Heavy Lift Electromagnet from Microwave Oven Transformers

It’s OK, you can admit it — from the time you first saw those huge electromagnetic cranes in scrap yards you’ve wanted to have one. While it may not fling around a car, parts donated from scrapped microwaves can let you build your own electromagnetic lifting device and make that dream finally come true.

We recently watched [MakeItExtreme] turn a couple of microwave oven transformers into a somewhat ill-advised wall-climbing rig. It looks like that may have been the inspiration for this build, and the finished product appears to be a tad more useful this time. The frames of three MOTs are cut open to remove the secondary coils and leave the cores exposed as poles for the future magnets. A shallow dish is fabricated out of steel and the magnets are welded in place.

With the primaries wired together, the magnets are epoxy potted, the business end is faced off cleanly, and the whole thing put to the test. [MakeItExtreme] doesn’t go into control details in the video below, but the website mentions the magnet being powered off a 24V 15A power supply with battery backup in case of mains failure.

They’ve lifted 200kg so far, and it looks like a pretty cool addition to a shop already packed with other builds, like their MOT spot welder and a propane tank sandblaster.


Filed under: tool hacks

[Dave’s] Not Just a Member of the Air Club for Tweezers

We are always surprised how much useful hacking gear is in the typical craft store. You just have to think outside the box. Need a hot air gun? Think embossing tool. A soldering iron? Check the stained glass section. Magnification gear? Sewing department.

We’ve figured out that people who deal with beads use lots of fine tools and have great storage boxes. But [Dave] found out they also use vacuum pickup tweezers. He had been shopping for a set and found that one with all the features he wanted (foot pedal, adjustable air flow, and standard tips) would run about $1000.

By picking up a pump used for bead makers and adding some components, he put together a good-looking system for about $200. You can see a video of the device, below, and there are several other videos detailing the construction.

The pickup needles use the same fitting that medical syringes use–known as a Luer lock. [Dave] provides links to all the components over on Hackaday.io. The actual build is simple enough. No Arduino, ESP8266, or Raspberry Pi. Just a foot switch and a solenoid along with a collection of tubing and fittings.

We were hoping the first video would show the finished product working, but it doesn’t. You have to skip to video 7 for that, and you can find it below. If you want to build it yourself, you’ll have to pick up the 5 videos in between.

We’ve talked about raiding craft and art stores before for lots of project help. Of course, vacuum tweezers aren’t strictly necessary. We’ve also seen cheaper builds, often based on aquarium pumps, but not always.


Filed under: tool hacks

Hack a Whiteboard and Never Lose Screws Again

If you are reading this, it is a fair bet you like to take things apart. Sometimes, you even put them back together. There are two bad moments that can occur when you do this. First, when you get done and there is some stuff left over. That’s usually not good. The other problem is when you are trying to find some little tiny bolt and a washer and you can’t find it. SMD parts are especially easy to lose.

A few months ago, I was browsing through a local store and I saw a  neat idea. It was basically a small whiteboard with lines dividing it into cells. It was magnetic and the idea is you’d put your small loose (and ferrous) parts like screws, bolts, nuts, and resistors on the board. Since it was a marker board, you could make notes about what each cell contained. Great idea! But the thing was about $20 and I thought I could do better than that. As you might guess from the picture, I was successful. I spent about $5, although I had some rare-earth magnets hanging around. If you don’t, strong magnets aren’t that expensive and you can often raid them out of hard drives.

First Attempt

My first attempt was a failure. I went to a local discount store and looked at the cheap whiteboards. Here’s what I found out. What they sell as “magnetic” whiteboards are boards that will hold a magnet. By themselves, they aren’t magnetic. Luckily, I had brought a small bolt into the store to test, so I didn’t buy one and I sort of forgot about it for a few months.

Regroup

fullsizerender_brightRecently, however, I was about to disassemble something and realized I really wanted something like this to get organized. A trip to the local drugstore netted me a $5 whiteboard with a little marker that attaches with a clip or with a magnet. The thing also came with some sticky tape, some magnetic tape, and a few little weak magnets to grip on it.

My first attempt with the new board was to simply stick some strong magnets to the back of the board. That didn’t work. Turns out the frame has two pieces of cardboard in it. One piece has the thin whiteboard surface glued to it. The two pieces of cardboard were keeping the magnet too far away to be useful.

How you get to the whiteboard surface will probably depend on exactly what you buy. On mine, the frame pulled apart easily at one corner and I just slipped everything out. Be careful, though, because the inner cardboard was glued to the whiteboard surface, I did manage to bend the thin metal surface when I pulled it out. It wasn’t bad though, and it is so thin, it mostly bent back out.

Law of Attraction

Once you have the metal exposed, you can mount magnets on the back and they’ll stick. You could probably also use some magnetic tape (the sticky kind, not the old computer or audio kind). Then you just have to put the cardboard back and reassemble the frame. In my case, I cut up one piece of the cardboard to make shims that went around the edges to hold in the other piece of cardboard. I didn’t think the whole sandwich would go back in with the thickness of the magnets. I used several different kinds, but if I had stuck to the thin ones, that might not have been a problem.

Oops — Should Shop Better

After I was done, I made the mistake of looking on eBay. If you don’t mind shipping them from around them globe, you can get the $20 pad for about $5 anyway. However, what fun is that? With this method, you can make as big or small of a mat as you want. You can customize it as you like, too. I thought about using a dual whiteboard/corkboard so you could stick components into the cork or use pushpins to hold things in bags. Anyway, if being able to buy something means that you’re not allowed to build it, Hackaday would have a lot fewer articles.

Even though we don’t think magnets cure arthritis, we do think they are a little bit magic. Some people even use them to avoid being groped in the shower (assuming, of course, you think that’s a bad thing). Now, I only have to figure out why I have these two extra M3 bolts.

 

 


Filed under: tool hacks

Socks by Bob

No, this article is not about SOCKS4 or SOCKS5 or Proxies. It’s about real socks, the ones that go onto your feet. Meet [Bob Rutherford], 88 years old, who lives in Saskatoon, Canada. He and his gang ([Glynn Sully], 92 years old , [George Slater] 85 year old, and young [Barney Sullivan] 65 years old) have made 10,000 socks for shelters in the community and across the country. That’s almost 8 miles of socks. Last year alone “operation Socks by Bob” as he likes to call it, produced 2,000 socks.

So how did these 4 fellows manage to pull this off? Turns out that [Bob] has a bit of a maker spirit in him and he actually built a fast, cheap, knitting machine for the purpose of making socks. Using a sewer tubing as a base, the machines can knit at 90 stitches a second.

He made it a while back but it didn’t have much of a use in mind for it. Sadly, seven years ago his wife passed away, leaving him facing a void in his life. Following his son advice “If you want to help yourself, help somebody else”, he decided to start this project.

“There’s a lot of us, as we grow older, we sit at home and look at the wall with nothing to do! Socks by Bob has given me that something to do.” [Bob]

Nowadays the gang has 2 machines working steadily and, once a week, they cut the long tubes of wool into socks. Half the yarn is donated, the other plus shipping costs are raised by [Bob’s] son. The knitting machines look pretty awesome in action. See for yourself in the video below.

Wouldn’t it be great if we can get a guide on how [Bob] built his machine? For now, there is an open hardware circular knitting machine. It was a Hackaday Prize Entry in 2015, called Circular Knitic.

[images Julianne Hazlewood/CBC News]

 


Filed under: tool hacks

Machinist Magic: Gauge Block Wringing

In this age of patent trolls and multi-billion dollar companies that make intellectual property claims on plant genes and photographing objects against a white background, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a patent on a plain steel block would be yet another recent absurdity. But no – [Carl Edvard Johansson] got a patent for his “Gauge Block Sets for Precision Measurement” in 1901. As [AvE] shows us with a video on how gauge blocks can be “wrung” together, there’s more to these little blocks than meets the eye.

Gauge block wringing is probably nothing new to experienced machinists, but for the rest of us, it’s a pretty neat trick. To start the show, [AvE] gives us a little rundown on “Jo blocks” and what they’re good for. Basically, each block is a piece of tool steel or ceramic that’s ground and lapped to a specific length. Available in sets of various lengths, the blocks can be stacked end to end to make up a very precise measuring stick. But blocks aren’t merely placed adjacent to each other – they physically adhere to each other via their lapped surfaces after being wrung together. [AvE] demonstrates the wringing technique and offers a few ideas on how this somewhat mysterious adhesion occurs. It’s pretty fascinating stuff and puts us in the mood to get a gauge block set to try it ourselves.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen [AvE] around Hackaday – last time out he was making carbon foam from a slice of bread. Rest assured his channel has been going strong since then, with his unique blend of laughs and insight into the secret lives of tools. Definitely worth checking out, and still skookum as frig.


Filed under: misc hacks, tool hacks

Scissor Lift Shoes May Be OSHA Compliant

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. This was probably the fundamental principle behind the show “Inspector Gadget”, a story about a police agent who has literally any technology at his grasp whenever he needs it. Although the Inspector’s gadgets get him into trouble more often than not (his niece Penny usually solves the actual crimes), the Inspector-inspired shoes that [Make it Extreme] built are a little bit more useful than whatever the Inspector happens to have up his sleeve (or pant leg, as the case may be).

If a fabrication tour de force, [Make it Extreme] built their own “Go Go Gadget Legs”, a set of pneumatically controlled stilts that allow the wearer to increase their height significantly at the push of a button. We often see drywall contractors wearing stilts of a similar height, but haven’t seen any that are able to raise and lower the wearer at will. The team built the legs from scratch, machining almost every component (including the air pistons) from stock metal. After some controls were added and some testing was done, the team found that raising one foot at a time was the safer route, although both can be raised for a more impressive-looking demonstration that is likely to throw the wearer off balance.

The quality of this build and the polish of the final product are incredibly high. If you have your own machine shop at home this sort of project might be within your reach (pun intended). If all you have on hand is a welder, though, you might be able to put together one of [Make it Extreme]’s other famous builds: a beer gun.


Filed under: tool hacks, wearable hacks

Pretty Fly for a DIY Guy

Milling machines can be pretty intimidating beasts to work with, what with the power to cut metal and all. Mount a fly cutter in the mill and it seems like the risk factor goes up exponentially. The off-balance cutting edge whirling around seemingly out of control, the long cutting strokes, the huge chips and the smoke – it can be scary stuff. Don’t worry, though – you’ll feel more in control with a shop-built fly cutter rather than a commercial tool.

Proving once again that the main reason to have a home machine shop is to make tools for the home machine shop, [This Old Tony] takes us through all the details of the build in the three-part video journey after the break. It’s only three parts because his mill released the Magic Smoke during filming – turned out to be a bad contactor coil – and because his legion of adoring fans begged for more information after the build was finished. But they’re short videos, and well worth watching if you want to pick up some neat tips, like how to face large stock at an angle, and how to deal with recovering that angle after the spindle dies mid-cut. The addendum has a lot of great tips on calculating the proper speed for a fly cutter, too, and alternatives to the fly cutter for facing large surfaces, like using a boring head.

[ThisOldTony] does make things other than tooling in his shop, but you’ll have to go to his channel to find them, because we haven’t covered too many of those projects here. We did cover his impressive CNC machine build, though. All [Tony]’s stuff is worth watching – plenty to learn.


Filed under: tool hacks

Sorting Resistors with 3D Printing and a PIC

If you aren’t old enough to remember programming FORTRAN on punched cards, you might be surprised that while a standard card had 80 characters, FORTRAN programs only used 72 characters per card. The reason for this was simple: keypunches could automatically put a sequence number in the last 8 characters. Why do you care? If you drop your box of cards walking across the quad, you can use a machine to sort on those last 8 characters and put the deck back in the right order.

These days, that’s not a real problem. However, we have spilled one of those little parts boxes — you know the ones with the little trays. We aren’t likely to separate out the resistors again. Instead, we’ll just treasure hunt for the value we want when we need one.

[Brian Gross], [Nathan Lambert], and [Alex Parkhurst] are a bit more industrious. For their final project in [Bruce Land’s] class at Cornell, they built a 3D-printed resistor sorting machine. A PIC processor feeds a resistor from a hopper, measures it, and places it in the correct bin, based on its value. Who doesn’t want that? You can see a video demonstration, below.

At first, it appears the device uses a rotary encoder as an input device. However, it isn’t an encoder. It is a 10-turn potentiometer. This is simple to read but causes some unique processing. For navigating the LCD, for example, the PIC looks at the rate of change of the pot value. However, if it sees the pot go to the end of travel, it moves the navigation fully in that direction.

We thought it would be cool to marry this with an OpenCV resistor reader to also identify out of spec or mismarked resistors. There’s actually a few phone apps that can do that with varying degrees of success.

Thanks to [Bruce] for the tip, and for launching so many young engineers.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Microcontrollers, tool hacks

Review: Digilent Analog Discovery 2

I recently opened the mailbox to find a little device about the size of White Castle burger. It was an “Analog Discovery 2” from Digilent. It is hard to categorize exactly what it is. On the face of it, it is a USB scope and logic analyzer. But it is also a waveform generator, a DC power supply, a pattern generator, and a network analyzer.

I’ve looked at devices like this before. Some are better than others, but usually all the pieces don’t work well at the same time. That is, you can use the scope or you can use the signal generator. The ones based on microcontrollers often get worse as you add channels even. The Analog Discovery 2 is built around an FPGA which, if done right, should get around many of the problems associated with other small instrumentation devices.

I’d read good things about the Discovery 2, so I was anxious to put it through its paces. I will say it is an impressive piece of gear. There are a few things that I was less happy with, though, and I’ll try to give you a fair read on what I found both good and bad.

Up Front: The Price Tag

analog-discovery-2-thumbLet’s get one thing out of the way up front. This thing isn’t cheap ($279, list price). You have to look at it from the standpoint of value. You are getting a lot of instruments in one and — unlike some others — you can use them (mostly) at the same time. The other thing I was surprised about is that it came with the usual plug with lots of little wires ending in female header sockets. The reason this surprised me is the scope is pretty capable (see below) which means you really want a good set of probes on it. They do sell a $20 board that has BNC connectors on it (but be sure to get it at the same time as the cheapest shipping is almost $20).

I understand the unit is already pricey for this market, so adding another $20 to it (and more if you included cheap probes) might not be very attractive. But for what the scope is capable of, it really ought to include the BNCs. Looking at the Digilent web site, it appears that they are targeting the education market with this device. That means they’ve priced it high and probably offer educational users discounts, especially in quantity.

The Specs

The scope can do 100 megasamples per second and uses a 14-bit A/D. If you have the BNC connectors, you can get 30MHz. The inputs are actually differential (although the device isn’t ground isolated). The waveform generator can go to 12MHz.

Speaking of the capabilities, here’s what Digilent says about it (with a few edits):

  • Two-channel USB digital oscilloscope (1MΩ, ±25V, differential, 14-bit, 100MS/s, 30MHz+ bandwidth – with the Analog Discovery BNC Adapter Board)
  • Two-channel arbitrary function generator (±5V, 14-bit, 100MS/s, 12MHz+ bandwidth – with the Analog Discovery BNC Adapter Board)
  • Stereo audio amplifier to drive external headphones or speakers from waveform generator
  • 16-channel digital logic analyzer (3.3V CMOS and 1.8V or 5V tolerant, 100MS/s)
  • 16-channel pattern generator (3.3V CMOS, 100MS/s)
  • 16-channel virtual digital I/O including buttons, switches, and LEDs
  • Two input/output digital trigger signals for linking multiple instruments (3.3V CMOS)
  • Single channel voltmeter (AC, DC, ±25V)
  • Network analyzer – Bode, Nyquist, Nichols transfer diagrams of a circuit. Range: 1Hz to 10MHz
  • Spectrum Analyzer – power spectrum and spectral measurements (noise floor, SFDR, SNR, THD, etc.)
  • Digital Bus Analyzers (SPI, I²C, UART, Parallel)
  • Two programmable power supplies (0…+5V , 0…-5V). The maximum available output current and power depend on the Analog Discovery 2 powering choice:
    • 250mW max for each supply or 500mW total when powered through USB
    • 700mA max or 2.1W max for each supply when using an external wall power supply

So even they think the BNC board is important. They also left off one of the coolest features — there is a scripting language all over the place for things like custom triggers or orchestration.

I mentioned you could use most of these things at the same time. There are limits, but they are easy to understand. For example, the network analyzer uses the scope channels and the waveform generator. So if you are using the analyzer, you will tie up those resources. That makes sense.

The device is built on an FPGA so it doesn’t suffer from the problem micro-based ones do with respect to sharing timing. All the instruments work fine at the same time. They do, however, share buffer memory. When you connect, you can select from several configurations. Want a 16K buffer for the scope channels? Ok, but it will cost you memory on some of the other peripherals. It makes sense that there is a fixed amount of memory and it is nice that you can make your own choice for how to allocate, within certain parameters.

Basics

Since the device is just a box with some wires coming out of it, the software is everything. Luckily, the software is cross-platform (thank you for that). It is very busy, because there are a lot of features, so you have to explore things. Most items have balloon help (although some don’t, like the UART trigger dialog). The online help is rudimentary and not likely to help you unless you are really new to this stuff.

Still, you can figure most of it out with a little work. For example, here’s the waveform generation screen with a sine wave that has some noise at the extremes:

wave

The main screens have lots of little buttons like the ones on the scope screen:

scope

See the buttons at the top right? The leftmost one shows an overview of the entire buffer. The second one turns on the hot track cursor (the red automatic cursor visible on the waveform). The gear sets some options and the Y button sets the labels.

The gear button is especially annoying. Look down the right-hand side of that screen. There are three more gear buttons! Granted, those are easy because, obviously, those are options for channel 1 and 2, but in some cases, it is hard to remember exactly which gear button is hiding some obscure option you are looking for.

Digital

The digital section works about the same. You can trigger across instruments (so you can trigger the scope when an SPI value comes in the digital ports). There’s fair protocol conversion for things like UARTs and the like. The documentation on these is pretty sparse, though (or I didn’t find it) so expect to experiment. For example, my normal scopes let me invert an RS232 signal before decoding it. I didn’t find an option for that. Maybe it is smart enough to figure it out. Or maybe I could just flip the scope leads. But without trying it, you can’t tell.

In fact, I had a lot of trouble with the protocol decoding. I wrote a really simple Arduino program just to generate a test pattern:

void setup() {
 // put your setup code here, to run once:
 Serial.begin(9600);
}

int ct=0;

void loop() {
  if (ct++==1000)
  {
    ct=0;
    Serial.write("B");
  }
  else if (ct==1)
  {
    Serial.write("C");
  }
  else
  { 
    Serial.write("A");
  }
  delay(1);
}

My idea was to trigger on the letter B and maybe even watch it with the scope. At first, I didn’t have the delay at the end of the loop. I was sending as fast as I could. I could decode the data, but triggering didn’t work. I didn’t realize it at first, because it was in auto mode, so it would eventually trigger itself and I was perplexed that I couldn’t find the “B” in the data stream.

Once I went to normal triggering, it simply didn’t trigger at all. I theorized that it wasn’t able to figure out which bit was a start bit in the middle of a stream like that. In all fairness, my Rigol DS1154Z couldn’t figure it out either. However, a very brief delay (1 or less) allowed the Rigol to grab the data reliably and trigger. I never got it to work with the Discovery.

trig1In all fairness, a new version of the Analog Discovery software appeared right after that and now it works, although it requires a longer delay between characters than the Rigol does. In addition, the manual trigger button at the bottom of the screen doesn’t appear to work — at least, not while waiting for a serial trigger. Turns out, I later figured out that unlike a manual trigger button on a conventional scope, this button only works if you have the trigger set to manual. You can’t override a normal trigger with the button. Seems like the button ought to be disabled if that is the case.

The UART trigger, it turns out, is just a wizard (see right) that sets a complex trigger for you. You can also trigger on a break or an idle condition. Obviously, you can’t (with this dialog) do multiple characters or anything else exotic. You might be able to do it with the actual complex trigger that it defines for you.

Here’s the actual letter B trigger. There is not much help for some of these screens, including this one. Most of it is easy to figure out, but still, it would be nice to have the balloon help, at least.

The Verdict

It may sound like I’m being harsh on the Discovery 2. I guess I am, but I am actually mostly impressed. The hardware seems to be great. The software needs some work, though. If this were a $50 product, it would be a no-brainer. If the software were open, it would get fixed and enhanced very quickly.

However, it isn’t. For the price of the unit — especially adding in the BNC connectors — you could buy a pretty nice 2-channel scope. True, the Discovery is a lot more than that, but it also has its limitations. We’ve seen cheap function generators, power supplies are a dime a dozen, and there are plenty of logic analyzer options. The network analyzer — if you need it — might be the one game changer. The ability to script everything together could be a big deal, too, if you do a lot of automated testing. It isn’t quite like having GPIB keeping a rack full of gear working together, but in some ways, it is similar and maybe even better for most of us.

On the plus side, it is compact and portable. It is everything in one package at one price. If you really bought all the things the Discovery can do, you’d spend more. But you’d also probably get a little more, too. For example, the largest buffer you can field for the scope is 16K per channel. That’s not much these days.

I was intrigued with the network analyzer and I’ll post when I’ve had some time to play with it. That is the one piece of gear you’d be hard pressed to replace at the price.

Is it good? Yes. Is it perfect? No. Should you buy one? That’s going to be a personal decision. It is too pricey for an impulse buy. It is definitely useful but only you know if it is useful enough to part with a few hundred dollars. Maybe a hackerspace or other group could put together a group buy and negotiate a better bulk price–I don’t know, but it never hurts to ask.

I’ve looked at cheap scopes before, and some of them were PC-based too. They aren’t in the same class as the Discovery 2, but they are also a fraction of the price. The closest thing I can think of to the Discovery 2 is LabTool (which I mentioned obliquely in an earlier post). It is cheaper but suffers from using a microprocessor, so it can’t do everything at once, and the more you do, the fewer samples you can take. On the other hand, it comes with BNC connectors.

Further Review

This review shared my thoughts on the Analog Discovery 2 but I didn’t actually demo it. For more on that you can see a video from Digilent that shows you a lot of the features below. There’s also a video from [Nezbrun] that compares it to the older Discovery that this unit replaces.


Filed under: Featured, reviews, tool hacks

In Defense Of The Electric Chainsaw

Here at Hackaday we are a diverse bunch, we all bring our own experience to the task of bringing you the best of the hardware scene. Our differing backgrounds were recently highlighted by a piece from my colleague [Dan] in which he covered the teardown of a cordless electric chainsaw.

It was his line “Now, we’d normally shy away from any electric chainsaw, especially a cordless saw, and doubly so a Harbor Freight special“. that caught my eye. I’m with him on cordless tools which I see as a cynical ploy from manufacturers to ensure 5-yearly replacements, and I agree that cheap tools are a false economy. But electric chainsaws? Here on this small farm, they’re the saw of choice and here’s why.

“I’ve Got A Bran’ New Chainsaw, You’ve got 43!”1

A small British farm is not a forestry business, but it’s fair to say that a chainsaw is a tool that sees fairly regular use. Branches come down, pieces of hedge need taming, and with a hungry woodburner to satisfy, firewood needs to be cut. You won’t be surprised then to find that my dad has had more than one chainsaw over the years, but you may be surprised to find that this long experience has led us to rely on electric saws exclusively for the last couple of decades.

So why do we load a generator on the back of the tractor and set upon fallen branches with a power cable trailing behind us when we could do it to the buzz of a 2-stroke motor? The answers are simple enough: maintenance and safety.

If you are a very occasional chainsaw user the chances are your saw will never be challenged. You’ll use it, put it away in the garage, and a year later when you pull it out again it’ll be ready to go after a bit of fettling. And if you’re a forestry worker your saw will be your livelihood, it’ll be an expensive piece of kit and you’ll maintain it to within an inch of its life. If however you are a small farmer without a big budget like my dad, you won’t be able to afford the forester’s maintenance schedule or deluxe saw, and you enter an abusive relationship with a nasty little 2-stroke motor and its work-any-way-up carburetor.

The Curse Of The Tiny 2-Stroke Motor

Let me say this, little 2-strokes really are horrible pieces of machinery when you have to rely on them. Half the parts are made of cheese, the other half vibrate apart if you stop looking at them, and they simply love to coat their insides with nasty gunk. They hate any suggestion that they might start at their owner’s first pull on the cord, and play hard-to-get through a half-hour of careful checking fuel mixtures and heating up plugs. And when you really want them to stop, like for instance when it’s a chainsaw safety issue, they refuse and stutter on for a few revolutions as the blade kicks up in the air and your life flashes before you. No, they save stopping for moments they consider opportune, such as when you’re at the top of a ladder with all the ropes set up to lop off a branch.

By comparison an electric chainsaw is easy to maintain, starts on the button, stops dead when it is asked and when that safety bar is triggered, and won’t cover you in smoke or 2-stroke mix. The inconvenience of carrying a 4-stroke generator, RCD, and extension lead is minor compared to the joys of operating a petrol saw on a small farm as I’ve just outlined.

So there you are. It may not put us in with the cool kids when we say that an electric chainsaw is our saw of choice, but we do so from the position of experience even if it means that using it away from the house involves firing up the tractor.

There is one snag though, and I’ll forestall you commenters from pointing it out. When the zombie apocalypse is upon us we’ll be in trouble if the undead can remember how to unplug an electrical cord.

Electric chainsaw header image: Harisingh&sons [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

1My deepest apologies to the Wurzels.


Filed under: Hackaday Columns, rants, tool hacks