Large Scale Central

Odd / Fun / Weird / Cheap Tools

Under the “cheap tool” category (like, cheap), I purchased a few tool items from last week, and they seemed interesting enough to share with y’all.

As backstory, the way they hooked me was their “$30 of free products!” gig, where you spend that amount and then get credit for the same amount on additional products, all in the same order. They keep upping the amount. So essentially you’re getting a lot of stuff for half off. Or, they’re overpricing everything by 2x, but it’s not hard to get back to actual value.

Here’s the bulk of what I ordered (including maybe $10 of other stuff not worth mentioning; the totality of which I spent $30 for). Let’s say I paid $25. As Hollywood would say, YMMV. OK, enough math this month for me.

The t-ruler isn’t super-well stamped, but prob good enough for me. Has a head that locks in 5 degree increments, and serrations allowing scribing/marking at each 1/8", to 18". It’s in imperial units, not metric (as are all these).

The thickness blocks are nice, though a slightly raised corner here or there might need a deburring tool taken to it. Nicely anodized aluminum with decent markings. You can get these sets on Amazon for around $20. I should have ordered two, cuz I can see needing pairs of these things…

The around-the-corner square is neat, allowing marking/scribing on two perpendicular faces at once.

The little marking too at the right has holes big enough for a mech pencil lead, and spaced every 1/16th inch up to 4". Might be good for marking car sides or cedar stock or building walls.

Couple of alerts. They have amazingly good photographers, making you think the item is far larger than it is. Read the dimensions, and don’t be too surprised if the thing fits in the palm of your hand. :laughing: Also, they’ll hammer you with “incredible” deals once you order; but you can always unsubscribe. I haven’t yet, just because it’s fun to look at other stuff they sell, like shop consumables or whatever… :grin:

That’s my story. Any odd / fun / weird / cheap tools you’ve run across?


My brother is a big Temu fan, but I’ve stayed away as I’ve heard that their app does some serious spying.

Good to know Jon. I’m doing it on the 'puter, so will remove their cookies.

Temu seems to be a clone of Aliexpress and a couple of other Chinese sites. I use Aliexpress, which is owned by Alibaba and seems to be the retail arm of the wholesaler. I’ve not seen any problems in many years of buying odd stuff.

They recently started a “3 @ $1.99 or 1.79 or 2.99” deal with rapid shipping, which has filled my shelves with odd stuff.
This $1.79 tool bag isn’t so odd until you realize how small it is! It works great on my boat for carrying a small bunch of tools to a work location.

These are neat - $2.84 Hex Socket M2.5/3/3.5/4/4.5/5/5.5, finger operated:

Then a $2.72 eyeglass screwdriver with nut drivers for more, smaller metric sizes:

Small $3.70 saw for plastic or metal work.

A $1.47 auto/boat circuit tester:

A drill for making square holes. (I bought 3 at $19.92 for 1/4", 1/2", 3/4". They don;t work very well!

And that’s just since June 2023, and doesn’t include the not-so-odd items, like a multi-tool. Want me to go further back?

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The T Ruler is also drilled for a possible trammel application if needed.

Rooster said: “Trammel” and reported himself to the moderator

Thickness blocks and angle blocks are the most used tools on my workbench. That and weight blocks.

John, just curious, what are some examples of how you use thickness blocks?

I have a couple sets of machinists squares that I use with my magnetic build plate. I’ve also been keeping an eye out for 1-2-3 blocks, since those are pretty handy.

Cliff, just about everything.

Scribing siding in basswood sheet with a 1/4" bar.

Squaring up car sides for gluing.

Spacing beams (A 3/4" bar was used to space a set of ore car frame beams.)

All kinds of uses for thickness bars, angles and blocks.

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One fun aspect of precision-machined gauge blocks is that they will stick together, even though they aren’t magnetic.

I suspect that the price has gone up sometime! ( I bought a pair of 1-2-3 Blocks from Amazon, back in 2015…cost then was $13.95. Today a pair costs $32.95. I wonder is they’re cheaper anywhere else?)

Exactly. I keep an eye out on FB marketplace and Craigslist for them.

OR, you can get a pair from McMaster.Com for a mere $212! (I wonder what THEY are smoking!) :innocent:

Is this what you guys are talking about?

1-2-3 block pair

More like these:

Or these:

THAT’S what I was talking about…nice price…

I basically just use mine for nice weights…which is probably against some sort of rule… :innocent:

I called them 1-2-3 blocks because they measure that in inches…YMMV

Looks like a better price than I paid 8 years ago…but not sure what their shipping fees are…

1-2-3 blocks are neat because you can bolt them together, and they’ll always have a 90 degree angle between them.


There’s also a bunch of different kind of things for these, from complete tables, to setup blocks and angle plates. Lots of cool stuff in holding fixtures for machining.

Then there are magnetic chucks for surface grinders that would be handy for modeling…

Cool, the bolt head recesses into some holes, and the block is threaded in the others.

Bruce, good point, the AliExpress ones have crazy high shipping. Here’s a set with higher price, but low shipping, and a case & screws.

Ebay has many pairs that are less than $20, with free shipping. This looks like a great deal, if you need that many:

Yea, which is why I troll FB marketplace and Craigslist for this kind of stuff.