Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue #160
Weekly-ish access to tools, techniques, and shop tales from the worlds of DIY
– Send me a tip or tool recommendation.
–Tell me a shop tale.
–Advertise your product, service, newsletter, app, book, tool, or anything you’d like to share with GT&T readers.
Protecting Electronics Projects from Water and Dust
Protecting electronics projects that are exposed to the elements from moisture and dust can be a real challenge. In this article on Digi-Key, they look at enclosures, wire pass-throughs, water- and dust-repelling coatings, and other things you can do to protect your projects. [Via Maker Update]
Making Paper and Ink Out of Leaves?
I had no idea you could make usable ink out of leaves, but according to this Cory Morrison video, you can. And it looks like decent ink, too.
In another video, Cory makes some gorgeous paper out of leaves.
See the Results of a 9-Month Bungee Cord UV Exposure Test
Bungee cords are something probably all of us will use at one point or another. And it is technology that you need to rely on to hold things fast and secure when you do. So, knowing which cords are effective at that job and which aren't is important.
Todd at Project Farm tested 14 different bungee cord brands by leaving them stretched out in direct sunlight for 9 months, exposing them to UV degradation. The results are kind of shocking. Almost all of the cords badly degraded. The bungee cord and rubber tarp straps tested were SmartStraps, HyperTough, Harbor Freight Haul-Master, Stalwart, Cartman, Horusdy, RhinoUSA, HDX, Sgt Knots, Nite Ize, xstrap, Husky, Amazing Straps, Keeper. Tests on the cords included tensile strength, at 6, 12, 18, and 24 inches of stretch, before and after UV exposure.
In the end, the rubber Amazing Straps ($3 at time of testing) held up the best. Todd was also impressed with the performance of the Sgt Knots bungees ($4 at time of testing) and the Home Depot-brand HDX cords.
Finding Hidden Gems on AliExpress
I love this series on GreatScott! where he looks for cool, useful, cheap products (and ones to avoid) on AliExpress (the online electronics marketplace based in China). In this episode, Scott looks at a nifty facial recognition module, a small hotplate for surface mount reflow, a "rosin dispenser" (which I don't think is really supposed to be used as shown), magnetic USB cables, a buck-boost voltage converter, and a voice synthesis module. In the end, he recommends the facial recognition module, the hotplate, and the buck-boost converter. As always, Scott tests out all of the products to get real data on their performance. See his other AliExpress Hidden Gems videos for more recommended products.
Venting a Funnel
Family Handyman magazine features a lot of tips like this that might look good to the average maker-curious person reading a magazine on the john, but I wonder how practical or often-used such tips actually are. For funnels that do not have channels or vents, they recommend using a straw to overcome vapor lock. Have you ever tried this? Many funnels have venting channels, grooves, or other features designed to aid flow, like this. Hopkins FloTool 10718WR funnel.
In response to our ongoing everyday carry (EDC) shop talk, Kent Barnes writes:
“I think I read this online somewhere: ‘Carry what you need, need what you carry.’”
Darren Kloomok wrote in to share this (literal) hack for when you can’t reach a piece of wood you would normally cut with a saw:
I have been doing extensive renovations on my 1937 era house, and inevitably, I find myself wanting to remove some wood to which I have absolutely no access for a saw of any kind. I have an oscillating tool, which offers better access than others, but was still unable to get to some of the places. And, I find it takes a lot of time to get through a 2x4, for example. What I finally resorted to, which saved me hours of contorting my body into impossible positions, is my (well-named) Diablo spade bit set Cutting overlapping circles through the piece, these things aggressively chew up wood. And the little guide screw on the tip really helps to grab the right position and pull the bit forward. I hope people might find this helpful. BTW: Love your blog.