Category Archives: COMPONENTS AND TOOLS

Dog Clippers, a Phenomenal Payback

Evie Before Being Cut

Evie Before Being Cut

I recently moved to Florida from the also-not-that-cool state of South Carolina. Although it was the right thing for our family for several reasons, one member that was perhaps inconvenienced was our furriest child, “Evie.” Because of her long dog-hair, she’s not naturally that well-suited to 100 degree days with very high humidity. Her hair isn’t nearly as long as it eventually gets, but how would you like to have to wear a sweater around in that kind of temperature?

Even in cooler South Carolina, we had her professionally cut and groomed, but at around $60 each time, it’s not cheap. In order not to put this off now that we are in Florida, and potentially save some money, I bought a pair of clippers for under $30 on Amazon. A few days for shipping and something like a half-hour of work later, it looked like I had sheared a sheep and I could at least wait another month or so to take our first daughter to the groomer.

evie-cut1

Evie happily resting on the cool tile floor after a haircut!

Literally, an instant 200% payback. If I were to save 12 visits to the groomer a year, that would represent a savings of $720, or a yearly payback of 2400%! Add to that the fact that I get to spend some quality dog-time with her, and I’d say its been well worth it.

Now, in reality, we will probably still take her to the groomer every couple of months to get her nails trimmed and other “stuff,” done, and she seems to need cutting only every 1.5 months. Also, the job I do is not as good as a professional groomer, but Evie seems to be cooler, and isn’t self conscious about her somewhat slipshod haircut. All that being said, even if we cut that payback in half, the clipper was a great investment!

evie-2nd-haircut

After shearing our sheep dog the second time

Evie, or course, is a valuable member of the JCoPro.net production team, shown below helping test out the StrandMaus:

For another cost-saving idea, here’s a post I wrote on the economics of fixing things yourself. I’m all about things like this that save money on a monthly basis, and much prefer to choose how money gets spent on an individual purchase basis.

I should note that you might be thinking, “Why not cut your own hair with this as well.” The thought has obviously crossed my mind, but given that my haircuts are much cheaper than Evie’s and that I have to interact with the public at least every few days, it seems worth it. It’s tough trying to keep yourself in the zone between “frugal” and “cheap,” and in my case, it doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

How to Power a PC Fan

power computer fanA year or so ago, my PC’s fan was making an unacceptable amount of noise, so I changed it. For the most part I’ve been pleased with the new fan, but I kept the old one since it still worked, just in a louder manner than I wanted. I was cleaning up the garage, and found it again, just waiting to be thrown away, since I wasn’t sure how to hook it up.

Well now I know. After some simple experiments seen in the video below, all you have to do is run between 3 and 12VDC between the red (positive) and black (ground) leads. It couldn’t be simpler, and might make a good fan for blowing fumes away while soldering, or just trying to cool off during the summer.

The 3V supply worked, though didn’t blow much air. Perhaps a portable version would use a 9V battery.

The Fabnik NATO Watch Strap Review

fabnik-NATO-band-SwissArmyWatch

Fabnik was nice enough to send me one of their NATO watch straps to try out. I’m happy to report that I got it assembled, as shown in the video below (note the watch running extremely fast in the lower-right corner), though it did seem to take longer than the 30 minutes to an hour that their guide specifies.

It was also a bit of a challenge getting the old metal strap off, and I actually had to buy a replacement pin from Amazon. Fortunately they’re pretty cheap, the non-prime option was $2.50 for a set of two with included shipping. Once I had that, the strap attached quite easily, but, though they include a removal tool, that part was somewhat difficult in my case.

I’m quite happy with the results. I’ve had this Swiss Army watch for quite some time, but I hadn’t used it in several years due to a bad battery, and having another watch. Putting a new strap on makes it look more casual and unique, making it a great alternate watch!

As long as we’re at it, this isn’t the only thing I’ve assembled from Fabnik. Here’s an article about my trial of their super-thin wallet kit.