Sean Michael Ragan, Maker


Cool Tools Show 46: Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan is a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. His work has also appeared in ReadyMade, Popular Science, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the co-founder of Foundry.net, a company that helps hardware entrepreneurs design, build, and sell products by connecting them to the tools and services they need to mass-produce goods and grow companies.

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Show Notes:
Rockler Silicone Glue Brush, $5
“The cool thing about it is you can use it for glue or use it for paint or use it for pretty much anything water-based and some oil-based things. Then when you’re done, you don’t have to clean it and you don’t have to throw it away. You can simply peel the dried blob of whatever out of the bristles and throw that away because it’s a miracle silicone polymer, almost nothing sticks to it. It’s priced like a disposable brush, but you can use it over and over and over again.”


Gilmour 528T Solid Brass Twist Nozzle, $11
“This is one of those things you appreciate because it just works. It just works. It can become an heirloom, you spend nine bucks on it today, and your grandchildren might be using it in a hundred years … This one I love because it’s simple, it’s made of tools that will stand up forever. They will never corrode. They will never degrade under ultraviolet light.”


“The thing is called Easydriver and ultimately, it’s just a ratcheting screwdriver and especially nowadays, there are lots of ratcheting screwdrivers in the world. I don’t even know if the Easydriver was the first but I’ve always loved it because I noticed that in my dad’s toolbox when I was seven or eight … It has such a great visual appeal. It works so well. It’s worked for so long. The one that I have, that’s an heirloom from my dad that I feel like my attachment to this tool is a little different for me. I’m sure it’s inexpensive and it works, but as a design object, I think it’s really just a triumph of modernism and product design.”


Dymo Metal Embossing Tapewriter
“You can still go to the school supply aisle at your local grocery store and get a cheap plastic descendant of this tool by Dymo which takes the role of plastic embossing tape that has adhesive on the back. This is the industrial grandfather of that tool. None of the parts of this tool are made of plastic. They’re all cast aluminum or steel and it doesn’t print on adhesive back plastic. It prints on a strip of aluminum that will last forever pretty much regardless of conditions as long as it’s not submerged in very strong acid. It’s never going to go away.”


Pop Rivet Gun, $13
“A pop riveter is also called the blind riveter. It takes a very inexpensive aluminum rivet that includes a post with a ball on the end and instead of smashing the rivet against an anvil on the backside, what the tool does is it pulls that ball through the rivet so that [the buck end of the rivet] is compressed against the backside of the work. The point of all that is you don’t have to have access to the backside of whatever you’re riveting in order to use a pop riveter, hence blind rivet is the other name for them.”


Additional Note from Editor:

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“I really recommend that everyone check out Sean’s site at smragan.com, so many good things. [He has] really good aesthetic sensibility, a combination of art and DIY, all those kinds of projects and stuff.” – Mark

-- Mark Frauenfelder 02/24/16

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