Author Archives: Jeremy Cook

A Leaky Sink and the Economics of Fixing Things Yourself

leaky sink

Water can be seen dripping down the U-shaped pipe section

Saving Money Fixing a Leaky Sink

Yesterday I replaced a fitting that was leaking under the sink.  Including driving to the hardware store, it took about an hour, and cost around four dollars.  Add in, say, $2.00 in gas/wear on my truck, and you’ve got a total cost of $6.00.  A quick search reveals that the average cost to hire a plumber is $350, and the minimum is $100.  I definitely don’t think it was a $350 job, so let’s say it would have cost $100.  So I saved $94, and learned something.

You Save A Lot More Money than You Think

You could say that I got paid $94 per hour for this job, but this wouldn’t quite be accurate, since Read more »

Hubsan X4 Versus Estes 4606 Quadcopter

Hubsan X4 Versus Estes 4606 Quadcopter size comparison

I’ll cut to the chase.  I love both of these quadcopters, but for your first ‘quad, I think you’d be better off buying the Hubsan X4.  Read on for more explanation and some videos comparing the two.

Controller – The Estes 4606 Proto X Controller is, in my opinion, the biggest drawback to this little quad.  It’s tough for me to maintain altitude with it, and is just too small for my hands (granted, I’m just shy of 6’4″).  The Hubsan X4’s controller is much better.

The good news is that either controller will bind with either quad, so if you get a Hubsan first, then get a Proto later, things can work out nicely.  The Hubsan transmitter is also available by itself on AmazonCheck out the videos after the “read more” of me binding with both types of controllers, as well as a cool trick with the lights that I don’t think you can do with the off-the-shelf controller.

Cost – The Estes 4606 is cheaper  at just under $30 on Amazon as of this writing, and after examining it, it’s really a marvel of manufacturing simplicity.  The electrical board is the main body, so fewer components have to be used. The Hubsan X4 (H107L) is also available on Amazon for around $15 more, but doesn’t come with Prime shipping as far as I can see.

Hubsan X4 Versus Estes 4606 Quadcopter - stacked on each other

Repairability – The other side to the coin of the Estes model being so well designed for manufacturing is that if you break something, it looks like repairs will be much more difficult.  I’ve crashed and repaired my Hubsan X4 many, many times, so that model would be better for those learning. Read more »

Salt Shaker Robot Windup Toys

salt shaker robot windup toys

I recently “won” these windup salt shaker robots as a white elephant gift over Christmas.  Although the salt shaker’s main gear seems to be slipping (see my repair attempt in the second video), they are some of the coolest toys utensils that I’ve gotten recently.  Here’s a video I made of them in action:

If you want a set of salt and pepper shaker robots for yourself, they’re available on Amazon for around $15.  Not exactly cheap, but where else can you get quality wind-up robots straight from the UK?  If you’re looking for a gift for an engineer, these would probably make him or her quite happy.  They’re “made from food grade plastic” according to the description, which, being a food implement, is probably a good thing.

As mentioned, the salt ‘bot seemed to not wind up as well as it should, so I took it apart to see Read more »