Jake von Slatt, Hardware hacker


Cool Tools Show 129: Jake von Slatt

Our guest this week is Jake von Slatt. Jake von Slatt is someone that delights making things. Hours spent in the workshop are a meditation, an end unto themselves. This results in adventures that Jake has coined “toolchain journeys,” the most recent of which started with a desire to learn blacksmithing and lead to 3D printing a model to cast in aluminum to make a pulley to drive an alternator converted to a welder with a 1946 car engine to weld a pile of scrap steel into a serviceable anvil. The process is the thing.

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Show notes:

OLFA Heavy Duty Utility Knife ($11)
“This was a surprise to me as I’ve been using regular utility knives for years and I had no idea that these existed. I’ve seen snap-off knives but always thought of them as disposable because the quality of what you find the home center was so cheap. But Olfa’s come from the art world, you find them in art supply store and the especially great are great for cutting and any sort of foam.”

CamBam ($150)
“CamBam is software for creating toolpaths for CNC machines be they mills, routers, or plasma cutters. It’s a 2 ½ D CAD package and CAM too that focuses on machining and for someone new to CNC tools is the shortest path to having a part in your hand.”

The anvil or any big chunk of metal
“Any big chunk of metal, really. There is something about hitting something with a hammer that is backed up by a significant mass of steel that is so pleasurable. It’s surprising how little effort it take to accurately center punch, or flatten, or straighten something on an anvil. Just find the biggest junk of scrap iron you can lift and keep it on your workbench, you’ll be amazed how often you’ll use it.”

Black and Decker Portable Project Center ($88)
“This is the classic stamped steel one. My parent gave it to be about 35 years ago and I still use it today. It’s basically a folding table with a sort vise top. But it’s super rigid and has a step so you can hold it down with your foot and a host of other feature you won’t even notice until you need them and then you’ll think to yourself ‘Damn! That’s genius!’”

Also mentioned:

Youtube channel

Steampunk Workshop


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