artist gallery : adunning

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Large Soldering Mat

Large Soldering Mat

Item# 92501
Very practical, February 27, 2012 5 stars
Pros
The reliable surface is easy to clean and safe with the potential of a scrape from the soldering iron. It is very nice to shake spare solder balls into the trash after finishing a piece. The flexible mat nicely channels the waste to go where you want it.
Cons
Your pieces must be large enough that you do not need to nail into the surface to secure them.
Other Thoughts
I bought three of them because I was doing large panels. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed working with this surface.
Hakko Smoke Absorber

Hakko Smoke Absorber

Item# HAK400
2 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Good investment, February 27, 2012 4 stars
Pros
It saves your lungs. A fume absorber is a necessity. The Hakko has the excellent option of two positions: standing for broad fume collection or lying down to concentrate the power. The Hakko is the right tool for me at this time when I am no longer a beginner but far from dedicated mass production.
Cons
It requires re-positioning as you work because it is not powerful enough to function across a couple of feet of work. The arm is a separate substantial investment that I have not made.
Other Thoughts
I find I always use the absorber lying down to get the most concentrated power out of it.
Cutter's Mate Plus

Cutter's Mate Plus

Item# 5114
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Meets its reputation, June 22, 2011 5 stars
Pros
Adds precision and confidence.
Cons
Docking is a little gawky, and the apparatus has a big footprint.
Other Thoughts
The pros far outweigh the cons. This system is an excellent upgrade for the experienced, and it makes cutting less intimidating for beginners.
Mosaic Mini Cement Mixer

Mosaic Mini Cement Mixer

Item# 2000
Targeting the narrow middle range, June 27, 2009 4 stars
Pros
This mixer uses the same principles of professional mechanized turners except you are the mechanization. There is something rewarding about moving 50-100 pounds of material back and forth with ease on the floor, and it only takes 30 seconds to get a good mix. You do not have to worry about having a corner of dry powder that you missed with a shovel because internal ridges in the case break up the materials. When you get the device (which is simply a lidded sturdy plastic can with internal ridges that break up materials), the box portrays a few more uses than the mosaic artist might initially consider. For instance, you can use it to mix fertilizers in soils. It is good for any mid-size non-edible mixing project. Another advantage I see for me personally is that this inexpensive mixer is giving me a chance to determine if I want to scale up my decorative cement and concrete work to the point of buying a small industrial mixer.
Cons
Although the manufacturer provides a rubber o-ring to seal the lid to the base, the device leaks some water every time (probably less than one cup). Do not plan to use it indoors on surfaces you like neat. The manufacturer designed the lid for measuring, but I find it too messy and inconvenient to measure materials where I intend to grip. Also, there is no spout for easy pouring, so I never managed the clean pour displayed on the picture. I recommend buying a set of cheap 1-3 quart measuring cups. It is a little cramped to reach all the way into the device to scrape out the full batch. I do not anticipate having less difficulty with a mechanized mixer. I have used the mixer for 5-10 batches of concrete and mortar. All is mixed, but I have not had a batch consistently wet throughout the mix. I have been doing a 10-second shovel mix when I have first dumped the contents.
Other Thoughts
This mixer targets a narrow audience: people who aim for greater capacity than one stepping stone at a time but no greater capacity than a few at a time. I am roughly in this middle ground in that I am mixing a fair amount of concrete and grout for both functional and decorative projects these days, but I am not so far along in this work that it is time for me to purchase a machine mixer. For the capacity this mini mixer offers, I find myself wondering if it would be easier to use the standard shovel-and-trough method, but the consistently full penetration of ingredients has an appeal. Two stepping stones probably is the minimum that justifies the extra cleanup of this barrel, its lid, and o-ring. I suspect someone who plans to churn out a bench a week will love this item.
adunning
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adunning's info
joined:Apr 22, 2008
location:LECOMPTON, KS US
display name:adunning