Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #9
Even More Styrene Hacks
Last week, I featured some tips from my friend Bob Knetzger on working with styrene plastic. Here's another that that he shared:
Don’t forget about the thermoplastic properties of styrene. I made this fun Bug Boys PEZ for my daughter, Laura, on her birthday. I took an old Garfield PEZ dispenser, cut the ears off, then reshaped the round head a little on a disk sander. Because the PEZ dispensers are made of styrene, I could make up the added horn parts out of laminated sheets of styrene and just solvent-bond them onto the PEZ head (much stronger and durable than super glue). Before I bonded them, I scraped the needed radii as described above, then used a heat gun to soften the main horn so that I could bend it into the final curved shape. Came out great!
Bob's daughter is a talented cartoonist who has an adorable comic series called Bug Boys. Here's a review I did of her Bug Boys book a few years ago.
Ball Valve, On or Off?
On an Instagram Story, Jimmy DiResta offers this handy little reminder (while haunting the aisles of Home Depot): "For any ball valve that has a cut off, when the lever is in-line with the pipe, the valve is On. When the lever is perpendicular to the pipe, it is Off."
Why You Need a Stepped Drill Bit
On Real Tool Reviews, Daniel makes a compelling case for why every maker should have at least one stepped drill bit in his or her toolbox.
Cool Hardware: Programmable Air
Via Alex Glow comes word of this very promising CrowdSupply project by Amitabh Shrivastava. Programmable-Air is an Arduino-based board that allows you to control pneumatic projects. The board comes equipped with 2 pneumatic pumps, three pneumatic valves, and a pressure sensor. The deluxe version of the board (US$199) includes the Arduino Nano. Sans Nano, it's $175. The CrowdSupply page shows off some of the early projects done with the unique board.
Fill Hollow Prints with Plaster
A useful tip from Zac at Gimme Builds:
Here’s a trick I use when vacuum forming hollow prints. Fill them with plaster of Paris. It mixes up quickly and is hard enough to support by morning, if you let it sit overnight. It also gives them weight so that they don’t shift on the vacuum bed.
Life Hacks: Burger Meister
Here's a life-thing that you need to know about, especially before this weekend's cookouts. How often do you get a restaurant burger, or grill one yourself, and before you're finished horking it down, the soggy bun has lost the will to live and has disintegrated in your hands? Here's the fix for your fixins. Don't place the meat directly on the bun or the condiments on top of the lettuce. Place lettuce between the meat and the bun and between the condiments and the bun. No more soggy burger. Happy 4th of July!
Must-See Maker TV: Boulder Creek Railroad
I cannot get enough of Luke Towan's Boulder Creek Railroad channel. His skills as a modeler are unmatched and he has such a low-key, confident manner, he makes hyper-realistic train board modeling look easy and effortless (it isn't). The techniques he uses apply far beyond train layouts. Tabletop game modelers, dungeon crafters, diorama artists, movie F/X modelers, and others will find tons of inspiration here. Even if you have nothing to do with any of these crafts, you may find these videos as compelling as I do.