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A radius turning tool lets you make ball shapes or radiused ends on your metal turnings. With the tool you can make convex curves up to 3/4″ in diameter in brass, aluminum steel, or plastic — you just mount the jig on your lathe’s tool post and swing the handle, which rotates the cutting tool in an arc.

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Building a project is the fun part; finishing isn’t even so bad, but let’s face it — sanding bites. Any tool that can help you get the ugly part over faster is worth it. If you’re working with small or odd-shaped pieces, the Flex-I-File may help.

You can use the Flex-I-File for either dry or wet sanding. The abrasive is attached to mylar ribbon 1/4″  wide by 4-1/4″ long. Loops on the end of the ribbon slide over the ends of a 4″ by 4-1/4″ aluminum frame. The flexible frame holds the ribbon taut and allows the ribbon to bend around the work piece.

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Gluing the pieces of my daughter’s shattered ornament back together reminded me of how much respect I have for people who can build tiny models.  The skill, patience, and steady hands you need to do tiny precision work has eluded me so far.  A jig like the Sand-It from Micro-Mark might be able to help me with the precision part, but I’d still need to work on the patience and steady hands.

Use the Sand-It to “square-up” and sand cuts in wood, plastic, and metal up to 4″ wide and 1″ thick.  The jig comes with preset angle guides for 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90° and a protractor guide to get the angles in between. To speed up sanding through different grits, you can mount a different grit sandpaper each face of the sanding block with tape or rubber cement.

The Sand-It runs $19 before shipping at Micro-mark. If you’re interested, they also sell two other “-It” products: the Chop-It and the Duplicate-It.

Sand-It [Micro-Mark]
Chop-It [Micro-Mark]
Duplicate-It [Micro-Mark]

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When working with small parts, you come up with all kinds of creative ways to hold them so you don’t have to grow a third hand. Micro-Mark’s spring-loaded small parts holder may allow you to junk some of your jury-rigged creations.

This 4-1/4″ long by 1-1/4″ wide parts holder can grip regularly- or irregularly-shaped parts from 3/8″ to 1-3/8″ in diameter. The parts holder doesn’t use screws, clamps, or wedges that can apply to much pressure and damage your part; instead built-in springs hold the part against the “no-mar” plastic pins.

Normally Micro-Mark sells the parts holder for $9 but right now they have it on sale for $7 plus shipping.

Spring Loaded Parts Holder [Micro-Mark]

 

If you’re ever tried to hold round objects with tweezers or needle nose pliers, you’ll appreciate these specialty tweezers sold by Micro-Mark.  They’re uniquely designed to hold round or hex-shaped objects securely.

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You picked the wrong bit and now you’re stuck with a hole that’s too big — or are you?  Depending on the application you might be able to salvage the piece with these reducing punches from Micro-Mark.

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Figuring out how to hold small parts together while gluing can give your imagination a workout, but if you had this magnetic gluing jig from Micro-Mark, you’d no longer have to dream up wacky jigs to connect those small pieces.

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Whether you’re grinding, drilling, or milling, sometimes a simple V-block isn’t enough to hold your workpiece steady.  That’s where a V-block and clamp set would really come in handy — they’re usually sold in pairs like this Series 278 set from Starrett.

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If you’re tired of filing by hand, you’re probably thinking, “There’s a power tool for just about every other hand tool — why not filing?”  Wahl makes what they claim is the world’s smallest power filer/sander.  This rechargeable tool uses reciprocating action to mimic how you’d use a file, and it reaches into tight spaces for easy precision finishing, deburring, and sanding of plastic, wood, metal, and most other materials.

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Although it looks like a bib from an all-you-can-eat buffet, you might appreciate this apron if you’ve ever been working on a project with many small parts and lost a critical part on the floor. The apron attaches to the bottom edge of your workbench to catch any components that try to make a break for it over the edge.

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