Collet Tool System – In the Collection

Of the things I collect, tools are probably the easiest to justify to myself, as they actually serve a purpose, and having a good tool has helped me out tremendously over the years. But, while I do appreciate quality, the usefulness or sturdiness of an object doesn’t always come into play when I find something fascinating. I’ve got several “clever” tool ideas in my collection that were cheaply produced in China and never caught on (perhaps rightfully so). The one I’m looking at this time is a nameless collet-based system for attaching different tools to a single handle.

The case says YPF/Maxus, which is/are an (depending on how you look at it) energy company that put their logo on a cheap Chinese product. The case is a terrible pleather that does such an unconvincing job I just want to call it plastic, with red nylon backing on the inside. Contained behind the flimsy zipper and loose elastic is an assortment of tools: and adjustable wrench, tiny pliers, a small slotted screwdriver, a colleted handle, and 6 attachments for said handle. The dedicated slotted screwdriver is the only thing vaguely usable in the whole package. The wrench is almost laughably weak, with the adjustment knob (worm screw) and jaw rattling even at their tightest. The pliers are cast out of a cheap pot metal that one can easily feel deforming in their hands. And while the slotted screwdriver is obviously cheap, at its size one likely wouldn’t be using it for anything more heavy duty than taking apart electronics or the like.

But the best part is the colleted driver. It uses the same handle material as the smaller driver but has a brass collet and tightening knob affixed to the tip. Its six attachments have “wings” at the base of their shafts that slot into the collet, allowing for more grip when it is tightened down (it’s still loose enough to wiggle at that stage, though). These attachments are: two additional sizes of slotted screwdriver, one Phillips driver, an “awl”, what I can only describe as a “screw awl” or “screw bore”, and most hilariously of all, a claw hammer. So that adds to the uselessness with a few wobbly drivers, a fairly blunt pokey thing, a thing that might be used to start or enlarge screw holes (I really don’t understand it), and a 1oz hammer that, if swung with enough force for it to be useful as a hammer, would quickly lead to something in the little device breaking.

It’s all such a strange and poorly implemented idea. If one uses tools with much frequency, they would know that there are a few standard ways to link various bits together that work just fine, and that integrating a hammer with any other tool isn’t the best idea. But still perhaps a nice little kit like this could be forgiven for having a proprietary system if it was high quality, and as it is I’d barely qualify them as play tools. I got my set essentially for free and basically unused, and it will unfortunately stay that way in my collection, not as a set of tools, but as an oddity.

Review – Huion 17.7” Light Pad (L4S)

There have been some huge leaps in lightbox technology in recent years. I’ve owned 3 lightboxes in my time, one being a repurposed dental x-ray box, the second being a traditional style box and the third being this which I bought as a possibly temporary replacement for my more traditional-style box. But I might not be swapping back so soon.

Their photos look a lot better than mine

Their photos look a lot better than mine

The Light Pad itself is a rectangular prism that measures 17 7/8” diagonal and 14 1/8” x 10 5/8” x 3/16”, meaning it covers quite a large area, but is very slim. The workable white/translucent area has markings on the side indicated in centimeters 12 ¼” (31cm) x 8 ¼” (21cm) with a ½cm margin. The non-workable black margin is about ¾“ all the way around the pad and it’s only features are the power button and a logo. On the side of the device next to the power button is a micro USB port that is only used for power (this version has no internal batteries), and a red LED will come on when the device is correctly connected. On the back of the device there is some modest information and nicely padded feet that prevent the pad from sliding around when being used.


Using the Light Pad is a breeze. Simply touching the power “button” lights up the entire workable area to the highest brightness setting (which isn’t very bright, and being shone through a white plastic makes it much less glaring on the eyes). Touching and holding the button will start the pad lighting up, and releasing the button during this will keep the pad at the current brightness setting. This setting is remembered and the next time one starts the device it will light up at the chosen setting unless you hold the button down again. The working area accommodates A4 and Letter sizes well, and the light on the brightest setting easily works with 2 sheets of 110lb cardstock. The plastic the surface is made from is very smooth, but resists sliding and scratches. The feet are also very nice and the device is stiff enough that it doesn’t bend around them under normal use (I still wouldn’t go stacking things on it).


I don’t think I’m going to be going back to the more traditional lightboxes anytime soon. In my opinion the only advantage they offer is an angled working surface, which is a feature I never really used. The Huion Light Pad is a great lightbox; it’s sufficiently lighted and durable enough to be easy to work with, thin enough that is stores easily, and draws very little power. Its overall workspace footprint is very small, and its job is done almost flawlessly. I do find the red LED indicator light to be annoying but I can’t think of a better way to do things and it is much less troublesome than other indicator lights I’ve had to deal with. I also have no use for the multiple brightness settings but I suppose it’s better to have it than not. Still, the device has become a permanent feature of my workplace and I would recommend anyone looking for a lightbox to look at these cheaper and thinner LED alternatives to the traditional boxes.


Why Carry a Pocket Knife?

Sometimes people ask me if it’s really necessary to carry a pocket knife like I do. This is rare, though, as most of the people I know either carry, are going to carry, or know why to carry a “pocket” knife (one carries a Marine fighting knife). They all have various reasons. The one that comes to everyone’s mind for some reason is self defense. Why, I don’t know, as you’re carrying something every day for something that’ll hopefully never happen. Not that I would say carrying something for self defense is a bad idea (pepper spray, gun, etc), it’s just that with something as useful as a knife to say “It’s for self defense” seems cheap to me, like, I have no other way to justify carrying a “weapon”. A knife isn’t a weapon, it’s a tool, and a great tool, if a slightly scary one (that’s what my mom thinks).

Yeah, that's kinda scary

Yeah, that’s kinda scary

I carry a knife for the same reason I carry a multi-tool (which has another knife): because it’s super useful for opening boxes, letters, cutting tape to fix things, removing splinters (yes, you can still get those in the modern age), cutting things to fix things, untying things (as long as you don’t want the twine), and scaring people who don’t understand why you want a 3.5inch piece of sharp metal in your pocket and think that no one is responsible enough to carry anything that may at any point be possibly used to harm someone.

I’ve been carrying a knife now for years, ever since I left school, because for some reason they won’t let you have pen knives in school. And it’s been super handy. Now I haven’t needed it every day. Sometime I don’t even use it in a week. But just like the fact that you’ll sometimes need a bottle opener to open a bottle, sometimes you’ll need to open a package, and I’ll have my knife to do it. (And I’ll have it to stab the guy assaulting me).


Speak Your Mind 142 #706-710


1. Should people be able to eat in restaurants without shoes?

2. Do you have many fillings in your mouth?

3. Do you drink a lot of milk?

4. Do you think nail polish looks nice on a girls toe-nails?

5. Why do you think indians often wore very little?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. Not unless they’re babies.

2. A few, but I wouldn’t say many.

3. No, I drink almost no milk.

4. No, I don’t like nail polish.

5. Because they were in warmer climates, with worse materials and had fewer clothes-making tools.