Michael Dubno, Co-founder of Gadgetoff


Cool Tools Show 137: Michael Dubno

Our guest this week is Michael Dubno. Michael is a former Wall Street CIO/CTO and a software developer. He’s an inventor, artist, welder, machinist, polar explorer, photographer, roboticist, tech entrepreneur, mentor, co-founder of Gadgetoff, co-chair of FIRST in New York City, and exaggerator of accomplishments, and a collector and user of tools.

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Show notes:

Tormach 440 CNC Mill
“I think that [this] would probably be one of the harder tools to lose, simply because just where my mindset is now is actually building fairly sophisticated structures and mechanisms and having a real CNC mill allows that to happen. … you can actually cut steel, cut it accurately, cut aluminum, cut it accurately, brass as well. And so, I did CNC conversions on an old Smithy three-in-one but it just didn’t have accuracy for building what I was building. … it’s not a cheap tool, and it’s certainly not a hand tool, and it’s not a tool for everyone, but when you make a lot of things, at a certain point, if you make the same part many times it’s obviously incredibly useful for that. And I have it rigged out with tool changers and power draw bars and a fourth axis and things like that, to make the weird things that I like to make.”

DEWALT SWAG Portaband Table
“So the Dewalt Portaband, I actually have a stand for it … There’s a company called Swag Tools that makes a very neat stand; in fact, almost everyone who’s seen this has gone out and bought the Swag stand and the Portaband saw. What it does is it takes a portable band saw and it turns it into a desktop type of band saw. … I happen to have a metal cutting band saw that is a horizontal one that’s sitting here from Jet, I happen to have another vertical one for cutting wood also from Jet and I tend to use the Portaband with it’s little base as my go-to for cutting metal, and it is phenomenal at doing that. You can just rip through a sheet of steel or aluminum pretty quickly. … And so then you also have the versatility of it being portable, and so I love it.”

Hypertherm Powermax30 Hand Plasma System
“It cuts through steel, truly as if it’s butter and if you’re not careful you cut through your welding table as if it didn’t exist. So that’s always impressive. And so it’s a good way to demonstrate tools to people; it’s not very dangerous. It is operating at extreme temperatures but as long as you’re not putting yourself below where it’s cutting, it’s really wanting to cut metal, not you. You tend to be fine. So I’ve used it in the past to cut out metal bits for a number of sculptures and I find it very handy. For fine work, I think you would need more of a plasma table that is more CNC but I found that for ripping through a sheet of steel, it’s as impressive as you can get.”

Hakko FR300-05/P Desoldering Tool
“One of the things that I never had until recently is an easy way to desolder and I’ve used the little solder sucking tubes and stuff like that, and they’re great, but suddenly when you can plug something into the wall that is basically a soldering iron with a pump built into it and you just go to the work and you go slurping the solder off, it is something where you wonder why you didn’t buy this whenever it first came out. Probably because I didn’t have the money at the time, but it’s still one of the most beautiful tools for doing electronics work I’ve ever played with.”

Also mentioned:

“I think the first tool, or collection of tools that I think you’d find interesting is my workshop which is only 300 feet from Central Park in Manhattan. And it’s not a normal place you’d find a workshop; in order to build it, I removed 250 thousand pounds of rock which was all solid bedrock from the foundation, which effectively doubled the size to about a thousand square foot workspace. And it’s in a private home in Manhattan. …. Jimmy DiResta’s obviously posted some tours of my workshop. So has a person named Giaco Whatever and he’s been a lot of fun to have over. So you can go and see some videos there.”

ClickSpring — amazing workmanship, tool building, and instructional videos.

Atelier Automatik — a website of some of the fun things that I make

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