Thursday, March 25, 2010

Industrial and Scientific supplies from Amazon

Amazon isn't just for books anymore! Tools, fasteners, supplies, parts, materials -- even brass gears -- can all be found in their online store.

Check out the extensive Industrial and Scientific section of their online store.

Among the many categories included:
* Abrasives
* Adhesives
* Bearings
* Cutting Tools
* Electronic Components
* Fasteners
* Fittings
* Hardware
* Hoses
* Industrial Hand Tools
* Janitorial
* Lab & Scientific
* Linear Motion
* Materials
* Material Handling
* Measurement & Inspection
* Metalworking
* Motors
* O-Rings
* Pipe
* Power Transmission
* Pumps
* Safety
* Soldering, Brazing, Welding & Heating
* Tapes
* Tubing
* Valves

Here's a link to Amazon's Industrial and Scientific supply section.

[ Thanks Caleb! ]

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chun Yeh Gear Co., LTD - nice gears and photos

Chun Yeh Gear Co., LTD - nice gears and photos
General Industrial Corp based in Tiawaan produces spur gears, bevel gears (straight and spiral), worm gears, gear shafts, motor shafts, output shafts, internal gears, pinions, and splined gears.

They offer products in steel alloys, stainless steel, aluminum alloys, plastics, bronze, and bronze alloys.

While their site is only a few simple static pages, they have a few stunning photographs of gears that are worth a look.

Here's the link to Chun Yeh Gear Co. gear products web site.

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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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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Useful Tools - Reader Submissions

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Miniature Table Saw - Amazing!

PROXXON Table Saw at Woodcraft.comI recently bought some new tools. The first thing on my list was a miniature table saw. My full-sized Craftsman is going strong after forty or more years, but it often seems like too big of a saw for the pieces I cut for automata.

I did some research and bought the Micro-Mark version of what you see here (Proxxon). I am 99% sure that they are made by the same company for every detail is the same except that mine is black.

Simply put, these little table saws are amazing. The saw is very strong and precise. The saw is quite capable of cutting hardwoods and the speed can be adjusted for the material.

There are a variety of blades available including a carbide tipped, diamond, abrasive disks, and fine toothed slitting blades. There are also many fine accessories (rip fences, feather boards, cross-cut tables, tapering jigs) available. I comes with a basic rip fence and mitre slider.

Buying this saw had an added advantage...I was able to free up space by moving my full-size saw out of my primary work area because I need less often.

If you need a good saw, don't have a lot of space, or work with small pieces I think these miniature table saws are a great choice. I LOVE mine.

Check out all the the details on this Miniature Table Saw.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Automata / Automata Store - Updated!

I have updated a bunch of the books listed at The Automata / Automaton Store and added additional comments to the some of the titles.

I've selected books for automata-makers and collectors. Book topics include: automata-making, paper automata kits, the history of automata, mechanisms, woodworking, metalworking, animatronics, autonomous robots, whirligigs, puppets, wooden toys, mechanical toys, wooden puzzles, carving, and the engineering process.

Be sure to also check out the tools listed by category in the left side navigation.

Visit The Automata / Automaton Store to build you library or tool collection.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nifty Retro Wood & Brass Measurer and Marker

I'll start by saying I don't have one of these...but I want one!

Granted, I am a sucker for the wood/brass combination, but this little gadget is just plain clever.

Stanley once made a tool called the No. 1 Odd Jobs tool -- that's what this tool is based on. It's a marvel of measuring and marking.

It can be used as a T-square and mitre square as seen at left.

Here it is shown being used to scribe an arc.

Here is is being used as a depth gauge to set the height of the blade on table saw.

Of course, you can use it as ruler too (it's maple with brass edges).

Check out all the details on the Odd Jobs Layout Tool. Oh...and order one for me!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wooden Gears Supplier Online

I've been reminded by fellow automata-maker Dan Torpey over at Barking Dogs Automata that wooden gears can be purchased from Patriot Mill Cogworks in New Hampshire, USA.

I ordered some of these a few years ago, but had lost track of their website. I'm glad to have found it again and to share it with my readers.

The cherry gears I ordered have mineral oil finish and are still beautiful. Look closely inside my piece A Boybot and his Dogbot and you will see three of these gears. (This is only piece I used them on to date.)

Though their site features educational kits composed of wooden gears, axle pegs, and pegboards, I believe you can order individual gears, as I did.

Happy Cranking!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Carving Set with tools, book, and slipstones

WOODCRAFT Carving Set at Woodcraft.comDeveloped for hand or light mallet use, this assortment of tools are made in the USA of high carbon tool steel. They feature hardwood handles with a metal ferrule. Comfortable 6-1/4" to 6-1/2" lengths make them easy to control for detail carving.

Complete set includes the 12 carving tools plus coarse and fine India slipstones, and the popular book "Woodcarving: 20 Great Projects for Beginners & Weekend Carvers" by John Hillyer. Factory sharpened and ready for use.

Here's a link to this Carving Set from WoodCraft. They have many to choose from.

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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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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mini Clamp-It Assembly Square Kit

I use these to assemble the boxes that house the automata mechanisms. The squares are thick so that the pieces clamped to it stay flat. The squares are also a strong plastic, so I don't worry too much about marring the wood. They also have little notches in them that allows the clamps to nest securely in them. At $35 they may seem pricey, but I sure am glad I have them, and the clamps can be used for other purposes.

Mini Clamp-It  Assembly Square KitMini Clamp-It Assembly Square Kit
Buy this kit and save $4.95 versus buying individual pieces separately!

Includes everything needed to clamp two corners at time; comes with two Mini Clamp-It Assembly Squares and four 4" Mini Clamps.

Mini Clamp-It Assembly Square Kit

The Mini Clamp-It can only be obtained in the Tools section of Rockler Woodworking.

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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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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WoodCraft Magazine Bundle - Automata Plans -- one of my absolute favorite woodworking stores -- is offering a bundle of the first year of its self-titled woodworking magazine.

This is a great deal for two reasons:
  1. You get 7 issues of a great woodworking magazine for $9.99
  2. You get Woodcraft Holiday 2005 with my article on how to build a contemporary automaton of your very own. That's worth the price alone!
Check out the Woodcraft Magazine Issues 1-7 Bundle

If you are a hard-core Dug North fan and just want the issue with the automaton plans, you can get Woodcraft Holiday 2005

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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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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

I few days ago I posted about a free Woodworking Catalog from one of my favorite woodworking stores for tools.

Rockler is the second of my two favorite places to buy woodworking tools. I visit their retail store more than any other.

They also offer free catalog. The catalog is 150 pages and offers tons of great tools. They specialize in enhancements for your power tools -- router tables, fences, jigs. The also have tons of specialty hardware.

The thing that Rockler sells that will be of greatest use to automata makers is their line of thin cut wood. They sell planed domestic and exotic woods in sizes that make sense for automata makers.

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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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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Woodworkers & Carvers - WoodCraft Catalog - Helping You Make Wood WorkWoodcraft Supply is a great store for woodworking tools and supplies. If you don't have a store near you, I recommend their catalog featuring more than 8,000 items. They offer more tools and accessories for woodcarvers than any other retailer I have found.

Not only does the Woodcraft catalog offer a complete listing of products for woodworking, but it's also free.

Get your Free Woodcraft Catalog.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Rotary Tool Bargain @

I know I recommend Dremel tools on my site, but I guess I mean "Rotary Tools".

Here is a fantastic deal on Amazon for a Rotary Tool from GMC.

Look at what you get for less than $20:

  • Rotary tool
  • 40-piece accessory kit and wrench
  • 1.2 amp, variable-speed motor (15,000 to 35,000 rpm)
  • Lightweight, durable body with soft, rubber grip
  • Flexible shaft
  • Adjustable mounting stand
  • Case
  • 2-year warranty

I don't know too much about this brand, but it has great user reviews on Amazon. I do own a bench grinder of this make and it's doing great.

If you buy the Rotary Tool with something costing $5, you will also get free shipping.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Glue Advice Site --

For anyone who makes things, this is a nice reference site that gives you advice about the best glue choices when gluing one thing (this) to another (that). It's super-simple to use. This site provides links to additional details for all of the suggested glues in the results. Be sure to read these detail pages because they have context-specific information that can be important.

I just used it yesterday to answer the question: what glue should I use to adhere paper to glass? came to the rescue!

Visit the glue reference site -

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Automata Book Store - Huge Update

The Automata / Automaton StoreI've added 45 more titles to the books section of The Automata / Automaton Store that I've set up through I've selected books on these topics: automata-making, paper automata kits, the history of automata, mechanisms, woodworking, animatronics, autonomous robots, whirligigs, puppets, wooden toys, mechanical toys, wooden puzzles, carving, paper engineering, and the engineering process.

It's basically a reading list to get your Ph.D. in contemporary mechanical automata. I'm less than half way there myself.

Please visit The Automata / Automaton Store to further your education...and my own!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Makers: Gift Card with Purchases at Northern

Free Gift Card With Purchase At
For those of you that make stuff -- automata or otherwise -- Northern Tool is running a special promotion where you get a gift card with your purchase. Type in this promo code on the Address Verification page: 94660.

The offer applies to orders over $100 bucks, but this time of year, that's easy to do. They have pretty much every tool under the sun from a $2 strap wrench to a bulldozer that goes for $21,800!

Don't take my word for it...see if there is a tool you cannot find at Northern Tool + Equipment.

(If are unable to find a tool, post it as a comment here.)

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Industrial Materials and Tools from

Did you know that has a new product category? Amazon Industrial and Scientific offers a huge selection of metals, plastics, mechanical components, fasteners, wire, springs, tools, and safety equipment.

Here's a link to the associated blog

Here's a link to's Amazon Industrial Supplies

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Tool Freaks: Northern Tool has Free Shipping!
With the Holidays coming, this is a post you really should bookmark. If you have tool-freaks in your life, Northern Tool + Equipment is a great source for everything tool related. At the very least, you'll want to order the paper catalog.

Visit Northern Tool + Equipment for Holiday tool gifts

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

David Copperfield - Museum of Magic with Automata

In addition to being one of the best (and best known) magicians of our time, David Copperfield is also the creator of a program that uses magic as a form of rehabilitation and esteem-building. Now...isn't that a good idea?

David Copperfield has an additional passion -- the preservation of the history of magic. He has amassed an enormous collection of magic artifacts from 16th century books to the tuxedo worn by Cardini! Among the collection's holdings are automata by the master, Robert-Houdin himself.

The website is Flash-based so I can't give you direct links, but if you go to it's easy enough to follow the links for "Project Magic" and "Museum". Be sure to click the link to "View Exhibit" at the bottom of the Museum section.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How to Improve a "Third Hand" Holding Tool

Here's a little step-by-step guide for making those little holding tools a bit more useful. A simple, but good, idea indeed. I use them for soldering mostly, but also for gluing and painting.

Here's the Third Hand Improvement at

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