Friday, January 29, 2010

Link Round Up

Tool Monger has a post about the book Forty Power Tools That You Can Make. Its from the 40's and has a varity of tools included. Its avialable online from several places.

Making Saddle cuts for a round tube project? I wish I had seen this Instructable in Grad School when it took hours making tight joints for a round tube project with a grinder. Check out this Instructable for a wuick alternative.

The Lift "N "Lock seems like a clever device for any shop to have on hand. Sure there are shims that you can use when you are trying to hang that last door by yourself, but getting that perfect height is still tricky. They run about $22 each.

Speaking of tools, this modified C Clamp is worth a look. The bottom branches out into a Y, providing a wider clamping surface. You can get one for about $12.

Now that distressing is in vogue outside of theatre, you can purchase tools to help you achieve the look. Woodcraft offers a kit for $25, but it could be made in the shop. Whatis interesting is the hardware that they chose to use to accomplish the look. Distressing is kind of like scenic goop or stage blood to me. Everyone has a different recipe, and the varients all accomplish something slightly different. It would be useful to have a directory of techniques, and an analysis of what is most effective for common situations....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Focus Tape

Check Out Santa Fe Opera Electricians and their video "Focus Tape". kudos to them for putting together a great video.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Electronic Signatures

While it isn't an every day occurrence when a TD needs something officially signed. However, in freelance situations, it would be nice to have. There have been a few times when I would have used this technology in the past for small freelance TD jobs.

There are a couple options out there that will help you get those signatures. once company is Docusign, and the other is Echo Sign.

Of the two, I have only personally used EchoSign. It was easy to use, economical, and saves your documents (amount depends on your pricing plan). I used it for sign rental contracts and the rental agreement, but it could be used for a variety of contracts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In-House Production

Today I was doing a little work involving mounting an I-beam & Trolley to truss, and was doing some looking around for hardware and came across this site. In-House Production has a few training videos, a blog and some other information about rigging that is worth a look.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Its been a while since I have posted any good physics games.
World of Goo is probably my favorite. It is available as wiiware, and is simple and intuitive to operate, but has a pleasing complexity. Generally you move around bits of goo that build towers, cantilevers, bridges, and so forth. Some goo can be reused, other types can catch on fire or be used as fuses.

Tiki Towers is also available on wiiware. The idea is similar to World of Goo - building structures to get to point a to b. Here you are saving the monkeys, and possibly rescuing a few as well. In this game you are using bamboo to build with, and you have a few additional capabilities (reinforcing joints for instance) However, you got a baddie that can catch a segment on fire or turn it into rubber. The game is a little more difficult to control, and a little more challenging than Goo.

If you have a few minutes to burn while you are sitting at the computer check out this site. There are many games to play, straight from your browser.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Deck Wrench

This Hardwood Deck Wrench looks like it could be a helpful addition to the shop. I like that it can be used with 1 person, and that you don't need to screw it into position to use it.

Check it out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tile Saw

This tile saw caught my eye. In the process of remodeling my kitchen I orginally purchased a tile cutter. I was a little hesitant because I know from doing stained glass that scoring and snapping is somewhat unrelaiable, the price was drastically lower than any wet saw - even the most economical ones. After a few test cuts, and the realization that some of the cuts necessary would be fairly imposibble with that tool, I purchased a wet saw. I opted for one that had a rail which the blade moved on to make the cut, with the tile clamped to the table. I like the tool - it cuts up 20' tile on the diagonal, and the cuts are smooth and easy. And then we started cutting the tiles for around the sink. Out comes the rotozip tile cutter. Tested - it was like using sandpaper to make a cut. Next please. Nearing the end of options at my local hardware store I picked up the RotoZip Zip Mate. the right angle attachment saw for the rotozip. I considered buying a diamond blade for my circular saw, but decided against it. the tool had lots of power - it cut through the tile very quickly. I made the inside curved cuts by nibbling away the material - not pretty, but effective. While I suppose that if my wet saw could be locked into position, I could have used that - all said none of the tools were correct for the job. Hence why the Gemini catches my eye. While I suspect it is out of my price range - it looks like it would have been nice to use. And perhaps a lessen to consider all of the cuts you will need to make before starting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Decking Calculator

I was looking up some information about the specific weight of an exotic hardwood and came by Advantage Trim & Lumber.

I thought it was interesting for several reasons. First, they have a great selection of wood, and can ship ($100 min.), plus they provide information about the species. They carry FSC wood for LEED credits. They also carry several different types of planking. And what is nifty - is that they have a planking calculator that converts square footage to linear feet for either 5" or 3 1/2" planks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bandsaw Magic

For a bit of band saw fun check out this video by Adam Sandoval. While the cutawl used to be the closes thing to true 360 degree cutting, (and one of my favorite tools ever)the Rotozip spiral saw really carved a new direction for sawing. While it can not achieve the tight square corners that a scroll saw or a cutawl can, it can cut in any direction. While I suppose that you could achieve this with cnc routers and hand routers, the spiral bit makes it more appropriate.

Bestway Bandsaw Blades have adapted that technology to bandsaw blades, enabling spectacular cuts such as what is in the video. If you have another favorite supplier of blades that will cut 360 degrees, please chime in in let us know!

And in case your up to a little more fun with the bandsaw check out this project.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alternative Materials

I was looking through an ad for books relating to design and architecture and thought that a couple were worth pointing out.

The first is Materiology by Daniel Kula. It discussed a wide variety of materials as well as how the materials are made. It seemed like a book that would have been perfect when I was taking "Advanced Materials" in grad school.

Another is Materials for Inspirational Design. It offers a view into a variety of materials, uses, and even rough pricing.

Browsing through Amazon offers a variety of books on the subject of materials. Happy browsing!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Beginnings

Well the new year is hear, and I haven't shared as much as I would have liked to. Project wise, most of my time has been spent on a large museum piece that has been going on for over a year, and many of the others are much smaller than in the past thanks to economy. But here's to a new year and more exciting technical exploration.

I found a site that could be useful to anyone thinking about building green near NYC. Its Build it Green, NYC. It is a large warehouse that sells reclaimed materials. Its interesting for theatrical use in several ways. First, theatre tends to be anything but green, and frequently wastes alot of material. Second, reclaimed materials may actually fit the bill for certain designs better than new - save some of the distressing! They also take in cabinets, fixtures and other "props" that could be useful. And, some of those items could be returned after a production when they are no longer needed. It may also save a few bucks.

Cost is usually the biggest issue against going green - finding resources where you can use reclaimed materials at prices that make it worth it are valuable. Check it out & let me know if you find other resources like it.