At the dawn of every new year, many people make resolutions of some sort. Some resolve to live a less materialistic life and trim their possessions, and in our year 2019 this school of thought has been turbocharged by Marie Kondo. Author of book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up and star of related Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, her trend has been credited with a sharp rise in thrift store donations. To the point that some thrift stores are swamped with incoming inventory and struggling to keep up.
Hackers, this is our call to action. We can be the heroes these thrift stores need! New and exciting projects are on the shelves of our local thrift stores waiting for us. We can give a second life to something that no longer sparks joy in others. A child has abandoned their scooter? Give it some serious power. Someone’s heirloom jewel box? Nah, that’s a hard drive enclosure. Simple music instruments? Obviously it needs an Arduino twist. Innocent children’s toy? Fresh nightmare fuel. And that’s before we even get to the electronics section, featuring computers that have been gathering dust for decades and perfect for scratching a retrocomputing itch.
Of course, we recognize that some would choose to go in the other direction, to tidy up their collection of half-finished hacks. Say goodbye those that, if we were honest with ourselves, we are never going to finish. This is great, too, because the goal is to have everything in the hands of people who will appreciate them. If that should spark the next wave of joyous hacks, so much the better.
Pencils and pens are apt to go wandering in a busy workshop if they don’t have a handy storage spot. For most of us a soup can or an old coffee mug does the trick, but for a prettier and more useful holder [Stuff I Made] has a short video demonstrating a storage unit made from an elbow fitting and a scrap piece of plywood. He cuts a plywood disk that is friction-fit into one end of the elbow, then it gets screwed into a wall making an attractively flush-mounted holder in a convenient spot.
With the right joint the bottom of the holder remains accessible, as a 90 degree bend would be no good. With a shallower joint angle, a regular screwdriver can still reach the mounting screw and it’s possible to access the bottom of the holder just in case it needs cleaning or something small falls inside. You can see the process and results in the video embedded below. Not bad for one screw, a spare joint, and a scrap piece of plywood.
Continue reading “Give Workshop Pencils A Flush-Mounted Home”
My basement workshop is so crammed full of stuff I literally can’t use it. My workbench, a sturdy hardwood library table, is covered in junk to the point that I couldn’t find a square foot that didn’t have two layers of detritus on it — the top layer is big things like old projects that no longer work, boxes of stuff, fragile but light things perched on top. Underneath is the magma of bent resistors, snippets of LED strip, #4 screws, mystery fasteners I’ll never use, purple circuit boards from old versions of projects, and a surprising number of SparkFun and Adafruit breakouts that have filtered down from higher up in the heap.
When work on something I bring the parts up to the dining room and work on the table, which is great for many reasons — more space, better light, and superior noms access top the list. The down side is that I don’t devote any time to making my real shop into a viable working place, and it becomes a cluttered store room by default.
I am therefore focusing on a four-part plan to reclaim my work space from heaps of junk.
Continue reading “The Clutter Manifesto”