How to make a mallet from milk jugs

Peter Brown made a serviceable mallet from melted down plastic wood jugs.

HDPE is the plastic used in many household containers including gallon sized milk jugs. I melt down about 7 milk jugs and 3 powdered lemonade containers to get enough HDPE to make my mallet head.

The handle of the mallet is made from a cherry board and adds a nice warm contrast to the plastic! This mallet packs a punch and is quite heavy given it smaller size!

Read the rest

Robot Maker and YouTuber Simone Giertz's favorite tools

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Simone Giertz. Simone is a Swedish native who now resides in San Francisco. Millions of people come to watch her build shitty robots on YouTube and she recently launched her own astronaut training program to get herself into space. Simone's videos have been featured on The Ellen Show, The Late Show, Mashable, Business Insider, Wired, Conan O'Brien, and more. Whilst most recently joining master builder Adam Savage's tested team.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Dremel 4200 ($114) “I started building stuff about 3 years and I’m rediscovering everything that people have known for a long time. … Dremel tool kind of goes in the line of that … it blew my mind because I do a lot of aluminum fabrications. I make parts out of aluminum frames or customized parts that I already have and for that it's freakin' great because it's like having your own arm do it but at a much higher RPM. It's like a little pen. It's just such an accessible tool. You're just sitting there and you're cutting. It has the tiniest little cutter blades and it’s just nice. … It’s a super versatile tool and it takes up no space.”

Original Prusa i3 MK2S kit ($699)

"I am definitely not an authority in 3D printing. I am a total 3D printing novice. Read the rest

Multitool in a hairclip

I have no hair. But if you do, and it's long, consider this MTA Hairclip that doubles as a stainless steel multitool containing a screw driver, wrench, ruler, cutting edge, and trolley coin to unlock a shopping cart. It's also available in slightly different pink and black models that include a bottle opener.

They're $9 from Amazon. Read the rest

A residential contractor shares what's in his tool belt

Paul Abueva is a residential contractor. He shared the contents of his tool belt at Cool Tools (a web site I run with Kevin Kelly and Claudia Dawson).

I am a residential contractor who does remodeling and repair work, so I carry tools that that are useful to a variety of trades work. Over the years I’ve put together what I believe to be a perfect compromise between weight and function. Read the rest

Addicted to data? $10 USB car charger with a voltmeter

Yes, I really do "need" a 12V USB charging adaptor with a built-in voltmeter.

Driving my VW camper van around, I frequently swap the USB charger with a voltmeter. I'm always curious about how much current my alternator is putting out, and if my house batteries are charging up. I also worry that my kid may plug into the wrong 12V outlets and drain the starting battery. This charger lets me know what is going on as I charge. I NEED TO KNOW!

There are a few chargers with voltmeters, I picked this one as it has both 2.4A and 1A charging, the swivel lets me angle it so I can read it while driving, and the display is super easy to read/understand. When the engine is running the voltmeter tells you what current it sees at your 12V port, with the engine off it's reading the charge from the battery.

Thanks to help from our readers, I successfully put together and sized my house battery, solar panel and portable fridge to allow me uninterrupted cold storage, regardless how long I stay out. This voltmeter helps me manage the system. I'll write up a post what I ended up going with soon.

HAWEEL Rapid LED Dual USB Car Charger Adapter(5V/3.4A output) with LCD Screen Display via Amazon Read the rest

Small, sharp knife disguised as a housekey

SOG make excellent knives: I know because I had many of them confiscated by the nascent TSA in the early days of the Global War on Terror, that liminal moment when I was still kidding myself that I would remember to empty my pockets of useful tools before boarding a flight. Read the rest

The joy of air compressors

One of my most useful tools is invisible, infinitely recyclable, and free — well, in a sense. It’s AIR. You do need another substantial tool (compressor) to use it; but then endlessly refilling your tank only costs the electricity or other fuel to run it. A compressor has so many uses for any serious “maker” that any list is bound to be wildly incomplete. I got my first (largish) machine decades ago to blow water out of copper plumbing pipes that needed soldering.

You only need a hose and cheap end fittings for simple tasks like pressurizing tires and balls, blowing dust out of computer/electronic innards, wood/metal chips out of deeply drilled holes, debris from vehicle vents, clogged vacuum cleaner filters, etc. etc. I’ve also found multiple uses for spray paint gun, abrasive cutoff tool (for metal), air hammer, ratcheting wrench, impact driver (nearly essential if you do any vehicle tire work). My air powered stapler, finish nailer and framing nailer have seen much use in carpentry and fence construction over the years; many other specialized air powered tools exist. When I no longer needed the large compressor, I replaced it with a more compact, less capacious unit that’s incapable of large flow tasks like spraying paint, but still incredibly valuable for almost everything else. Compressors (electric or gas powered) are widely available new and used, from under $100 to well over $1000 — pick a size and quality proportional to the sustained air flow (CFM) you need and how heavily it will be used. Read the rest

Millennium Falcon multitool

The $30, 4" x 3" die-cast zinc alloy tool includes four hexkeys, two screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench, with tool storage inside a magnetically sealed compartment. Read the rest

Mininch tool pen: a "pop a point" screwdriver

The Mininch Tool Pen uses the "pop a point" mechanism used in mechanical pencils to hold and switch magnetic screwdriver bits; it's made from machined aluminum and weighs 93g with all six bits inside. It's $70 and comes in three colors and your choice of Imperial, Metric and EU bits. (via Wired) Read the rest

Cutting jawbreakers with a 60,000 PSI waterjet

The recently-launched Waterjet Channel has been cutting all kinds of stuff with their high-power device, like these giant jawbreakers. Other good ones include an SLR camera:

And a rubber band ball:

Giant Jaw Breakers vs 60,000 PSI Waterjet (YouTube / Waterjet Channel) Read the rest

12-in-1 Stanley Multitool for $8

What's not to like about this 12-in-1 Stanley Multitool, especially when it costs just $8 on Amazon? I grabbed a couple to have around the house so I don't need to get my toolbox from the garage for minor fix-it tasks.

Read the rest

Leatherman MUT: great-looking successor to the Skeletool

There was a time when I had a lot of multitools: it started innocently, with a classic Leatherman "pocket survival tool," which I carried everywhere, and because when you have a multitool, everything looks like a screw, bottlecap, thing-in-need-of-sawing/scissoring, or filing, I used it all the time. Read the rest

Shaper Origin is a handheld CNC router

I just watched a few of the demo videos for the Shaper Origin. It's a handheld, computer numerical control, router that allows you to cut precise shapes into flat stock. Since it is handheld, there's really no limit to the size of the things you want to cut out. Looks really cool. It costs around $1500. Read the rest

Nut Wizard also picks up tennis balls

There are a of Nut Wizard videos on YouTube. People use them to pick up all kinds of spherical objects.

Here's a multi-headed Nut Wizard that makes short work of 40lbs of pecans on the lawn:

Here's a fellow who uses one to pick up shell casings. True to YouTube form, he doesn't show how it works until the video is half over: Read the rest

Kickstarting beltbuckle multitools

Tony Zentil, a mechanical engineer, has a fully funded Kickstarter for a variety of multitool belt-buckles aimed at skateboarders, snowboarders, and motorcyclists -- they're a significant advance on my old, beloved 686 belt-buckle stolen by the security staff of London Gatwick airport in 2011. Read the rest

Ingenious idea for a Thor toolbox

If you were a Norse god/superhero who moonlighted as a carpenter, this Thor Hammer Tool Kit would hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately right now it's just a concept design from Dave's Geeky Ideas!

When not being carried around for Asgardian cosplay, this hammer opens up to reveal all the tools stored inside. The handle is shared with an actual hammer, which is fastened into a removable tray. Beneath the tray is a reservoir for loose tools and nuts/bolts.

Read the rest

Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired, shares his four favorite tools

Chris Anderson is the CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones. From 2001 through 2012 he was Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine. Before Wired he was with The Economist for seven years in London, Hong Kong and New York. He’s the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail, and Free, as well as Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. His background is in science. He started with studying physics and doing research at Los Alamos, culminating in six years at the two leading scientific journals, Nature and Science. Chris is also the founder of the site Geekdad. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and five children.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Carvey CNC Machine ($2,000)

CNC machines are subtractive. 3D printers add plastic but CNC machines cut it away. … The Carvey is the first one that really feels like it belongs in my workshop, on my desktop. It's beautiful. It's quiet, it's got a cover, hydraulic hinges, etc. … It's the perfect replacement for a laser cutter in that it does 2D quite easily. It can actually do limited 3D, which is to say give depth to stuff. … Think of it right now as the kind of thing you would use for carving wood, plastics of various sorts.

Cricut Explore Air Machine ($250)

The Cricut is a CNC paper cutter and plotter. Read the rest

More posts