Boing Boing 

Illustrator is drawing every item in his late grandfather's tool shed

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Artist Lee John Phillips has begun to lovingly draw the over 100,000 items housed in his late grandfather's toolshed. He plans to catalog every single tool, part, gadget, and bit of hardware over the course of the next five years.

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I adore old tools and hardware, and I find that his illustration style is wonderful at capturing their essence. I'll be following along on his Instagram page, and would certainly purchase a print edition should he make one available (hint, hint).

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Artist Celebrates Late Grandfather by Drawing the 100,000+ Items in His Tool Shed (Thanks, Oh Soon!)

Interview with Alexander Rose, contestant on the ABC series Battlebots

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Alexander “Zander” Rose is the executive director of The Long Now Foundation, which was founded in 1996 to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution that fosters very-long-term planning. He was hired to build their clock that lasts 10,000 years. He’s also the founder of the Robot Fighting League, and a contestant on the ABC series Battlebots (airing Sunday nights). In this episode of the Cool Tools Show podcast, Andrew recommends several tools I've never heard of: Knipex Parallel Plier Wrenches, Gear Drive Case Ball End Hex Keys, Bafang Mid Drive eBike kit, Yuba Boda Boda Family Cargo Bike, Chinese High Power Bike Lights, Water Activated Resin Cast Material, and a Skin Stapler (for "people who are not good at suturing"). See the show notes here.

Image: Alexander Rose (r) and Reason Bradley (l) with Bronco.

Every tool box needs a pair of screw removal pliers

A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.

There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.

My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.

If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor.

20,000 "Curvy Lady" torso shaped screwdrivers for sale

driverFrom what I've heard, these "Curvy Lady" torso shaped screwdrivers were someone's bad idea, and now the person who ended up with them wants to unload all 20,000.

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Cheap set of jeweler's precision screwdrivers

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When I need to tighten my glasses, or put batteries in a children's toy, I can never find a tiny screwdriver. This $2 set is a steal!

With No.1 and 0 phillips heads, 3mm, 2.4mm, 1.8mm and 1.4mm flat head screwdrivers this kit has me covered. I actually ordered two, one I keep on my desk and the other in my tool bag.

If I make sure to put them back in the plastic case, I may not lose them.

Darice Precision Screwdriver Set via Amazon

The Kelvin 23 Multi Tool is the worst thing I've ever bought

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Marketed as packing twenty-three functions into one pocketable gadget, the Kelvin 23 is a screwdriver with 15 bits, a hammer, a level, an LED light, a tape measure, and a magnetic picker-upper.

When it arrived, I decided to use it to hammer a nail into drywall. The hammerhead broke off on the third strike.

Don't buy the Kelvin 23 Multi Tool.

Strong wall-mounted magnetic tool holder

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I keep frequently-used household tools on the powerful magnetic tool holder in the garage. It beats digging around for a screwdriver in a drawer or tool box. It's $19 on Amazon.

"Big T" measuring tape looks like Mr. T

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The Fisco "Big T" measuring tape resembles Mr T. "I pity the rule."

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Easy to use, camping and emergency fire starter

Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter

I am a huge fan of this Gerber survival series fire starter. It is cheap, rugged and easy to use.

After nearly 30 years of camping use, a block of magnesium I used as a fire starter wore away to nothing. They still sell the same tiny blocks of alloy, but I wanted to try something new. Maybe I felt in a rut. This Gerber Bear Grylls tool is a welcome replacement. Well sized to fit both my hands, the striker is easy to scrape down the rod and throw off some good sized, hot and long burning sparks. Snapping the two together results in an o-ring sealed tube with space for tinder. Gerber recommends jamming some cotton balls in there, I can fit 5 or 6 but also carry a few sticks of fat wood with me on every camping trip. Fat wood always works.

This is a simple, well thought out tool that easily fits in my backpack or sidebags on the bike. I'm looking forwards to decades of easy use.

Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter vis Amazon

$3.50 magnetic clip light beats a flashlight for many uses

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At $7 for two, this Magnetic Clip Light with 8 Super Bright White LEDs is a good deal. I used one over the weekend for illumination while I was repairing a Wii-U controller charger cord that one of our cats chewed through. (I also covered the cord with split-loom tubing to protect my cats and the cord from now on.)

It has a magnet in the clip so you can attach it to a metal surface, and it stands upright on a table (though it is easy to knock over because it has a high center of gravity). It uses 3 AAA batteries (not included).

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Multitool in a hair-clip


The $10 Monkey Business Clippa Mini Tools Clip is a hair-clip with a sawblade, trolley coin, wrench, phillips screwdriver, ruler, and eyeglass screwdriver.

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FedEx won't ship milling machine that makes untraceable guns

Defense Distributed sells a $1500 digital mill called the Ghost Gunner. Among other things, it can carve an aluminum AR-15 rifle body without a serial number. FedEx refuses to ship it.

“This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement. “We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated.”

But buying, selling, or using the Ghost Gunner isn’t illegal, nor is owning an AR-15 without a serial number, says Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and the author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “This is not that problematic,” he says. “Federal law does not prohibit individuals from making their own firearms at home, and that includes AR-15s.”

Schrade Key Chain Pry Tool: a half-ounce multitool

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I got the Schrade Key Chain Pry Tool as a birthday gift and it’s been on my keychain since. It’s about 3.25 inches long and about an inch at its widest. It has several tools including: pry tool, bottle opener, seat belt cutter, screw-driver, and a wrench driver that accommodates a variety of bolt/nut diameters.

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Bifocal safety glasses

I happened upon these Bifocal safety glasses ($11) while on vacation in a hardware store (yes, I go to hardware stores while on vacation). These safety glasses provide great eye protection and the bifocal lens allows me to perform closeup tasks without resorting to pulling them off for my reading glasses. A perfect solution for those who work in a shop with "older" active eyes. – Mark Ramirez [I have a pair of these and love them -- Mark]

Dark mornings: tool to help you calculate gloomy commutes

gmoomyThe toughest part of the Winter season isn't the cold, the blues, or December's annual cramming of a full month's work plus last-minute whatevers into three actual work weeks (are you on Boing Boing pre-holiday procrastinating? Hey, me too!) The hard part is commuting in the dark.

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Want to try making a video game? Visit the Sorting Hat

sortinghatIf you have ever read anything I've written about video games, you will have heard me insert notations about the democratization of tools. The business of making games used to necessitate access to bureaucratic, white-guys-only organizations and their social and professional lexicons. But now there are radical tools that anyone can use to make games about anything they want.

That's good in theory, but how do you know where to start? Developer Zoe Quinn has made a simple new online utility designed to help experimental developers and new creators alike see which tools are right for their vision. Sortingh.at makes recommendations depending on your aspirations and existing abilities, and also provides links to resources online you can use to learn how to use those tools.

Lowering traditional barriers to entry and de-mystifying aspects of game creation is a great way to welcome new creators to the table in a space that arguably needs some fresh voices and different perspectives.

Innovation in lockpicks: the "hall pass" and the EOD speed-picking set

The Hall Pass is a stainless steel, credit-card-sized pick designed to be slid between the door and the jamb (saving you from cracking your credit cards); the EOD is an extensive speed-pick set that is nevertheless optimized for portability and compactness.

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