Windell Oskay, Co-Founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Windell Oskay – Cool Tools Show #33

Windell Oskay is the co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, a Silicon Valley company that has designed and produced specialized electronics and robotics kits since 2007. Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories also runs a popular DIY project blog, and many of its projects have been featured at science and art museums and in Make, Wired, and Popular Science magazines. He’s the oo-author of the recently published book, The Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory.

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Show Notes:

Rotring 600 Mechanical Pencil $24

“The Rotring 600 is a beautiful instrument. It has a hexagonal body that’s a lot like the size and shape of a traditionally yellow pencil, except it’s made of nice heavy brass. The part where you actually hold it has a cylindrical, thoroughly knurled grip, also made of brass. They come in either brushed nickel or black painted.”

Aluminum Brazing Rods $30

“You heat up your metal and then you wait until the brazing rod melts as it touches the surfaces. It starts to wet to the surface. Then you can just bond your metals together. It works on aluminum, magnesium, galvanized steel, brass, and copper. It’s shockingly easy and strong for what it does. It’s sort of like a low budget welding technique for people who don’t do a lot of welding.”


Woodpecker’s Page of One-time Run Tools

“Woodpecker’s makes some unbelievably beautiful machined jigs for doing woodworking operations. I have a ruler from them, and it’s just a 12 inch ruler. It’s made of quarter inch thick aluminum machined on every side, and laser engraved. In a sense it’s absolutely overkill, but on the other hand it’s just the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever called a ruler.”

RoboGrip Pliers $31

“I’ve been using these, I’ve got several sets of them. Some of these 20 years old, and as far as I can tell they’re completely indestructible. Just a joy to have. Frequently somebody is asking, “Where’s the Robo Grips, because we need them.”

Metcal MX-500 Soldering Iron $832

“The Metcals are the legendary great soldering irons. They work on a really interesting principle that regulates the temperature at the tip, not by using a thermostat but actually by using radio frequency power that is sent down to the tip.”

The Three Fives Kit: A Discrete 555 Timer $35

“The 555 has just 26 transistors in it and a bunch of resistors, and you solder them together and you make this thing that’s a working 555 chip. It’s kind of amazing to not have one as a black box, but something that somebody can actually go in and measure what’s going on inside of it.”

The XL741 Discrete Op-Amp Kit $35

“The other is the 741, which is the classic op amp. That is still the classic building block of all analog circuit designs.”

-- Mark Frauenfelder 08/2/15

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