Cool Tools Quick Fix Contest

When things break down it's not likely you'll have the tools needed to make a perfect fix. That's why for this week's contest we are looking for quick fixes. These aren't meant to be perfect, but rather stop-gaps that will let you get by until you have the resources needed for a longer term solution. We want you to send us your tools, tips, and accumulated know-how that allow for quick fixes when things break down. For this contest we have a special prize pack graciously contributed by Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, inventor of the quick-fix wonder-material Sugru. The winner of the Quick Fix Contest will receive three Smart Hacks Super Packs of Sugru, and a special Maker themed T-Shirt. Runner up will receive their own Sugru Super Pack. Be sure to check out Sugru's gallery of uses for inspiration.
sugru.jpeg There is no limit to how many tools, tips, and quick fixes you can submit, but remember to keep the following five parts in mind: 1) a succinct description of what the tool/tip/fix is, 2) how it changed your behavior, 3) why Cool Tools should run it, 4) why it is superior, and 5) why we should believe you. Submissions will be accepted until Wednesday, May 11th. This time the author of the most publishable tool/tip/fix will receive three Sugru Super Packs (or, if they'd like somethin else they can choose what they'd like from the Prize Pool). For inspiration, here are some previously reviewed Quick Fix Cool Tools: Gorilla Tape Shoe Goo Superglue Stitches Tongue Depressors Get fixing! -- Oliver Hulland, Editor, Cool Tools



  1. Quick fix for when you hear splashing inside the black^Wwhite box behind the toilet even though you shouldn’t be hearing such noises: kick against it.

    Disclaimers: Works only most of the time. Doesn’t fix the toilet permanently. Better use a shoe. Hitting the thing with your hand works as well if that’s easier. Kicking the toilet bowl may work as well. When using this technique on public toilets, may instill a sense of usefulness.

  2. My second thought was that people in need of fixes could post vexing problems that they’d hope to solve quickly.
    Hopefully, readers that solved that problem may use that suggestion to post.

    1. let me guess: you updated firefox in the last week or so?

      it zapped me, too. [shakes fist] “FIREFOOOOOOOX!”

      try a different browser.

    2. I just figured out what was messing me up:

      if you read this post about the HTTPS Everywhere add-on like I did and was like “sounds good, I’ll install that,” go ahead and delete or at least disable it and restart (FF will reopen all your tabs)

      that was what was blocking my captchas after updating to FF4. Hope that helps, assuming you actually had that add-on installed and actually read this reply :)

      now if I can only get these vimeo embeds to load…

  3. Captchas are one of my favorite Cool Tools – they help fix the problem of angry robots slingshotting pork products at your web site. They’re also a good idea for login pages.

    Unfortunately, they don’t always work, especially if you’ve got Javascript disabled for a site or the wrong cookies blocked or some problem with permissions for third-party content, and some of them distort images enough that humans have trouble reading the letters as well.

  4. 1. stapling falling hems. Or curtains you don’t feel like hemming.
    2. magic marker to fix bleach spots.
    OK, household hints really, but still helpful.

  5. The best, and greatest “quick fix” of all time, is the sticky stick tire repair kit. You know, those sticky gummy rust red sticks, and the metal poker thing; you push the sticky thing into the hole in the tire and it plugs it. All my tires have them plugging holes. When I get a flat I just plug it up and walk it to the nearest gas station (often a haul). Fill it up and I’m on my way. Otherwise, you have to put a donut tire on. Then later you have to get a new tire, which means you may as well get 4 new ones so they all match. The fix a flat saves you big time money. It even fixes big holes. I drove around with a bolt in my tire for 2 days and when the tire finally popped, I was ready. It’s also a great way to impress girls! ;)

  6. Zip ties. I have “fixed” shoes, car bumpers, tool handles, shelf supports, mounting brackets for pretty much everything. And they come in pretty colors. Usually the part fails again when the sharp edges of the tie eat through whatever was being repaired, but that can take a long time.

    The ties are also good for holding things together while you slather them with 5-minute epoxy.

  7. We had a PEX riser pipe to a sink break a fitting due to freezing. We folded the pipe over below the break and used electrical tape to make the fold secure and tight. The bathroom sink had no hot water, but the cold water worked OK, and we were able to have water everywhere else.

    Also too, beer cans and coat-hangers and a pair of pliers can kinda sorta fix exhaust pipe problems – at least soften the roar so as to not damage your ears until you can get to a muffler repair shop. Hose clamps work better, if you have some. I think electrical ties would melt pretty fast up near the exhaust manifold, but may work towards the back…

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