TNT Newsletter for September 21, 2007
Math made easy, an outlet and switch helper, CD organization, and the greenhouse assistant.
As the weather cools off in most places, it seems like people are turning indoors to projects that were neglected during the summer months. Take your house, for example. It's a well-known fact that your house is never finished, and that makers will tinker with this light fixture and that wobbly banister until the cows come home (or the rest of the family, anyway).
The Practical Math Application Guide will help with all of those building tasks you were pretty confident you knew how to do on your own until you got started. One of our readers wrote that the PlugGrip and SwitchGrip will make installing or fixing light switches and outlets a snap. Another sent in a tip for organizing CDs in the shop. And someone else waxed lyrical about a tool that will help bend tubing for a greenhouse. (While not exactly in your house, having a greenhouse in your backyard is always a home run.) What are you waiting for?
Staff Editor, Make Magazine
Reviewed by Arwen O'Reilly Griffith
Chenier's Practical Math Application Guide is the kind of math I wish they'd taught me in high school. Each section uses real-world situations (with a homebuilding bent) to illustrate different math principles, so you simultaneously learn trigonometry and how to lay out stairs, geometry and how to level with a plumb-bob. It has worksheets to practice what you've learned as well as "trade tricks" for DIYers that you wouldn't find in a math textbook.
Many makers know this stuff intuitively already, but if you're new at this kind of thing, the book is a great resource. By the end, you'll know how to deal with unequal roof pitches, but you might just be a bit more of a math geek, too.
Reviewed by april.zamora
The PlugGrip is used to assist in the installation and removal of electrical outlets. I found this tool at Lowes and had never heard of it until it caught my eye as I was picking out wall outlets for our remodel. This tool was AMAZING! It must have taken half the time to replace the outlets in the house and the tool even let us know that we'd wired them correctly as the lights lit up when we turned the power back on. I would recommend this tool to anyone who is looking to replace or install new outlets!
Reviewed by april.zamora
The SwitchGrip is used to assist with the installation and removal of light switches. I came across this tool after we purchased the PlugGrip for our remodel. We were just as amazed with the SwitchGrip as we were with the PlugGrip. The SwitchGrip must have cut the time it took to replace the switches in half! The built-in wire cutter and bender worked really well. When we were done we turned the power on and the SwitchGrip beeped to let us know that it was working. It was amazing! Highly recommended!
Reviewed by lee78
Cut the bulb end off a scrapped chrome faucet supply pipe. The 3/8" outside diameter pipe can be bent by hand into a C-shape, and tied to a vertical support. You can store about 15 CDs in each inch of rack, so this one would hold over 100 CDs. Use cardboard separators to keep order.
To use it, stick a pen into the end of the pipe and slide the stack of CDs onto the pen until you get to the one you want. After you slide off the CD you want, IMMEDIATELY stick the pen back in the rack and return the unwanted stack to the rack. (I'm always sorry if I try to do anything else with the stack on the pen.)
Reviewed by sholady
We bent the steel hoops for both of our hoop greenhouses. I've been a gardener for 26 years and never could afford a decent-sized greenhouse. I first saw these benders on eBay about a year ago. Then it seemed impossible that a tool priced so affordably (under $70) could perform according to their claims (bend a steel hoop in one minute). I came across their website last month and bought one. Bottom line is that it really does the job and really saves a lot of money. If you want a greenhouse and like building things, this little tool will blow you away. I guess no one thought of a tool like this before because it's just too simple, and I love, love, love simple.