Centaur rocket tank wired by newsletter reader Dave Porter.

Dummy Centaur rocket tank wired by newsletter reader Dave Porter.

Mistakes were made [my mistake, not Fran’s]. Dave Porter writes:

Thanks for the piece on WD-40. Just a correction, it was used on the Atlas rocket program (not Titan). I was a rocket technician at General Dynamics Space Systems division in the 80s and we heard about WD-40, though I don’t remember ever using it. Atlas was a General Dynamics rocket, Titan was not. GD also built an upper stage rocket called Centaur that was often paired with Atlas, and also with Titan.

The part about the tanks being balloons is what really blew my mind when I started working there. When we were testing tanks we had to have a 24-hour watch on them to make sure the pressure never fell or they would collapse. Also, when working around them every tool we used had to have a tether on it because one little ding in the tank from a dropped tool could be a disaster.

I included a photo of a dummy Centaur rocket tank that I wired with strain gauges and thermocouples for a stage separation test. The white blocks on the tank are where the rocket motors would attach.

When I worked there, it was at a short-lived commercial division of the company that sold launches.


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

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