Tips of the Week: Lego Mold Boxes, Know Your Screws, and Yet More Glue Tips and Tricks

Tips of the Week: Lego Mold Boxes, Know Your Screws, and Yet More Glue Tips and Tricks

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.


Lego Mold Boxes

If you’ve done any molding and casting, you likely already know this trick, but it’s a good one worth sharing widely. Lego bricks make for a perfect, reusable/resizable mold box and nearly every hobbyist (and pro) who does casting uses them.

Washer on a Glue Bottle

Found this on the Fine Woodworking Magazine’s Instagram feed. Not really sure about this one, but I do know how annoying this type of glue bottle can be, so this may be worth a try.

Capillary Gluing with a Brush

If you’ve been following this column, you know that I’ve recently taken to the capillary method of applying CA or plastic glue. This is where you apply thin glue (via a needle tip applicator, syringe, or flexi-tip) along the seam of your join and let capillary action draw the glue inside. Going through the Make: archives this week, I stumbled on a piece I posted several years ago of model-making tips from a master modeler. In it, he shows how he uses a brush and glue to achieve the same result.

Another way of setting things up, involving a different technique of gluing, is offered by the fact that thin liquids will be drawn into tight gaps (what’s known as capillary action). This means that difficult-to-glue pieces such as the curving sheet see here can be set up in the correct position and the glue introduced along the joint afterwards. Here, a thin plastic solvent is being used to glue styrene plastic, but thin superglue can also be used and this can also work with card.

Rotary Tool Bit Fan

Here’s an idea that I love. It’s a little 3D printed fan that friction-fits onto the bit of your rotary tool for cooling the bit and blowing away the drill-out.

Screws for Mere Mortals

In this episode of Woodworking for Mere Mortals, Steve Ramsey does a wonderful job of methodically running through all of the major screw types available for woodworking and the benefits (and liabilities) of using each kind of fastener. The video has an equally excellent companion article on Steve’s website.

Drilling Holes with Hot Glue?

This is, by far, my favorite tip this week. In this Cactus Workshop video, Carlos wants to drill some holes in glass bottles. To create a cooling reservoir for the drill, he creates a damn of hot glue around each desired drill site. After the hole is drilled, he simply knicks off the glue dam with a chisel tip. In the comments, someone also suggests using reusable clay, like Play-Doh or poster putty, for the same effect. I have used clay dams for holding etchant for etching copper plates.

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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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