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@make_tips is our twitter feed where we share suggestions and ideas on all manner of makery goodness, ranging from tips on how to organize your workshop to suggestions for cleaning, repairing, and tool use. In honor of our monthly theme of Make & Mend, here are some of the ideas from @make_tips.

Nasty scuff on your mobile phone? No problem! Toothpaste will save the day: http://bit.ly/9F7Dvw



A quick guide to repairing broken switches http://bit.ly/9peV6A



Remove a stripped screw with a rubber band http://cot.ag/d4yFpa



If files get clogged by aluminium, soak them in caustic soda for 10 mins & rinse with water, then clean with a wire brush



Got a weird screw and no bit? Cut a slot in the head with a Dremel tool and use a flat-blade. http://cot.ag/aXFJNv



How to save your cell phone if it gets wet: http://cot.ag/9aZwQf



When attempting to disassemble a piece of electronics, always remove visible screws then look for hidden screws under stickers.



Scavenge for free parts. You can find usable bits of coated wire discarded near telephone service boxes.



Clean and re-oil your tools after a messy project to extend their life.



Bolt slightly short in small-vehicle battery terminal? Scrub floating nut w/old toothbrush and it could connect.



you can remove permanent marker from plastic, glass, stone and other surfaces using WD40 on a kitchen towel, followed by alcohol.



You can remove permanent marker from whiteboards by writing over the top with whiteboard marker



Cutting material? Cut the biggest pieces first, so that if you make a mistake you can use the material to make smaller parts.



Before cutting a bolt down to length, screw on a nut. Once cut, unscrew the nut, it will repair the damaged threads.



When putting bolts back into something, add a little anti-seize compound to make it easier to get apart in the future.



A spudger is a flat plastic tool for prying apart plastic tabs (like those on iPods) without scratching. http://bit.ly/RyVDX

Do these trigger any ideas of your own? Send us a tweet and or leave a comment.

[Image by Marc Phu from the MAKE Flickr pool, Community Commons.]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. packrat says:

    As someone who works with bolts and bolt testing equipment on a daily basis, I would warn against using anti-seizing compounds on bolts, particularly in situations where there are specific torques called out for the fasteners (such as lug nuts on wheels).

    The reason for this is that the compound would add lubrication to the threads, and if you torque the nuts to what is called out by the manufacturer, this will result in a significantly higher clamp force than desired, which will damage the threads and bolt structure.

    In basic bolting situations where there is no torque called out for the fasteners, the addition of a lubricant can still result in over-tensioned bolts and damaged threads. On the other hand, if the bolt is not tightened enough, the added lubrication can increase the risk of a bolt or nut backing out.

  2. volkemon says:

    “As someone who works with bolts and bolt testing equipment on a daily basis, I would warn against using anti-seizing compounds on bolts, particularly in situations where there are specific torques called out for the fasteners (such as lug nuts on wheels).”

    Lug nuts (and bolts also) are specified for torque lightly oiled. In the ’18 Wheeler’ world, anti-seize is standard practice on lug nuts, and Budd wheel nuts/bolts.

    But I do agree that ‘torque to yield’ or other critical torque fasteners should not have anything but specified lubricants/sealants etc. applied.

    (On VW’s (and others) with lug bolts anti-seize is a good idea, just apply sparingly to the threads. Then when the shoulder of the lug bolt is getting ready to seat, apply more to the gap, then tighten down. Recover excess with the applicator, then wipe clean with rag. This will ensure the wheel, bolt and drum/disc separate later even after salty roads in winter. I speak from experience there :)

    “Scavenge for free parts” is my favorite.

    I am using wire recovered from recycled microwaves and other appliances for some my projects now. For any individual run, I can usually salvage a long enough piece. I am starting to harvest some of the mid-80s microwave through hole components also.

  3. DanYHKim says:

    I was patching my roof with a tar-like material, and got stuff on my knife, screwdriver and skin. I cleaned myself by scrubbing the skin off, but the tar was too hard to easily remove from tools. I used spent coffee grounds as a mild abrasive to rub off the tar residue. The grounds abrade a bit of tar off the tool, and leave enough oil behind to keep it from sticking back to the piece. Clean-up was surprisingly fast. It also works with skin, but an Espresso or Turkish grind is less painful to use.