2015 | Man Cave Master

Yearly Archives: 2015

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table foosball rules

Some play it as a pastime game while the hard-hitting pros play it as a genuine, competitive sport. Just as the actual ‘football’ game played in a real stadium has hordes of fans, so does table Foosball. Unsurprisingly, both Foosball and football fans are rowdy, passionate and well, more rowdy. So, what is Foosball? What are its objectives? What are the rules? What make this an incredibly popular game?

A little history for the curious…

We couldn’t possible answer the question ‘what is Foosball,’ without exploring some history.

how to play foosball

Outside of the U.S., football is the name of a game that involves people from two rival teams trying to kick a ball into the other team’s goal, using their legs only. When it is played on a table, it is simply known as table football in most parts of the world. But, in their quest to be different from everyone else, the Americans decided to pronounce it as table ‘Foosball,’ and the name stuck.

It is generally believed that Foosball originated in Europe in the 1880s or 1890s, with history records crediting Harold Searles Thornton, an Englishman, with patenting the first Foosball table around 1923. Lawrence Patterson, an American military man brought the first Foosball to the U.S. in the 1960s while E. Lee Peppard, a Foosball fan, popularized the game into the national craze that it is today.

ready for the right Foosball table?

Find your perfect table in our reviews!

Different Styles for Different Foosers

Foosers all over the world have their own distinct playing style. The difference might not be apparent to the casual player, but for the dyed-in-the-wool fooser, these differences are a big deal.

In America, table Foosball is generally rough and hard-hitting. Power and speed is the name of the game. The tables are typically very solid, the Foosball men are made from tough plastic and so is the ball. American Foosball tables have three instead of one goalie, making for a continuous game, as the player is able to kick the ball out of a corner without needing to stop the game.

French and German Foosball does not stand up to much of a challenge. The tables are made of generally feeble materials such as linoleum while the ball is incredibly light, made from a cork, not to mention the extra-large goal posts. In typical European culture, the players show some finesse, only seeking to pass the ball and to score when the opportunity presents itself.

What's the point

When Foosers are doing what they do best, what does all that hard-hitting, rod spinning mean? The objective in a Foosball game is simply to drive the ball to the other team’s goal. Sounds easy until you only have your hands, four rods and 13 players to do it.

table soccer rules

In a typical game, the players maneuver 4 rods on their side of the table in order to control the 13 Foosball men to kick the ball towards your opponent’s side. On the other side of the table is your opponent who also has 4 rods and 13 players trying to keep you from moving the ball toward his goal, as he pushes it towards your goal.

In a basic game, the goal is to score 5 points—the first team to score 5 goals emerges victorious. In other tougher matches, the team that scores the first 2 or 3 goals out of a series of 5 games is the winner.

Types of Games

There are different types of game variations depending on the level of challenge you are looking for.

Singles game

This is the basic variation and most players gravitate towards this type of game. There’s one player vs. player with each player controlling 4 rods on their end of the table.

Doubles game

As the name suggests, this name entails two players on each team with one player controlling the defensive rods on the left hand, while his teammate controls the offensive 3-bar and 5-bar. The same happens with the two players on the other side of the table.

Goalie war

In a goalie war, there’s just one player on each side with each one controlling the defensive rods and leaving the middle four rods unused throughout the game.

Rules of Foosball

So, a game of Foosball can get a little too raucous. But several rules help to minimize unsportsmanlike behavior and to keep it fair among the players. In competitive professional games, there is an entire list of rules enforced by officials. But in causal games, players understand the rules and officiate the game on their own, each respecting the set boundaries.

The basic rules are:

  • No spinning the rods
  • No distracting your opponent
  • No foul language or behavior
  • No moving the table

Admittedly, Foosball is not the easiest of games you will come across. You will likely need hours of practice and just watching other people play before you can get the gist of the game. The rule of thumb is to understand the objectives of the game, get the rules straight and. But do not just get stuck on the theoretical part of it, jump in and play actual games for you to become the experienced Fooser you would like to be.

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Coffee Table for the Man Cave

Pallet furniture is all the rage right now in home design and for several good reasons. Pallets are cheap, easy to work with, and they make really creative furnishings! Below are five ways to DIY pallets into amazing pieces for your man cave, once you have chosen a sturdy pallet:

How To Prep The Pallets For Your DIY Project:

  1. Inspect the pallets for warning signs of bacteria or harmful contaminants. Look for the words "HT" on the pallet; that stamp means it has been heat dried, which is safer than those not kiln dried.
  2. If you need to disassemble the pallet for your DIY project, then do so before you paint it. Remove nails and sand the pallet prior to painting it, as well, to remove sharp edges and splinters. Wipe the wood down with a wet washcloth before painting it to clean it.
  3. Prime your wood pallets first to give a more even finish to the paint you will apply over it.
  4. Finish with a coat of paint. Common choices are latex or acrylic (either work). Using a chip brush, apply between 1-4 coats; wait until the layer is dry before applying the next coat. If you want the paint to last longer, stain it as the final step.

For all of the five DIY pallet projects, use best safety practices. Always wear safety glasses and work gloves, as well as using common sense.

DIY #1: wood pallet room divider

Room Divider for the Man Cave

This project is great if you want to maximize your space; easily create different sections in your pad based around the shipping pallet room dividers. It is like having a wall, only you can take down the partition if you want to at any point in time easier than you could with a concrete wall!

DIY Cost


Retail Cost


Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:
  • Shipping pallets (free!),
  • hammer ($14),
  • nails ($5),
  • door hinges ($18),
  • sandpaper ($7),
  • paint primer ($12),
  • latex paint ($15)

The number of pallets you will need depends on the size of the piece you want to create; you will need at least six pallets to create two panels on the hinged area divider. The process involves nailing two pallets together side by side so they look rectangular.

These two panels form the front side of one panel on the screen. Add a third panel by securing it with nails. Repeat the process to form a second screen made of three panels. Attach the two screens you have created at the edges of the pallets with door hinges, following this easy-to-follow guide.

Lastly, paint the shipping pallets. Our painting tips in the "How to Prep" box above will help you. Hang art from the wooden slat with small nails to make the room divider even more unique. Perhaps your art will be NYC-inspired or have another fun theme.

DIY #2: Pallet coffee table

Coffee Table for the Man Cave

This rustic table is the perfect item to complete the lounging area of your lair. Put your mags, Wii accessories, coffee mug, and anything else you want on it. The table in this DIY project uses just two pallets. While you could get a table from a furniture store, why go generic? Get a totally original piece made with your own two hands! Plus, you'll save money by putting it together yourself.

DIY Cost


Retail Cost


Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:
  • Shipping pallets (free!),
  • hammer ($14),
  • power-saw ($50),
  • nails ($5),
  • screws ($5),
  • sandpaper ($7),
  • stain ($14),
  • varnish ($12)

Once you have the pallets, you need to remove the boards from them. Disassembling the pallet is essential because then you won't have gaps between the boards. Don't ruin the boards as you remove them, you want them intact! Hammer off the boards to remove them. You will find you accumulate a lot of rusty nails!

Sand the boards next to remove any rough edges and splinters. Once this step is done, you need to put the boards back onto the frame, only this time they are side by side. The width will be smaller now, without the spaces between the boards, so you can cut off the excess frame. You will likely find that the new width works much better for your coffee table. Screw the boards back in, using the existing nail holes.

Repeat the process for the second pallet. Then it's time to move onto making the legs, which you can make the height you want. This project uses legs that are 8.5in tall. Screw the legs to the bottom of the pallet. Now you're up to Step 6 in this comprehensive guide, where you can follow it through to the end. You still have to sand, stain and varnish the pallet table, but you're almost done your DIY project.

DIY #3: Pallet bookshelf

Pallet Bookshelf Tutorial

If you want a bookshelf that is cheap and durable, you'll like this next DIY project. Make your shelving unit out of shipping pallets (This project uses roughly 2-1/2 pallets) and use it to stack books, mementos from trips, sports memorabilia or whatever else you want to put there. The furniture is also great on a smaller scale in the kitchen as a DIY spice rack.

DIY Cost


Retail Cost


Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:
  • Shipping pallets (free!),
  • hammer ($14),
  • circular saw ($50),
  • electric sander, ($30),
  • tape measure ($11),
  • nails ($5),
  • wood glue ($7),
  • stain ($14),
  • varnish ($12)

Begin the project by dismantling the pallets, wearing safety gloves and glasses, of course. Once you have the individual boards separated from the base, measure each piece to get it to your required length. Where you make the cuts will depend on how big you want the bookshelf to be. Measure the available space in your lair before making any cuts with your circular saw.

Once you've made the cuts, you'll want to clean the boards to free them of the layers of accumulated dust! Use a soap-and-water solution in this case. Using a palm sander is the next step; it will save you a lot of time, rather than using sandpaper by hand to smooth the boards. 

Next, join the planks together with wood glue to make the shelves; the project shown in the above photo uses four cut pieces of wood per shelf. Create as many shelves as you want for the structure. Add a bottom support to each shelf with your hammer and nails; you can use the support beams from the original pallets for this part of the shelving.

Finish the DIY pallet bookshelf project using this nifty tutorial, with the next step being to build the backing of your future furniture piece.

DIY #4: DIY Pallet Shoe holder

Shoe Rack for the Man Cave

If you have a small man cave, you will appreciate this innovative shoe rack. It's vertical, so it takes up little room. Make it on a budget too out of free wood pallets. Depending on what size you want the rack to be, you will need at least two pallets.

DIY Cost


Retail Cost


Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:
  • Shipping pallets (free!),
  • hammer ($14),
  • circular saw ($50),
  • tape measure ($11),
  • nails ($5),
  • wood glue ($7),
  • sandpaper ($7)

As you did in the last DIY pallet project we guided you through, you will begin by disassembling the boards from the pallet. You are going to make a structure that looks similar to a ladder. A great size for our man cave would be 16in wide and 36in tall, so it will fit beside our dresser and be the same height. Measure your space before you make any cuts to the wood to ensure you make the shoe rack the right size.

As for the gap that you will leave for the shoes to go into, a 3in gap is a good size. It will likely be easiest for you to draw out the design on paper so that you can figure out how many rows you need to reach the desired height of the rack. You will have two long vertical boards (in our case they are 36in tall) and (number of rows) with 3in gaps between them. 

Secure the rows on each side to the vertical boards with wood glue and nails at the correct position. This in-depth guide will guide you through how to continue to put together the ladder-like DIY pallet shoe holder, including building and attaching an extension to lean the furniture against the wall. ​Lastly, add your shoes to the creative shoe rack and revel in the admiration of your buddies!

DIY #5: DIY Pallet storage chest

Pallet Trunk for the Man Cave

Whether you call it a pallet storage chest or a trunk, you're going to love this creative piece! You can be certain your neighbor won't have it in his house. You can use it for your gaming essentials as well as your remotes, extra cords, or whatever else you think should go in there. Keep odds and ends out of sight in this DIY trunk, which is made from two pallets.

DIY Cost


Retail Cost


Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:
  • Shipping pallets (free!),
  • hammer ($14),
  • table saw ($300),
  • power drill ($150),
  • reciprocating saw ($49),
  • tape measure ($11),
  • nails ($5),
  • screws ($5),
  • one piece of scrap plywood (free)

Firstly, deconstruct your pallets. A crowbar or reciprocating saw provides a way to remove the boards efficiently. Then build the frame for the storage chest. Begin by cutting three 1x4s down the middle and then cutting two of these pieces to the length you want for your trunk. Take a third 1x4 and cut two side supports, ensuring these two pieces hang over the sides of the smaller two pieces to form the frame.

Next, build a second identical frame, and put it aside until later. You will now want to cut your pallet boards to the desired height. Attach the boards to the frame with screws. It is easiest to complete the ends before moving to the front and back of the storage chest. At this point, you bring out the second frame and attach it, following the directions in this comprehensive online guide. Click the "Next" button on each screen of that guide to follow through to the end of the project.

Now you have the inspiration to complete five DIY projects using pallets! The projects are affordable (especially if you already have the required tools), straightforward to complete, and have great rustic looks. Plus, they are totally original, and each one fulfills a purpose in your man cave. Let us know how your builds go. If you enjoyed the post, then please share it on social media using the sharing buttons below!

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DIY Vinyl Projects for the Man Cave

It's time to rock and roll! Spin your man cave into the next level of awesome with these 3 DIY vinyl projects. Use them as inspiration or follow the guides step by step to recreate the looks in your own lair. Each one features vinyl records, which give the DIY projects a fun, retro look. Up first, a vinyl coffee table:

dIY project #1: the Vinyl side table

Make Your Own Vinyl Side Table

Take one of the vinyl LPs you have laying around that you can't quite seem to part with and put it to good use. Create a side table with just one vinyl record, a glue gun, and a few other supplies. Here are the steps:

Supplies For the Vinyl Table:

  1. Tools: Glue gun
  2. Materials: 12in vinyl record and circular metal planter stand in black 

Pick the planter

Choose a planter that is black, to match the record. Make it a circular one so that the record lays securely on it and looks natural. Also, ensure the width of the top of the planter is not larger than the record; a 12in record would suit a 10in-wide plant stand.

Materials for the Vinyl Side Table

Prep the record

Clean the top and bottom of the record gently with a wet paper towel. It is vintage after all, so it likely has a lot of dust in the grooves. Then dry the vinyl with a separate soft cloth.

At the same time (and she said that men can't multitask!), heat your glue gun. 

Glue the record

Once the glue gun is hot, apply a layer of glue along the top edge of the planter where you will then put the record.

While the glue is still hot, put the record carefully on top of it. Make sure you center the record on top as you don't want to be moving it after you've laid it on the glue. Otherwise, you'll get a gloppy mess.

Let the glue harden overnight. You're all done! Easy, right?!

dIY project #2: the Vinyl Magazine Holder 

Magazine Holder Made of Vinyl

Create this magazine holder for your wall and your buddies might actually read something when they come to visit your dungeon. It's one of a kind and makes great use of the records laying around. If you don't have any vinyl, you can get them for cheap at second-hand stores.

Supplies For the Vinyl Magazine Rack:

  1. Tools: Drill and iron
  2. Materials: 3 x 12in vinyl records, wax paper, large box, paint, screws, and 1 piece of wood

Fold the records

Think you can't fold a record? Ha! This DIY project says otherwise. Place one record on the top of the big box; put half of it over the edge of the box, as shown in the image below. Tape it in place so it won't move when you use your iron and cover the part you will iron with wax paper.

DIY Magazine Holder, Using Vinyl

Put your iron on its High setting and wait until it reaches the hot temperature. Iron back and forth across the crease until the record warms, softens and bends over the side of the box.

Repeat the process for the second and third records.

create and attach the base

Use a piece of wood as the base for your DIY vinyl record holder. Paint the base the color of your choosing. Black makes sense to match the records.

Put the records along the base, spreading them out evenly. Drill a hole through the records, where you will screw them to the base. Then, drill the screws through those holes into the base to permanently attach the two pieces.

TIP: If you notice some of the wax paper is stuck to the record, use a Magic Eraser to remove it. Scrub until it comes off.

And... you're done. Another easy DIY vinyl record project, right?!

dIY project #3: vinyl record coasters

Vinyl Coasters DIY Project

Recycle your vinyl records (well, okay, the ones you don't want to listen to anymore, so maybe not your favorite Beatles album) and turn them into coasters. You'll be amazed at the kinds of conversations that can start when you pull these babies out when your buds are at the man cave.

Supplies For The Vinyl Record Coasters:

  1. Tools: Oven
  2. Materials: 6 x 12in vinyl records, hot pad or glove, spray acrylic sealer, scissors, felt, sandpaper, and liquid fusion glue

Heat up the records

Turn on your oven to 200 degrees. Once it reaches the temperature, put your records into the oven and heat them until you seem them start to warp. You can put in a few at once to save time.

Carefully take out one record at a time from the oven, using a glove or hot pad. Be careful, don't burn yourself!

As you take each record out of the oven, cut it along the line you will see that is close to the label, as per the image below. If you want to use the hot pad instead of the glove at this point, feel free to do so.

Making Vinyl Coasters for the Man Cave

The amount of vinyl that you want to leave on the coasters is your call. If you get part way around the record and find it difficult to keep cutting, then put the record back into the oven to heat it again. Heat, cut, heat, cut, etc.

TIP: If the coasters are not flat, heat them a final time and then, once they're out of the oven, put them between two heavy books to straighten them.

Sand and waterproof

Sand by hand any rough edges left by the scissors. 

Spray your coasters with a spray acrylic sealer. After the first coat is dry, spray a second one. The point of this step is to protect the labels from condensation. The wet paper wouldn't look great, after all.

finish the bottom

Now there's just the issue of the hole in the centre of the coaster, where water could seep through. Here is where the felt is used. Trace your coaster onto a sheet of felt and then cut it out. 

Glue the felt onto the unvarnished side of your coaster. 

Next, the most important step is to put your beer on top of the coaster. Make sure it works right!

We're betting that you're going to have a renewed interest in vinyl now that you've read through this post. Whichever of the three projects you decide to do, or whether you do a variation on them, we are confident the creations will look amazing in your man cave. And, for the record, you rock just as much as the songs on the vinyl!

If making music is your jam, take a look at our review of the korg microkey 37 key usb midi-controller or our review of the nectar impact lx61

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DIY Guitar Shelving Project for Man Cave

That broken guitar of yours doesn't need to sit in the closet of the man cave any longer. Bring it out for this creative DIY project that turns a broken musical instrument into innovative shelving. Rather than cursing the once-beautiful guitar that has been rendered useless for one reason or another, you'll be singing a different tune when you recycle it into a fantastic shelving unit that is perfect for your lair. 

There's no need to feel overwhelmed by the DIY project either. Whether you are new to the do-it-yourself game or it is old hat, you can get it done within a day. Why not do it this weekend?

What Supplies You Will Need:

  1. Tools: Drill, hand saw, and chisel (or screwdriver)
  2. Wood: 1/4in thickness
  3. Other materials: Acoustic guitar, screws, wood glue, and clamps

1. get the guitar

The intro of this post assumes you already have a guitar, but what if you don't have one yet? You could be a music lover who wants to expand the theme of his man cave with this cool artsy piece. Great places to find guitars on the cheap are second-hand stores. They might be damaged, and that's just fine for this project as we're going to be tearing it apart anyway.

You can also try online stores like Etsy, Amazon, or Craigslist. Comparison shop to get the lowest price. An acoustic rather than electric guitar works best. You want to get your hands on a guitar that is cheap or broken (and, thus, should be a bargain).

Guitar Strings Need to be Removed

2. take off the strings

Remove the strings from your guitar. This step is most efficiently done by loosening the tuning machine. Remove the prongs from the saddle of the headstock as you go.

3. remove the face

For any music lover, this step hurts! You will need to remove the face of the guitar. Clamp the guitar before you saw the face off to make sure it stays steady. That way you have the best control. Use a hand saw for the project as it isn't a big amount of space you are working in, and you want to be precise.

Start by sawing about 1/8 of an inch down. That way you won't risk removing any more than just the face. You will find that once you saw through a significant amount of the face, you will be able to either chisel or pry (with a screwdriver) the rest of the face to take it off. Whether you choose to use the chisel or screwdriver is up to you.

Step in the DIY Guitar Shelf Project

4. make the shelves

Once the face is totally off, put it aside. It's time to make the shelves! Choose where you want the shelves to go within the guitar. Putting the shelves about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down the body are logical choices, in our opinion. It may vary though if you plan to display a long object on one of the shelves.

​After you measure the width of the guitar for how long you require the shelves to be, you then will need to measure the body for depth too. Now you have the ideal dimensions for the wood. 

Each shelf will be a different size, depending where you want it to sit in the guitar body. Cut the two shelves, using best safety practices (goggles and work gloves).

5. put in the shelves

The two shelves are ready to go inside the guitar. It's a cinch when you use a wood glue at the sides and back of the shelving. Let the glue dry for at least a few hours (or even longer, if you can).

To make the shelves even stronger, also drill them into place. Drill one screw through each side of the shelf. That's four screws in total, obviously.

6. sand and finish the project

Time to sand down the guitar now. You'll want to remove any splinters or sharp edges in the wood. Sanding it by hand is easier than using an electric sander given the curves of the body. Then wipe down the shelving unit to give it a quick clean.

If you're feeling extra creative today, you can customize the shelving. For example, paint the inside of the guitar. Make it one solid color or a few different shades, depending on your tastes. You could paint the inside gold, the outside light brown, and the neck black. Just a suggestion! Make sure the colors you choose will match your man cave.

Now it's time for the last part of the guitar shelf DIY project: Hanging the shelving unit. Hold up your guitar to the wall in the location where you want it to hang. Screw drill holes through the guitar into the wall to secure it there. Use at least two screws to make sure it stays in place.

DIY Guitar Shelves

There you have it! Old guitars really CAN rock! Your broken or cheap guitar is now a clever, one-of-a-kind shelving piece for your dungeon. Put books, gaming accessories, mugs, or whatever else you want on the shelves. The story of how you made this piece will make for great conversation in the future with your buds. Plus, you can take pride in your handy work every time you pass by it.

Want to try another DIY project for your man cave? Check out these three ways to make your own coffee table.

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gaping hole halloween

If you think a hole in one in golf is great, you'll love this outrageous gaping hole costume for Halloween. Freak out your friends by creating a virtual hole in your stomach that simulates a gunshot wound - what's not to like about that?! The costume is easy to make too if you have the right DIY guide.

That's why we put together this step-by-step post, offering you THREE ways to make the ultimate Halloween outfit and the best price options to do so.

Note: You don't need to be an expert programmer or have amazing makeup talents to pull off this stomach hole costume, regardless of which way you make it. Just follow the steps and be patient. It's so worth it!

DIY #1: The iPad Method 

iPad 2 Halloween Costume

Total Cost



Required Skill

Cost Breakdown: 

  • Approx $320 for the two iPad 2,
  • $6 white tee,
  • $7 blood gel,
  • $8 duct tape

This method comes to you via NASA employee Mark Rober. He created the not-so-hole-some costume using two iPads, as well as some fake blood. Here's how to create the awesomeness yourself.

What Supplies You Will Need:

  1. Electronics: Two iPad 2s, FaceTime app, and WiFi
  2. Makeup: 1oz. of fake blood
  3. Other Materials: One white t-shirt, utility duct tape, and scissors

step 1: Prep the shirt

​We suggest you use a white shirt, and one that you don't care about wearing again after Halloween night. It can be a t-shirt or sweater, your choice. The white color works best because it shows off the fake blood you later put on the shirt and makes the hole the focus (a shirt design may take away attention from the cool effect). 

Cut two holes in the shirt, one across the front and one across the back. Make both holes the size of the iPad 2 screens.

Next, apply fake blood around the holes in both front and back to simulate real blood.

step 2: strap on the electronics

Strap one iPad 2 to your front and one to your back with duct tape, then put the shirt on overtop. Another option is to cover the holes with the iPads from the inside of the fabric using the sturdy tape.

step 3: Make a FaceTime Call

Important: Make sure you have a good WiFi connection if you plan to do this costume when you're out at a party. If it is a house party, ask the host beforehand if there is WiFi. If WiFi isn't available, then carry a MiFi in your pocket (they'll never know). Any mobile hotspot will do.

Then, connect the two iPads to the WiFi network (or equivalent).

Here's the extra, super duper, clever part. Set up a FaceTime call between the two iPads (aha, now you see why you need WiFi). The iPad on the front shows what the iPad on the back sees in its camera, and vice versa.

The iPad 2 method of making the gaping hole costume is great because it does not require hacking or a lot of build time before Halloween night. Also, the amount of supplies you need is minimal.

Bonus Tips For Your Costume:

  1. Get a toy shotgun and have it laying close by you when your guests first find you. It will make the effect seem even more real!
  2. Don't have a second iPad 2? See if you can borrow one from a friend. If you have a first generation iPad or a different tablet without a camera, you can play a video on it instead. Make it a realistic one though to carry out the illusion effectively.
  3. To make the blood look even more real, add a bit of black liquid face paint makeup gel to it.

DIY #2: The Old-School DVD Method 

Costume of Hole in Stomach for Halloween

Total Cost



Required Skill

Cost Breakdown: 

  • $80 LCD DVD player,
  • $60 digital camera,
  • $10 6v power source,
  • $8 5v voltage regulator,
  • $20 shoulder straps,
  • $6 white tee,
  • $7 blood gel

You need only basic tech knowledge to pull off this old-school version of making the gaping hole-in-stomach Halloween costume. It involves a DVD player and a generous amount of duct tape.

What Supplies You Will Need:

  1. Electronics: LCD travel DVD player, digital camera, 6v power source, 5v voltage regulator w/ flip switch
  2. Makeup: 1oz. of fake blood
  3. Other Materials: White shirt, duct tape, shoulder straps (2), cardboard, and scissors

step 1: Build the apparatus

You can get shoulder straps off Amazon or another online store for cheap. Alternatively, just use a pair of suspenders or two belt buckles to DIY your own straps to hold together the DVD player and other elements, as per the image below.

Tape an LCD travel DVD player to cardboard at one end of the straps. Then, tape a digital camera to the other end of the straps using the same method. Use the image below as your visual guide.

Halloween Costume Features Hole in Stomach

step 2: the tech setup

Set up a simple video feed. The feed goes from the digital camera to the LCD screen on the DVD player. A 6v power source runs the show, with a 5v voltage regulator to stabilize it. An LED flip switch on the regulator provides ease of control.

step 3: Put on the contraption

Put on the apparatus so that the digital camera is strapped to your back and the LCD screen is at the front. 

Put the white shirt on over the apparatus and mark where on your shirt the holes will need to be cut to reveal the screen and camera. 

step 4: alter the shirt

Take off the shirt and cut where you have marked the holes to go across your torso. Make the front one big enough to show the screen. Apply fake blood around the hole to simulate the trauma of a gunshot wound.

Then strap the devices back on and put the shirt overtop of it. Start the electronic feed. Now you're all set to scare the bloody hell out of friends and family this Halloween!

DIY #3: The Raspberry Pi Method 

Halloween Raspberry Pi Stomach Costume

Total Cost



Required Skill

Cost Breakdown:

  • $33 Raspberry Pi Model B+,
  • $19 Pi-camera,
  • $52 Pi LCD touch screen kit,
  • $13 5v voltage converter,
  • $14 polymer lithium ion battery,
  • $28 GoPro Chest Harness,
  • $6 white tee,
  • $7 blood gel,
  • $26 liquid latex,
  • $5 skin tone paint

What Supplies You Will Need:

  1. Electronics: Raspberry Pi Model B+ 512MB, Pi 5MP camera board module, 7" Pi LCD touch screen kit, HDMI cable, 5v regulator datasheet, polymer lithium ion battery
  2. Makeup: 1oz. of fake blood, 16oz. liquid latex
  3. Other Materials: White t-shirt, GoPro Chest Harness, compatible with almost all GoPro cameras (except the Digital HERO 5 Wrist Camera) others, scissors

As with the other DIY methods, you won't need any in-depth technical or programming skills here. Just use a little creativity!

Step 1: Set Up The GoPro Harness

Wearing the harness is a bit like wearing suspenders. In the front, put the touch screen, which will project everything that you record. It will have a control module connected via the HDMI cable.

At the back of the harness, put the Raspberry Pi, and place the Pi camera above it.​

Both modules will power through the lithium battery, with a voltage converter to 5 volts.

Step 2: Basic Program Software  

Use a Raspi running the Pi Camera script to feed the video from the back camera to the front screen. 

How To Set Up The Program:

    1. Get examples at Pic Camera; it's a cinch with this resource.

    2. Install the library, using python:

    $ sudo apt­get install python­picamera

    3. Update your Raspberry (if not already done):

    import time
    import picamera
    with picamera.PiCamera() as camera:
    camera.resolution = (1920,1080)
    camera.hflip = True
    camera.vflip = True
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
    while True:

    4. To create the script from the terminal, go to the Pi folder (use command cd).

    5. Type the command sudo nano camera.py and then write the program. Save it using Ctrl+X and press accept.

    6. Type the next lines as per this great guide. It enables you to turn the camera angle!

Step 3: Apply Latex  

Use the latex by putting it onto paper that is placed around the screen to make the wound seem more realistic and hide the edges of the screen. Once it dries, paint the entire latex area with skin color paint. To mimic a shotgun wound, also put fake blood overtop of the latex.

Step 4: Prep the tee & Final Assembly

Cut two holes in the white shirt. One is in the front, which will show the 7" screen, and it is bigger than the hole you cut in the back, where there is the camera.

Lastly, assemble the costume. Put on the harness, including the screen with latex and makeup across it, and then over top of that is the tee. Lastly, apply fake blood to the shirt, around the hole, to simulate bleeding from the wound.

Hole Gunshot Wound Costume

The hole-in-torso costume is freakin' awesome! You won't have an outfit like anyone else and will be the hit of the Halloween party! The illusion is an attention grabber that your friends will be talking about for weeks to come. 

The method you choose to make the gunshot wound explosion costume will depend on what type of electronics you have, your budget, and the amount of time you can spend on preparation. The iPad 2 method is the simplest of the three, although the Raspberry Pi software lets you turn the camera if you want to do so. If you want to give your digital camera a new use, then DIY method #2 may be the one that most appeals to you. Whichever design you choose, your inner geek and magician will both embrace this costume on Halloween!

Electronic Illusion Halloween Costume

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3 DIY Coffee Tables For Your Man Cave

A staple in your man cave is the coffee table. It's where you put your brewski, put up your feet and drop your keys. While you could go and get furniture already made for you at a store (yawn) or scout the perfect piece of antique like Frank Fritz, why not DIY your own unique, masculine table? We can't think of any reason not to, either. Here are three great DIY guides for coffee tables. Follow them to make your own furniture or use them as inspiration.

dIY #1: Industrial Coffee Table

Man Cave: Your Industrial Coffee Table

A modern, industrial look is all the rage right now, so why not bring it into your man cave too? Building an industrial coffee table is an easy and affordable DIY project that can be done within a day.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Tools: Hacksaw, circular saw, and either chop saw or jigsaw with metal cutting blade
  2. Materials: 3 plated steel slotted angles (6ft x 2-1/4in), 16 lock washers (1/4in), 16 hex nuts (1/4in-20), 16 carriage bolts (1/4in x 3/4in), #6 - 5/8in Phillips Pan Tap steel screw, and half-pint Minwax polycrylic satin polyurethane
  3. Lumber: 23/32in x 2ftx2ft pine sanded plywood
step 1: trim the l angles

Trim the L angles to create the legs and rails for the table. For this table, the legs are 15in, and the rails are 18in.

Be safe: Wear protective glasses and goggles!

Once cut, file the ends until they are smooth. Tip: Cut through the ovals to save a bit of work.

If you are cutting the brackets with a hack saw, clamp them to a table first so that they are secure while making the cuts.​

step 2: Make Connections
DIY Step for Industrial Coffee Table

Start to assemble the parts. Connect one 15in leg to two 18in rails, using lock washers, nuts, and bolts.

Repeat the process until a cube is formed out of the legs and rails. Keep the nuts a little use until all pieces have been put together.

Step 3: cut and attach the plywood

Cut the plywood to be 18-1/2in x 18-1/2in. Next, sand it and finish with a coat of polyurethane. 

Once dry, place it face down on level ground and then flip the metal cube onto the wood. Attach the cube to the wood by putting a screw through any one bracket hole.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat the process for each of the four sides. Easy? Yes, we agree!

DIY #2: Reclaimed Window Coffee Table

DIY Coffee Table for the Man Cave

This is a great DIY option that you may not have heard of before! Take an old window and make it into a new coffee table. If you don't have a window already, you can pick one up for cheap at the local flea market.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Tools: Nail gun and table saw
  2. Materials: 3 old windows (number of windows to use depends on size of coffee table you want), nails, wood glue, and Rust-Oleum Stops Rust 12oz Protective Enamel Spray, light grit sandpaper, and window caulk
  3. Lumber: 8 x 1inx6in whiteboards, and 2 x 1inx2in whiteboards
step 1: Cutting wood and Mitering

Cut the wood according to the measurements in the above Supplies box. If you buy the wood at the local hardware store, ask the staff if they will cut the wood for you. If not, use best safety practices at home by wearing goggles and work gloves. Next, miter the frame, and the legs.

step 2: attach legs to frame... and clean

Using the wood glue, attach the legs to the frame. Then use the nail gun to fix them permanently together.

Next, clean the windows. Wipe the dirt off the panes as much as you can. Scrape off any crusted-on caulking from the edges of the panes and then quickly sand by hand the edges. Caulk the edges, just to even them out; let it cure as per the product directions.

step 3: paint everything white

Okay, almost everything, except the windows. Cover the panes with newspaper and tape them in place. Then you can paint without worrying about making a mess on the glass. 

Ta-da, you have a VERY cool, unique table for your dungeon. 

DIY #3: cable spool coffee table

Man Cave Cable Spool Coffee Table

This type of coffee table is very trendy right now in the interior design world. It has a modern shape, lots of storage for books and magazines, and the spindle shape is a clever one.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Tools: Power sander, cordless drill w/ screw driving and drilling bits, 1in spade drill bit, level, hammer, and wrench
  2. Materials: Wood stain, soft measuring tape or compass, 2.5in screws, 8ft of 1in dowel rods
  3. Lumber: Electric cable spool or reel. 
step 1: get the spool and Prep it

See if you can get a cable spool free from a local electrical supply company. They might have old ones just laying around the warehouse and give one to you for free. Hey, it doesn't hurt to ask! It could save you a few bucks in this DIY project.

If the spool has a metal plate at the top, remove it. Also, hammer down any nails on its top to make for a smooth surface. Sand the top next to remove any imperfections in the wood, as well as to remove any unwanted stamping on it. 

For the sanding process, concentrate most of your time on the top, which will get the most attention in your man cave and require the most work on it. Lightly sand the center cylinder, sides, and bottom to remove splinters.

Once the sanding is done, wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth. Apply a wood stain (one coat) and allow at least one night for it to dry.

step 2: markings for the dowels

Next, mark where you want to put in the dowels, using either the compass or soft measuring tape. For the DIY coffee table in this project, there are five dowels approximately 18in apart. Measure the dowels to go halfway in from the edge (so a 5in width would have a marking at 2.5in). 

Put identical markings on the inside of the top and the bottom.

Cable Reel Table DIY Guide
step 3: put in the dowels

Start drilling where you have the markings. Drill a 1in bevel where the dowel will sit. Measure space for the dowel to get its length just right; for this table, the dowel is 1/8in long. 

Start by putting one end of the dowel in and then using a rubber mallet to hammer the dowel until it is level on both sides. On the flat end of the dowel, screw it to the bottom.

Repeat this process all around the table for each marking.

step 4: the finishing touches

Wipe down the whole table, top to bottom, with a wet cloth. Apply another coat of stain, if you so choose. If you worry about water stains, then apply an indoor wood sealant, as well. 

Once the extra coats are dry, add your books and mags to the table. Top it with a can of beer and you're all set!

With three DIY coffee table ideas here for your man cave, there's bound to be one that will look great in your lair. As you can see, they are all straightforward projects and you probably already have a lot of the tools involved. Check out our DIY Guides and Tips section for more inspiration for your manly zone.

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dehumidifier review
The Complete Guide to the best Dehumidifiers on the market under $300

​Sure, you've got an amazing man cave, but it can get stuffy in the single room or basement. What to do? The answer is simple: Get a dehumidifier.

But, you ask, why would that help me, and which kind should I get? We're glad you asked. 

I wish It Was More Humid. Said No One Ever.

benefits of dehumidifiers

​Dehumidifiers are effective at reducing the amount of moisture in the surrounding air. Dehumidifiers are different from humidifiers, which instead increase the moisture content in the air. For a man cave, a dehumidifier makes more sense than a humidifier because the spaces, such as basements, can get warm and humid, rather than cold and dry. In a room where the humidity level is often over 50%, a dehumidifier can effectively reduce humidity in the air to a healthier level of 35-50%.

As well as reducing humidity levels, so you can be more comfortable in your lair, dehumidifiers also help to alleviate allergies by eliminating bacteria, such as mold, mildew, and dust mites, in the air. Also, the flu virus, which typically thrives when humidity levels exceed 98%, are kept at bay when the unit is in regular use.

How Dehumidifiers Work

Perhaps the most important part of the dehumidifier is the fan. It pulls air over two sets of refrigerant-filled coils. While one coil is warm, the other is cold. The dual temperatures alleviate moisture as they work. Dehumidifiers vary by how much moisture they wring out of the air in 24 hours. See the section below titled "Size Of The Space And Degree Of Wetness" for additional information.

What Makes A Good Dehumidifier?

The dehumidifier that is best or "good" for your basement, crawlspace or another muggy room depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Dehumidifiers range from $50-$300, depending on the size. Typically, the quality ones range from $150-$180. Here is an overview of the various features of dehumidifiers to consider as you comparison shop:

Energy Efficient

Choose an energy-efficient model so that you are not only doing being kind to the planet but good to your wallet as well; you won't waste energy and will keep down costs on your next power bill. As there are new federal energy guidelines, new models will likely be energy efficient.


If you live in small living quarters, you will probably want a quieter model. Within a four-foot radius, a dehumidifier can range from 55-67 decibels; that difference can seem like a lot when you're in a limited area.

Size Of The Space And Degree Of Wetness

​If you have a small, damp space, then a large-capacity dehumidifier will quickly be able to dry it out. A large-capacity model is rated to remove up to 75 pints per day. If you want to reduce cycling, though, opt for a medium-capacity alternative, which is rated between 45-50 pints a day. For a small, wet space, however, a small-capacity dehumidifier will usually work best; the unit removes about 25-40 pints of moisture a day. A large-capacity model will efficiently dry a bigger space or a wet one (more moisture than a damp space).

These are general tips, though. Do not rely solely on the dehumidifier to rid your space of an overwhelming amount of moisture. Instead, fix any structural-related problems that are contributing to excess moisture problems, such as gutters or dryer vents that are clogged. Plumbing leaks might be the root of a water issue in a basement, as can condensation.

Another option is a whole-house dehumidifier, which is an add-on to your home's A/C or central heating system. While they can be expensive, they are useful in very large areas, up to 3,000 feet, and can save you having to turn on your A/C unit all of the time. This type of dehumidifier is outside the scope of this review post.

Additional Features

Some additional features that not all dehumidifiers have but that you may find useful include: an internal bucket that is easy to empty, Automatic Restart in the case of a power outage, Automatic Shutoff when the bucket is full, Frost Sensor, and a Timer. You may also want a dehumidifier that comes on castors for ease of mobility and has a hose connection.

Top 5 Dehumidifiers

Below is an overview of the five leading dehumidifiers under $300. We assessed each model on its features, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses to give you the knowledge to make a wise buying decision. The top five units are, in order of discussion, Haier DE45EM, DeLonghi DD50PE, Sunpentown SD-61E, Frigidaire FAD704DWD, and Danby DDR60A3GP. 

NameDeLonghi DD50PESunpentown SD-61EFrigidaire FAD704DWDDanby DDR60A3GPHaier DE45EM
 delonghi dd50pe dehumidifier testspt sd-61e dehumidifier testfrigidaire fad704dwd dehumidifier testdanby ddr60a3gp dehumidifier testhaier de45em energy star dehumidifier test
Amazon Rating
Lowest Price$267.47Amazon See it$209.99Amazon See it$219.99Amazon See it$238.95Amazon See it$198.00Amazon See it
Weight40.1 pounds40 pounds46 pounds43.65 pounds37 pounds
Dimensions15.3 x 12.4 x 24.3 inches15.35 x 11 x 23.15 inches12.31 x 17.31 x 25.5 inches12.17 x 15.28 x 23.54 inches13.38 x 10.63 x 21 inches
 Read the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the Review

Haier dE45EM

haier dehumidifier review

​The white Haier DE45EM, with a price of about $200, has a tank size of 13 pints and is rated to remove about 45 pints every 24 hours. The medium-capacity unit is designed for damp conditions and, ideally, for a room size of 1,200-1,500 feet. A filter is included with the 2-speed Energy Star Certified dehumidifier.

Pros & Cons

​This unit has a digital display that is easy to read and modern in appearance. It has Frost Control and Auto Restart features, unlike some dehumidifiers. It is energy efficient and does well at its job of removing moisture in the surrounding air. It has casters, so it is portable, and comes with a six-foot power cord too.

Unfortunately, testing samples reveal that some of the tanks malfunction. In particular the internal bucket overflows sometimes, until it is manually shut off. Leakage is, therefore, an issue, with its bucket switch being unreliable. It lacks a continuous fan, but even so several online user reviews still explain that the sound of the unit is loud when it is in use. 

DeLonghi DD50PE

delonghi dd50pe dehumidifier reviews

​​The white DeLonghi DD50PE pump system dehumidifier, with a price just over $250, has a tank size of 12 pints and is rated to remove about 50 pints per day. The medium-sized, pump-system unit is ideal for medium to large rooms (typically up to 1,000 feet). It is Energy Star Certified.

Pros & Cons

​This particular unit has sophisticated controls, including a digital control panel full of useful features. The digital style makes it easier to be precise when turning on features, which include Frost Control and Auto Restart. As for the appliance's built-in pump, it is useful if you want to dispose of water in a location above the dehumidifier, such as a window or sink.

Unfortunately, the DD50PE dehumidifier has an uphill battle when it comes to performing well in colder rooms. Also, it has a continuous fan, so the unit stays on even when the humidity level is reached; for people looking for a fan that shuts off itself, they may not like this feature.

Sunpentown sD-61E

spt sd-61e dehumidifier review

​The white large-capacity Sunpentown SD-61E is a 60-pint dehumidifier that costs just over $200. It has a tank size of 13 pints and is recommended to work optimally for a room area that is roughly 450 square feet (although it can perform well up to 1,200 square feet). It is Energy Star Certified, mobile, and features a full-bucket indicator with Auto Shutoff. The SD-61E model offers a choice of continuous dehumidifying or 35-85% humidity settings, in increments of 5%. It does not have a continuous fan.

Pros & Cons

​The Sunpentown SD-61E rates highly in online reviews for its effectiveness at removing water and how quietly it operates, particularly in comparison to the Haier DE45EM. It has Auto Restart too, in case a power outage occurs. The Auto Shutoff feature for when the internal bucket is full helps to prevent damaging spills and tells you when to empty the bucket. Also, enjoy two drainage options and a 24-hour Timer.

While the unit has a continuous drainage option, the required hose is not included. Here is an extra expense; if Sunpentown had included the hose with purchase it would have added value to the dehumidifier (note that the DeLonghi DD50PE includes not just one but two hoses). Some reviewers on the Web explain that their Sunpentown model stopped working within the first few months of installation; however, the majority of reviews are positive for the unit.

Frigidaire fAD704DWD

frigidaire fad704dwd dehumidifier review

Frigidaire has a great reputation in the appliance field. The white FAD704DWD model extracts 70 pints of moisture per day and has a price tag currently at $219.99. Its tank size is 16 pints and its manufacturer-suggested room size is 1,300 square feet. The large-capacity Energy Star Certified dehumidifier is mobile and features a range of convenient features, as well as digital controls. 

Pros & Cons

The Frigidaire model's biggest "pro" is perhaps that it has a particularly large tank for its size, which means you empty the internal bucket less often than a competitor's smaller model. It has convenient features, such as Auto Restart, Frost Control, and Digital Display. Plus, it can be used in rooms down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit and has Frost Control.

One drawback of the Frigidaire DAD704DWD is that it does not include a pump system. Thus, you cannot remove the water via an elevated location. However, it does perform exceptionally well at whisking moisture from the air, which may more than make up for this disadvantage for some consumers. Also, it does not have a defrost mode and struggles to work at its best in very cold rooms.

Danby DDR60A3GP

danby ddr60a3gp dehumidifier reviews

The Danby DDR60A3GP, in white, extracts 60 pints of moisture per day and has a current price slightly under the $240 mark. Its tank size is 15 pints and its manufacturer-suggested room size is 3,600 square feet. It comes with a pump system, with a drainage hose included. The unit is Energy Star Certified, mobile, has electronic controls, and features extras such as Auto Restart and Frost Control.

Pros & Cons

​The Danby model is great for drying out a large space that has a lot of moisture. It has an accurate humidistat, and its pump system offers the convenience of dispelling water at a higher location. Extras included with the dehumidifier are Frost Control, Timer, Remote Control, and Auto Restart.

Nothing is perfect! The DDR60A3GP unit has a continuous fan, can be noisy (as per some reviewers), and uses a lot of energy when its fan is on its high speed. As well, some online reviewers cite an unresponsive customer service section at Danby.

Our Recommendations For The Best Dehumidifier

​With so many dehumidifiers on the market, you now have all of the basics to make an informed decision as to which one is the best model for your needs. In determining the most suitable one, your considerations should include the room size, pints, drainage system (continuous or manual), Energy Star Certified, and more. 

​Our search for the best performing, all-around dehumidifier, took into consideration the properties of a typical man cave. It is likely to be damp rather than wet and probably hovers around 1,000 square feet (as in the case of a basement). After looking over our top five list, we chose what we considered to be the top performer. Drumroll, please!

frigidaire fad704dwd dehumidifier review

Our top pick is the Frigidaire FAD704DWD. Its manufacturer-suggested room size of 1,300 square feet is appropriate for a basement or another manly space, and it comes with a ton of extras, such as Auto Restart and Frost Control, without its price being outrageously out of line. Plus, it is quiet and has a large internal capacity, which means you will empty the bucket less often than many competitor models. You get high value, in our opinion, along with the quality you expect from the Frigidaire name.

spt sd-61e dehumidifier review

In second place is Sunpentown SD-61E, which covers about the same square footage as the FAD704DWD and is also meant for occasionally damp locations. While the Sunpentown model has a pump system, unlike the Frigidaire unit, it is difficult to switch between the manual and continuous drainage options. Also, it does not come with a drainage hose. These limitations kept the SD-61E dehumidifier out of the top spot.

As for the other three units, they had at least one downfall each that kept them out of the running for first or second place. The Haier DE45EM is rated to remove 45 pints a day, which is half of the Frigidaire model, and some reviewers noted leakage issues. As for the DeLonghi DD50PE, it has a continuous fan and doesn't have the value of the top two dehumidifiers. What about the Danby DDR60A3GP? The noise complaints of online reviewers kept it out of the number one slot.

Now you have all of the information to make an informed decision about the right humidifier for your man cave. If you got even a little value out of this review post, please share below!

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dewalt drill recommendations

You may have come across the DeWalt brand when browsing around your favorite tool isle.

DeWALT is completely owned by Black and Decker, which has re branded the whole line to represent the best contractor-grade tools. DeWALT items have a reputation among expert craftsmen as strong workhorses, outfitted with all components one could possibly need, at sensible costs. They are also a wonderful choice for hobbyists who request the finest tools available.

DeWALT manufactures various drills that are suited for different uses. Before buying any drill, you should set aside some time to evaluate the type of task they have to perform and the frequency of utilization. Do-it-yourselfers have very different uses than a full time craftsmen.

DeWALT makes a few styles of drills, in several sizes, offering both corded and cordless versions. Purchasers can choose from a wealth of components. All DeWALT products can be found at select hardware shops , home improvement stores, and through e-business sites, for example, eBay.

Drill Styles

There are four essential styles of drills inside of the DeWALT line. Hammer drills, Standard drills, impact drills, and right-angled configurations all have distinct applications. The VSR acronym on any of them stands for variable velocity reversible.

Standard Drills

This is the most well-known style. Practically every expert and weekender must have a standard drill to perform a wide range of work from drilling openings and driving screws to more detailed execution, for example, routing and countersinking. All DeWALT standard drills are VSR. DeWALT standard drills constantly rank high for execution, durability, and balance.

Hammer Drills

A hammer drill has a striking resemblance to a standard rendition, but it provides a helpful element added to its design. Rather than simply rotating, it likewise falters the movement parallel to the drill pressure. Envision beating on the butt end of the drill with a sledge while utilizing it. It feels a touch like a small scale jackhammer. Hammer drills are extremely helpful for exceptionally thick materials, particularly old cement.

Impact Drills

Their impact drills, also called drivers, are intended to produce motion that is perpendicular to the pressure of the drilling. The outcome of that is a noticeable increase in force that will provide the extra punch to loosen lug nuts on a car tire. 

They have a tendency to be more powerful than standard drills, with the addition of extra noise. It is not a drill style for the normal Weekend-hobbyist, but rather for the expert with particular work that requires the increase in torque.

Right-Angled Drills

The selling point for a right-angled drill is that it permits the operator to reach and work in places with restricted access. The primary body and motor of the drill are at a 90-degree angle to the drill chuck and bit to make it less likely to slip between floor joists, studs, roof rafters, and many other areas where a standard drill of normal length will give up. Those in the construction business need to have one handy when a 'tight spot' situation arises.

DeWalt Corded Drills

Though the cordless drills are currently the first option for contractors, a few benefits of a corded one are worth to be considered. A wide range of drills and most other power tools are accessible in cordless versions, however some would contend that there are no truly reliable cordless circular saw.

The reason is that when ever somebody needs powerful force or torque, only a corded electric version can get the job done. There is rarely an issue with accessing an electrical supply on most job sites. Since uncharged batteries tend to accumulate, it is wise to have an extra backup when they are all drained. Most experts have no less than one drill of every kind, and few would be ready to give up either.

DeWalt Cordless Drills

The cordless drill has turned into a quasi standard and should not be missing from a professional's tool kit. The upgrades in battery power and tool life time means that the old-fashioned corded drill is nowadays only utilized as a backup on work sites. XRP is a trademark of DeWALT that is an acronym of "extra reserve power." Most aces who have utilized different brands in the past find that DeWALT batteries run longer between charging sessions.

Battery Options

DeWALT utilizes two essential types of batteries in its drills and different cordless hardware. Lithium-ion is rapidly turning into the top battery choice. It is lighter and offers longer run times than the other option: nickel-cadmium. The cadmium component is also a significant toxin when folks put Ni-Cd batteries into the trash as opposed to the recycling bin.

On the other hand, the lower value point and the often extraordinary run times have tool buyers still consider Ni-Cd for now. In addition, independent testing has revealed that running a lithium-ion battery all the way to empty might make it hard to completely recharge in the future. Luckily, DeWALT batteries have not encountered that issue. Moreover, the organization asserts that its lithium-ion batteries can be revived around 2000 times, surpassing most contenders' numbers.

Some folks make the mistake of buying a drill that can only perform well on the job they have planned for it at the time . If there is one tool people should 'overbuy', it's a drill. The extra cost is not important in comparison to the additional value it provides over countless years of use.

DeWALT Drill Power and Sizes

The power of a cordless drill is inseparable from the battery voltage. DeWALT batteries range in size from 9.6 to 20 volts, and you can find them with either a 1/2-inch or a 3/8-inch chuck.

For home use, 3/8-inch is typically adequate. Professionals favor 1/2-inch, since they constantly need to utilize drill bits that are too large for the smaller chucks. Remember that the 20-volt models weigh about twice as much as the 9.6-volt choices. Corded drill power ranges from 4 to 10.5 amps, with the 1/2-inch drills on the higher end.

DeWALT also offers a 1/4-inch model in both corded and battery controlled setups for lighter and more detailed work. Smaller and young individuals utilizing a drill as often prefer them because they are exceptionally lightweight, putting less of a strain on hands and arms.

DeWALT Drill Features

All DeWALT drills sport a variable velocity trigger to make instant adjustments. A large portion of the lithium-ion battery models now ship with a battery meter so the users can see the available level of charge and avoid exhausting it. Keep an eye out for a "savvy" charger that decreases the typical charge time from a few hours to less than one. A few models even allow for the charging of two batteries at once, a component that contractual workers appreciate.

All DeWALT motor parts are helical cut and heat treated. The brand is very particular on the design of its handle bars to guarantee most ergonomic grip possible. The triggers are designed to offer enough room for the use of one or two fingers at once to minimize fatigue. The most recent keyless chucks truly make the process of changing the bit easier. Variable clutch settings exponentially increase motor life span, particularly when drilling in to unpredictable surfaces.​

DeWALT Drill Accessories

The one drill accessory that comes to mind is, without a doubt, a drill bit. True pros and builders buy large sets that may contain plenty of several alternatives including router, torx, hex, spade, pozi, and countersink bits. It is best to have no less than one and ideally two reinforcement batteries to avoid disruption of ongoing work. Many professionals like to keep their accessories and drills in a toolbox so they have it all together in one place when they need to access it.


Most experts consider DeWALT drills to be a must-have when it comes to the best combination of value and quality. Competitor models in the lower price range simply don't stand up after over the course of many uses and do not have the components, alternatives, and variety of available sizes for both battery and corded models. DeWALT products simply beat all others in all classes, regardless of whether your choice is electrical or battery power.

Take a look at our drill reviews to see how DeWalt stacks up against other drills.​

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reviews of midi controller keyboards

The Complete Guide to the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $200 

When you want to make amazing music in a portable environment, there's nothing that quite gets the job done like a MIDI keyboard controller. For a musician, this type of device provides the ideal way to assemble a compact music production system.

You need to be sure though that you choose a MIDI controller that will meet your needs, expectations of quality, and music-related preferences so that you get the most use and pleasure out of it.

I shall call Him... MIDI Me

If you are new to the MIDI market, a few of your first questions will likely be: 1) What is MIDI? and 2) How does the sound device work? Ahem, let us explain. Shagadelic, as Austin Powers would say.

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It is the universal standard by which keyboard controllers, software, computers, and multiple electronic musical instruments, called synthesizers, connect to use musical data.

Typically, a MIDI-enabled keyboard controller has a piano style user interface. It sends MIDI information via a USB cable to other devices connected to the same interface. The keyboard itself does not produce sound but instead sends the MIDI data to an electronic module (either a synthesizer or a computer) that reproduces the digital sounds.

midi controller keyboard

When using the leading MIDI keyboards available today, the waveforms sound almost the same as classic analog musical instruments. The digital audio is often referred to as voices or timbres.

With the single keyboard, you can control several electronic instruments. Perhaps you use the lower controls as the drum machine and the upper register as a Moog synthesizer. Use the controller to send out messages of MIDI data to create the sounds you want to play, within DAW software, and through a mix of hardware. 

What makes a good controller? 

MIDI controllers come with several knobs and faders so you can control the instruments that you want to imitate. Here is more about the features of MIDI keyboard controllers, from the octaves to the key quality, that separate the mediocre ones from the higher quality varieties.


Figure out how much space you have for the keyboard by using a tape measure. Doing so will right away limit the amount of controllers from which to choose, such as whether you will get one with 25, 37 or 49 keys. These are the typical sizes, although you can go bigger if you have the room.

midi keyboard keys

Some controllers do offer smaller keys so you can fit more keys within a smaller sized model.

Keys in a MIDI keyboard controller can be weighted, semi-weighted or unweighted. The "weight" of the keys is added to simulate the different sounds that heavier keys make on a real piano. Compact models won't typically have weight to them because usually you want to play them quickly.

However, when the keyboard size increases, it may seem "springy" to play them, so then most users opt for semi-weighted varieties to get both speed and depth of sound.


If the keyboard feels cheap when you touch it, you may not want to buy it. It's mainly a subjective thing but important if you plan to use the gear for long jam sessions or take it on the road with you. Plus, if it's flimsy and feels cheap, you probably won't get as long of a lifespan out of it as a better quality one.

Also, check out the controller's velocity sensitivity. The cheaper versions often won't have this feature, so all notes have the same expression, which makes for limited abilities to build mood.

If you invest in a keyboard with velocity, then the harder you play it the more velocity you will get out of certain notes and you get good musical expression in your performance.

Performance Controllers: Knobs, Faders, Wheels, Drum Pads, And More

Tweak your sounds, alter DAW, and control the synths with knobs, faders, wheels, pads, and other controllers available on the MIDI devices. For example, you can combine a soft synth with a certain DAW version with the hands-on control you get in a quality controller. It's in real time too, for a more authentic, analog feel than you get by simply clicking a mouse.

midi keyboard controller review

As for when you crave percussion, you might be satisfied with using only the keys to get it but some users want more and, therefore, choose velocity-sensing performance pads instead. Use the pads for drum and trigger loops; there are usually at least eight pads on the latest MIDI controller models. Some pads can even sense aftertouch (another option you may want to consider).

But remember, all of these controls take up valuable space on the top of your keyboard and also make the device heavy. So, keep in mind how much space you have for the keyboard, how portable you need it to be, and also your budget (the more options, the more moolah you will need to buy it, typically).

Top 5 Midi Keyboard Controllers

Below is an in-depth guide to the most popular MIDI keyboard controllers. The five models, in order of discussion, are Nektar Impact LX61 61 Note, Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-Key, CME Xkey 25-Key Portable, M-Audio Oxygen 49 4, and Korg microKEY 37-Key USB MIDI controller.

NameAkai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-Key MIDI KeyboardM-Audio Oxygen 49 4 MIDI Controller KeyboardCME Xkey 25-Key Portable MIDI Keyboard ControllerKorg microKEY 37-Key USB MIDI ControllerNektar Impact LX61 61 note Midi Keyboard Controller
 akai mPK mini mk 2 midi keyboard reviewm-audio oxygen 49 4 midi controller keyboard reviewkorg microkey 37 midi keyboard controller reviewnektar impact lx61 61 note midi keyboard review
Amazon Rating
Lowest Price$99.99Amazon See it$169.00Amazon See it$102.90Amazon See it$84.99Amazon See it$199.00Amazon See it
TypeMidi Controller KeyboardMidi Controller KeyboardMidi Controller KeyboardMidi Controller KeyboardMidi Controller Keyboard
ModelMPK MINI MKIIOxygen 4999-5011100015MICROKEY37LX61
Weight1.63 pounds6.39 pounds1.32 pounds2.2 pounds0.05 pounds
Dimensions7.08 x 12.36 x 1.8 inches9.56 x 32.04 x 3.7 inches15.27 x 5.31 x 0.62 inches5.47 x 2.13 x 22.24 inches40.39 x 4.25 x 12.99 inches
 Read the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the ReviewRead the Review

This post focuses on finding you the best quality controllers for under $200. Here are the details on what each controller offers its users:

Nektar Impact LX61 61 Note

nektar impact lx61 review comparison

While the Impact also comes in 25, 49, and 88-key models, this review focuses on the 61 synth key version. The 61-key USB-MIDI keyboard controller comes with pre-mapped DAW configurations for Studio One, SONAR, Reason, Garageband, Logic X, and more. It has eight velocity-sensitive pads, eight encoders, nine faders, and full transport controls.

Pros & Cons

An awesome part of this controller is your ability to switch between instrument, mixer, and preset modes for a workflow that is so fast it blows your mind. The keys have a great feel to them too so you're comfortable as you spend long hours at your music workstation. The mod wheel and keys are smooth and velvety, with a great feel to the knobs, performance pads, and faders too.

The MIDI controller is excellent value for the price point too at only $199. Lightweight and portable are two descriptions that many online reviewers use for this product, so it's a great choice if you plan to be on the go with your keyboard.

As for the drawbacks, this controller is fairly basic in the visual feedback area. Also, it lacks any hardware MIDI ports, so that makes it difficult to set up external equipment that you may want to add to it.

In summary, if you like a "plug and play" experience for your music production, the Impact will appeal to you. It comes preset with DAW configurations so you won't have to worry about the time-consuming process of inputting melodies and beats. Plus, you get more than just a 25-key version without breaking the bank. 

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-Key

akai professional mpk_mini review comparison

The Akai MPK mini is uber-compact, meant to take with you on the go. So, if you're a traveling musician or want a desktop producer, then the MPK will be right up your alley. It has high functionality, whether you want to record, compose, or perform with virtual instruments. Its features allow for high levels of creativity too!

Pros & Cons

With the Akai MPK mini, you get all of the essentials you need to set up your musical foundation quickly and then expand on it. It's a cinch to operate with the plug-and-play interface. Plus, you can adjust melodic lines easily, even when you want to make those lines more intricate ones. Enjoy unique features too, like its joystick and MPC Note Retreat. It even comes with a pro software bundle, including Hybrid 3, so you can get awesome new sounds whether you're a musician or a producer. It is USB powered too.

Unfortunately, some parts of the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-key keyboard could use some tweaking. For example, several consumer reviews online spotlight the weakness of the pads; these users explain the pads have bad hit protection. Also, while the compact design of the MPK Mini is handy, its keys are not full size and not weighted, which can limit user experiences and give it a cheap feeling. 

Therefore, if you want a compact keyboard controller that you can easily store, that runs via USB cable, and comes with basic features and software, then take a serious look at this Akai 25-key model. However, if you are looking for weighted keys with a deeper sound and don't care about the size of the keyboard, then you will want to consider one of the other options we present here.

CME Xkey 25-Key

cme xkey 25 key review comparison

The Xkey 25-key musical keyboard from CME has Xcellent portability. With the ultra-slim 3.6mm edge and its lightweight body, you can easily tuck this keyboard in with your gear as you head out to a live performance. It has 25 standard-sized keys, as well as onboard buttons for modulation, pitch, octave, and the sustain pedal. The MIDI compact controller comes in a range of colors, from gold to neon blue.

Pros & Cons

Perhaps the best part of this MIDI-compliant keyboard is that it is compact yet comes with regular-sized keys! That's pretty much unheard of in the industry as the trend is for smaller keyboards with downsized keys to accommodate mobile music-making. It is USB MIDI compliant and comes with professional velocity sensitivity. 

Also, the MIDI keyboard is multifunctional; use it for studio recording, creative composition, or for playing live. This keyboard is compatible with your iPad, Mac, and PC, which is really convenient.

Unfortunately, to allow for the compact design with full-sized keys, the Xkey has had to do away with conventional controls for modulation and pitch bend. You still get these features but access them via pressure-sensitive pads instead. You won't get the precision like you would with other keyboards' more traditional style of knobs and sliders. Also, the keys feel similar to a computer keyboard, so if you prefer the feel of piano keys, then this difference may throw you off a bit, at least at first.

Overall, if you want a keyboard that you can use quickly and multi-task between studio creation and live playing, then this MIDI-compliant Xkey keyboard is a great choice. It is affordable too, especially considering its pro features; it retails at about $100. If you prefer knobs and sliders dedicated to modulation, pitch, and octave though then you'll want a more traditional competitor keyboard than this one.

M-Audio Oxygen 49

m-audio oxygen 49 review comparison

For your mobile music needs, the compact Oxygen 49 USB MIDI controller is one heck of an innovator! The keyboard's prime real estate on top contains eight assignable knobs, nine assignable drivers, a dedicated transport button, and more. It is highly useful for both performers and producers, particularly within its lower price range, and it is easy to use too.

Pros & Cons

As soon as you start using the Oxygen 49 from M-Audio, you will notice that the controllers are set up in a streamlined way so that you can take full control of your music session. Record and mix with high customization, thanks to the range of controllers. Enjoy the convenience too of DirectLink mode, which auto maps your controls to common DAW guidelines. You get the quality you expect from M-Audio, a pioneer of the MIDI keyboard controller, with a solid build and innovative software like Ignite that comes bundled with it.

A drawback is that there are only three velocity settings, so it is a pain to try to get the velocity curve right. Also, if you have limited room for storage, the dimensions of this keyboard may be too big for you. In this case, it would be preferable to go with a more compact model, such as the CME Xkey.

Therefore, if you want to mix and create new music, then you will likely appreciate the way you can customize the many knobs and drivers that come with this MIDI keyboard controller. You get a strong keyboard to pound on throughout your music sessions, even when they go long, and innovative software is included too. If you're looking for quality velocity, though, you'll find this 49-key controller is limited.

Korg microKEY 37-Key

Korg MicroKEY 37-Key Review Comparison

This compact MIDI controller from Korg has 37 natural touch mini keys and is USB bus powered. It comes with both pitch and mod wheels, is velocity sensitive, and it has both octave shift and key transpose features. If you're looking to complete your production setup, then this model may be the one for you. While there are 25 and 61 key versions, this review focuses on the 37-key controller.

Pros & Cons

The 37-key microKEY features natural touch keys that are also velocity sensitive. The keyboard is lightweight and ultra-compact, so just put it in your backpack as you head out to a live performance or a jamming session. You can express your creativity too with the pitch bend and modulation controllers, as well as the dedicated octave shift buttons.

It's a plug-and-play device too, so it is easy to install when you want to crank out notes. Did we mention it comes with a USB cable and software editor too? At less than $100, that's a sweet deal.

Of course, no product is perfect. The build on this MIDI controller, as with some other compact competitors, is a little flimsy. It could feel more stable, but then again it is a no-frills type of keyboard so you might be expecting too much from it. The keys lack a feeling of durability too, and the mini size can be taxing on those of us with bigger hands (on the other hand, some users do well with the Korg "waterfall-type" keyboard). 

If you want to do more complicated production work than sampling and triggering drums, then you might look for an alternative that offers more than this basic MIDI. But, if you want a compact, lightweight keyboard that comes with all of the controllers you need for songwriting, then you are all set with this microKEY 37-key model.

Our Recommendations

Now you are armed with all of the information you need to make an educated decision as to which of the top five MIDI controllers are best for you. Keep in mind that all the models we reviewed here are meant for amateur musicians to use in the man cave or as compact gear that you can take with you on the go. Ultimately it is a personal choice because every musician or producer has different needs, skill levels, and expectations of the technology. But, overall, we do have a favorite here at Man Cave Master.

Korg MicroKEY 37-Key Review Comparison

OK, let us explain. The Korg microKEY comes out as the leader in our eyes for a player who wants an all-rounded keyboard to take on the go or for basic playing right out of the box. The runner up is the Nektar, a solid workhorse that adapts to your playing style and has great DAWs integration.

So, why did the other three MIDI keyboard controllers come up short? Don't get us wrong, they all still have quality features, depending on your needs. But we had to take the Akai MPK Mini MK2 out of the running for the top spot because of its weak pads and for only having 25 keys. As for the CME Xkey, it also has just 25 keys and makes a clicking sound that we couldn't overlook in our review. The M-Audio Oxygen 49 is not compact in size, and its limited velocity was what ultimately kept it out of the top two positions.

There you have it, all of the information you need to pick the right MIDI keyboard controller for you. If you got value out of this review post, please share!

Not Ready For The Real Deal? Here Is Another Option:

irig pro medi controller for ipad

IK Multimedia iRig KEYS

This iDevice gives you just about every type of iOS music peripheral that you can think of!

In compact form, the IK keyboard is core MIDI compliant and USB class compliant, for an easy plug-and-play device. Enjoy 37 velocity-sensitive mini keys that are powered easily by your iOS device, Mac, or PC USB, as well as pitch bend and mod wheels. Want to get it now? 

0 8459
Strange Retro Ad

Let’s face it, everything on the market really shouldn’t be there. Some things serve no purpose or are so “out there” that they resemble the likes of the Lunar Unicycle in our retro future post. Over the years, there have been products that we think maybe the inventors should have just kept to themselves. Here are 15 ads for products that never should have been invented.

1.Now Hear This!

Retro Product Hear Muffs
There’s nothing like taking cold headphones to bed – I mean, it’s such a problem! LMFAO. Since when are Hear Muffs solving a legitimate problem? On the other hand, we dig his mustache. Gotta look at the positive side, as mom always told us.

2.A Snow Day

Inappropriate Retro Ad
Now comes the creepy. Giving cocaine to kids in the form of toothache drops might just be… Oh who are we kidding, it’s so wrong it actually makes us grind our teeth! Only 15 cents for the drops, back in 1885, what a deal (call the local dealer if you want more of them).

3.Hot to Trot

Retro Strange Pants Product
Have you always wanted to get slender without exercise? Us too. But working out is probably way more productive than walking around in these unflattering sauna pants. They are literally a hot mess.

4.Eggs At Their Finest

Egg Cuber Retro
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That’s one question to ask. Another Q&A session could involve asking why anyone wants to cube an egg! Do you agree that this product should never have been invented?

5.When You’re Hungry

Sandwich Holder Useless Product
Look ma, no hands! Seriously though, if you don’t have time to hold your burger with your hand, then you might want to slow down a bit. Or at least get out of the fast lane on the highway. Thanks.

6.Drunk by 9am

Whiskey Tooth Paste Bizarre Retro
If you use this alcohol-doused toothpaste in the morning, then you’ll be loads of fun at the board meeting later. Only $1 a tube, what a deal. Too bad this product shouldn’t have been invented.


Unsafe for Kids Retro Product
We’re going to have to go out on a limb here and say this kid might lose some of his limbs if he really uses this product. Don’t do it!

8.Work Out… Your Spine

Bad Vintage Fitness Ad
Is it just me or do more people want their faces, rather than their spines, to be young? It’s not like we’d go up to someone and say, “Your spine looks so young!” It’s almost as awkward as the people who you’ll find in a CrossFit gym.

9.No Words.

Strange Retro Ad
We’re going to take a wild guess that Screme Formula wasn’t such a hit with men. No offence to the werewolves.

10.Really? Yes.

Retro Men's Hair Product is Strange
Want to change your facial hair instantly? Stick “simulated natural hair” on your face. Another revolutionary idea is to take a few days and grow the hair yourself.


Strange! Why Was it Invented?
Hygiene just go weird.

12.How Romantic

This Product Shouldn't Have HappenedSeriously, this product shouldn’t have happened. Maybe our hearts are jaded but that’s just our opinion.


Bronze Lips 1970s Ad
The 1970s was apparently an era of smoking pot and bronzing lips.  This product, shown here in a 1972 ad, takes creepy to a whole new level.

14.Rain, Rain, Go Away 

What Cigarette Issue?
Oh yes, wet cigarettes, what an issue… NOT. Somebody had too much time on their hands when they filed a patent for this product. The retro ad dates back to 1931.

15.Totally Makes Sense.

This Weird Vintage Product Wasn't Needed
We love that there is even a regular service for the hair rental. Your hair shows up on time for you! When the ad asks, “What other company offers this?”, we’re at a bit of a loss for how to reply.

People used to pay money for these products. Yes. Is it just us or are these vintage ads for products that never should have happened? If you come across any of the inventors, ask them what their motivation was. We would like to say there aren’t any silly, pointless products on the market today but, well, that would be a silly and pointless statement to make, now wouldn’t it?