Gareth's Tips

Put the Dang Tools Back Where They Belong!

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #102

If you have tips, tool recommendations, favorite maker jargon/slang, or feedback, please share with me.


Put the Dang Tools Back Where They Belong!
Recently, in moving into and setting up our new house, I’ve gone for a driver or a drill bit several times and the exact one I need is missing from the index. This happens to me far too often. So, instead of doing the job at hand, you end up having to go on a holy grail-like quest through your house and shop in search of the missing tool. There’s a reason why people often outline the tools on their workbench pegboard, to visually remind themselves that a tool is not where it’s supposed to be. Too often, in the heat of a project (or its cyclonic aftermath), we don’t want to take the time to do a thorough clean up and re-org. And so we pay for that during the next project when we don’t find things where they belong. So, be kind to future you (as Adam Savage puts it) and PUT THE DANG TOOLS BACK!

Matching Any Color
Via Kevin Kelly and Recomendo comes this tip:
“Mixing a specific color by hand — I want to make this particular shade of green starting from primary colors — is a super skill that artists acquire and is much harder than it looks. I watched many YouTube tutorials to learn how to do this with paints and this one by Draw Mix Paint was the best method for me. It’s still more art than science.”

Ten 3DP Tips from a Seasoned Maker
On Alexandre Chappel YouTube channel, he offers up ten top 3D printing tips. His advice includes:
* Upgrade to a .06mm nozzle.
* Increase perimeter (wall thickness) over infill to improve part strength and reduce print time.
* Don’t get distracted by all the fancy filaments out there – most everything you print can be done with PLA.
* Use glue stick for better bed adhesion.
* If you have a large or complicated part, print out a small section of it to test fit and function before committing to a full print.
* You don’t have to 3DP everything. Create hybrid objects with 3D parts and conventional hardware (bolts, screws, threaded rods) – saves time and adds strength.
* When designing parts, avoid support structures as much as possible.
See more details and the rest of his list here. [H/t Kevin Kelly]

Which Hole Saws Are Best?
Todd of Project Farm did his usual admirably-thorough testing on a number of hole saw brands, from DeWalt, Irwin, Bosch, Milwaukee, Lenox, Morse, and others, testing 13 brands in all. He tested for material hardness, speed of cut, accuracy of cut, chip dispersal, and wear on the bit. Three different thickness/hardnesses of metal were drilled. In the end, the best performer was the MK Morse brand with carbide teeth. Proving that expensive doesn’t always mean best, the MK Morse only costs $8.45 (compared to other brands costing upwards of $40). Todd also found that the Milwaukee Dozer ($9.45) performed very well, as did the Irwin (at $8.42).

The Glue Donut
On the Infinite Craftsman’s Instagram account, Tom posted a fabulous little solution to a problem that lots of us have encountered. You’re holding something with one hand and you need to open the top of your carpenter’s glue with the other. The plastic nozzle is not conducive to such a move. So, Tom 3D printed a little ring that goes underneath the lip of the nozzle so that you can push the donut to push up the nozzle. I assume Tom will eventually have these for sale in his online store. He usually makes his clever shop solutions available as “small batch” products.

Etching Glass with a Transfer Mask
Laser-etching glass has a reputation for being difficult. According to Mike Clarke on his YouTube channel, it doesn’t have to be. The trick he says is using vinyl transfer mask (also known as transfer tape). You can get this online and at any vendor that sells sign-making supplies. You simply apply the mask to the glass where your image will be and let the laser etch through the tape. After etching, you use water to clean off the remaining tape. This process results in much finer details in the etch. See Mike’s video for full details.

Notable Quotables
“Making (in the physical sense) is about taking large chunks of material and making them smaller in precise ways.” -Jamie Hyneman

Mistakes Were Made
In the last issue, we identified Andreas Spiess as Swedish. He’s Swiss! Apologies, Andreas.

Shop Talk
On Cool Tools, reader Dom writes:
“The “Watch Your Step” tip reminds me of the story of Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr who used motion studies to reduce workers’ movements and fatigue. They’re the reason there’s a person who hands the surgeon things while they’re working.”


(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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