Used Tools

I’ve been wanting to get more tools so I can do different projects with wood. It’s a lot cheaper to start out with used tools, especially as I learn. If I use certain tools a lot and find I need an upgrade, then I’ll fork over cash for new.

On a Saturday I hopped in the car and drove all over Saginaw looking for garage sales. There was no plan, other than to follow every sign I saw. I bought and bargained for a few things and then when I went home to eat lunch I found a big community garage sale about 25 minutes away. Off I went!

I probably hadn’t been to a garage sale in over 20 years. It was a lot of fun searching and it was interesting to see how different the items were from one house to the next. I was really hoping to find a table saw, band saw, and drill press, but no luck on any of the 3. I did make a good haul though.

The saw and miter box combo was brand new in the box, but most of the items needed some love. I sanded, stained, and waxed the wooden mallet and hammer handle. You can’t really see from this picture, but they both turned out great. The biggest tasks were taking apart the two sanders for a thorough cleaning because they were full of sawdust. I also disassembled the router but it wasn’t nearly as bad.

What gems have you found at garage sales?

Electronics Engineering ToolKit

Electronics Engineering ToolKit is a useful iOS app if you’re messing around with electronics. I think I paid $6.99 to upgrade to Pro, which unlocks all of the formulas, reference material, and tools.

My favorites in the app

I recently posted Using a 555 Integrated Circuit. There are many ways to use these 555s. To get a sense of the power of this app, it has 10 tools in its 555 Timer IC group! Here’s a look at the Monostable operation mode. Each tool in the app has a great info panel like this one, describing what it does.

The tool itself gives 2 inputs where you set your resistor and capacitor values and it calculates the time for you.

It provides a circuit schematic where the R (resistor) & C (capacitor) values are updated instantly, based on you input values. This schematic doubles as a simulation, where it really gets cool. You can tap on the button to see how the circuit reacts. In this case, the LED turns green (ON) for 2.42 seconds and then turns off.

I wired up the circuit to try it for myself. Worked exactly as expected. I even triggered my live circuit and the simulation at the same time and the LEDs turned off simultaneously.

This is just one example of many useful things you can do in the Electronics Engineering ToolKit app, especially with the Pro upgrade. Not only can you favorite (as shown at the beginning of this post) the tools you find most useful, but the app also has a great search feature.

You can find similar tools for specific formulas and uses around the Internet, but I haven’t come across anything where it’s all in one place with an easy to use interface like this. Perhaps the best web site I’ve found is Basic Electronics Tutorials and Revision, which is a bit higher level in the way their descriptions.