Archive for the ‘Cool Tools’ Category

  • Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

    What’s The Best Soldering Iron?



    I currently have a Weller WES51 Soldering Station that I’ve owned for about 10 years.  While it have served me well all these years — I feel like the thermal recovery time can be a lot better.   Hand soldering prototype boards with many different types of footprints is the latest challenge my WES51 is having a harder time with.   It feels like it cannot keep up and I have to pause a few seconds while the temp recovers — I believe this is caused by the LEAD FREE solder I’m using that requires higher temp than the old LEAD based 60/40.

    So I’m asking the readers of Mavromatic for their recommendations of “Best Soldering Iron”.   I’m leaning towards the JBC CD-1BC (or the 2012 JBC-CD-1BB) — what do you think?


    Posted on May 2nd | 3 comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics, Hacks & Mods Read more
  • Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

    Gladiator Garageworks – Possibly the best garage system and made in the U.S.A.

    gladiator_garageI’ve been meaning to organize my garage and turn a section into a place where I can work on my Myro Control stuff. I have been researching and looking at all sorts of “Garage Systems” and everything I have seen is either VERY expensive or VERY cheaply made using flimsy metal or thin wood/melamine.

    My dream garage would be filled with Lista Cabinets (as seen on American Chopper) as they offer both of my requirements: American Made and modular cabinets on casters. The only drawback being cost.

    Sears Craftsmen’s popped into my mind — thinking everything Craftsmen’s would be American made, right? Uh, nope. Then right next to the Craftsmen benches was this product called Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation. Modular cabinets on casters, check. Made in the U.S.A.? YES! Apparently all their “premium” welded case products are made in the U.S.A. That includes the benches and the gearbox. The ones you need to assemble are not so keep that in mind.

    The only design element I’m not too big on is the “tread” or “diamond plate” texture on the doors. I would have liked a smooth finish or options for different colors (silver, red, black, blue, etc) like the Lista Cabinets offer. Not a huge deal and the pattern is growing on me.

    Overall, I dig them! The price, the quality and the fact they are Made in the U.S.A. — I couldn’t be happier.

    Off to finish organizing the garage!

    - Gladiator Garage Works

  • Thursday, August 25th, 2011

    Fostex AR-4i Audio Interface for iPhone 4

    Here’s a neat add-on that turns your iPhone 4 into a HD video (audio) recording rig at a fairly economical price of $150.  The key feature of the Fostex AR4i is that it brings excellent quality stereo audio recording via the dock connector and it’s built-in AD/DA converters.   The included microphones can be swiveled and located in many different configurations giving you the best possible audio capture.  Built-in LED input level metering, gain control and headphone monitoring, the AR-4i has been designed to turn your iPhone 4 into a high-quality audio and HD video capture device.   This little add-on is great for trips and family events where you don’t want to carry another device just for video capture, but want the higher quality audio and video stabilization (via form factor and included handle).

    - Fostex AR4i website
    - AMAZON: Fostex Audio Interface for Iphone 4 – Fostex AR-4I

    [ via and as seen on MacBreak Episode 261 ]…

    Posted on Aug 25th | no comments
    Filed Under: Accessories, Cool Tools, Electronics Read more
  • Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    PCB Design Demo Board

    I’ve become addicted to our local maker space called Metrix Create:Space and while I’m there I always ask them what is the latest stuff they got in.  That’s when I was shown the PCB Design Demo Board which was designed by Jon Chandler.  Priced at $10, it’s a bargain because if you have ever made a PCB yourself, picking the hole, SMD pad, silkscreen lettering and trace sizes can be a challenge.  This $10 can help save hundreds in errors associated with picking the incorrect footprints in Eagle.  Also, if you are in the Seattle area peep Metrix Create:Space — just don’t hog the laser cutter!…

    Posted on Apr 26th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Electronics Read more
  • Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

    Cool Tool: Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

    We had our newest member of the Mavromatis family born on 3.2.11 and while we were in the hospital I asked the nurse which thermometer she recommended.  Her recommendation was for one of the temporal artery types.  So I ordered the Exergen 2000C Temporal Artery Thermometer from and it arrived today.  It is a very cool tool and after a few different subjects (myself, my wife and my daughters) it reads very accurate temperatures pretty much instantly.   The case design is simple and plain, but was very surprised to find out that it is “Made In U.S.A.”.   I guess the only “features” to mention is that is has a LCD screen, takes 1,000 readings per second, and has a “Silver Ion Antimicrobial Probe Head”.  Priced at around $34, this is a MUST HAVE for any household with kids where keeping them still is almost impossible.  The Exergen 2000C Temporal Artery Thermometer is Mavromatic’s Cool Tool for March 2011!

    - — Exergen 2000C Temporal Artery Thermometer

    Posted on Mar 8th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, Grooming Read more
  • Saturday, March 5th, 2011

    Sugru | hack things better

    I always love finding out about cool new stuff that can be used to make things better. And that’s what Sugru is all about. A moldable silicone formula that took five years to perfect comes in a variety of colors and offers properties of curing at room temperature, soft-touch feel, self-adhesive, temperature resistant, waterproof, flexible and even dishwasher-proof making Sugru a must for all hackers toolbox. Watch the video above for some ways to hack things better using Sugru.

    - Sugru | Order Page

    Posted on Mar 5th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools Read more
  • Saturday, March 13th, 2010

    Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor – My Favorite Tools – March 2010

    When I’m changing my brakes I  just tighten to what I think is “tight enough” — not always a good thing.  All automotive bolts and parts have a recommended torque amount that should be followed. Sure, you can get yourself an analog torque wrench, but why would you when you can get the Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor that turns any 1/2″ rachet into a digital one?

    This little gadget not only can be used to calibrate analog torque wrenches (which you’d pay about the same as the adapter if taken to someone to calibrate) but you can use it in situations where you need precise torque pressure using a standard rachet wrench.  The feature I really like is that you set the torque amount you want to achieve and then as you tighten you get both visual (LED light & LCD torque amount) and audible indication.

    The Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor is Mavromatic’s, “My favorite tools”, for March 2010.  It runs about $50.

    - – Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor

    Posted on Mar 13th | 4 comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Favorite Tools, Home Improvement Read more
  • Thursday, March 11th, 2010

    Final Cut Blade – Blade that sands while it rips

    The Final Cut Blade is one of those products that make you go, “Why didn’t I think of that!?”.  It’s genius!  It really is… a blade that sands while it rips!  The way it works it very simple — you attach a self-adhesive  sand paper which is designed to fit most blades and comes in sizes ranging from 10″ to 12″ — as the blade cuts, it also gives a nice sanding.  You get perfect edges that are ready for glue or staining.

    Watch the video above to view how the system works.  Blades and sand paper is available directly from the Final Cut Blade Store.

    - Final Cut Blade – All in one step… Just cut, the sanding is a bonus

    Posted on Mar 11th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, Favorite Tools, Home Improvement Read more

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