Affordable Affordances

I use a bicycle wrench to tighten the collet on my CNC router. It has 32mm and 30mm box-end openings – 30mm fits the nut on my collet. About half the time, I put the wrong side on the collet and feel a mild pang of annoyance. This is a failure of the tool markings (low contrast and low discriminability between end sizes) and a failure on my part because I should have fixed it the first time it happened.

An obvious solution would be to just cut the useless end off. Reducing the functionality of tools isn’t my first line of offense, so for years I’ve just suffered this minor frustration. Anyone who’s worked in a shop long enough knows that these tiny annoyances add up over time and make things less fun and mistakes more frequent. Today, it finally annoyed me enough to think of a proper lazy fix. By gaff-taping over the far end, I created a grippy surface and a visually obvious orientation for the wrench.



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DIYBookscanner on Exhibit in Paris

vanni foldout scanner sculpture on exhibit

Pierre Vanni dialed up the foldout scanner an order of magnitude. The gorgeous monster is part of Pierre’s exhibit Google Raconte at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Thanks to him (right) and his accomplices JS (left) and Valerian.

js valerian pierre scanner sculpture

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Two Thousand Thirteen Seconds B-Sides and Rarities

Consider this my 2013 photo essay; it started as an experiment in taking a one-second video every day and ended up a pretty and personal thing. I only removed work-related videos; there are pieces of around 460 videos in this compilation. Everything is shown roughly in order from January to December. The music is mine and it’s unfinished demo material.

Special thanks to Dana, Eric, Matti, Scann, Stan, Jillian, Greg, Testa, Dolce, Tox, Pehr, and all those unmentioned.

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The Making Of Skull Face 2013


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Every Year, I Draw A Skull On My Face With Eyeliner Pencil (2013)

2013: Reetz2013Skull









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Vote With Your Wallet

voteWhether you mean to or not.

Los Angeles, California, 2011.

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Inevitability and Proximity

I keep hearing “It will happen” or “It’s gonna happen”, referring to inevitability in a social context.  These predictions are likely to be correct, if only because things are set up badly – in a negligent way, even – and no corrective action is being taken.gasoline

Los Angeles, California, 2013.

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Recently Hauled A Bit Of Foam


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Sewing Kit

I made a sewing kit for Dana, who is on the road with JT. It’s a 3D printed, laser cut box with a wide assortment of garment repair and management stuff jammed inside.
2013-10-19 16.46.16

Here, it is pictured with the lid and topmost components removed. 2013-10-19 16.49.01

Here you can see the full contents, which I will come back and detail someday. I’m particularly proud of the thread spools. I printed tiny caps for them that converted them into storage containers for pins, bra-clips, seam rippers, buttons, etc.
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You may notice a lack of scissors. A scissors was unnecessary because Dana already has one in her Leatherman Wave.

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Egress Axe

2013-10-20 08.59.31

I was impressed to see the glow-in-the-dark grab handle, and doubly impressed to see a handy fire-axe available for chopping out of a locked freezer cabinet.

So impressed, in fact, that I was apparently unable to take a focused photograph.

Smart’N’Final, Los Angeles, CA.

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Weller D550PK, Badly Made in USA

I recently bought a Weller soldering gun, with the intention of using it to cut nylon webbing. Out of the box, the two small lamps on the front did not illuminate. Although I don’t need them, it chafed me to buy a pricey, well-respected, American-made tool and have it only partially function.

Weller DP550K Exterior

I opened up the gun to see what was going on. Weller DP550K guts

Turned out to be bad solder joints. Not just one, but all of them.
2013-10-18 22.47.11Apparently it was amateur hour at the Weller factory. Or perhaps the workers are unable to afford Weller irons themselves? In any case, all of these solder joints were all bad enough to be hazardous, not just embarrassing, so I reworked them.

Rotten soldering inside a soldering gun. I wouldn’t expect this from Weller, but then, Weller hasn’t been Weller since 1970 when it was acquired and then sold again. OK, many thanks, Apex Tool Group – or should I say thanks to Bain Capital, the conglomerate investment group that recently purchased Apex? Gross. Go to hell, “Weller”, and Bain Capital, too. I’ll buy Japanese precision tools or cheap Chinese clones before I buy another tool from you – at least then, the bargain will be plain.

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Not Robot Compatible


USPS, Glendale, CA.

With proliferation, the increasing confusion around this important property – robots becoming more human in their capabilities. Normals become more aware of robots. The point on the graph where those two curves meet, embodied in this homely sign.

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Bright Lights


Outdoor lumber yard, Eugene, OR.

The net was installed to inhibit pigeon infestation- but made a home for spiders and a beacon for insects. The unintended tendency of “free” power and services to enable and ensconce predators. The statistical distribution of danger around a power source.

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Point Of Sale Adaptations


At Jerry’s in Eugene, OR: ceiling mounted lumber racks,  to hold lumber for POS scanning. Interesting compromise between material length and human height. Also some implicit assumptions about cart usage. Also, note the “lane free” arrangement.

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Spring Clamp Door Stop


Clever re-use of a spring clamp in Eugene, OR. Lever action compensates for uneven cement. Rubber ends provide grip.

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Juki DNU-1541S Service Manual and Users Manual

Juki 1541s


Juki DNU-1541S Sales Brochure.

Juki DNU-1541s Service Manual /Engineer’s Manual.

Juki DNU-1541s Operator’s Manual/ User’s Manual.

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Bernina 1130 User Manual and Service Manual [PDF]

These manuals are hard to find on the Internet. I found them.


Bernina 1130 User Manual/Guide. PDF, 59 pages.

Bernina 1130/1120 Service Manual. PDF, 73 pages.

Keywords: Bernina 1130 User Manual. Bernina 1130 Repair. Bernina Oiling Guide. How to thread Bernina 1130. How to wind bobbin. How to lift presser foot. 1130 hook alignment.

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Reasons To Exist


Elevator phones will be among the last legitimate uses for landlines.

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Power, Access


The forces that form conduit. The locks that keep the curious out. The drops – free and clear, save for high amperage Hubbel plugs you’re unlikely to carry. No charging mobiles here, you can’t plug in your hair dryer – but you could jack in a power hacksaw… or stage lighting. Any exposed end can compromise a system, at least in a negative way. It’s funny, you could short a drop and turn it off, blowing the breaker, but you couldn’t turn it back on without bolt cutters.

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Cut To Fit


I have the biggest phone. It takes the smallest SIM. I bought a pair of flush cutters, trimmed the excess, and gave the tools to Scann.

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