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  • Wiha Extra Heavy Duty - MicroFinish and SoftFinish

    Wiha extra heavy duty MicroFinishLet’s face it, sometimes we have to use tool in a way they weren’t designed for. Sometimes one might use a screwdriver to hammer a paint can into place. Or perhaps use a slotted screwdriver as an emergency chisel. Of course doing this can cause irreparable damage to your screwdriver’s handle, a hammer blow could gouge out a large chip or cause large dents in the handle. Of course, knowing this sort of thing happens, Wiha designed several tools to use in this manner and fittingly they’re dubbed “Extra Heavy Duty” and they’re available in MicroFinish and SoftFinish.

    Wiha extra heavy duty SoftfinishThe main difference between MicroFinish and SoftFinish, aside from the color scheme used to identify them, is that Micro is best for use in oily situations. Perhaps in working on cars or other places where industrial lubricants come into play. MicoFinish comes in a purple handle. We sell the drivers in single quantities like the Wiha 53425, so be sure to look for the size you need. Otherwise there are a couple of sets that contain various sizes. The Wiha 53390 which is a 5 piece set and Wiha 53398 which is an 8 piece set. Each set contains a Phillips #1 and a #2. In addition to several slotted drivers in the 4.5mm to 10mm sizes.

    Wiha extra heavy duty striking capThe SoftFinish is a red handle with a soft rubber overlay, these are best used in dry situations and the rubber is not as absorbent as the MicroFinish. These are also available singly like the Wiha 53027 or in multi-sets. The Wiha 53096 (6 piece set), 53097 (7 pieces) and 53099 (10 pieces) are great ways to get multiple sizes in an affordable way. The Wiha 53090 and 53075 are each 5 piece sets which may offer a tighter focus of more useful sizes. Each of these sets comes with again with a Phillips #1 and #2 and depending on the set, comes with slotted drivers from 3.5mm all the way up to 10mm.

    Wiha extra heavy duty hex bolt screwdriverBoth styles of finish qualify as extra heavy duty due to the fact that they feature an end cap on the handle that makes the screwdriver strong enough to handle hammer blows. Many tradesman find this useful when they have to use their screwdriver as a chisel or otherwise wedge the tip into some place. Both sets of drivers also have a hex bolt near the handle (where applicable) and can be turned with wrench if extra torque is needed. All of these drivers are solid and well built and designed to take a little extra abuse from hammer blows, so you know they’ll last a long time.

    Don’t forget to leave us reviews on the site or tell us about your experience on Facebook or Instagram!

  • Make Some Science Monday – Elenco Snap Circuits SC-3Di Illumination Discovery

    SC-3Di  3D Illumination Elenco Snapkits lightEveryone knows that Elenco’s Snap Circuits are a fun and exciting way to learn about circuits and electricity. The kits also start relatively basic with the SC-100 kit or the SC-300 kit all the way up to something complex like the 500 or 750 Kits and they can even be upgraded from the basic to the highest end set with the UC-60 Kit and anything in between. But what do you do if you’ve already done that and want more? Or what if you want something more exciting to spice things up with one of the other sets? Get the Elenco SC-3Di Illumination kit, of course!

    Light tunnel SC-3Di  3D Illumination Elenco Snapkits lightThe Elenco 3D SC-3Di set contains more than 50 parts and gives you at least 150 projects, all of which involve the use of colorful light displays making an obviously exciting STEM toy from the word “go.” What makes this set different from any of the main kits or even other specialized kits is that it includes some extra panels to allow you to build Snap Circuits vertically. This adds an interesting dynamic that helps showcase the 3D illumination, but could also add some complexity when used with other kits. You can see in this video some of the projects SC-3Di  3D Illumination Elenco Snapkits lightand builds that make this set a bit more unique than others. In this video, combination of sets is demonstrated with the SC-100 and the SC-300 which are combined to make a somewhat primitive synthesizer. This is a great way to see that these sets really encourage creativity and maximizing your existing sets, and with something like the SC-3Di some real fun could ensue.

    Projector SC-3Di  3D Illumination Elenco Snapkits lightWith this set, your child can build a projector to display images from the included (and maybe other) photo discs, you can do a light show on the wall, make a light tunnel and much more. As mentioned before, this set would be a great addition for spicing up and expanding some of the basic sets, but the theme of it goes well with the SCA-200 Arcade kit and the SCL-175 Lights kit which connects to a smartphone to add visualizations to music. Throw on a Daft Punk album or some vaporwave and the kids will really have some fun! Investing into a couple of these sets would be about the same as a high end Lego set and would be a great way to make STEM learning fun and encourage experimentation.

    light show SC-3Di  3D Illumination Elenco Snapkits lightDo you have a favorite experiment from one or more of these sets? Leave us a product review, or tell us about it on Facebook or Instagram! Since these kits combine and foster unique inventions, we’d love to have you share some photos, videos and stories about your original creations and favorite experiments. As always, consider getting the Snap Circuits Battery Eliminator to save money in the long run!

  • Klein 93LCL and 93LCLS Laser Level

    Get ready to experience TRUE level. Or at least get ready to find level quickly and easily with the 93LCL and the 93 LCLS Laser Level by Klein Tools. The 93LCL Laser Level is a great tool for anyone needing to a lot of work involving leveling. From installing wall shelves, to hanging pictures to installing lighting, this laser level can handle a fair amount of tasks to make it a worthwhile investment.

    Klein tools laser level 93LCLS 93LCL Some of the features that make this laser level worth a buy is that it’s basically self-operating. The best feature to take note of is that the laser lines are easy to read, they’re bright red and the unit flashes the lights when they alignment is needed. When alignment is needed, it can self-level saving you the time and effort of trying to figure it out manually. The lasers show vertical and horizontal alignment, and cross lines if needed. The 93LCLS also features a vertical plumb line which can be used for planning out lighting or other ceiling mounted jobs. The head also swivels allowing you to get leveling action at an angle.

    Klein tools laser level 93LCLS 93LCLFor added convenience, the laser level comes with a mount that it attaches to magnetically. This mount can be screwed onto a wall so it’s easy to find a place for it. If there’s no wall or other adequate surface, the laser level can also be used in conjunction with a tripod featuring ¼ inch and 5/8 inch mounting threads.

    The level and bracket come in a nice, quite durable case to keep it safe when not in use. The case is water and dust resistant. The laser level runs on 3x AA batteries, and the battery life is reported by multiple users to be pretty good, meaning you shouldn’t have to change the batteries every five minutes.

    Klein tools laser level 93LCLS 93LCLWhile the price might seem a little steep for average home use, it could potentially save you a ton of time and frustration in home improvement projects. Installing a series of floating bookshelves could take extended periods of time to map out and check and double check with a traditional level and marks on the wall. With the laser level, your hands would largely be free to focus on the work and leave your walls clean afterwards. Maybe with a quick last check after installation.

    For professional use, you probably already know the value that a laser level can bring.

    We’d love to hear your experience with this tool, tell us about it on Facebook or Instagram.

  • Wiha Wednesday - Wiha Insulated Tools

    We’re big fans of Wiha Tools here at EIO and have talked about them a few times, so too with insulated tools. Insulated tools are obviously very specialized and used by electricians, HVAC workers and more to safely work on either live circuits or circuits that could potentially have a “hot” wire. Insulated tools are also typically tested for safety up to 10,000 volts, but certified safe for 1,000 volts to ensure maximum safety. In the past, insulated tools were dipped with the insulation coating, however, to ensure a more uniform process and consistent insulation, injection molding is now widely used to cover the tools and protect them. The technology for insulating tools has been steadily improving over the years and as a result many tools are available insulated that were never available before. If you needed to, you really could get an entire set of insulated tools for any situation.

    Wiha 76290 insulated toolsPerhaps some of the most unique and interesting insulated tools that we sell are tools that it’s hard to imagine needing an insulated version of. For starters, there’s the Wiha 19767 hacksaw. Insulated tweezers like the Wiha 75205 and the Wiha 75302 among other insulated tweezers are hard to imagine a use for, but perhaps might be of use in working on a PC or server that can’t be powered down. The Wiha 30138 ratcheting torque wrench is also an interesting choice as it looks like it might have been an interesting challenge for the engineering team to come up with. Whatever the case, these specific insulated tools are highly specialized and not likely to be needed by just anybody, so be sure to leave us reviews or tell us on Facebook what you’ve used these for, we’d love to hear about your adventures with these tools!

    Wiha 21290 InsulatedNext on the list, we move to more obvious insulated tools. Pretty much a no-brainer, the Wiha 11950 Cable Cutter, the Wiha 29250 Insulated End Cutters and the Wiha 32936 Bicut SuperCut make a tremendous amount of sense, because if you ever had to cut a live wire…well… you get the idea. Those are just a few examples, we carry pretty much the entire line of Wiha Insulated Cutters and combo sets, so be sure to see if any might suit your needs. They really are an obvious starting point for anyone needing to get insulated tools, or for spies that need to cut an electrified fence, though that is not recommended.

    Next up are insulated pliers and wrenches. Wiha makes many different kinds of insulated wrenches, from various adjustable wrenches like the Wiha 76208 or three pack Wiha 76290. There are many other sizes available as well. You might also want to make sure to adjust the wrench BEFORE using it as the adjusting mechanism doesn’t appear to be insulated. There are also many sizes of standard insulated wrenches like the Wiha 20006 and you can buy them individually or in an 8 piece (Wiha 20093), 13 piece (Wiha 20194) or 15 piece sets (Wiha 20091). Similarly, there’s multiple sizes of deep offset wrenches like the Wiha 21008, Wiha 21290 (7 piece set) and the Wiha 21093 (15 piece set). Lastly, there’s quite a few types of pliers available individually like the Wiha 32816 or in sets like the Wiha 32899 which comes with some screwdrivers and a nice box or the Wiha 32876 which comes with a total of 66 pieces, including many other essential tools. Wiha also makes some insulated hex wrenches, again in singles like the Wiha 13653 or in sets like Wiha 13691.

    Wiha 32801 InsulatedWiha also makes quite a few other things that are insulated from stubby to standard sized screwdrivers. As if all of these individually weren’t enough, Wiha make some pretty comprehensive combo sets that come in nice cases and have just about every insulated tool you would need. The Wiha 32800 is an 80 piece set with a rolling case and the Wiha 32801 Insulated Master Set which includes a whopping 112 pieces! Either of these sets would be perfect for anyone working in remote locations or in situations where it wouldn’t be feasible to go back and forth to the tool box.

    Insulated tools really are an amazing type of tool set that really have user safety in mind. They’re incredibly well designed and improvements are being made all the time. Although these are safe, you must also take great care of them to ensure that they remain safe to use. Firstly, you’ll want to keep them clean and dry, obviously any moisture or surface film on the tool during use could circumvent the insulated aspect. Secondly, the insulated tools should be stored with the utmost care. Just throwing them into a box could lead to insulation being stripped off, of course leading to a non-insulated tool. Make sure to care for your tools and make sure they are safe to use before each use. If you take care of these tools, they’ll take care of you.

  • Tool Tuesday – CLC Workgear - Tool Belts and Tool Holders

    Specializing in “tools for tools” CLC Workgear has been making quality work gear and accessories to make it easier to use tools on a jobsite for 28 years. The amount of products made by CLC is extensive, so please check out their brand page for your tool needs or keep reading to see some of our most widely used CLC accessories.

    clc workgear tool beltProbably one of the most useful things to have is a tool belt, it’s really a no-brainer because it’s an easy way to have a lot of tools on hand with easy access an arm’s reach away. We have something as basic as the CLC 1370 tool apron which comes with five main pockets, three smaller pockets and a hammer loop. CLC’s 527X tool belt features 12 pockets and is made of pliable leather, while the CLC 5608XL and the CLC 21448 are something of a step up in that they have more variety in pockets –both larger and smaller – in addition to hammer loops. They look more like a traditional tool belt. The CLC 21448 features 17 pockets including some for nails. The CLC 5608XL, though is built a bit differently in that it features rivets at various stress points on the belt. Any of these will make your time on the jobsite easier.

    It may be that in using these tool belts, you discover the need for a pocket or holder that’s not on your belt, or maybe you’ve just run out of pockets. A couple small pouches, one for a cell phone and one for pliers can each be used for their designed purpose or adapted to fit something else. For drills, though, you have a few options. First up is the CLC 5024 drill hook which is, as it sounds, a hook for your cordless drill and features a couple spots to hold drill bits. In tan leather, the CLC DRL91 holster would be a great option as would the CLC 5021 impact driver holster. The CLC 5023 drill holster is a bit more extensive in that it has extra pockets for CLC workgear drill holsterstoring bits. Changing gears slightly, another item to secure tools to your belt protecting your tools and those below you is a lanyard. The CLC 1035 lanyard is rated for up to 15 pounds, so a good option for hammers and drills, and the CLC 1010 rated at 2.5 pounds secures tools to your wrist. Great options for anyone.

    Lastly, for those workmen who find themselves on their knees installing flooring or doing wiring and other work. CLC makes quite a few different types of kneepads. From soft gel-padded ones to hard shell ones and everything in between. For softer and more gel-centric pads there’s the CLC 367, CLC G340, CLC V229 (which are actually foam), and lastly the CLC 347 Armadillo knee pads. For kneepads that are a little more firm, there’s the CLC 339 Armor-Flex, CLCV230 swivel caps and the CLC 345 kneepads which feature a tread pattern for traction on slippery surfaces.

  • Tech Tuesday – BeagleBone Green

    BeagleBone Green tech specsWhile Raspberry Pi has become something of a posterboy for DIY projects, homemade arcades, PC’s and much more, Seeed Studio makes another versatile board that’s something of an…underdog. Seeed Studio’s BeagleBone Green (BBG) and BeagleBone Green Wireless are  similar in concept to the Raspberry Pi, and in fact can be used just as creatively in similar and different types of projects. One of the key difference between the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Green is that the BBG is open source, which means you can access the schematics and make your own custom board whereas the Raspberry Pi requires a license to make custom boards with. The BeagleBoard is also not intended as a personal computer whereas the Pi can be used as one if desired. This article can help you decide if BeagleBoard Green will be right for your intended use, and to help with customization, you can take a look at the schematics.

    BeagleBone Green basic schematicOnce you decide that a BeagleBone Green is right for you, there are still a few more things to consider. The first thing you might want is a case to protect it from the elements. You might also note that the BBG is a bit picky about power so make sure to get the right kind of power supply. It would probably also be of use to learn a bit of Linux (Debian) and also some Python as doing this will give you the most control over your project. This list will help you avoid some common pitfalls.

    SNES game chronotrigger played on a BeagleBone GreenSome projects you can make with the BeagleBone Green are an Alexa-like assistant (that presumably doesn’t spy on you), an MP3 player, a home automation system, haptic neurohacking, and probably the best thing, a homemade Super Nintendo, which seems to play games across various platforms including NES and GBA. You can find more projects here, and some of the featured projects are drones or other RC projects, a treadmill workstation and many more.

    Like the Pi, the BBG can be easily assembled. This particular video shows the assembly of a home control center, though some setups may be less professional. Whatever project you do, you’ll be able to add your own flare to it and configure to your exact needs.

    BeagleBone Green is an exciting little kit that will help you customize your life with technology, so be sure to have a go at it. Share any projects you’ve made with us on Facebook and Instagram, we’d love to see it!

  • Ice to See You - MG Chemicals Cold Spray

    One of the most popular things that we sell at EIO.com is the 403A Cold Spray by MG Chemicals. Available in two sizes, the 403A-285G (10 Oz) and the 403A-400G (14Oz) is a chemical spray that has a wide variety of applications, who’d have thought that a spray that makes things cold could be so versatile?

    MG Chemicals Cold sprayThe super cold spray cools things down to -60°F (-51°C), so you’ll want to take care in using it. The main thing that people use this spray for is to diagnose issues with electronic devices and in particular on circuit boards. You can see the spray in action. By using the spray on a circuit board, you’ll be able to find components on the circuit board that are broken and need replacing. In this particular example, a TV that displays “fan problem” is found to have a broken capacitor. Once replaced, the TV functions as normal. What a great way to save money on repairs!

    Cold spray can also be used to help maintain temperature control while soldering boards that are sensitive to heat. Just spray throughout the soldering process to keep the temperature regulated and keep the board from overheating. You can also use the spray to reduce cooling time for solder hardening.

    MG Chemicals Cold sprayMoving on, gum and other adhesive residues, when sprayed with the cold spray, become hard and brittle and therefore easier to clean as the gum won’t stick once it’s hardened. So if you need to clean gum, or silly putty out of the carpet, off the underside of the table or more, this spray will get that gum out.

    Lastly, there are some adventurous souls who use this to treat warts and skin tags. This is really not recommended as the extreme cold temperatures WILL cause frostbite, however some have gotten around this with by spraying a Q-Tip or cotton swab then doing a very careful application. Again, you do not want to spray this directly onto skin, and you should consult the manufacturer or a physician for proper direction if you plan to use this for medical purposes. For more information or safety data sheets (MSDS) please go to the manufacturer’s Website.

    The MG Chemicals 403A Super Cold 134 spray is ironically one of the hottest selling cold sprays available. Have you used this spray? Leave us a product review, or tell us about it on Facebook or Instagram!

  • History of Tools – Screwdriver Tips

    Antique screwdriver 1700'sThe origin of the screw and the screwdriver is lost to the pages of history, though some believe the first screw-like tool originated around the first century. The first recorded screwdriver, though is thought to have originated sometime in the 1500’s as one is depicted in a manual from that era and various suits of armor exist with screws in them, and something obviously had to drive them in. The 1700’s boasts a few possibilities for an origin. The “tournevis” from France in 1723 appears in an encyclopedia, but not much is known beyond that. It’s also believed a flat-bladed tool in 1744 for carpenters is where the origin of the screwdriver lies. Both can be read about on this timeline. The big innovation came, however, in 1770 when Jesse Ramsden invented the screw cutting lathe which allowed mass production of screws with precise sizes. This first screw and screwdriver were slotted screwdrivers and changed the world forever.

    Once the screw and screwdriver had been established, people started improving on the design and driving innovation. The first major innovation came in 1908 with square drive screws made by P. Robinson, presumably because he had the same problems with slotted that I do (they slip). The square drive became the standard for use in mass production as it could be driven in more quickly. Henry Ford was one of the first to adopt this screw. Square drive screws are still in use today as they are an improvement over slotted, however they can cause breaking of the bit or the screw if overtorqued.

    The problem of overtorquing became more prevalent in assembly lines and a new screw was needed to secure a tighter fit and to handle the stronger torque provided by power tools. Enter screwdriver heads pozidrive phillips slottedthe Phillips screw and screwdriver pioneered of course by Henry Phillips in the 1930s. The cross-shaped screwdriver and interface allowed the driver to escape and slip out if overtorqued, but allowed a much more secure hold than the slotted driver.

    Since then, multiple other drivers and screws have been invented from the hex and the Pentalobe to combo slotted/Phillips, Torx and One Way. These came about for different reasons, but have served to accomplish different functions, namely to make it hard for people without the right tools to mess with them.

    At EIO.com, we carry every kind of screwdriver tip available and we have it from precision size, all the way up to standard sized and if it’s available, we also have an insulated version. We carry many well-known brands from lower end/standard use tools like Eclipse/Pro’s Kit or Elenco to more durable and higher end tools like Bondhus, Klein, Felo, Gedore, Knipex, Wera and Wiha. It would be impossible to list them all here, but all of these brands manufacture high quality tools so be sure to search for your specific needs.

    Do you have some tool trivia for us? Share it on Facebook!

  • Best Selling 3M Products

    3M the innovation company is one of those dream-come-true success stories from American history that show that even in mistakes, hard work and cleverness can overcome apparent failure. A look at 3M’s history reveals that the company started out looking to mine corundum, however the mine was full of other, less useful minerals. As 3M attempted to overcome this and make a profit in mining and manufacturing sandpaper, they made a rather bold move. They encouraged the workers throughout the company to innovate and come up with new products, many of these are things that we use everyday:  from tape, to Post-It notes to sandpaper to automotive products and much, much more, you probably come into contact with dozens of 3M products all day every day without even knowing it. In short, 3M has earned the right to be called the innovation company.

    3M PPE eyewear hearing protectionHere at EIO we carry many 3M products and we try to tailor those products to complement our tool offerings, so, much of what you see will be of use on a job site or in an industrial setting. The most obvious jobsite 3M product line that we carry is personal protective equipment (PPE). We carry hearing protection, from insertable earplugs like the 310-1060 to over the ear headphones with the H6B/V. We also supply standard safety glasses, eyewear with a foam gasket (to prevent dust intrusion and provide comfort), and an anti-fog lens with LED lights. To complete the basic overview of PPE, you must of course consider breathing protection. We carry a basic N100 Particulate respirator, which protects against basic contaminants like dust, the N95 welding respirator which is good for welding, soldering, cutting and sanding, and the 3M 6503QL reusable respirator which works in conjunction with filters like the 3M 6006 cartridge. Be sure to do your homework to get the right one as there are many variants and we have more than just those in stock.

    3M bondo scraperWith 3M automotive products, we carry many of 3M’s bestselling automotive products, many of which you could do a thorough repair/restoration job with. Some of our highlights include the headlight restoration kit which eliminates the fogginess in a headlight, 3M’s Bondo 901 for use in body repair often used with plastic spreaders. Once your done with the Bondo and it’s dried, you’re ready to sand it down. There is much more to the process of course, but that really is an entirely different topic.

    3M tape painter tapeLastly, we carry many brands of tape. Some of our favorites are painter’s tape, painter’s tape for special surfaces, performance masking tape, and vinyl tape. Be sure to check out what else we sell to see what other kinds of tape we carry.

    As 3M continues to innovate various industries, we’ll be on the lookout for more of their products to sell. Do you have a favorite 3M product? Tell us about it on Facebook or leave us a review.

  • Toy Thursday – Thames & Kosmos Chemistry Sets

    Building on our foundation of fun and educational STEM toys, today on Toy Thursday we’re highlighting a fun and educational chemistry set by Thames & Kosmos. Each of the kits comes with a very thorough manual loaded with color pictures. Each kit also contains pretty much all of the item you’ll need to get started. You and your kids will be ready to make some science in no time!

    Thames Kosmos C1000 640118Perhaps the best way to gauge your child’s interest and aptitude for chemistry is to give the Thames & Kosmos 640118 C1000 kit a shot. Reasonably priced, the kit features 125 unique experiments, some of which involve iron and copper, you can also split water into hydrogen and oxygen and dissolve metals. One of the experiments involves using a sieve and chemical reactions to make a mysterious blue ring appear. Seeing how the various chemical reactions create things that are visually interesting will keep your kids engaged and excited to learn more. You can see a couple of the experiments in action here.

    Thames Kosmos C2000 640125If you already know there’s an interest in science, you may want to skip the C1000 and buy the Thames & Kosmos 640125 C2000 kit. It includes everything in the C1000 kit, and much more. This kit is a significant step up, however, as it introduces an alcohol burner to allow experiments with heat. The C2000 features twice as many experiments as the C1000, so even if you’ve mastered the first kit, you’ll still get something out of it. Kids will be introduced to separating mixtures, combustion and electrochemical reactions among others.

    Thames Kosmos C3000 640132Last but not least, the Thames & Kosmos 640132 Chem C3000 kit comes with everything the C2000 has (and I guess the C1000 too by default) and more. The C3000 gives you a whopping 333 experiments! You can watch a video of four of the experiments in action. Expanding on the experiments in the earlier kits, you’ll use new chemicals like potassium permanganate for quite a few experiments, including to make oxygen and then use pure oxygen to cause an iron wire to burn.

    Take a look at each kit, and see where your child is at in terms of interest. If you’re not sure, the C1000 is a good start, but if they’ve already expressed an interest in science, you’ll want to consider the C2000 or the C3000. No matter which kit you get, you’ll get experiments that are at least as educational as anything from a textbook and definitely way more interesting. Yet again, Thames Kosmos has found another way to make science fun.

    Have you used these kits? Tell us about it on Facebook and share what you’ve done on Instagram.

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