The transcript has been posted from the Hack Chat last Friday with Andrew Sowa about Circuit Board artwork:
PCB Art is likely as old as the manufacturing process itself. It has evolved over time from engineers hiding easter eggs in wasted space to whole companies devoted to the intricate authentic design. Andrew has created his own style by using each layer of the PCB to make multi-color images from computer generated designs. In this chat he will talk about his process of turning photos into PCBs as well as tricks to getting high resolution results with KiCad.
In this chat, we’ll be talking about PCB artwork:
- Bitmap to SVG Converstion (Inkscape and Illustrator)
- Kicad Footprint creation
- PCB Fabrication Limits
Dan Maloney on the Hackaday blog:
Simple Mechanism Gives Support for SMT Assembly
To fight the shakes, you can do one of two things: remove the human, or improve the human. Unable to justify a pick and place robot for the former, [Tom] opted to build a quick hand support for surface-mount work, and the results are impressive considering it’s built entirely of scrap.
It’s just a three-piece arm with standard butt hinges for joints; mounted so the hinge pins are perpendicular to the work surface and fitted with a horizontal hand rest, it constrains movement to a plane above the PCB. A hole in the hand rest for a small vacuum tip allows [Tom] to pick up a part and place it on the board — he reports that the tackiness of the solder paste is enough to remove the SMD from the tip.
From Brian Benchoff on Hackaday blog:
When it comes to vintage displays, everyone gravitates to Nixies. These tubes look great, but you’re dealing with a certain aesthetic with these vintage numeric tubes. There is another option. For his Hackaday Prize entry, [castvee8] is making seven-segment displays out of vintage neon lamps. It looks great, and it’s the basis of an all-vacuum tube calculator.
The core of this build are a few tiny NE-2 neon bulbs. These are the same type of bulbs you’ll find in old indicators, and require somewhere around 100 volts to fire. These bulbs are then installed in a 3D-printed frame, giving [castvee] a real seven-segment display, a plus or minus sign, and an equals sign. It’s the beginnings of a calculator, right there.
One of the recent updates to this project is controlling these displays with modern logic. That might be a bit of a misnomer, because [castvee] is using diode steering and a TTL chip to cycle through the numbers 1 to 4. The actual code to do this is running on a microcontroller, though, so that might get a pass. This is just a test, though, and the real project looks to be an all-vacuum calculator. The project is still in its early stages, but there are still months to go in the Hackaday Prize, and we can’t wait to see what comes out of this project.
Spend some time with the Hackaday Community in your area this weekend. There are more than 100 community organized meetups happening this Saturday for Hackaday World Create Day!
via Get Together and Hack this Saturday at World Create Day! — Hackaday
From Jenny List on the Hackaday blog:
The BBC micro:bit single board ARM computer aimed at education does not feature as often as many of its competitors in these pages. It’s not the cheapest of boards, and interfacing to it in all but the most basic of ways calls for a slightly esoteric edge connector. We’re then very pleased to see that edge connector turned from a liability into a feature by [Fabien Chouteau] with his handheld console, he uses micro:bits preprogrammed with different games in the manner of game cartridges in commercial consoles.
The micro:bit sits in its edge connector on the underside of a handheld PCB above a pair of AAA batteries, while on the other side are an OLED display and the usual set of pushbuttons. It’s a particularly simple board as the micro:bit contains all the circuitry required to support its peripherals.
He’s coded the games using the Arduino IDE with a modified version of the Arduboy2 library that allows him to easily port Arduboy games written for Arduino hardware. It’s a work in progress as there are a few more features to incorporate, but the idea of using micro:bits as cartridges is rather special. There is a video of the console in action, which we’ve placed below the break.
From Jeremy S Cook on Tindie blog:
Ted Yapo had a small problem. As an amateur atronomer and astrophotographer, he needed a way to mark his expensive equipment so that he wouldn’t trip over it in the dark. Glow-in-the-dark materials were out because of they only glow for a short time, and glow sticks were also less than ideal because of their single-use nature. Tritium light sources would be perfect, barring the small details that they’re radioactive, expensive, and in the US only a few uses are allowed, most are prohibited by law.
So Yapo instead came up with an LED light that can run for not 20 hours, or even 20 days, but 20 yearson a single CR2032 coin cell battery!