Beautiful overengineered tape dispenser

Craft & Design Furniture & Lighting
Beautiful overengineered tape dispenser

There’s a great thing that happens, every so often, when people have access to machine tools: They go a little bit nuts. They’re bumping along one day, doing what they do, and some mundane object crosses them for the last time. This or that particular doo-dad never works as well as it should, or breaks too easily, or gets misplaced once too often, and it occurs to them: Hey, I could fix that–and not just for myself, for today or for the next couple of weeks or months, but for the rest of my natural life and possibly those of my descendants for the foreseeable future of the species. And something like this solid 6061 aluminum Scotch tape dispenser from Henry Herndon is the result. The sea may be vast, our boats may be small and constantly buffeted by the gales of an indifferent universe ruled by howling entropy-demons, but that Scotch-tape-dispenser-problem is fixed now, by God. On to the next thing.


10 thoughts on “Beautiful overengineered tape dispenser

  1. capt.tagon says:

    Someone would do that with the old Original Swingline 747 staplers. We had these things when I was in school and they were pretty bulletproof. What did the manufacturer do to them? They’re unable to drive staples, or is it that the staples themselves are now made of inferior material.

    I used to regularly drive staples through 20 sheets of paper in High School. Now, try doing that and you have this weird crumpled thing sitting on top the paper with one leg driven through and partially bent. And that’s after trying out six different staplers.

  2. Oceaneer99 says:

    Capt.Tagon: I agree. My favorite stapler is an ancient steel stapler that has a typewritten label stuck to the top. It’s hard to read now, but says something like: “Not to be removed from desk by order CINC Tankers.” I have a somewhat newer Bostich on my desk at work that I bought at a thrift store after I tired of the jammed staples in the modern junk they put in the office supply closet these days.

    Those new-fangled models with the storage springs that actually fire staples into your paper do work pretty well. However, they do make it sound like you’re getting overly aggressive.

  3. Simon says:

    I once over-engineered a rubber stamp in a similar way. It was all machined from aluminium bar stock on a lathe.

    I used to buy hot chocolates from the coffee shop in the lobby of the building I worked in. They used to have loyalty cards the girls would cross off each visit until you had enough for a free drink. At first they’d use a felt marker to cross them off. I said that was inefficient so bought them a rubber stamp. The kind with a spring you press onto a pad then down onto the page.

    Unfortunately that didn’t last long as they kept knocking it off the counter and breaking it.

    So I machined a new one for them from solid aluminium. They never broke that one! It was indestructable.

    I always got preferential treatment from the girls after that. It amused me I could turn up behind a huge queue of people and they’d always make my usual and hand it to me over the top of all those waiting.

  4. Oceaneer99 says:

    Personally, I think the usual plastic tape dispensers are ugly — something to be hidden in the desk drawer. I’ve been meaning to make a nice wooden one, but haven’t gotten around to it. It’s a nice inspiration to see this one.

  5. craig says:

    Aah, the elegance of a nice heavy drilled and tapped object fastened with machine screws. I personally love countersinking drilled holes in aluminum with my fluted countersink bore. So shiney & perfect. Thread cutting oil always smells so good to me, like new 35mm film…mmmm.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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