Friday, August 14, 2009

8" slow-speed grinder on sale to end of August

8 inch Slow-Speed Grinder on sale
Woodcraft is offering this 8-inch slow speed grinder on sale from now until the end of August, 2009. Regularly priced at $110, it is now on sale for $95. The grinder comes equipped with 120 grit and 60 grit white aluminum oxide grinding wheels.

From the grinder description:
This quiet, smooth 1/2 HP, 1725 RPM slow-speed grinder is great for sharpening tools without generating the tool destroying heat that you get so quickly from 3450 RPM grinders.

Here's the link for more info 8 inch slow speed grinder.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Multi-stage wooden mechanical puzzle box

Multi-stage wooden mechanical puzzle box
Here is a neat little wooden puzzle box I acquired recently. It was a lot of fun figuring out how to open all of the little compartments of the box. It was an exercise in 3-dimensional and lateral thinking.

The box is sturdy, made entirely of wood, and measures about 6 x 3.5 x 2 inches. It could be used as a low-tech "safe" for kids who want to store secret messages or other small items. For the price, I give this little wooden puzzle box the thumbs up.

The puzzle box is offered by Their product page for the puzzle box has many photos, if you are interested in the multi-stage opening sequence. (If you do not want to know how to open it, you may want to have someone else order it for you.)

Here's the link to the clever and affordable wooden mechanical puzzle box. I am told you can use a the code DM5OFF4 to get 5% off discount for anything on their site.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rick Bütz two-knife woodcarving set on sale

Rick Butz two-knife woodcarving set
If you are a wood-carver or interested in learning, I came upon this deal from Woodcraft Woodworking Supply. This is a set of Rick Bütz carving knives -- the same to I use to carve the figures of my wood automata.

Rick Bütz wrote the book on wood carving. No, really...he DID write the book called How to Carve Wood. He also wrote a great book on How to Sharpen Carving Tools. Both are excellent.

The two knives shown are a standard carving knife (bottom) for most roughing out and carving and a detail knife (top) for doing fine cuts. Together, they should be the only knives you'll ever need. Now...other carving tools...well, you may want/need those in time, but this is a great start. Don't mistake these knives for the ones you find at your local arts and crafts chain store: these are much better. I learned this the hard way.

Woodcraft offers either knife individually, or will give you a great deal on the two -- saving you 33% -- through March 31, 2009.

Here's the product page for the Rick Butz two-knife woodcarving set.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Amazon Toy Outlet update - toys at 25% - 70% off

Amazon Toy Outlet update, 2009
Amazon informs me that they have recently updated he Toys Outlet section of their site. They say that you can save 25% to 70% on a bunch of action figures, games, construction toys and more. They also have weekly specials and daily 'Gold Box' offers for toy bargains.

I'm guessing you, Dear Readers, will be most interested in the following sub-sections of the Toys Outlet:

* Construction Toys
* Hobbies and Models
* Learning & Exploration

Play! Have fun!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sale at - Rebate

The Geeks have been busy searching the universe for the most unique and interesting products available. With the holidays around the corner has some offers with extra "geek appeal" like the one below. The have tons of great gizmos, spy gadgets, and a variety of mechanical toys.

Save $5 to $10 on Orders of $25 to $50 or more!
Here is one offer in which you get $5 off of orders of $25 or more!

That's a good discount.

For this offer, use the discount code "BRAINS".

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Woodcraft Woodworking Store Sale Items

Woodcraft Woodworking Store Sale Items
Woodcraft is one of my favorite woodworking supply stores. They always have some sale items -- often several hundred. They sell some really high quality stuff like the Lie-Nielson bench plane shown above. (Sadly, this item is NOT on sale.)

They also have articles and videos to accompany many of the products they sell.

Visit Woodcraft's Sale Section to see what they've got.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amazon Summer Toy Event 2008 - Save up to 70%

Amazon Summer Toy Event 2008
I just learned that is having a huge sale on toys. Some toys are being sold for up to 70% off. Here is the Amazon Summer Toys Event main page.

Here are some deals I think might interest you, Dear Readers:

* Fuel Cell X7 - Hydrogen Powered Car
* Discovery Exclusive Hydrogen Fuel Rocket
* Air Hogs Havoc R/C Helicopter - Blue
* Kabuto Mushi Robot
* Vectron Phazor (27.045 MHz)
* Kid Galaxy Backyard Flyer Blue Splash
* Yukon Express 200-Piece Wooden Train Set

These are just a few things I happened to find. The sale runs now through now though June 18th, 2008. Check out the rest of the Amazon Summer Toy Event sale items.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

i-SOBOT: The World's Smallest Humanoid Robot

i-SOBOT humanoid robot toy If you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever own a bipedal humanoid robot, I would have laughed out loud. I was lucky enough to receive this little wonder as a gift last year. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling i-SOBOT for under $200 now.

The i-SOBOT is just 6 1/2" tall and has amazing articulation. The robot is made up of 17 very small servomotors and two gyro-sensors for balance. The 23 points of articulation include the neck, arms, wrists, legs, and feet. One disappointment: no hand or thumb motions. Yet.

i-SOBOT has four modes: manual control, special actions, programmed sequences, and voice command. The robot has 180 preprogrammed individual movements, a 200-word vocabulary, and responds to verbal commands (in voice mode only). The preprogrammed actions are pretty impressive and mostly humor-oriented.

The robot is programmable allowing you to record sequences of moves. Without much in the way of a sensor array, it is more of an automated playback than an autonomous entity. Still, if set up carefully, you can do some pretty fun stuff with this robot.

I think the greatest promise of i-SOBOT lies in what hackers and moders out there will add to this robot. I know some people have started to hack the device. As a platform for humanoid robotics, this has got to be one of the best deals around.

Get more info and see a video of the i-SOBOT at Hammacher Schlemmer. They have the best price currently online.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Robots, RC, Electronics Clearance @ HobbyTron is offering a whole bunch of cool stuff in a clearance sale. Included in the sale are many robot toys (like Robone shown here), radio controlled vehicles, electronic kits, and magic tricks. Cool store, eh?

They are also offering a coupon code that should get you an addition 10% off the listed prices.
Here are the details:
Coupon code: 10CLEARANCE
Expires: 11/14/08

Take a look at the clearance section

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Good Deal on I-SOBOT Robot by Tomy

Amazon is selling the Tomy I-SOBOT for just over $200 USD now -- that's a savings of $97.03 off of original retail.

The price seems to have jumped back up to $242 -- still a savings, but only of about $57.

From Amazon:
With unbelievably smooth robotics, the i-SOBOT walks more like a human than a robot. This fully-functional and fully-assembled robot features 17 custom designed actuators and gyro-sensor, allowing it to keep balance and freely move joints for impressive performance, vivid movement, and incredible flexibility. Other main components include a built-in speaker unit and built-in microphone with a voice recognition chip. With built-in clutches and metal gears, the i-SOBOT offers up to 220-degree movement. The two infrared transmission bands allow the robot to be operated with an LCD remote control.

See all the details of the Tomy I-SOBOT Robot

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Make A Lathe Out Of Your Drill Press

Some time ago, I posted about an accessory to convert your power drill into a small lathe.

I was visiting the toolmonger site the other day when I saw this tool which looks like a far more robust option if you already own (or plan to own) a drill press.

This accessory sold by Grizzly allows you to turn a multi-speed drill press into a vertically oriented lathe. What a great idea! It looks like it would be fairly easy to setup and change from drill press mode to lathe mode.

A 12" tool rest allows a maximum work piece length of 24" -- if you reverse the piece to work on the other end. The set includes a base plate with live center, 12" tool rest, mounting bolts, mini screw center, and spur center. It fits all drill presses with a through hole in the table. All of this for about $20. Wow.

Take a look at this Lathe Attachment for Drill Press.

You may want to take look at this highly-rated set of lathe chisels to complete your new setup.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Spyderco Sharpening Ceramic Stones

As some of you know, I am a advocate for sharp woodworking tools. Traditionally, fine woodworkers have used water stones. Other options include oil stones, abrasive papers, and more recently, diamond impregnated plates.

Water stones are messy (as they must be stored in water, used wet, and occasionally flattened). Likewise, oil stones require honing oil which can be a bother. Abrasive papers wear out (meaning there is a large hidden cost). Diamond stones are convenient because they only require a bit of water as lubricant and don't need flattening. They are, however, somewhat expensive.

Spyderco is now offering ceramic sharpening stones. These new ceramic stones seem to have everything going for them: no oil, no water, no wet storage, no flattening, no replacing paper. They require only the occasional cleaning with an abrasive kitchen cleaner (Comet, or the like). They are fairly affordable to boot!

Note that Spyderco has the traditional flat stones (right) for sharpening chisels, planes, jointer blades, and knives. In addition, they are have a set of specially shaped stones (left) for sharpening odd shaped carving tools.

Check out the new Spyderco Ceramic Sharpening Stones.

Here's a video on the product courtesy of Woodcraft Woodworking Supply.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Diamond Sharpening System for $50!

Diamond Tri-Hone Sharpening System
Diamond Tri-Hone Sharpening SystemThis is a great product at full price ($70), but a GREAT deal at Rockler's current sale price of $50.

Diamond stones are effective, easy to care for, and last a long time. I've used a Smith Tri-Hone for years (pre-diamond version) and have always found the system to be convenient.

This 3-stone sharpening system features coarse and fine diamond stones and natural Arkansas stone for final finishing. You just flip the center element around to put the grit of your choice facing up.

Notice also, that the diamond face includes a micro-tool sharpening pad for small tools (such as carving tools). The set comes with a helpful little a helpful little angle guide and sharpening instructions.

Check out the Diamond Tri-Hone Sharpening System

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Engineer's Sqaure and Caliper Set

Woodcraft is selling a set of three engineer's squares (which are much more precise than your average woodworking square), along with a nice little brass caliper. The set comes in wooden case for storage.

For $35, I consider this to be a pretty good deal.

Check out these Engineer's Squares at

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Grizzly Drill-Powered Hobby Lathe

Grizzy Drill-Powered Wood Lathe

Here is an interesting tool that converts your 3/8" power drill into a miniature wood lathe.

The details on this tool are limited, but impressive for the price. It can accommodate work of up to 24 inches and 6 inches in diameter. That's pretty big, really.

At about $46.00, this could be a handy tool -- especially if space is limited or you just want to try out a lathe of your own on the cheap.

The funny thing is that a well-rated set of lathe chiselsmight cost you more than the lathe itself!

Check out the Grizzly H2669 Hobby Lathe

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Locate Rockler and Woodcraft Retail Stores

My two favorite woodworking stores sell online and have many retail locations. While shopping online is fun and easy -- handling the tools and selecting your own wood can't be done over the internet. I recommend you find a Rockler woodworking store or a Woodcraft woodworking store near you. Here are some links to help you. - Helping You Make Wood Work
Woodcraft has a great selection of hand tools, especially for carving. In most stores you can handle the tools. They also host courses and demonstrations.

Locate a Woodcraft woodworking store Woodworking Superstore
Rockler specializes is jigs and accessories for you power tools. The retail location near me has a fantastic selection of choice woods.

Locate a Rockler woodworking store

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Carving Vise to hold Figures While Carving

Now, I'll be honest...I don't own one of these, but it sure looks like a nice thing to have for carving. I bring it to your attention also because it is on sale for $59.99, normally $71.49.

Adjustable Carving Vise/Carvers Mallet
Two great carving tools! One to hold it and a beautiful mallet to carve your fine pieces! (Mallet head is green not black as shown.) Mallet and carving vise sold separately.

Adjustable Carving Vise/Carvers Mallet

Adjustable Carving Vise/Carvers Mallet

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Fractional Digital Caliper

I bought a digital caliper to replace my classic vernier-style one last year. It is a lot easier to read the digital display than the fine lines on a traditional caliper.

My digital caliper displays units smaller than an inch in decimals. That's fine for the units like 1/4 inch displaying as .25 inches. But things get sticky with finer fractions. Quick: what's the decimal equivalent of 17/64? Sure, I could figure it out, but I usually don't.

The little gem shown here is a digital caliper that displays units in fractions on the screen. It has three modes: fractional inches, decimal inches, and millimeters.

As with most calipers, you can take inside measurements, outside measurements, and depth readings. It even shuts itself off after it's been idle for while to save battery life. (Mine doesn't do that.)

The Fractional Digital Caliper is available at Hartville Tool online.

While you are there, you should browse the clearance section. There truly are some good deals there.

The 6'' Fractional Digital Caliper is also available at Rockler Woodworking.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dremel 400-3/71 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool Kit

Dremel 400-3/71 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool KitHechinger Hardware is offering this amazing Dremel package for $105 -- about $30 less than Amazon!

From the marketing literature:
The Dremel 400 Series XPR rotary tool offers the performance, precision and control required to complete the widest range of projects of all Dremel rotary tools--from work, home or studio. Exclusive XPR attachments take advantage of the increased strength of the XPR's unique motor design plus it works will all existing Dremel attachments and accessories.

Look at what you get:
  • Features XPR Planer attachment, Flex Shaft & Circle Cutter
  • Includes XPR Storage Case plus 71 Accessories in their own integrated storage area
  • Variable speed provides maximum control and precision
  • Permanent magnet motor for increased performance and consistent speed at all speed settings
  • Ergonomic, contoured styling with soft-grip areas for greater comfort and control
  • Lightweight design for comfort during prolonged use
  • Separate on/off switch and speed control dial for the perfect speed every time
  • Lock-out collet button prevents engagement of spindle lock when tool is running
  • "Dove-tail" feature for Dremel-exclusive attachments
  • Cool-running ball bearing construction for smooth and quiet operation
  • Replaceable motor brushes extend tool life
  • Five year warranty

Product Includes:
  • 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool
  • XPR Planer
  • Flex Shaft
  • Circle Cutter
  • 109 High Speed Cutter
  • 150 Drill Bit
  • 191 High Speed Cutter
  • 401 Mandrel
  • 402 Mandrel w/ Screw
  • 403 Bristle Brush
  • 404 Bristle Brush Cup
  • 407 1/2" Coarse Sand Band Shank
  • 408 1/2" 60 Grit Sanding Band (2)
  • 411 Coarse Sanding Discs (15)
  • 414 1/2" Felt Wheel
  • 420 HD Cut-off Wheels (20)
  • 421 Polishing Compound
  • 422 Cone Polishing Tip
  • 425 Emery Polishing Wheel (2)
  • 426 1-1/4" Fiberglass Cut-off Wheel
  • 428 Carbon Steel Brush
  • 429 1" Felt Wheel (2)
  • 430 1/4" Sanding Band w/ Mandrel
  • 431 1/4" 60 Grit Sanding Band (2)
  • 432 1/4"120 Grit Sanding Band
  • 438 1/4" 120 Grit Sanding Band (2)
  • 540 1-1/4" HD Cut-off Wheel (2)
  • 541 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Wheel
  • 561 MultiPurpose Bit
  • 8193 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
  • 84922 Silicon Carbide Grind Stone
  • 85602 Silicon Carbide Grind Stone
  • 932 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
  • 953 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
  • XPR Storage Case

Wow! This is an entire workshop in a box!

Check out the Dremel 400-3/71 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool Kit

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Hechinger Hardware

You've got to love their motto: The World's Most Unusual Hardware Site.

You be the judge and let me know if they truly are unusual. I'll scan the site myself this week and update this post with any items that may be of interest to automata makers.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Automata and Mechanical Toys by Rodney Peppe

I have said in the past that if you want to make a wood automaton, and can only get just one book, Automata and Mechanical Toysby Rodney Peppé is the book to get.

This wonderful book is currently available in hardcover at for 31% off the regular retail price. This is a great deal.

The book is printed on fine glossy paper and is full of color photos (160 in all). The book profiles over 20 leading automata-makers, and provides step-by-step instructions for making an automata test-bed. There is also a section teaching you how to make ten fundamental mechanisms.

One of the best things about this book is that there are scale patterns to copy and use -- cams, gears, pin-wheels, ratchets, and even a Geneva mechanism.

Visit Amazon and use the Search Inside! feature for Automata and Mechanical Toys

Following as a close second, Peppé's book entitled Making Mechanical Toysshould also interest you.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

4" Brass Caliper for measuring

I love the look of this all brass 4 inch caliper for measuring. Often when I use calipers, I don't even read the measurement. Rather, I take the measurement with the calipers on one piece (or tool), then transfer the distance measured on to another piece. Of course, if you want to read a measurement exactly, calipers are a great way to do it.

Some of the product specifications:
  • Does outside and inside measurements
  • Sliding dovetail way (that's the track in which it slides)
  • Rigid construction
  • 4"/100mm rule with vernier scale
  • Graduated in 1/16" and mm

For under $7 USD, this looks like a very good deal to me. Then again, I love brass.

4" Brass Calipers at WoodCraft

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