How to make a "TSA compliant" multitool mod

Carrying small pliers and screwdrivers can be helpful and comforting. When traveling without checked baggage, I feel strange leaving behind my small multitools. Being without tools is weird. Read the rest

Dip pens made of copper piping

Martin Bolton made these gorgeous copper dip pens with lengths of copper pipe, standard nibs and thermoplastic adhesive. He doesn't seem to have any for sale, but I bet they're pretty easy to make with one of those wee copper pipe-cutting gadgets.

Although there are many types of pens like this available, I decided to design and manufacture my own around an existing nib. The design incorporates a standard available component (the nib) and the re-implementation of waste material (copper tubing) in its assembly. The nib was manufactured in England and purchased locally in South Africa from a stationary supplier. The bodies of the pens are cut from copper tubing from the refrigeration industry (presumably). The copper is then polished to luster, which also removes any edge burrs. The design is straight forward - the nib fits into the copper tube, and gets bonded in place with a suitable thermoplastic adhesive. A test prototype has been in use for several months and proves successful. The copper will tarnish, which can be brought back to luster if desired, with a suitable brass/copper polishing compound.
Read the rest

Proselint is a "style checker" for your writing

Proselint isn't a grammar checker. It's a "style" checker, warning writers when their work is hackneyed, inconsistent or very obviously not great.

proselint places the world’s greatest writers and editors by your side, where they whisper suggestions on how to improve your prose. You’ll be guided by advice inspired by Bryan Garner, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk, Steve Pinker, Mary Norris, Mark Twain, Elmore Leonard, George Orwell, Matthew Butterick, William Strunk, E.B. White, Philip Corbett, Ernest Gowers, and the editorial staff of the world’s finest literary magazines and newspapers, among others. Our goal is to aggregate knowledge about best practices in writing and to make that knowledge immediately accessible to all authors in the form of a linter for prose.

It's in rudimentary form at the moment, but expect it to turn up in web-based form fields and popular apps soon. See also Hemingway App, which does a similar thing but with an eye toward concision and brevity rather than general style. Read the rest

INTERVIEW: Hip Hop Family Tree's Ed Piskor on the weird old tools of classic comics

Ed Piskor, creator of Hip Hop Family Tree (which debuted right here at Boing Boing) shared with us some of the ancient artistic tools that inspires his unique technique.

While drawing a splendid Happy Mutant, he takes us through his "war chest": zip-a-tone sheets, letraset, a Leroy lettering gadget, risography, and the immortal spirit of great cartooning.

He also muses on what it's like to teach students who know every corner of a Wacom tablet, but recoil in horror when the only undo level is a splodge of white-out.

Enjoy the 35-minute visit to his studio! And keep an eye out for the Happy Mutant you see below—we'll be auctioning them for a good cause soon. Read the rest

Foldable step stool $10

This foldable step stool is 11 inches high, and is only 1.5 inches thick when folded up. It has replaced a non-folding plastic step stool that we'd kept in on the floor in the closet. It's on sale at Amazon for $10. Read the rest

Kraut makers delight! A $9 cabbage shredder

Xeni got me addicted to making my own kraut. Life has me addicted to specialized kitchen tools. Combine the two and I've decided I just love this cabbage slicer/shredder.

The strong handled, wide stainless steel bladed tool easily converts a cabbage into kraut size slivers. Perfect for mashing and smashing in your kraut jar. Gone are the careful slicing and cutting down of a cabbage with my chef's knife. This feels a lot safer!

Cleaning is as easy as rinsing the blade off and lightly wiping it down. The tool is also dishwasher safe.

If you like making kraut, this shredder is a cheap and easy way to cut down the cabbage.

Westmark Germany Cabbage Slicer with Stainless Steel Blade via Amazon Read the rest

This tool connects pencil stubs together

The Tsunago pencil sharpener lets you "chain smoke" your pencils by connecting pencil stubs together. The Tsunago ("let's connect") has three blades. One sharpens like a normal pencil sharpener. Another bores a hole in the bottom of one stub. The third makes a plug in the other stub. All you need is a bit of wood glue to keep the pencil pieces stuck together.

Here's some who used the sharpener for a courageous Blackwing pencil rescue.

(Thanks, Kent!) Read the rest

Digital guitar tuner for $5 with free shipping

I don't know how long this deal will last but $5 for a digital guitar/ukulele/violin/bass tuner (on Amazon) is a great deal. I already have one but I just bought a couple more to give away. Read the rest

How to separate and stack frighteningly strong neodymium magnets

Brainiac75 made a pair of wooden tools that he uses to separate and stack large neodymium magnet discs. I've pinched my fingers quite a few times with tiny neodymium magnet discs and have learned to respect them. These big ones are very dangerous. You could easily lose a finger if these magnets were to smack into one another. Please get some thick gloves, Brainiac75! Read the rest

One of my best purchases in 2015: magnetic tool holder

I bought this wall-mounted magnetic strip to have easy access to tools I need for simple household tasks: opening packages, hanging pictures, assembling furniture, tightening loose nuts, installing door locks, measuring things, simple plumbing repairs, etc. It's much better than keeping the tools in a kitchen drawer, because I can instantly find the tool(s) I need. The magnet is very strong, so I don't have to worry about a tool falling off. The strips come in various lengths. The one I bought is 24 inches long. The shortest I've seen on Amazon is seven inches. Read the rest

Brandless waterproof drill lets you work underwater in secret

Perfect for all your underwater stealth-drilling needs, the Nemo Power Tools SPECIAL OPS is submersible to 100 meters, has an 18v lithium battery, and is all-black for maximum concealment.

Its 1000-watt brushless technology ensures maximum efficiency and durability. It comes with a durable carrying case, battery charger, pressure valve and pump to pressurize the drill, and two 6Ah batteries, to make sure you’re ready for jobs that require extra power and time. The Nemo SPECIAL-OPS comes with additional accessories geared towards the tasks carried out by special forces. Nemo SPECIAL OPS accessories include a diving headlamp, a diving tool belt with tool bag, and a handy waterproof bag to keep your battery charger dry.

It's sadly out of stock right now, but $2,000 when they have them in. Models submersible to shallower depths are less expensive, but not very stealthy at all.

[Nemo Power Tools via @joeljohnson] Read the rest

5 cool things you may not know about your tape measure

Have you ever wondered why the riveted metal tab that holds the end hook on a tape measure has slop in it? It's not because it was manufactured by a shoddy company. Gareth Branwyn at Make explains the reason:

If you’ll notice, the inch marks on the tape actually start 1/16″ short. That’s because the thickness of the hook itself is 1/16″. So, if you take an inside measurement (pressing the hook end against the work piece you’re measuring), you will get an accurate measurement. But also, if you hook the end onto a work piece, the play in the rivets will move the hook out to compensate for hooking onto the material, creating a 1/16″ gap between the hook and the tape, allowing for an accurate measurement.

This is just one of five wonderful things about tape measures you may not know. If you already knew all five things, please crow about it in the comments and remark how surprised you are that not everyone is aware of this information. Read the rest

You can make almost anything with a Glowforge

The dream of desktop manufacturing is now a reality. Take a look at the incredible variety of things you can make with a Glowforge laser cutter, from wallets to leather sandals, lamps to dollhouses, jewelry to phone cases. In this video Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro shows how easy it is to make a laser cut item simply by drawing your design on a piece of material. Visit glowforge.com/boingboing to get $100 off a Glowforge today. [Sponsored Post] Read the rest

LA Makerspace founder Tara Tiger Brown shares her favorite tools

Tara Tiger Brown is the founder of nonprofit organization LA Makerspace, the premier STEAM service provider for the Los Angeles Public Library. She’s also the co-founder of Kithub, creative electronics kits for kids, and co-founder of Connected Camps, which has online camps for kids including a Minecraft coding club. Read the rest

The Torx wrench set for me

For years seeing a Torx head, that starry topped bolt of frustration, gave me pause.

I always seemed to be missing the right size Torx wrench! If I had the right size, it lacked the security dimple. This 13 piece Torx set is my solution.

Home electronics frequently want the T6-T8 stuff. Security bolts on my personalized license plates are in the T40-T50 range. Torx keys, or wrenches, are something I use just frequently enough to have been buying, and losing individually. This set has already saved me several trips to the hardware store.

The chrome plated ends are resisting the sea air out here very nicely, and even after a year or two, the set looks new. The long length of the handles on the keys comes in very handy, allowing you to reach many of the deepest-set screws by electronics companies. The grippy material is grippy. The holding case keeps them organized and allows me to resist the urge to just keep a key or two in my desk's pencil tray (there is a T6 there from a solo tool run years ago.)

No longer does seeing a Torx head make me sigh.

Included in the set are sizes: T6, T7, T8, T9, T10, T15, T20, T25, T27, T30, T40, T45, and T50. The ends are dimpled for security screws.

Titan 12715 Extra-Long Arm Tamper Resistant Star Key Set - 13 Piece via Amazon Read the rest

Silicone whisks are easy to clean

Using a whisk makes for better beaten eggs, hot chocolate, and the list goes on. I avoided using my wire whisks because the cleaning was always a bit more trouble than I cared for. Having been introduced to the kitchen wonder that is silicone, I am now happily whisking away.

For $13 lucky dollars this simple set of 4 whisks, 2 larger and 2 smaller, can not be beat. They simple rinse off under hot water. If I've used them on something more sticky, they don't take much effort to clean. They also successfully come clean in the dishwasher's utensil tray, my wire whisks do not.

Silicone Coated Wire Whisk with Stainless Steel Handles, Set of 4, Colorful via Amazon Read the rest

Interview with TV show host and maker Jimmy DiResta

Our guest on the Cool Tools Show podcast is Jimmy DiResta. He is a maker, toy designer, and TV show host. He’s been the host of a number of DIY shows including Dirty Money, Trash to Cash, Against the Grain, and Hammered with John and Jimmy DiResta. He co-hosts the Making It Podcast, and has a fantastic YouTube channel called DiResta with videos on his latest builds and handy tool tips. Read the rest

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