Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.

Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby JC Whitney » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:07 pm

Ten or twenty years ago my answer would have been very different. These days, my "cheater" magnification glasses are the one tool I can't live (or see fine detail) without.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Renee Degutis » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:01 am

Hey MIMFers,

I just wonder what's the coolest or most useful tool that you have?

For me, it's my NSK Ultimate XL dental micromotor--- a foredom on steroids!
If you can get one, they are the ne plus ultra of shaping and sanding swoops into wood.

Anyways, I'd love to hear/see your favorite tools!


My most useful tool is Arduino. Funny, but a couple of years ago I couldn't imagine I was able to make such things with it (like the sound and light for the synthesizer keyboard (which I sold, nearly crying, because it was a present from my late husband who actually inspired me to try myself in tech tools development and eventually I became a technologist thanks to his motivation) or the a fingerprint scanner on the door). I did discover that I can still rack by brains after I retired.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:15 pm

Renee - Arduino's are incredible, though I've only noodled with one for a few hours.

I have an Arduino and some stepper motors and assorted electronics in a tool box that I hope will eventually be a pickup winder. Another thing I'd like to build is a "range finder" for positioning a stop on my sliding miter saw. There are many commercial "laser tape measures", but they're all designed for huge distances (like 100 feet) but for my purposes, I need someting with an accuracy of no more than 0.030", over a range from 0 to maybe 36 or 48 inches.

I'm guessing I can find proximity sensors to meet those specs. Thar and a digital display, an Arduino and some circuitry should do the trick. Just need to get the decks cleared of projects to make time to dig into this.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Randy Roberts » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:59 pm

I've thought a while about this, and I'd have to say my most useful tool is my wife's good taste. There isn't anything I've made yet that her critiques and suggestions didn't markedly improve what I would otherwise have ended up with.

and, boy, I hate to expose my ignorance, but what is a Arduino??

I went to their website and looked around a little and still have absolutely no idea what that stuff is , or is used for.

Could you explain?
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:05 pm

Randy - sure. The Arduino is what could be called (in more old-school terms) a very sophisticated programmable logic controller. Basically it's a small microprocessor that has the ability to read both analog and digital signals, and to output digital and analog signals. So...you can hook sensors, lights, digital displays, stepper motors, DC motor controllers etc. to it, and write code to read the inputs and send appropriate signals to the outputs.

As a concrete example, my plans for the one I have (and they're dirt cheap - about $30) is to hook it up to some switches and pots and some digital displays, using the switches and pots to set (via the digital display) the number of windings on a pickup. The Arduino will read this, and when it reads that a "go" switch has been flipped, it will start sending signals to a stepper motor to spin it the required number of turns, then stop. The Arduino will send the signals to the motor, keeping track of how many revolutions it has turned the motor. I'll likely have a forward-reverse switch that it will change the direction of rotation.

As you can imagine, hobbyists who build say robots, or CNC routers or any kind of complex rig have gone nuts with these things. You can hang all kinds of interesting input and output circuits to them, and there are companies that specialize in this stuff. A lot of it is really inexpensive so there's not much of a barrier to get started in this.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby James Niehaus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:47 pm

I don't know what I'd do without my bosch https://perfectcutsandmiters.com/best-miter-saw-reviews/.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:03 pm

Welcome to the forum James. Have you found any guitar related uses for that saw?
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:52 pm

Barry,

I have used, and still use a chop saw for all kinds of guitar related functions.
I cut most of my rough stock to length with it.
I also used it for a special design I wanted to build. Great for cutting exact angles.
Here is the result.

IMG_20160511_183908.jpg
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:32 am

Very nice, Gordon!
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby James Niehaus » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:45 am

Thanks Barry! I'm working on a custom job now. Looks fresh Gordon!
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:19 pm

one picture
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Ed Minch » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:37 pm

Chuck

Tell us about the little wooden dowel on the jig saw blade, the piece of steel, and the handle on the chisel

Ed
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Ed Minch » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:40 pm

Coolest or most useful, eh? Well here is my coolest

You've heard of a sharpening stone? I came up with a sharpening rock. It has 1817 carved in the lid, and the recesses were all done with an auger to depth.

Ed
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:54 pm

Woah Ed - that is a cool rock! The box has hinges, I'd be interested to inspect how they were fabricated, of what, and how they are fastened to the box. That thing belongs in a museum!

The Bosch jigsaw blade is a recent tool-of-necessity. When replacing an acoustic steel-string bridge, I needed to move the peg holes so I filed the old ones with dowels tapered to fit snug and glue tight. Well, when it came time to glue the new bridge on, I realized the dowels were sticking out of the bridge plate and keeping the inside caul from sitting flat! The caul already has access holes for alignment pins, so I didn’t want to Swiss-cheese it for the dowels. I looked around the shop and considered my little butt-chisel (also pictured) – No way in there. Also considered just grinding them down with 60-grit paper on a little sanding block – but that hurts my wrist just thinking about it even now. Then I found I already had this aggressive little blade that can cut flush against a surface and fit between the dowels. All it needed was something to hold on to. So I CA’ed a chunk of dowel on the tang, and bingo, I was done with the job in 5 minutes.

Might as well finish with the rest of them (I’m at work now, not in the shop so I have time to kill :-)
- The ½” butt chisel was made custom for me by Dave at Blue Spruce. It is O1 steel so it holds a super-fine razor edge that can shave fibers off end-grain spruce or sharpen a pencil – it’s my constant companion.
- The gold-handled chisel is an 1/8” lathe tool ground to a chisel point and held by a slightly altered pin-vise. Indispensable for a bizillion tasks like cleaning the glue out of a nut channel.
- The big chunk of tool steel is a 3/8” lathe tool that is basically in its stock shape but with all faces ground to a fine grit so all the edges are very sharp. That thing can scrape any surface free of glue or whatever and leave not trace at all. Great for lowering pesky frets.
- The scissors are not particularly keen, and they’ve been sharpened way too many times, but I inherited them from my dear old Dad who used them to cut fiberglass for a boat he built when I was just a toddler. Utilitarian and sentimental.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Halgeir Wold » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:33 pm

Steve - what you really need for using Arduino with the saw, is a linear encoder - a pulse counting ruler thingie that's quite easy to interface...
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby David King » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:57 pm

Halgeir,
Perhaps you've got a link? I've often thought it would be very handy to use a rotary encoder on the compound slide of my lathe to integrate the angle of the compound with the location of the cutting tool on the DRO. It would just need to generate appropriate quadrature pulses for the X and Y axis to add or subtract to their dedicated scales's outputs.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:44 pm

David, you would need to enter the angle of the compound and it would calculate the sin/cos math to update the X/Y value of the DRO??
Or you could have another encoder on the compound that reads the angle for you.
Sounds too much like work to me :P
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Ed Minch » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:07 pm

The box has hinges, I'd be interested to inspect how they were fabricated, of what, and how they are fastened to the box. That thing belongs in a museum!

Chuck

Great idea on the chunk of steel - works like the Allen Carruth scraper from S-M - my daughter uses one in her repair shop and they are great. Blues Spruce makes some fine tools - fine looking too. I still have the giant Wiss scissors I used to build a 40' fiberglass sailboat in the 70's.

I can't send photos on a PM so I am doing this on this thread.

Here are a couple of images. The hinges look like they could be eithe hand-made or manufactured - things aren't quite round enough but are old enough to have taken some blows. They are steel and the screws have pretty even slots. Also, I have a small chisel like yours that has lived on my bench for 20 years. I don't feel bad cleaning glue off the bench top with it. It is marked Ashton Jackson, Cast Steel, and they were a Sheffield maker that was bought out in 1852, so obviously the handle is newer. Very nice piece of steel.

I got the sharpening rock from my friend Sydney who is over 80 and has been collecting tools since the 50's here on the Eastern Shore of MD. Here is a toolbox that he uses as a coffee table in the living room. It belonged to a finish carpenter in Lancaster County PA, working form the 1860's to his retirement in 1913. He got it from the family in 1972, so he has had it for almost 50 years. Talk about cool tools, check the saws at the start and the metal planes at the end:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/7057363555/in/album-72157629405997020/

Click left and right, text below, click image to enlarge

I just went through this again and am still amazed at this toolbox

Ed
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:57 pm

Halgeir Wold wrote:Steve - what you really need for using Arduino with the saw, is a linear encoder - a pulse counting ruler thingie that's quite easy to interface...


A linear encoder requires a mechanical connection between (in my application) the stop and the saw. What I had in mind was an optical proximity sensor on the stop that would provide a DRO of the distance between the stop and the SCMS blade. The currently-available laser rangefinder "tape measures" are exactly what I'm thinking of, just calibrated for much shorter distances (4 feet vs 100's of feet) with correspondingly greater accuracy, ideally down to 1/64 - 0.015" - .4mm.

I have a fence positioning device on my TS that utilizes a linear encoder that works great. Hard to see how to embed an encoder strip in the surface of the SCMS that would also extend across to the supports on either side of the saw. An optical method would be much more practical.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:47 pm

Transfer punch set.

I don't know if these are the "coolest" or most useful, but If you haven't yet discovered these, find a set and buy them. Now. You won't be sorry.

I have used these so many times since I bought them about a year ago, I don't know how I survived without them. They come in sets of between 28 and 33 pieces, depending on the range, and are sized in 1/64" increments.

I didn't know these existed until I saw a guy demo determining the position of a TOM bridge. He placed the bridge loose under the strings, placed the saddles in the middle of their range, and brought the strings to pitch. He then adjusted the intonation, changing the position of the bridge so as to keep some room on either side of the saddles as he did this. Once he had the bridge in exactly the right spot, he used a transfer punch to mark where the mounting holes needed to be drilled.

My son is a machinist, and enjoys laughing at me for my ignorance, and bragged about his $100 set of Starrett transfer punches that will work on hardened steel (he maintains tooling for injection molding). I don't think my set would stand up to that, but for $17 from Amazon, they're great for the wood, brass, aluminum, plastic and phenolic I work with.

Transfer Punch Set.JPG
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