This year we got to see some amazing tools, ranging from hi-tech to low-tech, and the occasionally unbelievable projects created with them. Starting at the hi-tech end, we looked at an unusual and affordable compact CNC machine in Digital Power Tools That Change the Way We Design & Build: The Handibot.
That was part of our Tech-tacular special. Another tool from the special that made it into the category of "Tools that change the way we design & build" was The Festool Domino.
Speaking of the Domino, this year Core77 Visited Festool at their mothership in Germany. Check out our 8-part series to learn about their design process, see what makes the company tick, hear from their industrial designer and more!
As expensive as Festool's stuff is, even they don't make a drill that costs $1,720(!) as we saw with The "Special Ops" Waterproof Drill/Driver.
And speaking of drills, in one of his tip videos Jimmy DiResta pointed out A Brilliant Design Feature that All Cordless Drills Should Have.
That design feature was not in any of the drills in our own Power Drill Teardown, though the Core77 Drafting Table Quarterback did deconstruct the design decisions behind these Ryobi and Makita drills.
Downshifting to hand tools, one of the neatest we saw this year was Clever Tool Design: Wiha's Hex Key Set with a Surprise.
We also covered some cool old-school tools that antedated things like hex keys. Watch as Shannon Rogers Recreates a Roubo Device to Demonstrate Old-School Resawing.
For more hand tool madness, Toshio Tokunaga's company of craftspeople revealed The Kanna Finish: How to Get Glass-Smooth Surfaces in Wood Without Sandpaper or Varnish.
They even showed us where the tools come from, with Making Handplane Irons Out of River Sand.
Also in Japan, a mallet-wielding team stunned the interwebs with their video of Japanese Master Craftsmen Dry Fitting Huge, Insanely Complicated Wood Joints. I can't get patience and precision to intersect, let alone timbers of this size.
Another contribution from the island nation came to us by way of Japanese Woodworking Madness: A Three-Way Wood Joint, which kind of looks like it was sponsored by Mitsubishi.
He's not Japanese, but his moniker is: The Samurai Carpenter Shows You How He Made His Functional, Ergonomic Leather Tool Vest—On the Cheap, giving us a look at his intelligently-designed on-body storage system.
So far the entries above are all tools that you use in a shop. But what about tools you use at a desk? In this Video Demonstration of the Manual Labor of Design, this gent reminds us that there was a time when designers used manual tools a lot more than they do now.
Some still do, in fact. Because there is still that Crucial Part of Automotive Design that Still Uses Centuries-Old Hand Tools.
Lastly, tools aren't much good without a system to store them in and access them from. For that we turn to the man who owns more tools than any of us, to see Mythbuster Adam Savage's Custom Tool Storage Stands.
Here's to hoping you get your tools organized in the New Year. And your other stuff too—check out our Organization column to get a head start!
• 15 of Your Favorite Posts from 2015
• The Coming Age of Automobility and What It Means for Designers
• 10 Clever, Innovative or Bizarre Design Processes from 2015
• 10 Brilliant and Beautiful Objects from Our 'Designing Women' Series
• 12 Projects to Inspire Future Living
• Design Entrepreneurs Were Killing it in 2015
• The Year in Furniture Designs, Part 1: The Beautiful, the Innovative and the Unusual
• The Year in Furniture Designs, Part 2: Design/Build Techniques and Learning from the Past and Present
• 15 Tools and Tool-Based Projects We Loved in 2015
• 8 New Types of Digital Fabrication Machines
• 17 Random and Amazing Phenomena We Saw This Year
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