Grant Thompson, The King of Random


Cool Tools Show 120: Grant Thompson

Our guest this week is Grant Thompson. Grant was an airline pilot when he started posting videos of his crazy science experiments and DIY projects. His channel became wildly popular for making science fun, and he’s become home to nearly 10 million subscribers. He’s been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, Discovery Channel, and Jimmy Fallon. As “The King of Random,” Grant’s mission has been to share the joy of experimenting and hands-on learning. Through constant experimenting and undying persistence, he’s become one of the most-subscribed YouTubers in the world.

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Show notes:

DeWALT 20v max XR Drill Driver ($112)
“My Number One tool that I love the most is a DeWalt drill driver. I got a 20-volt MAX XR. I don’t know why I chose that. I just went to Home Depot and tested a few, and I really liked that one, the way that it fit in my hand. It’s got a lot of torque, a lot of power, some really cool settings so you don’t strip out the screw if you don’t want to. Probably like most drill drivers, honestly. They’re probably all the same. But the reason I like the drill driver the most is because it’s so versatile. … I used to do a lot of handyman work. I used to build properties, and I do everything from framing to electrical and everything between. … and then to have that much power just right at your trigger finger is a really satisfying feeling. I was just using it this morning assembling some new office furniture.”

Hack Saw ($6)
“The thing about a hacksaw, again, it’s just versatile. You can use it to cut wood, you can use it to cut metal. You can basically cut anything. I cut PVC pipe with it all the time. I put a hacksaw on the list just because so many of the projects that I do involve cutting things, and hacksaw will just cut basically anything. And it’s not so much about the hacksaw that you have, it’s more about the blade that you have, and they do come in different blades. Some were made for metal. They have different teeth per inch. I honestly don’t worry about that too much. I just get the one that’s kind of in the middle. I don’t know what that is, like 25 teeth per inch, somewhere around there. And I just find myself using it all the time. We went through a series of metal casting projects where we were melting down pop cans and making our own tools in the backyard, and having a hacksaw was just really handy to have to clean that up. I’ve since upgraded that to a reciprocal saw, which is basically like a hacksaw on steroids.”

Electrical tape
“Electrical tape is a staple. It’s like you need bread and rice to survive, you need electrical tape in your workshop to survive. You know how MacGyver’s always associated with duct tape ’cause he could do anything with duct tape, and I feel like I’ve tried using duct tape — it has its place — but there’s nothing that I use more often than electrical tape. I use it for decorating. If I make nunchucks or blowguns, I can use it for decoration on the outside. I use it for patching things together. I’ve had a vacuum pump that was falling apart, and I used electrical tape to tie that back together. And the reason I love the electrical tape is because it’s got that stretchy vinyl quality to it. If you stretch it a little bit harder, it kind of pulls back on itself, so you get a little bit of elastic property, which duct tape just doesn’t have.”

MacBook Pro
“Yeah, the MacBook Pro. That’s actually what I’m talking to you on right now. You know, in the video editing world, when I was starting to get into YouTube I was asking around, “PC, Mac?” Everybody had different opinions. I was always a PC guy, but I decided to pull the trigger and go to a Mac, and it’s worked really well for me. Now, I guess a couple years ago I got this MacBook Pro, and the reason I love it is because it’s got amazing processing power — it’s even better than my desktop computer — and traveling around the country I can take it with me anywhere, I can work anywhere, and turning my projects into digital that I can share on the internet wouldn’t be possible without a computer. I would say if you’re gonna have a computer, something’s that portable, you can take with you is a great way to go. This MacBook Pro has served me well. I love it. I got a little bit the older model, so I don’t have to get the dongle to plug everything into. It’s still got all the ports and the jacks, and I personally prefer that. And it’s running like a charm. So, really happy with my 2014 MacBook Pro.”

Also mentioned:

The E-Myth


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