Tips of the Week: Soaking Out Rust, Picking an Arduino, Wire Wrangling, Reorganize and Be Happy

Tips of the Week: Soaking Out Rust, Picking an Arduino, Wire Wrangling, Reorganize and Be Happy

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.


Tin Can Wire Organizer

Make: pal and contributor, Andrew Lewis, made this handsome little wire organizer from a tin can and some 3D printed parts. Andrew has the 3D design files online. And you can resize the spools and end pieces to fit different size cans.

Picking the Right Arduino

On, James Lewis has a very succinct introduction to Arduino which looks at all of the different flavors of Arduino and what you need to consider when choosing a board for your project. [via Maker Update]

Be Organized, Be Happy

The piece I posted yesterday about Laura Kampf’s thoughts on creating custom tool walls reminded me of just how much good tool organizing can mean to your efficiency and satisfaction in the shop. Before my Halloween party last year, I did a full shop reorganization. That effort, while substantial, has done so much for my happiness when working on projects. Most key tools are all within reach and I now know where most of my everyday working tools are kept. And now that they have a place that makes sense, they go back to those places when not in use. It’s been a game changer in my work satisfaction. If your shop is in need of a reorg, take my advice: DO IT! You will thank yourself in the end. Be organized, be happy.

Don’t Trust Wire Color-Coding

I encountered two instances this past week on why trusting color-coding of wires is not so wise. I had a handyman here to replace the pipes and disposal under my kitchen sink. He assumed the color-coding of the wires was correct and he nearly fried the box, the disposal, or himself. The guy who owned the house before me fancied himself a DIYer and did some very creative renovation and repairs. Pros who come to work on my house often laugh and marvel at some of this “creativity.” I also encountered a JST-terminated wire where the red and white wires were switched where they entered the connector. The moral of this story: Always double-check your wires to make sure they are who they say they are.

Learning Injection Molding

Sean from Tested runs through various considerations when designing a project that involves injection molding of parts. In something of a follow-up to his video on collecting a samples library, Sean looks at the clever injection molding samples that the company, Protolabs, provides to its customers. These samples show you all of the different kinds of connections, materials, and capabilities of injection molding.

Soaking Out Rust

On Jimmy DiResta’s Instagram feed, he shared a Igram Story about the fate of his brand new SawStop table saw. He had it under a tarp in his shop for a long time, water leaked through a hole in the tarp and settled on the table. When he finally uncovered the saw, the table surface was rusted.

To get the rust out, Jimmy was told to soak rags in rust remover. He had paper towels so he used those and some EvapoRust. After giving the surface a good soak and a light sanding, he got most of the table back (minus some pitting he will have to live with).

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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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