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Posted by Arthur Young-Spivey  |  11 Feb 2014  |  Comments (7)


Every once in a blue moon, some piece of 3D software comes along and just makes one wonder "How'd I ever survive without it?" The Foundry's new plug in for MODO, MeshFusion, is what I'd consider to be the most amazing piece of software written in a decade. I know it's a bold statement to make, but for the designer in me, it's brought something to the table that no one else has quite put together so eloquently.

When it comes to 3D software, MODO is an amazing rendering, sculpting and animation design suite, featuring materials systems for renderings that work very much like Photoshop. It also runs native on Mac, PC, and Linux and, if nothing else, fits nicely anywhere into the design pipeline that's asked of it. I wouldn't even know where to begin when it comes to the list of features in Modo but let's start with just a few:

Tool Pipeline: Gives the ability to create your own tools based upon existing ones. No scripting needed, just pick and choose the features need and go. This offers an almost unlimited amount of combinations of functionality. This quick video showcases the capabilities.

Particles and Dynamics: Just scratching the surface on these opens up the possibility to help set up shots for renderings in a whole new way. Think of creating a table; add a flat surface above it and some curves above that. Now add the option for the table to be a Passive Rigid Body, the flat surface to be a Softbody and the curves to be an emitter... now let gravity take over. The flat surface falls and wraps around the table and the particles add rain all calculated in a matter of minutes. Now add textures and you're well on your way to rendering out an outdoor picnic scene.

Fall-offs and Action Centers: Think of the 2D gradient tool in Photoshop... now think of the possibilities of this in 3D. Throw in the ability to add in the Move/Scale/Rotation based upon what's selected and it's a field day for 3D design.

Rendering Booleans and Volumetrics: Creating that "Just in Time" photorealistic shot always requires some extra finessing that usually requires a work around. If nothing else this aspect of Modo just makes the creation of a product shot that much easier. The Render Boolean works by using geometry to cut away from geometry (think about a block of swiss cheese), that can be used in both renderings and animations. Volumetric can be used to add smoke, fog, clouds, in ways that use to take a ton of postproduction work in Photoshop, After Effects...etc.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


As we saw with the Hungarian dude making cutting boards, when you need to crank out the same item thousands of times, you'll make a jig to speed your work. And if you've got a workbench like Ron Paulk's, you'll use the dog holes to clamp stop-blocks, straightedges and fixtures. But Woodpeckers Inc., the Ohio-based manufacturer of small-run woodworking tools, is betting that there's a class of craftspeople who haven't gotten to bench dogs yet. For them they've created the X-Mat Assembly System.


The X-Mat is a simple 12”×12” square made of chemical-resistant resin and gridded up with X-shaped sockets. By interlocking multiple X-mats and dropping in a bunch of Woodpeckers' accessories—L-Supports, box clamps, anchors and painting fingers—the idea is that you can quickly create temporary jig set-ups for assembly. My first thought was "Who would buy this?" but after watching the video, I must admit there are a lot of times I could've used something like this:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Jan 2014  |  Comments (3)


Whether you're an ID student working wood or an architecture student making foamcore models, you need a pencil to mark dimensions on the material prior to cutting it. And you quickly learn that on high-tolerance projects, a regular and unsharpened pencil can have you off by as much as 1/16th, or worse if you're a sloppy cutter; the things need to be kept sharp.

So next you figure mechanical pencils are the way to go for accuracy. But mechanical pencil leads always seem to break off when they're jostling around in your ArtBin or toolbox, and those little plastic tubes that hold the replacement leads like to disappear when you're pulling an all-nighter. Plus a mechanical pencil lead has the same problem as conventional pencils—they're worthless for marking on black foamcore or darker woods like walnut.

One potential solution is the Accutrax Pencil Blade, a piece of graphite shaped like a utility knife blade.



Posted by An Xiao Mina  |  17 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

Palette-HERO.jpgPalette buttons can be re-arranged and customized by the user.

As any artist, designer or technologist will tell you, we rely on a wide variety of software in our day to day lives, from the Adobe Creative Suite to some sort of office bundle, as well as music and movie editing software. Each of these programs has custom controls on the software side, but on the hardware side we have the same set of tools: a keyboard and a mouse.

And while the multiple buttons of a keyboard are endlessly adaptable, that same sort of logic doesn't apply in other interactive environments. Think, for instance, about the vast difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle, or playing a video game on Playstation vs. operating a remote control for a television. Although the input devices and mechanisms share some obvious, similarities, the hardware experience varies substantially.


Which is why I was excited to learn about Palette, a "freeform controller" made of movable, interchangeable parts. Starting with the building blocks of buttons, dials and sliders, Palette allows users to create custom controllers based on how they want to interact with the computer.

The minimal aesthetic belies the original inspiration behind Palette. "Looking back at old transistor radios and war era type machines," noted CEO Calvin Chu, who observed that these devices were "really robust." "Why not make a way that even with all these different use cases, we could abstract these elements and rearrange them in different ways, just like Lego blocks?"


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Jan 2014  |  Comments (1)


A bandsaw is the go-to shop fixture if you're cutting an intricate shape out of wood. But there's a size limit as to what you can get up onto the bed and maneuver with your hands, in a manner that's safe for both you and the machine. Imagine if you had to cut a 16-foot beam or a log for a log cabin, for instance.

To get around this, Italian production-tool manufacturer MD Dario has come up with an ingenious solution: Mount an entire bandsaw on a two-section arm with ball-bearing joints at all three connection points.


By taking this moutain-comes-to-Mohammed approach, a single operator can quickly and accurately move the saw around while the workpiece remains mobile. In the video below, fast-forward to 1:07 to get to the good part:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 Jan 2014  |  Comments (3)


We human beings enjoy making things rectilinear, which is why you're reading this on a glass rectangle while sitting at a wooden rectangle in a rectangle-shaped room that you entered by passing through a rectangle. So as soon as we could figure out how to turn trees into neat wooden rectangles, we did, by eventually coming up with the circular saw blade and the sawmill.

But before the circular saw blade became the preferred method for turning logs into boards, we tried some pretty kooky things, like this:


That ten-bladed monstrosity is a steam-powered vertical frame saw, and some American yahoo invented it in 1801. Depending on how the blades were spaced, it could provide boards of different thicknesses.


By 1809 the invention had spread to England, and by 1821, the Netherlands. In Dutch the machine was called a "raamzaag," literally, "window saw," as the manual one-bladed version it was based on looked like a window frame bisected by a saw. Several years ago the Dutch Steam Engine Museum actually restored one and got it working. The video they shot of it isn't terribly thrilling, but does give you an idea of what an ordeal it was to operate the thing:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


Of the power tools I own, this diminutive Makita impact driver is one of my favorites. I recently had to install a Murphy Bed and this thing drove lag screws into the subfloor like I was hammering brad nails. As someone who cut his teeth with bulky, cordless, keyed-chuck power drills with no hammering action, that something this small could pack so much punch has always amazed me.


I always pictured a powerful little leprechaun inside making the magic happen; but as it turns out, the impact mechanism's a bit more prosaic. Nick Moore, whose YouTube channel is dedicated to sharing "Science on a budget, [to] take a closer look at the world we live in," cut the housing away on an impact driver extension to show you how it works. Pretty cool:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Jan 2014  |  Comments (5)


Moving sheet goods is a huge pain in the neck, particularly for shorter guys like me with a wingspan that leaves something to be desired. But even for you bigger folk, there's nothing ergonomic about toting a 4x8 sheet around your shop or the jobsite.

The Gorilla Gripper is a cleverly-designed handle that allows you to lift and carry sheet goods using your back and legs, while preserving your fingers and toes. There are tons of YouTube videos showing the thing, but I like the following low-res one the best because it shows the actual applications in the field:

I don't think I'd have the balls to try hoisting it up a ladder, like the guy did in the video, but I'd try everything else they showed.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2013  |  Comments (1)


Making bent plywood forms is an involved business, even not accounting for the steaming. Industrial practitioners have expensive hydraulic presses, whereas shops making one-offs or limited runs have to construct both male and female purpose-built forms; and the more complicated the final shape, the crazier the clamping process gets.

British company Curvomatic seeks to make bentwood creation easier with its titular product. A series of identical metal extrusions are fitting together into a sort of snakelike fence, in most cases taking the place of the topmost form. The idea behind the multi-pronged solution is to provide even pressure, simplify clamping—in some cases band clamps can be used rather than bar clamps—and save material, for applications where the Curvomatic can supplant the second, concave form.

It also allows you to create curved shapes with undercuts, which would require at least three forms to achieve using conventional methods. Check out the video to see it in action:


Posted by Ray  |   6 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)

technique.jpgThe first result of a Google Image Search for "Technique"

"Is technique an example of overcoming 'bad' design, or is technique itself a form of design?"

So begins Sanjy009's inquiry into "Technique vs. Design," proceeding to illustrate the topic with a couple of examples, which have driven much of the discussion thus far. He starts with an anecdote about driver's ed in Scandinavia: "Sweden teaches drivers to open their car doors with the opposite arm, so their bodies are facing backwards and the driver is better able to check their blindspot before opening the door" (it turns out it might be Amsterdam; no confirmation as of press time), followed by a discussion of the ergonomics on musical instruments.

The latter serves as the primary talking point; to Michael DiTullo's point that "we are due for something new, but even most of the purely digital tools mimic analog inputs," I would note that:

1.) I think the Ondes Martenot is a good example of how an avant-garde instrument still requires an intuitive UI: It's essentially a theremin (i.e. a sine-wave generator) that has a graphic interface, as seen in this video overview (it starts a little slow, but gets pretty cool at 3:55; by the end, the interviewer notes that "It's definitely the most 'alive'-sounding electronic instrument... It has a very human quality to it.") Radiohead fans might recognize the coveted synthesizer, which multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood has played on every one of their albums since Kid A; it also features heavily in his solo side projects.

2.) The Tenori-On also comes to mind—the short write-up on MoMA's Inside/Out blog (they've acquired it in their permanent collection) offers a nice summary of how the 16×16 grid actually works.

technique-instruments.jpgClockwise from top left: Ondes Martenot via Wikimedia Commons; Jonny Greenwood via Wikimedia Commons; Tenori-Onvia Wikimedia commons; Theremin player


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  26 Nov 2013  |  Comments (6)


I love Forstner bits as much as I hate spade bits. Is there anything as satisfying as boring that smooth-sided, flat-bottomed hinge-cup hole in a cabinet-door-to-be? If your application requires you to go all the way through your workpiece, sure, you can get some nasty tear-out; my solution is to use a backer board of wood a different color than your piece. That way, when you see differently-colored shavings start to come up, you know you've gone all the way through.

All Forstner bits are not created equal, of course. I own several makes: Irwin, Freud, and some crappy no-name Made in China and Made in Taiwan bits I bought at the local mom-and-pop hardware store (before I was thrown out and permanently banned after getting into an argument with the owner over a sink aerator. Ah, NYC). The Freud seems to do the best job of evacuating the chips, while the others require more corkscrewing/hula-hooping and/or mid-drilling vacuuming. I know Freud manufactures in Western Europe, and I suspect Irwin manufactures in China, perhaps explaining the quality discrepancy. And now I've caught wind of a kind of super Forstner bit, this one out of Germany.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Nov 2013  |  Comments (1)


If this video was just about a guy who makes things using only pre-1949 shop tools, it would be awesome (check out the wicked picket-cutting machine at 1:47). If it was just about a guy who can turn 1,200 cornerblocks by hand with machine-like accuracy, it would be awesome. And if it was just about a guy who teaches kids who have been thrown out of multiple reform schools how to make things, it would also be awesome. But it's all of those things and a fourth, much more important thing. Like inventor Ralph Baer, craftsman Eric Hollenbeck explains with brutal honesty why he continues to do what he's done for so long, and while his reason is wholly different from Baer's, it touches on a truth a portion of us will well recognize. It's no surprise this video is a Vimeo Staff Pick:

The beautifully-shot video was done by filmmaker Ben Proudfoot (who at 23, is perhaps too tender to immediately grasp why Hollenbeck didn't want to go to town for supplies). As for Hollenbeck, he runs Blue Ox Millworks and Blue Ox Community High School out of Eureka, California. For those of you living in the region, on the 29th and 30th of this month they'll be hosting their biannual Craftsman's Days local showcase event.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Nov 2013  |  Comments (3)


For those of you with access to a full shop—I'm looking at you, ID students—if I gave you a half-dollar coin and asked you to turn it into a wearable ring, which tools would you turn to? The drill press and bench grinder are probably the first to come to mind. That's why it's all the more amazing that this unnamed craftsperson did the same using little more than a hammer and a handheld drill (old-school style at that, corded and with keyed chuck) with a variety of attachments, some store-bought, some seriously jury-rigged.

The safety-minded among you will cringe—this man has no regard for his fingers, and while he never damages them on camera, it does look like the "Don't Do—" part of an industrial safety training video. Yet you can't help but be impressed by the results, and by the sheer range of uses this guy gets out of his drill.

Posted by Ray  |  19 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)


In the early chapters of The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski speculates about the uncertain origin of a certain species of writing implement, proceeding to chronicle a fascinating (albeit at-times long-winded) account of its eponymous subject matter. A civil engineer by training and professor by trade, the author takes the pencil as a vehicle for tracing a loose history of his chosen profession over the course of some 300-pages.

As in Petroski's account, FiftyThree's latest product represents far more than the everyday object that sits on or in our desk. Its name and form factor transcend mere etymology and superficial skeuomorphism: "Pencil" captures the very essence of its namesake—typically the first tool that we use in earnest as a means of recording words and drawings—a stylus that significantly expands the power of their breakthrough app, Paper. But beyond a tightly integrated hardware-software ecosystem, Pencil marks a first step towards smarter accessories in general.

FiftyThree-Pencil_Walnut-HERO.jpg"We really want the materials to be authentic—it's a big part of our brand, craftsmanship and authenticity." -Jon Harris

Pixels, in some ways, represent a digital equivalent of graphite—discrete pigment deposited on a virtual surface, which can be restored to its original state by erasing these particles. If the physical evidence of a Dixon Ticonderoga consists of an infinitesimal amount of matter transferred from one object to another, then the digital traces of, say, the brush tool (in your sketching software of choice) are even less tangible. With their first product, Paper, a versatile drawing app, FiftyThree harnessed this unseen magic to reveal the potential of the iPad as a mobile creation device.

But the artifact itself endures, and that much was clear at FiftyThree's New York HQ last week, where co-founders Georg Petschnigg and Andrew Allen offered us a hands-on demo of the production version of Pencil, which launches this very morning; Director of Hardware John Ikeda and Design Co-Founder Jon Harris were also on the line via videochat from Seattle. The handsome Bluetooth-enabled stylus comes in sustainably-sourced walnut and black brushed aluminum variations, and it's hard to decide which one is superior. Ikeda clearly prefers the former: "We try not to coat or treat the wood too heavily—just enough to protect it from humidity and those kinds of thing—but what's really nice about them is that after a handling them for a while, they take on their own character."

FiftyThree-Pencil_Walnut-material.jpgLike many of his colleagues at FiftyThree, including the three co-founders, Ikeda previously worked at Microsoft: "We always wanted to build a product that we could describe with the word 'patina!'"


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Nov 2013  |  Comments (5)


Meet my friend Brad, he's a pilot

The drill bits I break the most are the 1/8" ones I use for pre-drilling. Probably because I keep buying those cheap Ryobi bits (I like the hex shank), and I never stepped up to a more expensive bit because I assume I'm going to break it anyway.

Well, consider my game changed. From woodworking madman Izzy Swan comes this useful tip: How to drill pilot holes without using a drill bit at all!

Jeez Louise! The brad nail I could see working, but the framing nail? I wouldn't believe it if I hadn'ta seen it. And while I guess this is more of an "If you're in a pinch" tip as opposed to a permanent replacement for drill bits, this is bound to come in handy when you're working on something after the hardware store's already closed.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Nov 2013  |  Comments (5)


Thor's mighty hammer, Mjölnir, was forged from magic metal in a workshop of the gods, right? Well, not this latest one; it was TIG-welded out of chromoly steel in a workshop in Burbank.


Tony Swatton is a California-based master blacksmith who runs an unusual roster of employees, with a "Warlock of Animal Fibers" working alongside conventional machinists and swordsmiths. Swatton's Sword & Stone operation creates custom armor, weapons and props for Hollywood; if you need an historically accurate medeival broadsword, an anodized 14th-Century suit of armor or a silver Valkyrie's circlet with an agate centerpiece, S&S is your spot.

While they were not the ones contracted to make the version of Thor's hammer used in the forthcoming movie, Swatton & co. took it upon themselves to make a convincing replica as a testament of their skills. (Every week they make a new mythical weapon, and this week Mjölnir's number was up.) Watch as they turn chromoly, aluminum, leather and a rod of allthread into a lead-shot filled 250-pound beast, and use it to smite some of Thor's worst enemies like a lava lamp, a soda can and a watermelon:


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |   7 Nov 2013  |  Comments (4)


At this point, any observant tech ethnographer knows that no one leaves their home without at least three things: wallet, key and cell phone. But lately, with the kind of short term battery life that smart phones have, I've noticed that more people are now adding another essential: some way to charge the phone. That might be a solar generator, an extra battery, a USB battery or even just a USB cord that you can plug into a power source when necessary.

But anyone who's done fieldwork knows that finding a charge can be difficult. Sure, solar panels can help, but only if it's sunny. Finding a way to keep your phone charged can mean the difference between having accurate GPS and connectivity in the field and returning to the days of paper notes and navigating by a compass. Which is why I was excited to learn about the FlameStower, which made the rounds a few weeks ago.


Posted by erika rae  |   6 Nov 2013  |  Comments (7)


The design process is such a wacky, open-source process that it's easy to get lost in the creativity and excitement of a new idea and forgo the basics. But—as we all know—they're called basics for a reason. Recently, we've seen designers bring their design processes to a new environment in an attempt to bring their ideas to the top—the classroom... but not as students.

Professors are bringing their own projects-in-progress to the students in an attempt to educate on the importance of the design process. As we investigated with Kickstarter's role in Bruce Tharp's entrepreneurial industrial design course and his project, the "Cut Once" ruler, it's obvious that professors are also picking up a thing or two when it comes to revisiting the basics of the design process.


Now, Karl Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who has been teaching product design courses for 25 years, has a hands-on classroom experience has a massively open online course (MOOC) to thank for his newest design: Belle-V, the newest addition to the long line of ice cream scoop evolutions. Designed in collaboration with Lunar, Ulrich has developed a scoop that's righty/lefty friendly—and easy on the eyes.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Nov 2013  |  Comments (8)


It takes balls to redesign a screw, if you'll pardon my French. The incumbency of standardization is a difficult hurdle to overcome, particularly if you're going to change the screwhead pattern into something new; I don't know anyone who enjoys having to change driver bits from Phillips to #2 Phillips to square-drive to Torx, but different manufacturers' ideas of what shape will drive best without stripping necessitate it.

Still, a team of guys comprised of an industrial designer, a mechanical engineer, a contractor and "some business guys" reckoned they could invent a better deck screw, and having put in two years of development time, they'll shortly be bringing it to market.


They've named their screw Outlaw, and it's easy to see why: The driver system doesn't look like any you've ever seen. While it's hexagonal, like an Allen key, it's also tiered, which technically provides 18 points of contact between the bit and the screw head. This, they reckon, will make it strip-proof. (I do wonder, though, what the lack of cam-out will do if the screw is accidentally driven in an irresistible-force-meets-immovable-object scenario; will the head break off?)


The second benefit of the Outlaw bit/head design is that screws will stay on the driver non-magnetically, like it does with a square-drive set-up, allowing one-handed driving. Maybe I'm just a klutz, but whenever I need to drill one-handed with a conventional Phillips-head screw-—usually when I'm up on a ladder and have to stretch—that's always when the screw comes unseated from the bit and dangles from it magnetically at a weird angle, which is almost more irritating than if it would just fall off.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Nov 2013  |  Comments (3)


I am that common breed of DIY jerk that uses sheetrock screws for everything; I'm more handyman than craftsman. Were I the latter, I'd probably have a toolbox full of fasteners by Spax, the Mercedes of screw manufacturers and self-proclaimed "specialist of joining technologies." Spax has been manufacturing fasteners since 1967—its parent company has been for even longer, at nearly two centuries—and makes screws for just about every material you can think of: Softwood, hardwood, treated lumber, MDF, sheetrock, sheet metal. Head styles come in flat head, pan head or washer head, driver styles range from Phillips to Torx to hex-head to what looks like a proprietary take on Pozidrive, and the finishes offered correspond with whether you're using their screws indoors or outdoors.


The key innovation of a Spax screw is the wicked-looking serrated edges on the first few coils of the threads. These obviate the need for pre-drilling and preclude splitting, as the serrations cleanly cut into the material rather than shredding it. The serrations also mean the screws require less torque to drive which, for pros who are driving several hundred or thousand of these on a job, will reduce the time spent swapping batteries on your tool.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Oct 2013  |  Comments (2)


When did protective eyewear get so sexy? I haven't purchased a pair in fifteen years; now in the market for a new pair of safety glasses, I stumbled across Uvex's Pheos, above. The things practically look like they were designed by Oakley; I wonder if they took they step of bonding the one-piece lens to the hinges because it confers some structural benefit, or simply because it looks cool.


On a more functional front, Uvex recently released their AcoustiMaxx model, which features stereo Bluetooth earbuds. For shop guys that need to constantly field phone calls, I guess this is the hands-free way to go. I'm not sure how good the system is at filtering out machine noise, but the company claims to deliver "crystal clear, acoustically-isolated in-ear voice communication through its dual microphone technology."




Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Oct 2013  |  Comments (1)


As someone whose primary transportation mode is walking, I wish sneakers were designed more like cars. When your car's tires wear out, you pop them off and install new ones (or remold them if they're expensive); but every eight months I have to toss an entire pair of kicks because the treads are gone, and there's nothing for it. No local business I know of will re-sole a $100 pair of running shoes.

Rock climbing shoes are a different story, as they can be resoled and repaired. Places like The Gear Fix, which is three hours south of Core77's Portland HQ in the city of Bend, Oregon, make their living by repairing outdoor gear: bikes, climbing equipment, ski equipment, camping stoves, backpacking gear, and yes, climbing kicks. And re-soling the latter does not look easy, as it's a blend of art and science. An anonymous TGF employee undergoing an apprenticeship on how to do half-soles posted a video showing the process:

There isn't much actual material used, but just look at all of the equipment required, from the wooden inserts to the hand tools to the machinery to the cool little floor-stands. Then there's the learning time, of course; the unnamed apprentice in the video had been at it for about five months prior to shooting it. So how much do you think it costs for a job like that? I was well surprised by the low price: "Basically $35 for a pair of soles," writes the shop, "and $10 each if you need the rands / toe caps replaced." That's nuts.

A couple of climbing shoe notes:

- If you're wondering why this particular repair is half-sole and not full-sole, the area you see being replaced—from the ball of the foot to the toe—is where most of the wear typically occurs in a climbing shoe.

- The "rands" refers to the parts of rubber above the sole, like the "sidewalls" of the toe, for instance.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


I was impressed when I first saw furniture designer George Berry, a/k/a "The Wood Guy" demonstrate how to cut a circle out using a table saw. (It's an oldie but a goodie, we'll embed it at the bottom.) But I've just witnessed something far crazier: A guy cutting out a wooden sphere using a circular saw.

Izzy Swan is a retired furniture shop owner who now spends his days designing and building contraptions for fun. One such contraption is what you're about to see. "With a little redneck ingenuity," Swan writes, "I built this simple jig that turned my circular saw in to a ball making machine!"

There are two looks at how he did it. The first is artistic...


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   7 Oct 2013  |  Comments (3)


Don't let the nickname fool you: Cleo "Whimpy" Hogan is a retired U.S. Army Major and combat veteran with two tours of duty under his belt. But since the 1990s, Kentucky-based Hogan has been involved in the agribusiness of beekeeping, and currently raises both Italian and Russian honeybees in such numbers that he can generate 160 gallons of honey in a single harvest.

Hogan sells not only the honey, but also the bees. To keep costs down he makes his own beehives, which are fairly straightforward woodworking projects that can be done with conventional tools; but one thing that previously stymied him was how to do the cove cut required for a concave, parabola-shaped handle.

Hogan and his pal Lawrence Bartley figured out how to do it, using just a circular saw and a simple jig:

Obviously you're not going to want to do this with your favorite circular saw, but here's the perfect app for that swap-meet Skilsaw gathering dust in the garage. And while any of you ID students oughta be able to reverse-engineer the jig just by watching the video, Hogan will send the plans to fellow beekeepers free of charge. His e-mail address is cchoganjr [at] scrtc -dot- com.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  26 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


Ron Paulk has already got his own following, independent of Core77; while we don't have the demographic breakdown, we assume they're mostly DIY'ers, builders, and fellow contractors. These video extras from our chat with Ron will be of interest to Ron's following, as we get into some topics that Ron hasn't covered on his own YouTube channel: The surprising story of how he decided to become a contractor in the first place, what it was that made him expand into design, and why YouTube is an invaluable learning tool.

The summer job that changed Ron's life, and made him realize that building stuff was better than grad school:

Why (and how) Ron expanded into design and doing his own CAD work:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)


When we interviewed builder/designer Ron Paulk on his Mobile Woodshop and Paulk Workbench, there were some tangential things we discussed that we couldn't fit into the previous videos. We didn't want the footage to go to waste, as we thought some of you might be interested in hearing these side conversations; so we've cut them into short, one- and two-question videos.

First up, Ron discusses how he avoids the "overdesign" problem:

Ron tells us what the hardest part is about designing a large storage system, explains his design process, and tells us where he looks when he's seeking answers to problems: