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October 26, 2007
News - Enginursday: How useful a…
about 3 months ago
Hey, how about giving gEDA, the GNU EDA suite, a bit of love! It has been around far longer than KiCAD. It is another free-as-in-speech EDA system to consider.
I’ve never used anything but gEDA, producing regular gerbers, and fabbed with several places. None ever had a problem with my gerbers. Several friends have used a bunch of fab houses with a whole bunch of boards with KiCAD output and never had a problem. Before switching to KiCAD, one friend had boards fabbed with PCB software he wrote for himself, and never had a problem.
There is NO MAGIC in an RS-274X file. They come in clean and crufty, to be sure, but most fab houses can deal with even very crufty RS-274X. In any case, most of them do automatic DRC on incoming gerbers, and if there is something they don’t like, they will flag it so that you can fix it and resubmit. Any time that has happened to me it has been a PEBKAC, not a gEDA problem.
gerbv is a free gerber viewer (part of the gEDA suite, but works perfectly well stand-alone). If gerbv is OK with it, and you label your files clearly, you will have no problem.
News - T³: Etching your own cir…
about 5 months ago
You are exactly right. In fact, they typically are drilling a stack of identical panels to increase the production rate.
Yeah. I’d be real careful with 3D printed resist, because most 3D printer stock is some kind of chlorinated plastic. Chlorine is highly reactive… if released it would probably bind with water to create HCl + O2…. or maybe the free oxygen reacts with something else first??? I’m thinking the soup is nasty enough already.
In an case, one of my friends swears by the toner transfer method using a laser printer. People seem to have good luck with that and it is cheap and simple.
Drilling after etching? Well…
I think Nixon was president the last time I etched my own PCB, but among my acquaintances that still do it, I thought drilling before etching was S.O.P. because: 1) less chance of the drill munching the tiny isolated pad, 2) much easier to align the art for a double sided board.
Double sided boards are not too big a deal if you do mostly through-hole parts, you just have to remember to solder both the top and bottom side of each pin because the holes are not plated through, and if you are making the pin do double duty as a via, you want the connectivity. Also, if you do have any free-standing via’s, save your clipped-off resistor leads to make via shunts.
I’ve also seen home-made PCB’s for SMT parts by simply using an X-acto knife to cut isolation gaps. This actually isn’t such a bad option for making something like a quick-n-dirty carrier board for an SO part.
News - AVC 2016
about 9 months ago
Date is not great for people that need to show up at school before then. Kind of squashes our plans to enter this year. Major bummer.
News - Headers or No Headers?
about 10 months ago
Usually I prefer to solder in the pins myself, so that I can customize the configuration. But I can see where pre-soldered headers is beginner-friendly.
News - Spooky Sale!!!
Great video. If you want your mind blown even further, a good friend who is an accomplished amateur organist told me that with many of those large pipe organs, the actuator mechanism is pneumatic. So there is a significant time delay between when you push the key and when the pipe starts sounding, and of course the halls are large enough that simple acoustic delay gets added. If you watch the video closely, you can see the effect – there is a noticable keypress-to-sound delay. I find it astounding that organists can learn to deal with that.
Also, you can tell that this is an antique instrument because the pedal board is hinged from the bench end, not at the instrument. My friend did a bus tour of Europe that was all organists visiting various famous instruments (how is that for musical geekery?) and the “backwards” antique pedal boards drove him nuts.
News - Friday Product Post: Yes …
about a year ago
Hurray for the box wall! I would say it meets or exceeds all applicable ISO and ANSI standards. Also, another vote for more shenanigans.
One note about CAN, though. It is often mistaken for a differential bus, but in fact it is ground referenced. There are three detectable states on the CAN bus: 0, 1, and collision (0 wins). Can’t get away without a ground reference, as in a true differential bus.
about a year ago
Hurrah! Tail shaft! Thank you for enabling encoders. What is the diameter of the tail shaft?
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