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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #45
Using a 3D-Printed Die to Bend Sheet Metal Parts
Shane from Stuff Made Here shared this promising little experiment in a YouTube vid. He needed a new blade guard for his cheap reciprocating saw. He wanted to know if he could fabricate one himself by pressing sheet metal into the somewhat involved profile of the part using 3D-printed dies. Overall, the results are pretty impressive. As Shane points out, if you needed to print out multiples of a complex sheet metal part, this might be a workable approach.
Cord Wrangling Best Practices
Someone on the Shop Hacks Facebook group was asking about how to get the kinks out heavy duty extension cords (lay them out in the sun on a hot day until they're warm and flexible and then coil them properly seems to be the consensus). This seemed like a good opportunity to remind GTTST readers that there is one surefire and superior way to wrangle cable: the over and under or "roadie wrap" method.
You Can Solder Stainless Steel to a PCB?
The ever-clever Ben Krasnow offered this nifty tip on Twitter: "You can solder stainless steel parts to a PCB (e.g. make a gas-tight rigid connection with a syringe) using aggressive ZnCl/HCl flux. Abrade the stainless with sandpaper or ScotchBrite, then flux. This is a must-clean flux."
Testing Knife Sharpeners
I love the depth and scientific rigor that Todd of Project Farm brings to his comparative review. In this video, he looks at knife sharpening technology and wonders how a $900 Wicked Edge sharpener will compare with a range of other sharpeners, all the way down to a super-basic $9 model. Conclusion: The Wicked Edge is superior, but not by much. The $67 Lansky got pretty close, as did a good ol' whetsone.
Maker Sartorial: Shop Aprons
In response to my Maker Sartorial call, reader Keith Monaghan writes: "I swear by this heavy duty waxed canvas work apron from Hudson Durable Goods. It's comfortable, tough as nails, and perfect to throw on when you don't want to change out of your nicer clothes to work on something. I've beat mine up for over three years and it's still as good as new. "
Homely tool: Reader Salsaman writes: The bench-top garbage can you didn't know you needed! An empty 4oz Rumford Baking Powder can. Use it for clipped leads and wire bits, stripped-off insulation, solder blobs, and other small workbench fluff and cruft. It's metal (metalized?) and short so it won't burn or tip over. The top surface has a flat part with a straight edge that's handy for knocking your soldering iron on without tipping the can. It has a tight-fitting lid that fits on the bottom to prevent sliding. It's surprisingly handy."
Reader Astro Jetson, responding to Jamie Hyneman's Don't Touch! toolkit: "One thing I have that he doesn't is a pair of sheet metal vise grips. These things are perfect for those few times where you need to bend metal. Rather than moving 1/4" of material at a time, you can bend up to 3" at a time. [Ed: You can get them with up to a 10" jaw, maybe even higher.]