Essential tool for spoon whittlers

I got this Morakniv hook knife ($25, Amazon) last week so over the weekend I tried it out by making a couple of small spoons. The hook shape makes it easy to whittle out the concave part of the spoon, which is almost impossible to do with a regular knife.

Whittling spoons is fun, and they make nice gifts. I give most of mine away and people remark, years later, that they still use and like them. If you are just getting started - I have two book recommendations: Heirloom Wood: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards, and other Homewares, and The Artful Wooden Spoon: How to Make Exquisite Keepsakes for the Kitchen. Read the rest

Twisty Vase, meet Useless Machine

What's better than a Useless Machine? One that is built on a clever, threaded "twisty vase" whose lid twirls open and shut! Read the rest

How to make a humane wooden squirrel trap

Chris Notap made a humane wooden squirrel trap that slams a door shut when a squirrel goes to the back of the trap to retrieve a peanut. He put a camera inside the trap so you can see it action. Read the rest

Maker Update: plastic center finder

This week on Cool Tools' Maker Update by Donald Bell: Bluetooth controlled lights for your skateboard, tracking your hamster health, a classy Kaleidoscope, a tool for finding the center of a circle, beautiful circuit diagrams and Maker Faires. Our featured Cool Tool is the Robert Larson 800-2875 Plastic Center Finder.

I learned about this tool from maker Ben Light, who uses it to drill out the center in the tin can robots he builds. Online, I see a lot of videos of jewelry designers using these. Woodworkers use them on finding centers on dowels or centering up work to chuck into a lathe.

They also work for finding the center of squares. Using the side with the 90-degree angle you can mark out the center of a square. This is especially useful on smaller material (like small tiles where a speed square isn’t as helpful.

The smaller, 60-degree angle on one side of the tool is intended for use finding the center of hexagon shaped material. I've yet to come across any hexagons I need centered, but I can imagine it being useful around a geodesic dome build.

I also have to just say that this is one of those tools that I simply find aesthetically satisfying. I probably only break it out every couple months, but every time it catches my eye it makes me smile.

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This high power lighted magnifying glass is only $2

My daughter and I set up our home maker space this weekend. On thing we did was organize loose components: capacitors, integrated circuits, diodes, resistors. The markings on some of the components (like the tiny capacitors) are so small that I can't even see them, let alone make them out. This little battery powered illuminated magnifier was just what I needed. It made the markings easy to read. It's only $2 on Amazon with free shipping. If you buy one, you will use it.

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Chess set made from car parts

It started when an anonymous Imgur user found an "old Integra cylinder head laying around the shop, collecting dust," which they "dis-assembled and decided to put it to use again." Read the rest

A beer cooler that follows you around

This week on Cool Tools' Maker Update: Kitty Grabs Gold, a beer cooler that follows you, the Circuit Playground Express, Adafruit and Microsoft, Other Machine Co. and Bre Pettis, Tinkercad Lego export, a great kit for gadget and toy hacking, and Maker Faires. Our featured Cool Tool is the iFixit Electronics Tool Kit.

Check out the show notes. Read the rest

Man invents chopstick-making kit for home use

The Chopstick Master costs $195. It makes perfectly tapered chopsticks and puts a diamond-shaped finial on the end. It includes a bottle of "food grade chopstick oil."

Rain Noe of Core 77 says: "If that sounds pricey to you, consider that if you brought it to any kind of fair or festival and set up a make-your-own-chopsticks booth at $10 a pop, I bet you'd pay the thing off in a single day easy." Read the rest

Mocking the $2,145 "couture Ikea bag" with awesome Ikea bag hacks

Balenciaga sells a $2,145 leather bag that looks exactly like a cheap, big, blue plastic Ikea Frakta bag. Read the rest

How to make a skateboard that squirts liquid fire

This week on Donald Bell's Maker Update -- a skateboard that shoots fire, design concepts from Hackaday prize, a dirt-cheap telepresence robot, cardboard rivets, a microcontroller guide from MAKE, a (canvas military tool bag), and Maker Faire Bay Area, the biggest show and tell on Earth.

Extended show notes and transcript are here.

By the way, if you're coming to Maker Faire this weekend, I'll be on a panel with Donald, April Wilkerson, and John Edgar Park, moderated by Gareth Branwyn. I'm also giving a talk about making a 1-string guitar in 15 minutes. I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Maker Update #33

This week on Maker Update: a giant mechanical iris, a lightsaber, remote control Arduino, a micro torch, python boxes, Google HATs, Processing Spirographs, and Maker Faires. See expanded show notes here. Read the rest

Make a quick, cool crystal ball out of a smartphone and a goldfish bowl

Get your phone to loop Madame Leota (or your favorite spooky fortune teller), stick it in a goldfish bowl with strategic black cloth covering everything except the video, and plonk the whole thing on a candle-holder: viola! (via Gameraboy) Read the rest

Arduino clone on sale for $8.68

Grab this Elegoo UNO R3 Board while you can for $8.68 on Amazon. If you don't have jumper wires, LEDs, buttons, resistors, etc. you can buy a bunch of goodies for $7.86. Read the rest

Adam Savage's Maker Tour: Albert and Tina Small Center For Collaborative Design

Adam Savage is on a tour of maker spaces around the country. He visited the Tulane School of Architecture's Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, where students are assigned real-world projects. He went to a local homeless shelter "to learn about one of the center's recent builds: an outdoor space that the class conceived, designed and built in just 16 weeks!" Read the rest

Control devices wirelessly up to 2 kilometers away with this DIY project

My friend, John Edgar Park, has a video about low-bandwidth, long-range packet radio signals, which he uses to make a remote effects trigger box. Really cool! Read the rest

Excellent vintage portable TV turned into retro gaming system

FinnAndersen spotted this wonderful vintage portable TV in a dumpster. He gutted most of it and outfitted the shell with a new screen and Raspberry Pi 3 to run RetroPie. Demo video below.

"It can emulate everything up to and including N64/PS1/Dreamcast, with a built-in wireless XBOX controller receiver for multiplayer parties!, he writes. "It also has a digital tuner inside to watch actual television, using the original knob for channel switching."

I'd love to do this to a JVC Videosphere!

"I turned an old portable TV into a dedicated retro gaming system!" (Imgur)

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Chess with wireless, glowing nixie tubes

Lasermad's Nixie Chessboards take 8-10 weeks to hand build, during which time each of the chess pieces is painstakingly built around a vintage nixie tube scavenged from the world's dwindling supply, and the board is prepared with the wireless induction coils that power the pieces when they're set on the board, lighting them up. (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

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