Tips of the Week is our weekly peek at some of the best making tips, tricks, and recommendations we’ve discovered in our travels. Check in every Friday to see what we’ve discovered. And we want to hear from you. Please share your tips, shortcuts, best practices, and tall shop tales in the comments below and we might use your tip in a future column.
DIY Protective Feet
Our pal John Edgar Park shared this simple tip on Instagram:
— John Edgar Park (@johnedgarpark) August 22, 2017
Aside about feet on hardware: In the late 80s and early 90s, when computer stores with salespeople was a thing, there was a joke about testing your salesperson to see if they were BSing you about the features of the computer you were looking at. You asked them if the PC was LBL-equipped or if it had LRF support. If they played along, like they knew what those acronyms meant, you knew you were being snowed. LBL stands for “little blinking lights” and LRF stands for “little rubber feet.”
Making Your Own Knobs
On this week’s episode of Donald Bell’s highly-recommended Maker Update, he shared a Hack-A-Day piece about how you can fairly easily cast your own knobs for project enclosures, door pulls, etc. I never would of thought of this, but now I’m thinking of all of the cool knob designs I could come up with.
Also on Maker Update, Donald makes a great pitch for adding a pair of trauma sheers to your tool kit. Sold me. I snagged a pair. I might get a second pair for the kitchen. They’re under $10, delivered on Amazon. I bet these would make quick work of spatchcocking a chicken.
Orienting an Apple TV Remote
Perhaps unconsciously inspired by John Park’s little felt feet hack above, I finally broke down and fixed my Apple TV remote. The Apple remote feels the same in either direction when you’re fumbling for it in the dark. And it’s annoying when you get it backwards and press the wrong button or try to swipe on the plastic case thinking it’s the touch pad. So, I put a Velcro dot (the furry side) on the back to orient it in my hand. My Android phone has its “on” button in the same place, so my muscle memory appreciates the placement.
The Case for the Metallic Sharpie
This is apparently the Donald Bell edition of Tips of the Week. Over on the Cool Tools YouTube channel, Donald sings the praises of the metallic Sharpie pen. It’s cheap, high-contrast, no shaking required, and it doesn’t leak. And you can use one to write on just about anything, especially dark materials, plastics, glass, PCB board, you name it. Again, I’m sold. I have those shake-to-agitate metallic pens with the push-to-flow nibs and they are a pain.
Silicone Mixing Bowls for Epoxy
My homeboy, Andy Birkey, is at it again with a fantastic tip for working with epoxies and other multi-part materials that you need to mix in a clean container (usually a disposable one). He recommends using silicone mixing bowls. Nothing sticks to them so you can just peel out the leftovers when they’ve dried. Neat.