Tricks of the Trade By Tim Lillis
Hack a hot glue mold.
Need multiples of a part?
Don’t have any casting materials? Need it now? Use this
trick from Marc de Vinck,
MAKE’s CNC Maker.
Apply a release agent to the
master. If you don’t have
actual mold release handy,
sometimes even water will
work. Otherwise a light
coating of oil will do.
Place the master on a flat
surface (glass or parchment
paper works well) and use a
very heated-up hot glue gun
to coat the piece. It may take
a few tries to get the right
Use the hot glue mold to
cast a new piece in plaster,
auto body filler, epoxy, etc.
(use release agent again).
You can also use this technique with caulk or sealant,
or even Jell-O!
Have a trick of the trade? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silicone Rescue Tape
$25 for 2 rolls rescuetape.com
In case the advent of plastic bakeware wasn’t enough to convince
you of the wonder of silicone polymers, I relate the following tale.
Shortly after moving into my current home, an air conditioner drain
line in the attic sprung a leak, and water started dribbling through
the ceiling. The proper fix would have been to cut out the leaking
section of pipe and replace it, a task I was not looking forward to in
the Texas summer heat. After complaining to a fellow chemist, he
suggested I try silicone tape as a temporary fix.
Four years later, that “temporary” repair, which took all of 45
seconds to complete, is still going strong. Apart from a bit of dust,
there’s no sign of degradation in the tape, and I’ll be surprised if
it doesn’t make it another four years at least.
Rescue Tape comes in relatively short rolls, which is necessary
because it’s about 1mm thick and requires backing on both sides
to keep it from sticking to itself, which it does almost instantly.
If you wait a minute or so and then try to pull the bond apart, the
tape itself will fail before the joint does. It’s soft and flexible and
highly resistant to heat, cold, water, and oil, and it can be used on
any kind of material, clean or dirty. —Sean Ragan
Arwen O’Reilly Griffith is the mother
of a 9-month-old engineer-in-training.
Brian Kerfs is a 13-year-old 80s music
enthusiast living in California.
Tim Lillis shows you how to use stuff
better than you knew you could.
Sam Mason is a solar PV installer who
lives, works, and plays in Boulder, Colo.
Justin Morris is an avid guitarist and
John Edgar Park is the host of the
Maker workshop on Make: television.
Eric Ponvelle is a graduate of Nicholls
State University in English with a
concentration in technical writing.
Sean Ragan’s ancestors have been
using tools for 5,000 generations.
Visit Donald Simanek’s pages of
science, pseudoscience, and humor:
Bruce Stewart is a freelance technology
editor and writer, as well as an infrequent
contributor to Wired’s geekdad.com.
Ed Troxell is MAKE’s photo intern.
Adam Zeloof lives in Central New Jersey
and enjoys sailing, camping, birding,
geocaching, and of course, making.
Have you used something worth
keeping in your toolbox? Let us know at