When you’re just learning to sketch, you use graphite. Why? It’s cheap, great at training you to recognize different shades, and most of all, it’s erasable. When you’re learning, you’re going to make mistakes, and un-making them is an important part of the game. Same goes for electronics, of course, so when you’re teaching someone to solder, don’t neglect teaching them to desolder
We could argue all day about the best ways of pressing the molten-metal undo button, but the truth is that it’s horses for courses. I’ve had really good luck with solder braid and maybe a little heat gun to pull up reluctant SOIC surface-mount chips, but nothing beats a solder sucker for clearing out a few through-holes. (I haven’t tried the questionable, but time-tested practice of blasting the joint with compressed air.)
For bulk part removal, all you really have to do is heat the board up, and there’s plenty of ways to do that, ranging from fancy to foolish. Low-temperature alloys help out in really tough cases. And for removing rows of pinheaders, it can help to add more solder along the row until it’s one molten blob, and then tap the PCB and watch the part — and hot liquid metal! — just drop out.
Yes, we’re still in a pandemic and yes, these types of events are still happening over videoconference and not in meat space. But you know what? That means that so many more people have the opportunity to show up and show off their hacks! As long as 1 PM PDT is within your personal uptime, that is. Maybe you can make an exception if not?
Here is your link: the summer edition of Bring a Hack with Tindie and Hackaday will take place on Thursday, August 5th at 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight time (that’s 4pm EDT | 9pm BST/CET). Choose your gnarliest hack of late and go register for the event, which will be held on the Crowdcast video chat platform this time around.
The remote Bring-A-Hack held way back in April was packed with awesome people. Now is your chance to join in! You all have awesome projects from the last few months (we’ve seen a lot of them on these very pages), so come show them off to the hacker elite from around the globe. You know the deal: it really doesn’t matter what level your project is on, so don’t worry about that. As long as you’re passionate about it, we’d love to see it and hear all about the problems you had to overcome and yes, even the mistakes you made. You never know what knowledge you might have that can push someone else’s project over the finish line.
Beginning right now, the 2021 Hackaday Prize challenges you to Reimagine Supportive Tech. Quite frankly, this is all about shortcuts to success. Can we make it easier for people to learn about science and technology? Can we break down some barriers that keep people from taking up DIY as a hobby (or way of life)? What can we do to build on the experience and skill of one another?
For instance, to get into building your own electronics, you need a huge dedicated electronics lab, right? Of course that’s nonsense, but we only know that because we’ve already been elbow-deep into soldering stations and vacuum tweezers. To the outsider, this looks like an unclimbable mountain. What if I told you that you could build electrics at any desk, and make it easy to store everything away in between hacking sessions? That sounds like a job for [M.Hehr’s] portable workbench & mini lab project. Here’s a blueprint that can take a beginner from zero to solder smoke while having fun along the way.
Adam Zeloof writes on Hackaday:
The vast majority of us are satisfied with a standard, base ten display for representing time. Fewer of us like to be a bit old-fashioned and use a dial with a couple of hands that indicate the time, modulo twelve. And an even smaller minority, with a true love for the esoteric, are a fan of binary readouts. Well, there’s a new time-telling game in town, and as far as we’re concerned it’s one of the best ones yet: resistor color codes.
The Ohm Clock is, as you may have guessed, a giant model of a resistor that uses its color bands to represent time. Each of the four bands represents a digit in the standard HH:MM representation of time, and for anybody well-versed in resistor codes this is sure to be a breeze to read. The clock itself was designed by [John Bradnam]. It’s body is 3D printed, with RGB LEDs to brightly illuminate each segment. The whole thing is controlled by an old favorite – an ATtiny, supported by a Real Time Clock (RTC) chip for accurate timekeeping.
The deadline for challenge #2 of the Hackaday Prize is next Monday, July 19th:
Enter one or more of this year’s challenges for the chance to win cash prizes and move on to the finals, where our panel of judges will decide on the grand prize winner! With $25,000 on the line, and numerous other opportunities to win, there’s no reason not to enter!
Ultimately though, the Hackaday Prize isn’t about winning money. It’s about creating impactful change through the kind of hardware innovation only our amazing community can provide.
Trying to solder an oddly shaped art PCB board? This 3D printed visa could help:
A regular vice is great if you want to clamp rectangular objects, but it can fall down a little with more complex shapes. Inspired by an ancient vise [Chris Borge] whipped up his own 3D-printed fractal clamping tool.
The inspiration for this one comes from the [Hand Tool Rescue] video that shows of the clever mechanism. The vice uses a series of interlocking parts that can freely articulate to grip the object of interest via several protruding fingers. In reproducing the design, [Chris] had some issues initially with the joints, but settling on a dovetail similar to that of the original metal vice which got things working nicely.
We asked you to rethink what displays can look like and you didn’t disappoint. From almost 150 entries the judges have winnowed the list down to ten projects which are awarded a $500 prize and will go on to the final round of the 2021 Hackaday Prize in October
In a world where there’s an HD (or better) display in every pocket, it is the oddball ideas that tend to turn heads. High on that list is a volumentric display that levitates a tiny foam ball on ultrasonic transducers to draw 3D color patterns before your eyes, or the volumetric display shown above that works with a sheet of film and motors. Or how about a take on a laser projected display that uses a phosphorescent screen so that the path of the laser persists, fading in time for the next infrequent update.
As you dive deeper into the world of electronics, a good oscilloscope quickly is an indispensable tool. However, for many use cases where you’re debugging low voltage, low speed circuits, that expensive oscilloscope is using only a fraction of its capabilities. As a minimalist alternative for these use cases [fhdm-dev] created Scoppy, a combination of firmware for the Raspberry Pi Pico and an Android app to create a functional oscilloscope.Read more on Hackaday…
[Kerry Wong] isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and is always more than willing to open things up and see what makes them tick. This time, he reviews and tears down the Topshak LW-3010EC programmable DC power supply, first putting the unit through its paces, then opens it up to see how it looks on the inside.
The Topshak LW-3010EC is in a family of reasonably economical power supplies made by a wide variety of manufacturers, which all share many of the same internals and basic construction. This one is both programmable as well as nice and compact, and [Kerry] compares and contrasts it with other power supplies in the same range as he tests the functions and checks over the internals.
Jenny List writes about an API for the global network of hackerspaces:
With so many hackerspaces in the world, it can be difficult to keep up with them all. It must certainly be a headache for the maintainers of hackerspace directories, with new arrivals as well as spaces sadly closing meaning that a directory can only be as current as its last update. For those of us who follow the world of hackerspaces professionally it’s a struggle to keep on top of them all, and we know there will always be that amazing project posted on a hackerspace website that will pass us by.
Here’s where SpaceAPI can help: by providing a standard JSON interface to the space properties. This holds not only all the static details such as location and contact details, but also the address of the space’s project repository, and most interestingly an indication of whether or not the space is open. The JSON can be a static file, but in many spaces it’s generated by the space itself depending on whether or not there is someone in it.