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Posts by: Vince Bloom

When you’re pulling up a hill and your truck needs more power, the transmission drops to a lower gear to compensate — a common occurrence for a vehicle, not so common for a drill.  But Ridgid’s AutoShift drill driver does just that.

When you pull the trigger, it starts in high speed. If it starts to bog down, the drill downshifts to low speed for more torque.  You can also lock out the AutoShift feature so the drill stays in high gear.

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Some call ’em random orbital sanders — I always call ’em jitterbugs — either way, they’re the go-to tool for a smooth surface finish.  The vigorous circular motion of the sandpaper helps prevent sanding lines and swirl marks, and you don’t have to worry about the direction of the grain.  3M has released a new line of random orbital sanders with the catchy name “Random Orbital Sander.”  I guess the marketing department had the day off.

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Lenox and a handful of other sponsors have teamed up to build the “Site Commander” — actually, they built three of them, and you can enter to win one.  The meat of the prize is a 2008 Dodge 5500 HD 4×4 Quad Cab with 305 HP and 610 foot-pounds of torque.  They don’t say it, but that sounds like a 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel.

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Home Depot is offering $10 off any $100 order placed online at homedepot.com.  Yeah, it’s not much more than lunch on the way back to the shop — but if you’re spending anyway, you get enough gas to make it home.

The offer expires November 1, so this is a quick-turn type of thing.  Enter code FALLSAVE1 at checkout to redeem.

Home Depot [Official Site]


A compound slide vise adds a lot of functionality to your drill press table — you can easily position the work for precise holes, and for projects where you have multiple pieces to drill you can set it up as a jig for repeatability.  Enco is offering two different sizes of compound vise for right around $20.

Oddly, the larger one is a dollar less than the smaller one — maybe it’s an inventory issue.  Either way, $20 marked down from $40 or $48 is a heck of a deal.  The closest street pricing on a similar vise is $35, with most examples selling upwards of $50.

And for October, if your Enco order is over $50, use promo code WB9TP for free UPS shipping.

3-1/16″ Super Compound Vise [Enco]
4″ Super Compound Vise [Enco]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


Ok, so it’s not really a Terminator, but someone involved with this project had to be a Terminator fan. Officially, Seco Tools machined a miniature skeleton from a 6”x12” aluminum billet to demonstrate the capabilities of their tooling. They made a 3D scan of a full-size skeleton, translated that to a solid model, then converted the solid model into the tool path for their CNC machine.

The hands-off operation can create models accurate to one thousandth of an inch — someday the technology may allow Toolmongers to machine human body parts to fit the individual recipient.  Seco raffled off this piece to one lucky visitor at the 2008 International Manufacturing Technology Show. Maybe it’ll show up on eBay.

[American Machinist]


If you’re a DIYer trying to solder some plumbing, you’ve probably found the most difficult part is getting the system drained.  If you leave any water in there, it turns to steam and makes a pinhole in your joint, which you won’t find till the system’s pressurized.  To prevent that frustration, Clean-Fit’s Water-Gate will seal off any pipe from 1/2″ to 4″ diameter.

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CS Unitec has come up with a green alternative for grinding steel — they make the backing plates of their PLANTEX discs from natural hemp fiber with a 1% polypropylene binder.

The hemp backing plate is quieter, it absorbs heat, it maintains its shape but is also flexible, it’s easily disposed of, and it’s a renewable resource.  And since it’s self-trimming, you can use it down to the last bit.  We applaud this very innovative use of a new technology.

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Gold plating isn’t just for evil dictators’ AK-47s — for the DIYer who has some small parts to plate, Caswell Inc. offers a full line of plating supplies, including the Plug N’ Plate brush electroplating kit which starts at $34.  You can plate with chrome, copper, nickel, brass, tin, bronze, silver, and gold.  The radio in the picture above was plated with 24k gold.

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Though drywall is relatively easy stuff to work with, it sure makes a lot of dust when you cut it.  The dust doesn’t matter too much on new construction, since dust and dirt is unavoidable — but when you’re working in an occupied house, especially your own, dust-control matters a lot.  Kett Tool addresses this problem with their KSV-432 cutter.

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