Gareth's Tips

The Maker’s Muse

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #39

Got a tip to share? Tools to recommend? Shop tales to tell? Talk to me.

 

The Maker’s Muse

Cable wrapping with zip-ties, via @circuitmix on Instagram

Cable wrapping with zip-ties, via @circuitmix on Instagram

Stenciling on Corrugations

Let those corrugations get up close and personal

Let those corrugations get up close and personal

In a recent episode of Black Magic Craft, Jeremy builds a very cool cyberpunk diorama. In the video (at 12:42 ), he shares a nifty tip for anyone who paints stencils onto corrugated surfaces. To create some techie-Asian-looking graffiti, Jeremy cut out his stencil on the back (non-corrugated side) of a scrap piece of the same corrugated material he wanted to paint on. By mating the two corrugated sides (stencil and paint surface) you can spray your stencil with it tight against the paint surface to minimize overspray.

Sean Ragan on Nibblers

It ain't fast, but it works.

It ain’t fast, but it works.

In this Cool Tool video, Sean Ragan shows a few of the ways that most any maker can benefit from owning a nibbler tool. I actually don’t have one and have wanted to get one for years. I’m planning on buying the $13 model that Sean links to in the video’s description.

Open Source COVID-19 Medical Hardware FB Group
I’ve always felt as though the maker movement and open source hardware could do a world of good in addressing pressing global and local issues. Attention makers: That moment has arrived. For those who think they can offer their talents in developing solutions to medical hardware problems, there’s a new Facebook group, called Open Source COVID-19 Medical Hardware. It’s very inspiring to see people roll up their sleeves and pool their expertise in groups like this. Many more groups, dealing with logistics, software, data analysis, and more are rapidly popping up. Grab a bucket, folks. We’re going to be at this for a while.

Jewelry Clamps

Look to jeweler's tools for use in other types of close up, small-scale making.

Look to jeweler’s tools for use in other types of close up, small-scale making.

In this Adam Savage Favorite Tools video, he recommends looking at jewelry maker’s tools for things like clamps for small objects. In the video, he looks at a ring clamp, a hand vise, and an engraving ball clamp. I would also add to that a bench pin. This is a V-shaped protrusion that juts out from the edge of your workbench, allowing you to access angles on small workpieces that you can’t otherwise. Here’s a combo ring clamp and bench pin for under $19.

Learn to Solder

It's really this easy.

It’s really this easy.

At Make:, we used to tell people that two of the most essential maker skills are soldering and sewing. So many people are intimidated by soldering, but they shouldn’t be. This graphic, from Circuitmix on Instagram, pretty much tells you everything you need to know. This, a decent, hot iron, and some practice, and you’re good to go. If you need more guidance, there are tons of tutorials and videos online. Now, while we’re all shut-ins, is a great time to break down and acquire these skills if you don’t already have them.

Shop Talk: Homely Tools

My "homely tools" cart in my shop: toothpicks, safety pins, cotton swabs, binder clips, corks, bottle caps, and more.

My “homely tools” cart in my shop: toothpicks, safety pins, cotton swabs, binder clips, corks, bottle caps, and more.

I am a big fan of what I call “homely tools.” These are tools that are so plain, so pervasive, that we don’t even think about them when we talk tools – but they remain central to our making. These are things like toothpicks, safety pins, markers, basic house tools (slotted screwdriver, kitchen-drawer hammer), etc. What are some of your favorite homely tools? Please tell me a story about them. Send pictures.

03/26/20

(Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here. — editors)