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David Picciuto, Woodworker and Artist

https://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.htmlplay episode download
29 May, by claudia[ —]

Our guest today is David Picciuto who’s probably known best for his YouTube channel Make Something. David has written two woodworking books, loves art, music and go kart racing. All of which uses plenty of tools although he claims to have no real connection with them. You can find him on Instagram @makesomethingtv and on Twitter @drunkenwood.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

A personal library of books
I’ve probably got 350, 400 books, somewhere around there, and I’ve been collecting books for years now. I go to Goodwill’s or thrift stores, or there’s a great website called thriftbooks.com where I just buy used books. I’ve got tons of woodworking books and metalworking and DIY art books, how-tos. Just galleries, tutorials, anything that has to do with making I will collect, even if it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever use. I’ve got sewing books and jewelry and crafts, and I just like having them for reference. I trust a book more than I trust a YouTube video because I know the time it takes to write a book, and it might not always be the case, but it’s assumed that the person writing the book is an expert at that thing that they’re writing about. So I will go to a book before a YouTube video if I have access to it. I’m in the process of recategorizing everything, and there’s an excellent phone app called BookBuddy. And if your book has the ISBN number, you can just scan it with your phone and it imports all the information in there. If it doesn’t, you can manually type in the ISBN, or you can manually key in everything and I use that.

Adobe Illustrator
I have been using Adobe Illustrator, since maybe ’98, ’99, when I was in college. If you’re not familiar with Adobe Illustrator, it’s a vector drawing program, and I use it to sketch up ideas. A lot of times the finished product might be drawn up in Fusion 360, but most of the time it starts in Illustrator because I’ve been using it for so long and I know how to use a few of those tools, and I can quickly get this sketch that I have on paper into the computer world, where I can then manipulate it to where I want — just with a mouse. There’s a free app called Inkscape, and I’ve only dabbled in it so I could recommend something to other people. Because they see me using Illustrator and they find out the cost and they’re like, “How can I do this?” And so Inkscape is another way around that. I think it’s a free software, both Mac and PC.

Glowforge Laser Cutter
So I was working with a woodworking company called Rockler maybe five years ago, and they were sponsoring some videos and they said, “Hey, we’re going to work with this laser company, Full Spectrum.” And so they sent me a Full Spectrum laser at that time as part of the sponsored deal, and so I got to play around with that. And that was before lasers had cameras in them, and the software was really hard to use and difficult, and not laid out well, and it felt like it was going back to windows 3.1 when I was using it. Now, since then they’ve come up with cooler lasers with cameras, they got the cloud software, and their software’s really cool. But Glowforge was first to the market, so I was one of the early adopters who bought in the first run and got that Glowforge when it was way cheaper than it is now. So I got pretty lucky hopping on that train. You don’t need to download this complicated application to your computer, you just take your SVG and load it into the software. Because the laser has the camera built into it, you can see exactly where your artwork is going to be placed on the material, and you can cut that out.

SawStop Table Saw
Most wood workers would say the table saw is the centerpiece of their shop. And I’m fortunate enough to have the SawStop, it has the crazy flesh-sensing technology in there, so it’s nearly impossible to cut your fingers off. If any part of you touches the blade it closes this electrical circuit, and causes a break to slam on the blade and then pull it underneath the table, all within a fraction of a second. It sounds like a shotgun because it’s this really loud release of energy to stop that incredible force of that blade spinning. I’ve done the hot dog test using a hot dog on there, and it didn’t even leave a mark on the hot dog.

Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

29 May, by mark[ —]

Just a simple tongue scraper but the only one I can find made with stainless steel. I’ve had same one for 8 years, as it refuses to break. Easy to clean and gets all debris off my tongue in a couple of quick sweeps.

-- Greg Schellenberg

[I have not used this particular tongue cleaner, but I am a tongue scraper convert. They improve the bad taste I have in the morning, especially after eating onions the night before. -- Mark]

Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

Making Your Own Gear Ties

28 May, by claudia[ —]

For my next HackSpace column, I’m thinking about doing a basic guide to molding and casting. If you have any tips on the subject, give me a rattle.

If you’re new to the newsletter, welcome! This is a participatory effort, so please feel free to share YOUR favorite tips, tools, or tell us an inspiring shop tale.

Making Your Own Gear Ties

Organize your gear with DIY ties.

Organize your gear with DIY ties.

My ol’ Make: colleague, Jason Babler, wrote to say that he’s been making a ton of these “gear ties” (as in ties for organizing your gear) after he saw this video. Basically, all you need to make them is some paracord and armature wire.

3D Printer Noise Reduction for Two Dollars

Silence that rattle trap for two bones.

Silence that rattle trap for two bones.

I wrote about this yesterday on AdafruitStefan of CNC Kitchen explains why he uses concrete “pavers” (which you can get at a home store for about US$2) under his printers. Basically, it’s for noise reduction. But being a CNC Kitchen video, he goes into great detail about what actually causes the sounds that can make your printer annoying to be around and ways of mitigating the racket. He also looks at other noise reduction measures, like 3D-printed spring feet, foam pads on your printer’s base, and a foam pad below a paver base.

Precision Pocket Oilers

For those teeny-tiny lube jobs.

For those teeny-tiny lube jobs.

Many years ago, I got a gorgeous Japanese robot kit that came with the loveliest little needle-tip oil tube dispenser. At some point, I lost it. So, I was tickled to see this Cool Tools video, with Donald Bell and Jordan Bunker, where Jordan shows off a similar (though much larger) precision pocket oiler. The oilers are two for $8 on Amazon.

Making Your Own Shop Recipe Books

Mix at your own risk!

Mix at your own risk!

If you mix up a bunch of your own glues, paints, finishes, lubrications, solvents, etc., consider creating a small formulary to keep the recipes for the mixes you use. Such a book is also a great place to keep any measurements, weights, temperatures, formulas, and other notes that you might use on a regular basis. I keep those in the back. For my books, I use blank-page Moleskine Cahiers notebooks. I use twine to create a loop so that I can hang them from my pegboards.

Aligning Sanding Discs

From Acme Tools' Instagram page.

From Acme Tools’ Instagram page.

I just followed the amazing Acme Tools Instagram page. There are a ton of seriously useful tips on there. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more in the future. Here, they show how you can use a couple of 3/8″ dowel pieces to line up the holes of a sanding disk onto a disk sander. Store the dowels with your disks.

The Maker’s Muse

Thinking outside the (junction) box. Another great tip from Acme Tools.

Thinking outside the (junction) box. Another great tip from Acme Tools.

Shop Talk

In response to my tip a few weeks back on organizing your browser tabs, reader Bill Schuller writes:

I also keep a very large heard of browser tabs. If you use Chrome, the closest thing to a sheep dog in this analogy is Cluster – Window & Tab Manager. I use it to find, rearrange, purge, and move groups of tabs into new windows. It also allows you to “pause” tabs, which removes them from working memory for those occasional moments when you’ve really gone overboard with the number of open tabs.

While we’re talking about Chrome extensions, I can’t live without Video Speed Controller. A few years ago, I was getting a demo of some of the awesome technology that Aira creates to help folks with a visual impairment navigate the world. During the demo, I learned that it’s not uncommon for folks to learn to listen to audio at 8x speeds. Since then, I’ve been slowly adapting to absorbing information more quickly. It works with any HTML5 video including YouTube and the like. At work, it also makes getting through Zoom recordings a whole lot quicker too.

[Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.]

Plastic Dice in Bulk

28 May, by mark[ —]

I carry 3 red dice in my back pocket so that I can play a game called Cee-lo with people that I meet. Like most betting games, Cee-lo has a rough reputation. But played among friends, not betting for money, it can be rather wholesome.

I really like being able to play a simple dice game with people for a few reasons:

– it’s a really fun game!
– I’ve successfully played it with kindergartners and every age group above,
– I’ve gotten mixed age groups to have a GREAT time playing,
– It never runs out of batteries or needs to be upgraded,
– it’s very portable,
– it gets people to talk in real time,
– I don’t have to hand an expensive device to other people or count on them having one, or having one compatible to mine.

I’ve also found that the game itself is pretty simple, but with the betting aspect things get really interesting. And the world is full of trinkets to bet with. Collect a bunch of stones, or sugar packets, or tear up a piece of paper into bits that are all roughly the same size, or anything you can get a reasonable number of and you’re in business.

That said, my personal favorite thing to bet with is the little scraps that people have in their pockets: twist ties, tooth picks, vitamin pills, movie stubs. It is amazing to see how people will value these little bits of nothing while they are playing, but once the game is over, it all goes back to being little bits of trash. (I also like to see what people do to get that one important item back, that they really shouldn’t have played in the game…)

One thing about dice games: everyone plays them different. To paraphrase the Cee-lo advice U-God of Wu Tang in this NSFW (language) video: state the rules and save some fools. Better to spend a bit of time outlining the rules at the beginning then to get into any sort of fight later. (And not a bad rule in life in general.)

So, here is how I play Cee-lo:

Cee-lo – 2 or more players – 3 dice

Determine who is going to be playing and who is going to be the first player.

If betting, all players put in their bet.

The first player rolls all three dice until they get a recognized combination, or are otherwise disqualified

The combinations are, ranked from best to worst:

The highest possible roll. Instant win of the round for the player who rolled it. They take the entire pot, and the next round begins. This skips the turns of anyone who has not gone.

Rolling three of the same number is known as “trips”. Higher trips beat lower trips, so 4-4-4 is better than 3-3-3.

“Spare and a Pair”
Rolling a pair, and another number, establishes the singleton as a “point.” A higher point beats a lower point, so 1-1-3 is better than 6-6-2.

Automatic loss. Play forfeits turn, but the game continues.

Any other roll is a meaningless combination and must be rerolled until one of the above combinations occurs. It is also an automatic loss if a player rolls the dice 5 times without getting a meaningful combination.

If either of the dice roll off the playing surface, it is also an automatic loss for the player.

Play then proceeds around to other players, going clockwise.

The player who rolls the best combination wins. In cases of a tie for the best combination, there is a a shoot-out: the players who tied will play another round of the game until there is a single winner.

The winner gets to stat the next round.

And that is all there is to it! I also like it the way the game is explained in this video.

There are PLENTY of other games you can play with dice. But, Cee-lo one my favorite!

I usually buy dice by the 100, so after I teach people, I can give them their own set.

-- Mark Krawczuk

[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2014]

100 Red Dice

Available from Amazon

Wall Mount Thread Checker

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01BOH69NY/seanmichaelragan-20play episode download
27 May, by claudia[ —]

What’s in my bag? — Elise Bramich

27 May, by claudia[ —]

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Elise Bramich is a British comedy producer freelancing at broadcast production companies and working with comedians on scripts, live shows, podcasts, and YouTube sketches (still a thing). She is currently interested in developing world-building sitcom scripts that ignore The Great Social Pause and get on with being funny in their own little big universes …

About the bag

The Kanken Laptop 15 ($115)
This Kanken is sneakily a bit larger than your standard one and includes that all important laptop pocket for keeping documents unrumpled and providing some expandability (you can def get a pair of pyjamas/a stack of comedy flyers/ a Zoom recorder and mic in there too). This one has served as my One Bag for 10 days in Spain, 2 weeks in Thailand and my everyday work bag for 3 years now. I’ve come to love its cutesy beaten up look — a bit like my own jaded and still earnest demeanour toward my industry.

What’s inside the bag

Rubick’s Void: I have half memorised how to solve the cube and so it still provides something of a puzzle with a half remembered algorithmic method drifting in my brain. I love something to fiddle with and if my phone dies or I want to let my thoughts drift this is a great way to do it. I think everyone should have a non electronic fidget gadget be that knitting, drawing or a toy like this. Zoning out is great way to solve problems like plot lines in scripts, gags or trying to think in a less linear fashion. Like the whole holding a stone in your hand until you fall asleep thing. This Void version of the cube is lighter than most as it has no middle and can even be carabiner-ed onto the front of a bag.

Tape measure: I am a sucker for a charity shop/thrift store (usually in Edinburgh for the Fringe festival) but given I’m often in a rush running to another show or wearing some sort of complicated dungarees/boiler suit, I love having a tape measure so I can check out whether something might fit or not and then take a punt on it. If it doesn’t fit it’ll get recirculated to another charity shop as soon as possible and hopefully the lifecycle will continue! This one is a strong fibre glass make from China picked up from my local sewing shop.

Heart Shaped Carabiner: Are these not the most universally of useful things? This one slots through my zip handles to provide a mild added level of security when on the tube or on buses, which is good if you always have memory cards and drives full of rushes in there that are IRREPLACABLE. Lightweight, functional and acting as little mementoes of trips, I have a green heart shaped one from Flying Tiger, a mini pink one from a Loqi packable shopping bag and a fun gold key one from Ale Hop.

Muji PP Cream Pot Triple: My makeup routine is a slap it on and go affair and I often have that horrible moment in the toilets before a meeting as I glimpse my face and realise I probably don’t look professional enough. My go-to products in here are Maybelline baby face primer that mattifies in seconds and dries quick which is good because my internal mantra is almost always “Elise, we don’t have time for this”; The Ordinary foundation which does wonders on rosacea and blushes of shame when you can’t remember a comedian’s name even when you know you love their tight 5; and Lush shimmer powder which can be used under eye as an illuminator, on the lids as a pretty colour and even on the décolletage to activate Party Mode. I top this pot up every couple of weeks and I’ve never had a spillage yet.

-- Elise Bramich

4AA Pack-Away Lantern

27 May, by mark[ —]

During a recent 27-hour-long power outage, we rushed out to find emergency lighting. While most people grabbed the biggest lanterns they could find, we centered on these handy Pack-Away Lanterns. They touted long run-times on 4 x AA batteries (20 hours on low and 8 hours on high), and they delivered!

We clipped three to our dining room light to provide plenty of light for card games. Then, we used one of the lanterns to provide overnight light for our cat that is scared of the dark (a true fraidy-cat!).

The lanterns are small, and the top pushes down for packing and storage. I throw one in my backpack any time I head to an event.

There’s a wire loop/handle at the top that folds flat, and a small clip that can be attached to the handle. The clip could be used for attaching the light almost anywhere, like the inside of a car hood, a belt loop, or chandelier.

-- Steve Simpson

[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2014]

Coleman 4AA Packaway Mini LED Lantern

Victorinox Recruit Pocketknife

26 May, by mark[ —]

The Victorinox Recruit has been my daily carry for several years now, and as any carrier of a multi-tool will tell you, there are several times a day to utilize these tools. What, I feel, separates the Recruit out from other multi-tools is its size. My job doesn’t give me the opportunity to carry a full-size multi-tool outside my pants on my belt. In a business casual workplace, jeans are not the norm. The Recruit can fit easily in the pocket of a pair of chinos, better yet by a pair with the fifth “coin” pocket. While it may lack the number of tools of a more traditional multi-tool, I find it has the essentials I need to get through my day. With a bottle opener, can opener, box opener, two size screwdrivers, toothpick (which I use several times a day), tweezers, and a large and small blade, there are very few daily tasks that can’t be tackled with the Recruit.

-- Paul

Victorinox Swiss Army Recruit Knife #53241

Kuretake No. 13 Brush Pen

25 May, by mark[ —]

I’ve been a brush pen user for years. I love them. They’re my primary sketching tool & I always have at least one in my bag and one in my car. My first was the Pentel Pocket Brush. From there I moved on to the Pentel Standard Brush and the Kuretake No. 8. Then I was given a Kuretake No. 13.

I still have all the others, and still use them, but the Kuretake No. 13 is the finest of the lot. Being able to move, in one stroke, from a thin, fine line to a fat, smushed line is what makes all brush pens so fun. Even my least favorite brush pen is a blast to use but it’s the Kuretake that gives me the most control. My thin lines are thinner, my fat lines are more consistent and I get more variety between the two than with any other pen. Further, after a broad, smushed stroke, the bristles return to shape immediately, allowing me to move onto a more delicate line without having to dab the brush back into shape on a piece of scrap paper.

Further, the ink flow is just right. A lot of brush pens, with a full ink cartridge, have a tendency to be “wet.” When you press the bristles down for a fat line, the ink can puddle on the page, leaving a shiny wet line just begging to be smeared across your sketch. Great, if that’s the effect you want. I rarely do. I like an ink line that’s controllable and dries quickly enough that I can move around the page without worrying too much about where to put my hand.

The pen uses water-based dye ink refill cartridges and the default ink is just a bit blacker than the default Pentel ink & reacts similarly with water. Because I’ve ruined two Pentel brush pens trying DIY refilling tricks, I’ve no idea how well the Kuretake reacts to other inks. If someone wants to try it, please let us know how it goes.



-- Barry McWilliams

[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2014]

Kuretake Sumi Brush Pen

Available from Amazon

Deep YouTube/Future self meditation/Vanishing Asia

24 May, by claudia[ —]

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Deep YouTube
My daughter told me about Astronaut.io. It’s a website that plays a few seconds of random YouTube videos with almost no views — like this video of a cafe in Vietnam with 1 view, and this one of goats eating weeds near a freeway in rural Japan with 0 views. After a few seconds, it starts playing another video. It’s addictive. Many of the videos aren’t in English, which is a plus for me. — MF

Meet your future self
I tend to use meditation to help me slow down and ease into discomfort or when I feel my anxiety flaring up, but I came across this 30-minute Life Visioning meditation on my Aura app and felt completely transformed after it. At first the breathing exercises and noises felt hokey, but it helped to put me into an almost hypnotic relaxed state, and then the narrator took me down a dark tunnel to meet my “future self” and I was able to see her so clearly! I was so moved by this whole practice. I’ve done it three times since, and each time I discover some new desire or goal that is buried within me. — CD

Time travel in Asia
With shameless self-promotion I recommend you follow my new Vanishing Asia Instagram. Every day I post one amazing photo I have taken of an exotic part of Asia that is disappearing because of modernity. The images are a few of the many thousand that will appear in my Vanishing Asia book later this year. In the meantime enjoy this ride in a time machine. Also available on TumblrFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. — KK

Cheap stock images and videos
Jumpstory is a royalty-free stock image and video service with millions of photos, videos, and illustrations that you can use for websites, books, presentations, and more. The images have been curated from public domain sources, and they’ve done a great job of tagging and organizing everything. I use Jumpstory images on my website, Boing Boing. A lifetime subscription is $99. — MF

Completely improvised comedy special
Before I watched Middleditch and Schwartz, the very little improv I was exposed to was not enjoyable. I get anxious when jokes don’t land and then I sympathy laugh and the whole thing is awkward. But now I’m stuck at home, and in desperate need of laughs and this have been the best comedy special I’ve seen. It’s like they’ve harnessed the superpowers of a childlike imagination and then threw it into adult situations, and it’s hilarious and magical to watch. — CD

Scenarios for the next 9 months
High uncertainty ahead, for sure. There is no consensus on what will happen in the next 9 months. Every scientist, economist, sociologist, and futurist disagree on what might happen, but we still need to make plans as individuals and organizations. A very helpful tool in a reign of high uncertainty is to use scenario planning. The best set of near-term scenarios I’ve seen is this one, Scenarios for the Covid-19 Future, available as 45 slides, which include instructions on how to use scenarios. You can’t predict what will happen, but you can rehearse for four different possibilities. — KK

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson

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