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

(Don’t) Bring the Noise! — Sugru and Silence

Sugru

If you’re not familiar with that wonderful product called Sugru, now’s the time to grab some. Bonds to pretty much anything and after it cures (up to 24 hours, but usually faster) it retains a soft rubbery feel. Fans of Sugru have been using it for years to repair things and add grippy-like texture to slippery tools and objects. Continue reading

Countdown To Maker Faire 2014 — Get Prepared

Year of Maker

Just a few more days… and it’s Maker Faire Time! I know a lot of geek dads and moms make the trek each year to attend what is called The Greatest Show (And Tell) On Earth, and there’s are solid reasons for it. Two days of open-mouthed staring and double-takes. Two days of access to experts (self-taught and otherwise), makers, inventors, tinkerers, dreamers, builders, hackers, and hobbyists. Two days of sightseeing, hands-on activities, and pure surprises. Continue reading

When the World Ends, You’ll Need The Knowledge

The Knowledge

I’m not a sky-is-falling kind of guy. I don’t have a bunker behind my house and a decade’s worth of food stocked away for my family (although I do sometimes think about it). Every generation has had its concerns about the world ending, but I’m one of those optimists that hopes we’ll be able to solve our problems — water shortages, global warming, pandemics — and not be despised by our great-great-grandkids.

But who really knows? Asteroids are flying around our universe with sufficient mass and speed. New and scarier viruses seem to pop up every few years. So many countries seem to want their own nuclear bombs these days. Experts seem to think a major financial collapse lurks around the corner. Just how prepared are we if the world we know it stopped functioning normally for an extended period of time? How long would we last without the modern conveniences of electricity, medicine, clothing, food, and clean water? Continue reading

Tired of Cheap iPhone Holsters? Blacksmith-Labs Has Some Solutions

Blacksmith-Labs iPhone Bruno holster

I’ve had a few weeks to try out the Blacksmith-Labs iPhone holsters, and I may have found my new iPhone case. I’ve wanted a holster for a while now: I’m tired of my phone jangling around from pocket to pocket, so that I never know which one to look in. The Horween Signature holsters solve that problem, although not as perfectly as I would have liked. Continue reading

Turning Off The Conair CD108 Infiniti Curling Iron Via Email

Problem - Solution

My wife sometimes leaves things plugged in and turned on. Dangerous things. Like her curling iron. It’s not unheard-of for her to be a couple miles down the road, heading out to run some errands with the boys in the back seat all buckled in. “Did I leave the curling iron on?” she wonders. This problem called for a drastic solution. A solution that would justify four years of engineering school. A problem that so many of us geek spouses wait 20, 30, or even 40 years of marriage to encounter… and then take down with extreme prejudice. Continue reading