GeekDad Review: Black+Decker 20V MAX Lithium Flex Vac Is a Mighty Mite

20v cordless vac

When Black+Decker reached out to see if I might be interested in trying out their new 20V MAX Lithium Flex Vac, I wasn’t all that stoked about it. I’m not a big fan of handheld vacuums, and the kind of mess my household produces — highlighted by active kids and enough dog hair to assemble a new canine every week — is notorious for killing full-sized vacuum cleaners, let alone the little ones. But the high tech MAX Lithium Flex convinced me a cordless vacuum can make quick household cleanup a lot more convenient and proved especially useful on a three week trip to Cape Cod, where a vehicle continually subjected to sand and snack crumbs was in constant need of cleaning. Continue reading

Kickstarter — Simplifying My Wallet

Simple Wallet Plus

When it comes to Kickstarter, sometimes it’s all about timing. Take my wallet. I’m not sporting a George Castanza-style wallet, but I do have a lot of extraneous stuff in my wallet that really needs to be left at home. It hit me last week when I dug through a dozen cards that I’ve used maybe once in 12 months, looking for one I use constantly. I’m all about simplifying and making my life less cluttered, so when the Simple Wallet Plus Kickstarter notice arrived in my Inbox… it took one viewing of the video and 30 seconds to make the jump. (I even got in on the Early Bird option… that NEVER happens.) Continue reading

Gadget Review: ThinOptics Glasses

ThinOptics-iPhone-Cases-x2

Do you wear reading glasses? In my new “old age,” I am finding it difficult to see small things, such as fine print, and I have noticed that this is especially problematic at restaurants with menus. Because of this, in addition to all my other daily carry items, I have added a small pair of reading glasses. Continue reading

Create Your Own Snap-Together Plastic Models

Framed

Last week I had the opportunity to conduct a camp titled Beginning Electronics and Robot Building (BERB) to a group of 21 kids, ages 8 to 12. It went great, and I’ll be holding the camp again for another group in late July. In addition to learning some basic electronics skills (such as soldering and breadboarding), the kids also got to build a full-fledged Arduino-based robot that they took home. It was a great week, and it also gave me an opportunity to introduce the kids to some other concepts and tools, including 3D printing. Continue reading

Yet Another Reason to LOVE Sugru…

Sugru

I’m not a paid spokesman, but I sometimes feel like it! Ever since discovering Sugru so many years ago, I’ve become a devoted fan of this great little product. If you’re not familiar with it, it starts out a bit like PlayDoh — you can mold it, roll it, and even mix its basic colors (black, red, blue, yellow, white) to make more colors. But what’s cool about it is that it begins to cure… but not harden. When the curing process is complete (about 24 hours, but you have a solid 30 minutes to mold it and experiment), it not only has a rubbery feel to it, but it also pretty much sticks to anything. This means that it can not only be used to attach different materials together, but it can also be used to mold unique parts, repair broken parts, and hundreds more solutions. Continue reading

GeekDad Walkthrough: Unboxing and Using a New Printrbot Metal Simple

Metal Simple

I’ve built a number of 3D printers over the last few years, and I’ve had a chance to sit down and actually use even more of them… all mix of brands and models. One of the questions I hear most often from friends and colleagues about 3D printers is “how hard are they to setup and use?”

The answer to that question depends on the printer, of course, but the amazing thing about 3D printers over the last few years is just how out-of-the-box simple some of these things have become. I thought it might be fun to actually document the unboxing and setup of a 3D printer for GeekDad readers, so that’s what I’m going to do here with the new Metal Simple from Printrbot. I’m going to shoot some photos as I unbox, unpack, setup and begin printing… and hopefully convince anyone nervous about purchasing a 3D printer (or at least the Simple) that they needn’t worry.
Continue reading

Stuck For a Father’s Day Gift? Black + Decker AutoSense Drill Reviewed

Ready to tackle some drilling

We’re getting closer to the big day and for some of you, gift anxiety may be setting in. Our annual Father’s Day Gift Guide should be a big help in that case. And if your dad is looking for new power tools —specifically a drill and driver, then I have a suggestion. Black + Decker sent me its new 20V Max AutoSense Drill/Driver to try out and I have to say, this is a pretty cool drill. It’s not exactly contractor grade, but for most DIY home repair and projects, it should do the trick quite nicely. Continue reading