If you've ever seen a dust-collecting cyclone in person (I checked one out in Dino Makropoulos' New Jersey shop), you'll be surprised at how simple and jeez-I-could-build-wunna-these it looks.
Woodworker J. Phil Thien figured he could build a dust cyclone, and make an improvement to boot. Thien's innovation was to add, at the top of the conical chamber, a baffle to reduce what's called "scrubbing"; that's when dust swirling around in the cyclone, rather than gathering on the bottom, burps back up into the top (and hence into the shop vac, the place you're trying to keep it out of). By providing a circumferential slit in the baffle for the material to drop down into (the centrifugal force of the cyclone drives the dust towards the edges), but with the baffle blocking most of the bottom from the top, he figured he'd fix the scrubbing problem.
Two years and fifty prototypes after conceiving of it, Thien had produced a baffle that was up to snuff. With the shop vac on and his baffle attached to the cyclonic intermediary, he found he was getting very little dust making it into the vac; most of it wound up in the bottom of the cyclone. Despite his success, Thien has opted not to bring his design into production, and since its creation dozens of woodworkers have built Thien Cyclone Baffles based on his design.
Wanna see it in action? This guy below built one with plexiglas sides so we could see the vortex/dropdown action:
By the way, although Thien has opted not to commercialize his design, he has patented it. So don't you Quirky Kickstarters go getting any ideas.
I'm sick of sawdust. I use a circular saw and a router by Hitachi with hacked-on plastic ports that I can attach to my Ridgid shop vac, and frankly speaking, the dust collection sucks. The problem is either the vac, the port connection or the design of my (admittedly low-cost) power tools themselves, as they're not designed for the stellar dust collection of the much-pricier Festool offerings.
For starters, let's say it's the vac. Cleaning out a shop vac filter is a holy PITA, as just using an air compressor isn't enough; you really need to blow from inside the filter while scraping between the vanes, which takes freaking forever, to say nothing of the mess created. But if you don't do it on a regular basis the sawdust trapped in the vanes becomes impacted, and your vacuum's efficiency drops way down. You also need to do this outdoors (no easy feat in my crowded Manhattan neighborhood), unless you plan on vacuuming up the mess again with the same vac, defeating the entire purpose of your exercise.
If you don't clean out the filter, you wind up with a weak-ass vacuum, which means the tool it's hooked up to blows more dust all over the place. This might not be a problem for those of you with dedicated shop areas, but since the only workspace I have is in the photography studio I run, I need to eliminate every mote of dust before the next shooter comes in. So I've been searching for an alternative.
All of you that work in small shops that cut wood have heard of cyclones, which drastically reduce the amount of dust that clogs up your shop vac's filter. The idea is that by attaching your vac to this conical intermediary, then feeding a second hose to the actual tool, most of the dust (and particularly the fine particles) gets sucked away by the vortex and into a bucket for easy disposal. Using physics, or aerodynamics I guess, even a modestly-powered vacuum can create a powerful cyclone. Just ask Dyson.
There are a bunch of cyclones on the market, but which to buy? I was able to find just three options within my modest budget: Oneida's Dust Deputy, ClearVue's Mini CV06 and Rockler's Dust Right Vortex, all for around the same price of 80-90 bucks. Oneida's of course a prominent manufacturer of vacuums, ClearVue's larger CVMAX system has an awesome reputation in big shops (though I can't afford a full $1,845 CVMAX system) and Rockler's stuff is pretty hit-and-miss; they're one of those companies that I've found has no problem stocking junk alongside some stellar products, which for some reason pisses me off more than if they'd just sold junk.
What I really wanted for Christmas was a drill press. Being able to drill a hole that's dead-nuts perpendicular to your material is a crucial DIY skill, and one that I can manage most of the time by eyeballing my power drill—but I tend to screw it up when it really counts (i.e. on the last, or most crucial, hole of a project).
In an effort to solve this I wasted my money on the Rockler bushing-based drill guide above, which has way too much slop to be accurate, and the other two get crappy reviews, so I won't be ordering either. But until I can afford the money and space for a drill press, I'll just have to make do.
One of the problems with eyeballing a hand drill is that you can only see the bit from one angle. I just came across this Instructable designed to solve that problem:
Pretty freaking brilliant, I say! Much easier to eyeball if four drill bits are parallel than to guess if just one is crooked. You can probably figure out how to make this on your own, but the full Instructable is here.
Sears Employee: "I'm pretty sure they don't make that...and if they do, we don't sell 'em."
I previously wrote about gunsmithing/hollow-ground screwdriver bits here, and in the two years since, my ever-growing collection has served me well in my machine repair hobby. But a few months ago, as I diversified into larger industrial sewing machines, I began encountering huge screws I had no bits for. (If you have old woodworking machinery, factory machines or similar, you may have encountered the same thing when trying to repair or adjust them.) These screws had heads a half-inch or more in diameter, with slots in odd widths like 0.087"; the largest Brownells bit available is too small by half, in both dimensions.
Googling "Large hollow-ground screwdriver bits" yielded no results. Burning shoe leather didn't pay off either--three local hardware store clerks, two people in the Craftsman section of the local Sears and even a local gunsmith all had no idea where I could find extra-large hollow-ground bits. But finally an old-school mechanic in an online forum turned me on to what I was looking for: They're called "drag link sockets."
A "drag link" is an outdated piece of steering linkage found on utility vehicles like trucks and jeeps. And it's held on with a big-ass machine screw. "Drag link sockets" are therefore just huge hollow-ground bits with a female end that accepts the square drive of a socket wrench, to get the drag links off.
Once I had the appropriate term to Google, I found they're still made and sold by a lot of different manufacturers. Including, of course...Sears Craftsman. Anyways I've titled this post so that the next poor bastard replicating my initial search will find the answer right away.
Last weekend, New York saw the opening of its first ever Museum of Math (MoMATH)—the first one in the States—which, for all its kid-friendly attractions, probably doesn't delve into higher-order phenomena such as, say, Voronoi diagrams, in which a space is divided into cells that correspond to 'seed' points. Each region is defined by being closer to a given seed point than any other, typically resulting in a pattern of abutting irregular polygons dictated by a set of points within a given space, such that their vertices are equidistant from three (or more) points.
Confused? Alan Rorie has designed a software tool to make Voronoi diagrams... into furniture. The San Francisco-based artist/designer explains in his Kickstarter pitch, below:
Splitting firewood with a hand tool is a solved problem—the axe is one of the oldest tools on Earth—but there's still a mess of people experimenting with different ways to do it. Here we'll take a look at a few of these alternate methods, ranging from crazy to clever.
Any homesteader worth their salt will scoff at these, but they're worth including just to see the range of what people have come up with.
The Logmatic Wedge Axe has got a real buy-one-get-one-free kind of vibe, and the video quality is horrible, but it's an earnest attempt to design an easy-to-use tool that concentrates a lot of force on a single point with minimal effort.
The Foot Operated Log Splitter seems like it looked great on paper, but turned out to be underwhelming in reality:
What a sweet gig: Best Made Company manufactures outdoor products at a former chandelier factory in TriBeCa. The guys who work there make axes, among other things, and as part of the testing process they head out into the woods with their creations in tow. What ensues is currently stirring deep envy in your indoor-bound correspondent: chopping wood, getting campfires going, cooking over open flame, knocking back a few beers... I won't spoil the video for you with unnecessarily lengthy descriptions, just take a break and give it a watch:
Depending on your age, you may remember when Macs first impacted desktop publishing in the '80s and '90s. All of a sudden everyone was a graphic designer, empowered with digital tools that meant they didn't have to learn how to wield an X-acto or apply Letraset.
The barrier to entry for industrial design has always been higher, because at a minimum you had to learn how to draft/CAD/3D model. But Autodesk is hoping to lower those barriers by introducing easy-to-use—and free!—modeling software aimed at consumers, no Bachelors of Industrial Design required. This week they launched 123D Design, a cross-platform app (Mac, PC, iPad, and even a browser-based version) designed to get the average Joe up and running with 3D modeling.
To that end, the software includes a bunch of pre-configured models (a robot, a house, and a train for starters) with swappable parts, for those not comfortable starting from scratch. Furthermore, an online library contains dozens of random objects you can download and modify. And for those ready to dive in, they've released a series of video tutorials showing you how to create your own stuff and navigate the software.
When it comes time to realize your model, digital manufacturing companies Shapeways and i.materialise offer in-app printing services. But if you've got your own 3D printer or want to go elsewhere, 123D Design can of course export the all-important .stl file format.
"We believe that everyone is creative," says Samir Hanna, Autodesk's VP of Consumer Products, "and we intend to put easy to use design software in the hands of millions of people so they can create real objects, have fun doing it and then fabricate the things they want and need, just the way they want them."
As I first learned during my stool reupholstery post two years ago, and have been experiencing ever since, the design of your standard metal staple gun sucks. For leverage you need to apply pressure way low on the lever, but if you want the staple driven flush you have to apply a lot of force at the nose, which is on the other end of the tool. This is a bitch, at least for me and my small hands, to accomplish one-handed. While reupholstering stuff I end up using a tack hammer more than I'd like, to correct raised staples.
New-Jersey-based Arrow Fastener Company has redesigned the staple gun in a mechanically-intelligent way: The lever is backwards, so you get maximum leverage on it while pressing downwards in the same spot you do to drive the staple flush.
The FA50elite Forward Action Heavy Duty stapler, as it's called, was designed with input from DIYers: "Some consumers [complained] that other companies' models often make it difficult to precisely place staples. The FA50elite tool addresses this using patented forward action technology; it is easy to fire and allows the user to place his body weight and leverage over the point of impact." As the name suggests, it will fire staples up to size T50 (that's 1/2-inch for Yanks, 12mm for the rest of you) for when you hit those thick, folded corners of upholstery-grade vinyl. Can't wait to get my hands on one of these.
Yet another U.S. city is getting a maker's facility. Seattle's forthcoming MakerHaus is a 10,000-square-foot "creative space designed for fabrication, education, professional services, and co-working," featuring a metal shop, wood shop and digital manufacturing lab featuring a laser cutter, 3D printers and a CNC router.
On the educational side, the membership-based space has a materials library and will offer instructional classes on Rhino, Photoshop, a variety of tools, and even how to navigate Kickstarter.
The best two things about the shop at every art school industrial design department were the array of tools you could never afford, and getting to work with those tools within a community. The worst thing was that you couldn't always work on whatever you wanted, as time was limited and what you built had to fulfill a class assignment. The advent of places like TechShop and now MakerHaus promise the first two things without the hassle of the third.
MakerHaus is scheduled to open their doors on January 7thDecember 6th, and shop-access memberships start at $299 a month for month-to-month folks, with a cheaper $189 per month rate for those signing up for a year.
In a nod to their community-building aspirations, MakerHaus has foregone a generic "Here's our facility" video and have instead chosen to shoot individual creatives within the context of the space. Here's designer Brandon Perhacs explaining what MakerHaus can do for him:
I like watching craftsman and maniac Ronald Walters' woodworking videos for two reasons. Number one is his skill. Number two is because he sounds enough like Parks & Recreation's Ron Swanson that I half-expect him to say things like "Turkey can never beat cow" or "Kendra, I think I will have that third steak."
In any case, if I showed you a bunch of plywood gears like the ones pictured above, you'd probably ask where I had them CNC'd. But Walters cuts his teeth the old-fashioned way: With a freaking scroll saw, following along on a pencil line. His accuracy is pretty nuts—if he were off by a millimeter here and there, he probably wouldn't be able to rotate his pin gear and ring gear assembly at this speed:
I hate using drain snakes, but am forced to annually at the photo studio, where a year's worth of model hair and God-knows-what-else periodically backs up the sink. I've got the $20 one you see above—I'm actually on my third—and the thing is in serious need of the ministrations of an industrial designer. Because of the way the studio's building is piped, clogs seem to build up around 20 feet behind the sink, well inside the walls; although this snake's cable is 25 feet in length, there's no way to tell how much you've got left as it unspools, and more than once the entire thing has deployed, escaping the crappy and easily-breakable clamp. Then you're left with 25 feet of cable you have to manually yank out of the convoluted piping. By the time you're finished you're cursing fluently, covered in sweat, and the bathroom is covered in disgusting brown goo.
It happens infrequently enough that I haven't stepped up to a more expensive solution, but what I really want is a freaking robot that can snake drains. After coming across this video, I'm hoping it will one day be a reality. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University's Center for Biologically Inspired Robotics Research have developed a robot that locomotes through peristalsis, that inchworm-like thing your intestines do to move digested food along. Check it out:
How cool is that, where you can see it wriggling through the clear hose? I realize the idea has a long way to go, and I damn sure wouldn't want to try cleaning the thing off after it had been through 25 feet of pipe, but hopefully the robotics eggheads can work that one out.
In the meantime, if any of you have direct experience with a well-designed auger or drain snake that you swear by, I'm all ears.
Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com
The EasiDrive is an electric screwdriver for people unfamiliar with DIY and power tools, for people who just want to hang a painting, assemble a side table, or attach a coat hook. EasiDrive features the functional enhancements of an easy-alignment tool for drilling and screwing straight, a simple direction toggle for understanding what EasiDrive will do, and depth markers for drilling. Ease of use is improved with focused lighting for better vision, a debris catcher to reduce the mess, and the ability to stand while charging (and with a screw-bit in), to both save space and prevent scratching surfaces.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
Excitedly checking the awards page at work, resulting in a bit of celebration!
What's the latest news or development with your project?
This project was a short CAD and manufacturing skills project at university, and I haven't pushed it further at this stage. I designed it to fit Kärcher's emerging Home Line sub-brand, so I intend to show it to them—I'd love to see the ideas taken into production.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
When we started this project, we were given only sixteen hours to complete the design. That time excluded CAD, manufacturing details and presentation, but it's fair to say there was a fair bit of skepticism in the room!
However, it was truly eye-opening. Selecting a brand (Kärcher's emerging Home Line) and research took two hours, followed by sketch, foam model, sketch, cardboard-foam model, photograph, overlay-sketch, repeat, in short sprint sessions, which was great fun. Our class produced a lot of amazing work, and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable projects I've undertaken. I have to particularly thank my awesome class at Umeå for some brilliant, short and sharp feedback sessions—in this time limit it made all the difference.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
About halfway through, I was busy designing the sliding alignment tool, and brainstorming for other possible features. At some point I realized the slider could also catch debris and provide a really effective way of distributing light around the drilling/screwing location. I knew I was onto something, and kept shaking the tree until it yielded simple, practical functionality.
Just as digital rendering is the evolution of drafting, CG animation might be considered as the next step up. Tom Murray of Columbus, OH, a Senior PRoduct Designer at Design Central, also publishes his rendering and animation work on his portfolio site, StudioClues. He's in the enviable position of designing the very products that makers are most familiar with: tools. I'm not familiar with Bunkspeed Move myself, but the results add a bit of dimension (pun intended) to the renderings.
Exploded views are great; an exploding view is even better...
I'd be a lot more excited if it was Makita or Bosch announcing this, but Black & Decker has announced they'll soon launch a line of modular power tools. Their Matrix tool system consists of main unit containing a handle, motor and battery, to which the user connects one of seven accessories: drill, impact driver, oscillating multi-tool, jigsaw, sander, router and circular saw. (Before you get too excited, these appear to be smaller versions of the real deal—the router's for 1/4” shank bits and the circ saw runs a tiny 3-3/8” blade.)
For the non-power-tool initiated, my opening comment refers to Black & Decker's quality and target market. When it comes to power tools, Festool and Hilti are the cream of the crop, and they're what you'd find in a high-end contractor's truck. Below that you've got Makita, Hitachi and Bosch, who make decent stuff that us mere mortals can actually afford. Black & Decker's stuff is more aimed at, say, a new homeowner who's never owned power tools but figures he oughta pick some up for light repair work around the house. If you hired a professional carpenter and he showed up with a Black & Decker drill, it would be like, to paraphrase Adam Carolla, hiring an exterminator and he shows up with a flip flop.
Nevertheless, the modular concept is interesting, and I'll be looking out for reviews from the major tool sites once the Matrix is launched. I'm most curious about how the ergonomics will work out, given that different tools require different types of grips at different angles. Ridgid has a similar line of modular power tools they released a couple of years ago, but to be honest I'm skeptical of some of the glowing reviews I've read due to that particular company's parentage.
The Matrix system will hit store shelves in October.
Plumbing is not my forte, and this weekend I had a DIYsaster. I finally removed my bathroom sink, which looked like it had been caulked by a blind man, scraped both sink and wall clean with razor, then re-installed and re-caulked. While I was at it I swapped out the faucet too—but once everything was hooked back up, I discovered the shut-off valves for the water were shot. I'd probably overtightened them during the shut-off and cracked the seals.
To replace them you've gotta cut the old valves off at the pipes then re-install new valves, losing a couple inches of pipe, which I can spare. But the smallest pipe cutter I own is five inches long:
Problem is, the pipe to be cut is only two inches away from the wall. Not enough room to rotate the tool to make the cut.
I'm not the first to experience this problem, of course, and after researching I found some clever tool designer has already solved it by creating a single-handed pipe cutter. The AutoCut is one example, though a bunch of companies make them.
You snap the circular ring around the pipe and rotate it, causing the blades to close in with each turn. The compact shape means you can get it into the tightest of spaces, and they sell a ratcheting attachment if you need more leverage.
Once you've got the pipe cut, you need to clean the freshly-trimmed edge so you can get a good seal with the valve. This is another area where tight space is a problem; I'm not going to be able to do a sandpaper-strip shoeshine with such little wiggle room. To solve this problem, another tool designer developed this circular copper tubing brush:
Same idea as the first tool in that the round, compact form works well in a constricted area. Just slap it onto the end of the pipe and twist until it's clean. The wire grid inside does the dirty work.
In the 1700s, a French craftsman named Andre Jacob Roubo took the time to record his vast woodworking knowledge, presumably for the benefit of future generations. His resultant work, L'Art du Menuisier (loosely translated, "The Art of the Joiner") was a three-volume set containing over 300 illustration plates.
In 2008 woodworkers Christopher Schwarz and Bjenk Ellefsen of Lost Art Press admirably took on the Herculean task of translating the work into English. It's not a matter of simply plugging text into Google Translator; Roubo refers to extinct tools, and the pre-Metric French measurement system differs from anything we use today. But the first translated piece of the tome, "On tools for cutting and preparing wood," is here.
That initial translation caused a stir in the woodworking community, because it provided explanation and details of Roubo's workbench design—absolutely the most crucial piece of shop equipment in a pre-table-saw era. Modern-day accomplished woodworkers gamely began replicating Roubo's design, as in the drawing below.
We thought we'd show you something that makes for more manageable viewing: A craftsman named Ryan Van Dyke walking you through the features of his finished Roubo bench (which features the Benchcrafted Tail Vise we wrote about earlier).
Of the multiples we've seen on YouTube, Van Dyke's video is the clearest and best-shot--but he's rendered it unembeddable. Click here to check it out.
The latest development in the Roubo translation occurred just last week. Schwarz's co-conspirator Don Williams reached a milestone and completed the bulk of the work, getting through 94,000 words—or as he puts it, "Three people, four years, five thousand hours."
The traditional bench-mounted vise, protruding as it does from the worksurface, is always in the way when you're not using it. And over time they can start to sag, which gets annoying. (The ones we had in the ID shop at Pratt did that thing where they got higher as you started to tighten them and lower as you loosened them.)
Workbench manufacturer Benchcrafted's Tail Vise is a clear design improvement. Integrated into the bench itself, the Tail Vise holds a dog block (that's on you to provide) meant to correspond with a row of dog holes in your bench.
One cool thing is that the screw doesn't move in and out of the table as it's turned, instead maintaining its position in space. Another cool feature is the cast-iron wheel, rather than a T-handle; the wheel affords greater precision and lets you more quickly crank a full revolution.
This ought to be a standard ID school problem presented to first-year students:
You've got a heavy, bulky piece of machinery that needs to rest on a stable base. But from time to time you need to move it around. All you've got is some basic hardware--hinges, casters, carriage bolts--and scrap pieces of wood or some metal pipes. What can you come up with that will temporarily render this thing mobile?
A host of DIY'ers without dedicated shop space are faced with this very problem, as they try to maneuver their table saws or workbenches around in cramped garages. Here are some of the clever, if decidedly homespun, solutions they've come up with. (The provenance of these ideas, by the way, is pretty cloudy; nearly everyone on YouTube refers to having previously seen a similar design...on YouTube.)
Object to be moved: Table saw Materials for solution: Hinges, wood scraps, casters Solution:
Object to be moved: 4-foot by 8-foot workbench Materials used: Carriage bolt, steel bushing, wood scraps, casters Solution:
I absolutely hate my plastic sawhorses, but for my DIY needs and space-tight apartment living, the ability to fold flat is more important than a high weight capacity. If only I'd heard of this here product first, I could've had it both ways.
Mike Taron is an Arizona-based carpenter who grew frustrated at not being able to buy something he needed: "A lightweight, compact, folding sawhorse that I could take to and from jobsites." As he explains,
At first, I assumed I would be able to find what I needed at the building supply or hardware stores. What I found was a heavy collapsible metal sawhorse, a clumsy sheet metal model, unsatisfactory sawhorse brackets, and many flimsy, plastic sawhorses. On one shopping trip a passing customer remarked, "If you're looking for a good heavy duty sawhorse, don't buy any of those." I scoured the Internet in search of suitable options and still found nothing acceptable.
Taron set out to create what he needed, and after two-and-a-half years of tinkering he perfected his HideAHorse folding sawhorse design. Each weighs only seven pounds, yet has a 1,200 pound load capacity. When folded you can easily carry two in one hand. When stored they take up very little space, less than half a cubic foot each.
Taron's got a patent pending and is selling the HideaHorse here.
Once or twice a year we see redesigns of hand tools, like Craftsman's recent announcement of pliers updated with LEDs. Less common are attempted redesigns of fasteners, which we haven't seen since GRK's "W-Cut" no-pilot-hole-needed screws from 2008. But now Kenji Hasegawa, who runs Japanese automotive parts supply company Lock'n Bolt Corporation, has developed something surprising: A bolt that needs no nut.
Hasegawa's Lock'n Bolt-F is designed specifically for industrial and commercial applications where constant vibration can eventually loosen typical nut-and-bolt configurations. The design is pretty ingenious: The bolt has two slits on the inside end, in which a conical metal slug is placed. As you screw the bolt in and the slug makes contact with the bottom of the hole, the bolt's ends begin to separate, essentially jamming the entire thing in place.
The reason something like this can only succeed in industrial/commercial applications (as opposed to something a DIY'er might try to do) is that, as far as we can tell, the design requires the bolt's length be precisely calibrated to the depth of the hole in order for the head to meet flush with the surface. As for joining sheet goods, where the nut would ordinarily be exposed under the surface, I wonder if the slug could be tapped with a hammer to lock up the works. Sadly I cannot read Japanese, so if any Nihonjin can provide any insights, please let us know in the comments.
Prior to the staple gun, old-school upholsters used upholstery tacks, a tack hammer and their mouths. They'd line a series of tacks between their lips, pointy side in; use their secondary hand to hold the work in place; bring the tack hammer to their face with their primary hand; use the magnetic tip of the hammer to precisely pluck a single tack which they sort of spit from their mouths; then precisely place the tack; and finally, hammer it in. With each subsequent tacking action they'd bring the hammer back to their mouths to load up another one.
Lots of us use our mouths to work. We stick our pen in there while we shuffle papers; we chomp down on a flashlight while opening the fusebox; we tear packaging open with our teeth; we blow crumbs off of keyboards; we make weird clicking noises to summon dogs.
Chinese artist Cheng Guo holds a Bachelors in Industrial Design from Shanghai's Tongji University and a Masters in Product Design from the RCA. For one of his ultimate RCA projects, "Mouth Factory," Cheng decided to experimentally formalize the usage of the mouth for performing tasks. The result is a series of bizarre and intriguing tools that are ultimately less about practicality and more about provoking thought.
"Mouth Factory" is a series of functional machines specifically designed to be operated by the mouth of the user, Which includes Chewing drill, teeth lathe, tongue extruder, mouth breath rotational molding and vacuum form machines.
The project explores the capabilities and versatility of this wondrous organ and correlating facial expressions, re-contextualised within the realm of production. As a comment on human enhancement, the project aims to explore the aesthetic of production through a series of performative devices. By focusing on the mouth, the production devices acquire a fantastic quality that amplifies and render visible the reciprocal relationship and effects between our body and our tools.
Last week, the eClip drew quite a bit of flak as a dubious homage to Nendo's "Data Clip": eagle-eyed readers were not amused to see the minimalist design demarcated with millimetric increments. IP aside, we've got another 'killer combo' design from the rather more established Budnitz Bicycles: the "Beer Wrench"—not to be confused with a "beer wench"—is a handy tool for the not-insignificant audience of cyclists who enjoy the occasional brewski.
The 15mm wrench will remove rear axle bolts, Alfine internal hub bolts, and Pitlock keys, making it perfect for removing a wheel on the road. The bottle opener opens... a beer. Or a bottle of San Pellegrino. Or any other fizzy bottled beverage you might suddenly be in need of on an extended ride.
The titanium spanner weighs in at just 35g, and the end is "engraved quote from 13th century Japanese Zen Master Dogen, helpfully reminding lost riders that we're always exactly where we're supposed to be."
I can't say for sure, but it looks like the wrench could also be mounted along with a bottle cage—i.e. between the cage and frame—using a couple extra-long thumbscrews... if this is the case, you could have your beer and drink it too (anyone know the extent of the law here?).
When Makita first released their power drills with the little LED headlight, I dismissed it as an unnecessary gimmick; but after actually using it, I found it surprisingly useful and will never buy a drill without one. Even in a well-lit space, the underside of objects are always poorly illuminated and the LED makes all the difference.
Craftsman is betting that people will discover the same utility in hand tools, and now has long nose, diagonal, and linesman pliers equipped with onboard lighting. An LED module—sealed in case you're working outside in the rain, or cutting something that may spurt fluids&—is cleverly tucked into the tool's hub. In the video below (where they have rather embarassingly spelled "forged" as "foraged") you can see the light's placement starting around 0:28:
Here's an interesting concept (that may actually see production) by Ideacious, which is kind of a Canadian cross between Quirky and Kickstarter: Industrial designer and Ideacious CEO Joshua Brasse's InCOG Biketool. The cycle-targeted multitool is "designed to fit the majority of handlebars," and the entire thing bends like a snake so it can be shoved past the bend that occurs after the handle.
To that end, the designers created working prototypes—and a requisite bit of documentation, per the directive to include "something that illustrates the design process"—that meet the primary criteria of "[not making] us look stupid when we show it in NYC." As this last tongue-in-cheek bit implies, the results were exhibited at the ICFF this past weekend, alongside several of last years' projects (again, seen in last year's coverage).
Tatsuya Akita's "Chronovora" (Ctrl +) were a personal favorite