Tips of the Week: Hot-Gluing Strain Relief, Japanese Pull Saws, Covering Work Tables, and Designing Your Logo

Tips of the Week: Hot-Gluing Strain Relief, Japanese Pull Saws, Covering Work Tables, and Designing Your Logo

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.


Designing a Logo

During the Q&A of my World Maker Faire talk with Jimmy DiResta, someone asked us about considerations for designing a logo for a YouTube channel/maker biz. Since my first career was as a graphic designer, I had plenty to say about this. I offered several suggestions. When you get some logo designs that you like, try enlarging them huge and then reducing them tiny. Make your logo bold and emblematic enough that it will look good at any size. Avoid the temptation to try and say too much (literally or figuratively) on your logo. Get a flyer for an event that has a bunch of the sponsors’ logos on it (usually very tiny), reduce your proposed logo to that size and see how it looks amongst the others. Also: avoid trendy treatments and typefaces that will date your logo going forward.

Reinforcing Wire Connectors with Hot Glue

I’m working on a costume project involving an Adafruit Hallowing. We’ve been having fun (my friend Alberto and son Blake have been helping me), but we’ve been having a devil of a time unplugging the 2- and 3-pin JST connectors on the small, heavily populated HalloWing board. It’s hard not to pull on the wires as you try and work the connector out. I asked Adafruit’s John Park if he had any suggestions and he offered: “Hit the wire/connector intersection with hot glue to help provide a stronger connection.” Great idea. If you do this, make sure to go easy on the hot-melt. Since things are so tight, you don’t want to add to the bulk of the connector which might make it harder to get your fingernails in there for a decent pull. Trivia bonus: Do you know what “JST” stands for? Japan Solderless Terminals.

Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Pull Saws

In this video on WoodWorkWeb, Colin Knecht runs through the differences between push saws (the Western rip and crosscut saws we’re used to) and Japanese saws (where you pull the tool toward your heart for the main cutting stroke). He also looks at differences between types of Japanese saws and their benefits. Good stuff.

Not-So-Stupid Hole Saw Tricks

If you’ve ever tried to use a hole saw without a pilot, you know how difficult that can be. Here’s a “double-dip” trick from the AvE channel. As always, the language on AvE is crude and salty and may offend some viewers.

50% In-Fill is Your Friend

I wrote about this excellent how-to on optimizing the printing of fantasy miniatures (or other small, detailed objects) on an FDM 3D printer. One tip they share is avoiding the temptation to print a solid mini. You may think, at that size, that a solid print would be better, but a solid print is more likely to have issues with “contraction forces” as the mass of solid plastic cools (pulling in some of the outer layers and distorting details. 50% in-fill also cuts down on kinetic energy issues if you drop the mini, making for a more resilient piece. Watch the video for a complete explanation.

Covering Your Work Tables

In this oldie but goodie from Tested’s “Shop Tips” series, Frank and Norm discuss the benefits of always covering your worktables with craft paper (or other disposable material) and Frank shows how he dresses his tables before any new project.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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