2018-12-10 3 min read


It's back! We tried a *lot* of new tools this year, and now's when we unveil our favorites :)

This list is made for sharing (how else are your loved ones going to know what to get you?) so please do forward it along. You can also see these recommendations - along with those from previous years - on The Prepared's Tool Guide.

Happy holidays, all!

Planning & Strategy.

  • Airtable! The Prepared is run fully off of Airtable now, and it's great. Probably the most general-purpose tool on this list.
  • PartsBox, which is pretty much exactly the system I wanted for small parts management for years. I also transitioned all of my part storage to these cabinets, which are *way* better than the little plastic drawers that most of us start out with.
  • Managing the Flow of Technology, which examines how communication pathways and organizational structures affect research & development.
  • A Starrett 70A pocket scriber.

Making & Manufacturing.

  • I tried a few different hex key (aka Allen wrench) sets this year, and these PB Swiss ones are just really, really nice. I also converted a handful of my fasteners to security Torx, for which Wera's keys are best.
  • Kai scissors. These look, feel, and act like a *real* tool.
  • A Wera 7000-series torque wrench, which is very user friendly and sized for bike-ish fasteners. Also, direct readings in both Nm and ft-lb!
  • A legit heat gun, which will keep you from trying to use a cigarette lighter on shrink tubing ever again.
  • Box folding jigs, which are just *magic* in a production environment.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

Tangents, i.e. things that my daughter probably isn't old enough for.

Lego's Women of NASA kit.

Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Greg, Conor, Sam, Omar, and Noah for sending links.

Love, Spencer.

p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s. - Whenever possible, we work to encourage inclusivity. Here's how.

Spencer Wright
Spencer Wright
Spencer Wright is the (mostly accidental) founder of Scope of Work, which he started writing (as The Prepared) in 2013. Today he serves as its editor-in-chief and chief dilettante.
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