- Scott Shawcroft of Chickadee Tech (see Figure 1) is our guest on this weeks podcast. He is working on a modular flight control system called Polystack. It has 13 different boards that can be stacked together. Similar to shields for the Arduino platform. See Figure 2A and 2B.
- Scott is down here in Houston visiting MacroFab to see his production-run being built, while working on his test fixture with us (See Figure 2).
- Scott is a member of the Seattle Multi Rotors community.
- The software stack is based of off Beta Flight which is a fork of Clean Flight which is a fork of BaseFlight. The very first flight controllers were based of the Wii Nunchuck. Scott uses custom pin mappings and uses a larger ST MCU which required another fork.
- Scott got into Quadcoptors after watching the video Crash Session!!! His first quad was from Flite Test.
- The Tiny Whoop is a small FPV quad that is easy to build.
- Chickadee Tech is Scott’s first step into the hardware world. His first build was a lap timer using the radio strength signal. Scott self-taught himself KiCad.
- AutoDesk purchased CadSoft from Farnell. Autodesk EAGLE – The perfect tool to designing stuff for PIC16MEGA32u4.
- The FR4 Machine Shield we mentioned in a previous podcast has a Kickstarter now. It’s an Arduino “shield” CNC machine. It comes on a 18” x 22” PCB panel. Motor controllers are called “Swap Drives”. Driver chips are on PCB cards that go into edge connectors.
- The FAA released new rules for operating rules for unmanned aircraft (Quads).
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro theme!
About The Hosts
Parker Dillmann is MacroFab's Co-Founder, and Lead ECE with backgrounds in Embedded System Design, and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. He also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas.
Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Host 1 00:10
Hi, and welcome to the macro fab engineering podcast. I'm your guest, Scott shockcraft of chickadee. Tech.
Host 1 00:18
And we are your hosts Parker, Dolman
Host 3 00:19
And Steven Craig.
Host 1 00:21
So this is a Scott shockcraft Yeah, um, he is a ex Googler. Yeah, just over a year now. Yeah. And he started a company called chickadee. Tech. Who does? Or he does?
Host 1 00:36
Me and my cats.
Host 1 00:38
Yeah. Um, quadcopter stuff.
Host 1 00:41
Yes. Yeah. So what I'm working on is this system called poly stack. And it's a modular flight control system, primarily for quad copters. But hopefully, branching out into the Arduino space also. So Arduino compatible space is the appropriate term.
Host 3 01:01
Cool. I like I like the whole industry term. quadcopter stuff. Yeah, I think I think that's what we should we should call it from here on out. Yeah, like a big banner on the top of your webpage? Quad?
Host 1 01:12
Quad? copters. Yeah, but there's, there's lots of other types to like, try copters. And then like most people who come up to you in the park, I like it was at a drone. Drone. stuff.com Jones? I don't know. Maybe it's not taken. Go for it. I've been looking at all those like, the new top level domains. Yeah, I have. The website is chickadee dot tech. Rather than like, Tickity tech.com. Don't go there. It doesn't work.
Host 3 01:41
Well, you know, what's the meaning behind the name?
Host 1 01:44
Chickadees a bird that's native to the northwest. So I grew up just like watching it. And they fly around. And I don't know. I like it. So I
Host 1 01:54
Decided to do I like quadcopters Yeah, they
Host 1 01:56
Fly in the bush, in the bushes and in the trees and stuff. So I don't know, it made sense to me.
Host 1 02:01
So yeah, um, Scott, you you grew up in the northwest, you actually from Seattle, right?
Host 1 02:06
Yeah, outside of the city. Kitsap. County.
Host 1 02:09
So what brought you down here to Houston? Well, I
Host 1 02:12
Came down here to visit macro fam. Because I found macro fab online. And maybe six months ago now, when I was still doing all of the different designs that I've been doing. So my because it's a platform, I'm doing a total of 13 different designs of this first run between the boards that hold the microcontroller, and then all of the other boards that you can use, you can expand your functionality
Host 3 02:38
With about 12 more than most people do. Yeah,
Host 1 02:41
Yeah, that's been a real growth point from for working with macro fab has been talking a lot with Brandon, the customer, customer guy and saying, like, Oh, what about this or that? And he's like, well, not many people do that. But we'll see what we can do. And macro fab and Brandon, specifically have been really great and super helpful. So I was really happy when I like finally put the money down for that first major order. Which I was down here to see get produced. Yeah, we
Host 1 03:13
Actually were building them yesterday today, right? Mm hmm. And I think you were working on your, your test fixture.
Host 1 03:20
Yeah, that was the main focus. The thing I was worried about most was making sure the test jig actually ran as it ran in my house, right? Because it's a different computer different setup. And the boards are different, right? Like I was only using, like either the single prototype I had macro fab produced before, or some of my hand soldered prototypes from before that. And but we made like 81 of the control boards and macro fab. So I wanted to be here to make sure that if it's the testing is Python code. So if it happens to like, throw an exception or something, I wanted to be here so I could fix it. Yeah, and unblock you rather than like, playing phone tag or email tags. Now there was actually a bug too. There was more than one bug. There always more than one.
Host 3 04:08
Yeah, yeah. So
Host 1 04:10
We first tested just one of the mod boards was like the ones that you expand or put on top. And I actually don't remember what the bug with that was, but we definitely had one. I think some of it was just like, it's using a high density DF 40 connector by hairos. And just went to the testing was seated it wasn't seated quite right. So luckily, I brought the testing that I had been testing with at home kind of as a golden and so we were switching switching between that and one that had just come off the line. So in order to have multiple of them actually produced them in this first batch also. So we're comparing the results there and we first had some issues with just like the connectors being connected correctly, because it's Like the first time that Robin like actually, like sandwich them together. And then with the control boards, what they do is they, because it does IO tests about like, detecting, like it sets one pin high, and then reads the other all the other pins and make sure that they're still low for shorts. And then with the connector, like the top connector, so there's 280 pin connectors, there's one on the bottom one on the top of mods. And then on control boards, there's one on the top, it reads what it's connected to, and that top one so that you know that it's soldered. Well, anyway, that's the weeds. But first, what it has to do just do a sanity check that everything is low. But there's a whitelist that says like, these ones will be high. So like, your I squared C pull ups that are on the board will have it high, your reset is high, because it's active low, you don't want to just like have it never work. Yeah, that would be better. And then the other ones that are higher the LEDs. And oh, like it's telling me one of the LEDs is not high when it should be high. I finally looked at my test code. And I was toggling it as like debug output.
Host 1 06:06
Also, sometimes it'd be high and sometimes it would be low.
Host 1 06:09
Yeah, so it was toggling low and which would turn the LED on. And so like when we're playing around with her, like why isn't LED blinking. Turned out that was causing the test fail. I removed that code, and then it passed just fine.
Host 3 06:23
Cool. So one thing I have to mention, one, one thing that really defines this this podcast, I think, as an engineers podcast, is the fact that I think we we introduced Scott here and didn't talk about what his product does, we went right. Here's how we make it. And here's all the issues that I was at, at pin connector, right? Pull up, pull down. So Scott, why don't you tell us what your product does?
Host 1 06:54
Oh, thank you, I'm still getting used to explaining to people what it actually does. So the product as it stands today is a flight controller for a quadcopter. in particular. So what it does is it has an accelerometer and gyroscope that track the motion of a quad as it flies, and then changes the motor outputs like speeds up a motor or slows down a motor to make sure that it's actually stable. A guy in our group was talking about, so I'm part of a Facebook group called Seattle multirotors. And we have like 30 330 people, since we started last March. But one of the one of the guy was in the group was talking about a contest on Reddit where you tried to fly a quadcopter without a flight controller. And to see how long you can keep it in the air. Because it's basically like balancing, you know, something like a broomstick on your hand. Although I guess it's harder than that. And the record, the record for somebody doing it, I guess is six seconds is the longest they've flown it without like a microcontroller. Like my product, the F three FC and therefore FC, a poly stack does,
Host 1 08:08
I guess would also be how well your quadcopter was built. For for that contest? Yeah. So the more even your weight distribution is in your sign, all your motors are within the same spec. Yeah,
Host 1 08:23
Like same response based on the speed controllers and the wind. Because like part of the the control loop that runs just does compensate for the wind actually knocking it to the side. Which is I don't understand it. I'm my, my hardware is running open source software called beta flight, that all that logic is from.
Host 1 08:49
Is that is that from the Seattle group? Or is that like just a
Host 1 08:52
No, it's a much broader project. It was funny, I was telling somebody about it. And it's actually so beta flight is a fork of clean flight. And clean flight is a fork of base flight. So the original is the base flight stuff.
Host 1 09:06
But what why all the forks in that?
Host 1 09:09
So software guys, base. So basically the root of it is actually has its roots in multi Wii controller. So the very first flight controllers were actually based on the Wii Nunchuk. Yeah, I actually remember that. Yeah, but that was an eight bit. Okay, that was an eight bit system. So the port from that to the STM 32 line, the 32 bit line was Baselight. That was done by a developer called time cop and he's not known for his relationship with other people. This is actually before I joined very, that's a very political way to go about it. Why I never experienced it myself. So it's it'd be unfair for me to dog on him too much. But that led to another developer Dominic forking and creating Cleanflight, which was geared towards cleaner code and better coding practices. And that gained a lot of momentum for a long time. And then beta flight came along, wanting to even push that the boundary further. So they clean flight and beta flight have a pretty good working relationship too. But from my perspective, Dominic, the guy who created clean flight is actually cut the hardware bug also, which means he spends less time on software, which is where beta flight comes in and really pushes the software boundary. So so both my boards ship with a new version of beta flight straight from GitHub, that is not even released yet. Because it supports both of the boards. Okay.
Host 1 10:39
Is McWrap like downloading that? No. Are you actually given us a hex file? No, it's not like your Python code, like compiling it directly. Directly, though, Project
Host 1 10:51
No. So. So I'm doing this as my full time job because I left Google a year ago. And basically, the last week before I came, was me frantically getting the code working well enough to put on the boards to ship to people. So I have my own fork of beta flight that has Alpha Flight. And now it's just called beta flight. And I plan on re integrating all the changes back. But that includes things like pin mappings, for the boards, because I didn't copy pin mappings of an existing board. And my board has more IO than most of the other ones. Because I'm most used like the 64 pin package, I'm using the 100 pin package, and all those connections go into the 80 pin connector. But I spent the last week basically like fixing i squared, C, and also fixing the virtual comport pass through stuff while trying to fix it. It's still like, had some bugs. And then test flying. So I like actually test flew both, both of the bin files. And now they're in a zip file that's on your computer at macro fed. Gotcha. But none of that gets released yet.
Host 1 12:04
Slightly less exciting.
Host 1 12:06
Sorry. I'll have it pulled from now
Host 1 12:10
I think, pretty, pretty impressive or crazy. Crazy is actually the right word for it would be
Host 3 12:16
Awesome for manufacturing, if all we had to do is point to URL on GitHub, and it would download, compile and push into your Yeah, and
Host 1 12:23
Toe board. You got a update and it had a bug in it. Now you have to go back and read do that all production run.
Host 3 12:31
Code should never have bugs, bugs in
Host 1 12:34
Code always has bugs in it. The bugs matter if you meet a developer and they tell you their code has no bugs, you should not hire them. Because there were always bugs. Of course, I think software generally does get better. But there's always bugs.
Host 1 12:52
So Scott, why don't you tell us more about yourself? So we've been talking about your
Host 1 12:56
Business to get the tech. Yeah. What do you want to know about me? Well,
Host 1 13:00
So is quadcopters your also your hobby as well?
Host 1 13:02
Oh, yeah, yeah. And it started as my hobby before I even left Google.
Host 1 13:07
So how'd you get into quadcopters
Host 1 13:10
This is really awesome YouTube video called Crash session or something like that. But it's a number of people who went with their quads and flew in a forest. And because it's in a forest, it has like, the LEDs on the back of the quads are really vibrant and they've got like upbeat music. And they also have video of multiple clouds in the air. So the back ones filming the front one. And so if you want if you need a visual, it's kind of like you know, the Star Wars pod racing scene through the forest. That's what I've seen people compare it to and I think it's an accurate comparison. So you're flying through the woods, you're like narrowly missing trees and, and stuff like that and it's really exciting. So I got really excited about that. And then I also discovered a YouTube channel called Flight Test. Flight not spelled like you would imagine it's fly t okay, they're out of Ohio and they do tons and tons of stuff and their quad at the time called the Elector hub was basically $500 all up and so that's the one I started with basically January 1 of last year and then pretty soon after that that the mini quad craze took off and so mini quads are typically carbon fiber frame a little bit pricier but they take a beating you can crash into like I crashed into like an aluminum or steel pole. Last time I was out and broke some props at which should be expected but besides that it looked okay. also run into concrete and trees and all that you repaired not people, not people know I like to fly responsibly. I try my best I did actually hit like my mom's leg once which I will not Get myself in that situation again.
Host 1 15:03
It's better than the cat though.
Host 1 15:04
Yeah, I mean, that was outside. Okay. I don't fly those quads inside. I have a nano QX but I have flown inside that. The cats don't know what to do with. Yeah, my
Host 1 15:15
Dog absolutely hates my Hubsan micro quad. So yep.
Host 1 15:22
Yeah, they tend to be pretty noisy in animals don't necessarily take well to that. No, but the Tiny Whoop, Tiny Whoop might be worth the hectic. Yeah, so
Host 1 15:31
The Scott yesterday was talking, talking to me about this Tiny Whoop quad. Mm hmm. So what is this thing?
Host 1 15:39
So the Tiny Whoop is not actually like a quad, you can just go out and buy. And I haven't I don't actually have one myself, but it's kind of torn through our group. Our Facebook group is something that everybody's buying and they're really excited about. And I think the reason they're excited about is because it's actually so first person view so you can wear goggles or a screen and see the perspective of the quad itself. And and so you can do it inside and see can race around inside when it's rainy, like in Seattle, sometimes not in the summer, but in the winter.
Host 1 16:12
That's supposed to rain there like 90% of time.
Host 1 16:15
Hmm, I don't think is that bad. Not the summer at least the summer is beautiful. It's a lot less hot than here. Yeah. Is
Host 1 16:23
Very hot. It's actually been raining a lot too. You're in Houston. So yeah, I guess we shouldn't talk. Yeah, well,
Host 1 16:28
Well, it rained for like an hour, but it rained like five or six inches is what Chris said it was gonna be. Yeah, it
Host 3 16:34
Got when it rained. It was about 75 degrees, maybe. And I just checked my car on the way over here and is 100. Yeah, we have violent temperature temperature swings here.
Host 1 16:45
Yeah, it's all hot to me. 75 is hot still. Yeah, so the Tiny Whoop is like a kind of a stock one that you then mod with a camera and more powerful motors to carry the camera. And it's a relatively easy build, because it's only actually to solder joints for the power to the camera. But it's still people have been having a great time with it.
Host 1 17:13
Yeah, I'm going to have to jump on that crazy. It looks like it looks like a lot of fun.
Host 3 17:16
Yeah, a ton of fun. Yeah.
Host 1 17:20
So this, so this chickadee tech is your first experience in hardware.
Host 1 17:27
Oh, yeah. So I
Host 1 17:29
Come from software background. Yeah, right. Yeah. And so what made you get into hardware? What got you that what you said the hardware bug? Well, nobody
Host 1 17:39
Made me. I had done. I never done PCBs until I started like this Chicky tech stuff. But I had done some like Adafruit kits and home automation sorts of things. So like, There's a website called mysensors.org that had some like, rudimentary 2.4 gigahertz protocol for like, reporting back from a sensor to a hub. And I'd done that. And then a little soldering, and it was on like a perma proto board. But before that, I really hadn't done anything. And then like, last October is kind of when I started the hardware stuff. And I'd done some website stuff. And that was kind of interesting. didn't do that well. And then I had this idea for a lap timer for quads. So typical lap timers are infrared based. And they involve like something you buy to put on your quad and something that you like, yeah, to have a big long, tall pole with like a bunch of receivers on it, to make it go by and there's like, basically hundreds of dollars. But first person view quads, FPV. Quads have this, like video 5.8 gigahertz signal blasting, because that's what you're flying by. And what I wanted to do was create a piece of hardware that would log the RSSI of that channel. So when you go by it, it will peak. And then you can count the time between the peaks as your lap time. So I worked on that for Well, I wanted to start in September, but I ordered some critical parts from Banggood. And they took ages to get I ended up doing it all in October. So I like learned KY CAD to do that, and I was at my grandma's house and got the idea for the poly stack stuff.
Host 1 19:34
So the learning key CAD, how did you go about learning it? Did you just sit down and go like, I'm going to build a PCB and just like the jury, no, no,
Host 3 19:44
I'm going to build 13 pieces.
Host 1 19:48
I designs more than the 13 to oh, well, at least
Host 3 19:54
Not having done this before. Yeah,
Host 1 19:56
Yeah. Well, I mean, I I don't think I have the 13 Before I like started getting prototypes from OSH Park and confirming I was like, actually on the right track. But I'm self taught for programming. Even though I went to school for it later, I learned how to do it before. So I'm pretty good at googling stuff to figure out how to do you. And YouTube was actually really useful too. So there's some like walkthroughs and things.
Host 1 20:23
Is that a? Is that a joke at Google? Like, no, that website? Let me Google that for you? Oh, yeah. Is that a joke at Google to? Uh,
Host 1 20:33
Yeah. Most of the people there know, like, you're indoctrinated in that. So people use Google, and they use Google products, obviously. So it's kind of the default, but if you ever did catch somebody, you definitely be tempted to send them that link.
Host 1 20:54
Did anyone actually there's anyone that you knew there had like, firstname.lastname@example.org?
Host 1 20:59
I'm sure they did. But, but we had like work emails. Okay, that's that we used? I never didn't have like a personal email from somebody else that I can think of.
Host 1 21:10
Gotcha. They were on Gmail. Well, that could be personal as well.
Host 1 21:13
Yeah. But so yeah, so I got those when I left. Okay. That was the personal emails. Yeah, that was crazy. Leaving Google is my parents said it was bold. Thanks for telling me it wasn't stupid. And my girlfriend was like, why can't you just wait, because I did it last June. And she graduated with her PhD in December, she wanted me to wait so that we could like, have this like, nice gap aligned. And I was like, but I don't like my job. And I was like I can, I can last until you can figure it out, too. So that's, we're at the tail end of that period of figuring out what we're going to do. And hopefully, all of this production stuff goes well, and people buy it. And I can keep keep it up. Should be cool. Yeah, that'd be
Host 1 22:00
Really cool. It's always great to have someone takes your hardware and actually use are like your product that you've poured your soul into. And someone actually uses it. Yeah, so
Host 3 22:12
PCBs are very emotional thing for Parker. Yeah, he really attaches himself to them.
Host 1 22:20
Like that. I mean, it's, it's my baby. It's all I've done for the last six months, eight months. Having no job and then my girlfriend being gone for two months of that. I did visit her so I took some a break. But yeah, it's I hope people like it. Like I've I've shown a lot of people in the our Facebook group, and then I've had a few testers actually fly it. So I know it works. Well enough, at least. But you know, you get more out there. You'll find shoes also. Yeah, so
Host 1 22:51
We'll have some pictures and a link in the blog description.
Host 1 22:55
Yeah, the stuff. Yeah. Parker was asking me about the website. I'm like, yeah, that's, that's the bottom of the list. I needed I needed everything to be made first. And then I'll worry about the website. Like
Host 1 23:06
I was trying to do some research market research. stokin like
Host 3 23:09
An engineer, not a salesperson. Yeah,
Host 1 23:11
Yep. Guilty as charged. Engineer first and learning all the business side, which is not something I went into it anticipating. But I've hopefully done my due diligence on on all that other
Host 3 23:25
Stuff. It's it's fun. Quote.
Host 1 23:29
Yeah. None of it's been super bad. But as we get into, like, actually selling and trying to sell out the first batch, I think I'm gonna end up being like, I really want to just engineer stuff for the second batch. But like, if I don't sell the first batch, then I can't get a second one.
Host 3 23:47
Well, I think it's super cool. And I hope it goes well for you.
Host 1 23:49
Yeah, I actually really liked the the we did something a little special with the FR for fiberglass. Yeah, we got a block substrate. Mm hmm. Clear mask? Yeah. Clear mask. It looks really good. It's like an inverted PCB. Almost. Yeah.
Host 1 24:05
Yep. Yeah. And that was something I really pushed for, because I'm going to open source everything. You know, even if nobody buys it, at least somebody can learn from it. Because I learned that way too. And so everything will be open source when it's released, and you'll be able to see exactly where all the traces go. You know, what,
Host 3 24:24
How cool would it be if all open source boards were black? Fr for clear solder mask? If that was just like if you saw that you knew that was an open source thing.
Host 1 24:36
Yeah, I've seen some. I mean, like a Gibson guitar has got a circuit board. And that's that way though. Yeah, yeah.
Host 3 24:42
But I mean, I don't know I just like it because it's unique because you don't see it very often. It could be like a an indicator as opposed to like what we say I guess it's what they have that one symbol that is sometimes
Host 1 24:57
Open source hardware. They're introducing
Host 1 24:59
A new one. Okay, yeah. And in the fall,
Host 3 25:03
What's it look like?
Host 1 25:04
It has the letters, O, S, H, W in it. It's by the hardware, open source hardware Association, they're announced, they're like officially launching at the summit, but it's gonna involve a self certification process where you actually like, link to all your open source files. And then you'll get like a kind of a, like a hash, like macro fab has where it's like, five alphanumeric characters that somebody can take, and then look up all the information about it for sure. There's a whole there's a whole apparently lots of copyright issues, or trademark issues around the gear logo. That makes it unclear who actually owns it and can like, keep it so it's basically just been like a
Host 3 25:48
Isn't the one thing that it's not owned. And Ken?
Host 1 25:52
Um, no, I don't think so. I like you still need to validate that it's open source, right. Like, like, you want to make sure nobody abuses that. Sure. Oh, yeah. Why not? Mark?
Host 1 26:03
Yeah, like net gear slaps on their, their modem, right.
Host 1 26:07
So I mean, I don't know how much like, how many issues that have actually had with the gear logo, but I know that they're introducing a new logo for that reason, so that they can have very clear ownership guidelines. And then licensing guidelines to Well, that'll be interesting. Yeah, I'm actually planning on going to the summit if I'm still in the area. Yeah, it's like,
Host 1 26:31
It's similar to Arduino, where people were saying their stuff was Arduino compatible. And they're like, you can't use that. It's a It's Duino compatible. Really? I think that's what it was. Really? Yeah. You can be Duino compatible, but not Arduino.
Host 1 26:45
I thought you just couldn't call it an Arduino or some variant of Arduino. or patible is describing it rather than saying it's an Arduino.
Host 3 26:53
Yeah, I think I think to call something an official Arduino. Yeah, it has to be made by those guys. Or licensed from or? Yes, yep. Right. And and they have that, that unique resistor on the board that I think they have. They have a resistor that we fuse. Is it a pool? Yeah, you're right. It's a poly fuse that is like all gold or something like that.
Host 1 27:15
It's basically a poly few poly fuse without the like, top layer on it. They they put a mask layer on top that basically turns it green. Right. And they told them not to do that. And so just gold.
Host 1 27:28
Right, right. Interesting. And it's the mark
Host 3 27:29
Of a true right Arduino. I didn't know that. although probably not hard to copy.
Host 1 27:39
Just like a fiberglass pin and scrape off the
Host 3 27:41
End it becomes official. Yeah, yeah.
Host 1 27:44
Yeah, the same trademark issues with my boards. And I was thinking like, when I released that maybe I won't have like the chickadee bird logo on it. Because that is like, a sign that it was manufactured at least by macro fab. Like for me. But then I was like, but I'm gonna provide high res photos. And somebody could easily just copy it from that. Well, you're not gonna do that.
Host 1 28:03
Well go into the black fr for? Not a lot of board manufacturers can do that.
Host 1 28:08
Host 1 28:10
So you're definitely no difference between if someone ordered boards from OSHPark, so to speak. Yeah. versus ones that you are getting built?
Host 1 28:19
Yeah, for sure. That does help a lot. And fr for is an addition of the black fr for as an additional cost to you. So if they're looking to scoop me on price, at least they don't have to pay that up in the price. Yeah, I'm kind of assuming it's gonna happen. But that's okay.
Host 1 28:35
Well, I always view it as if someone copies whatever you designed. You should take pride in that because your device was good enough to be copied.
Host 3 28:44
Yeah. Again, something right.
Host 1 28:45
Yeah. Time like if people actually think it's worth cloning. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Host 1 28:52
It's even better if someone copies your device improved upon it.
Host 1 28:57
Yep. And they, they can do that. Totally. Just don't put my trademarks on there. Yeah. Yeah. That's the that's the big asterisk for open source hardware, trademarks,
Host 1 29:07
Trademarks. So Steven, do you have oh, what was that Steven? So you have anything else that Scott? No, I
Host 3 29:16
Think that I think it's good. Cool.
Host 1 29:18
I guess we'll just go right in the RFO section. Yeah. All right. And so the big news of the week, it was a Autodesk buying out CadSoft from for now, because I think last week, Fern l was getting sold some Swiss company for some actually obscene amount of money. And so far, no was basically selling off all their assets. And cat soft is one of them. Cats off makes Eagle which is an EDA tool,
Host 1 29:47
Which I didn't realize until I saw that show notes. Oh, that's big news.
Host 1 29:53
Yeah, so it's, it's pretty interesting. Because all of us actually already has an EDA tool. Yeah. circuits done. I Oh, it's an online one. So I was actually kind of confused why they would buy CadSoft because Eagles huge. Eagles got a very big I think what happened was probably circuits i o probably didn't take off too hard. Yeah. And so they're looking to still get into that market. Yeah. And so they're like, oh, yeah, we can buy cat soft now.
Host 1 30:19
And they bought they bought the brand like the trademark too. Right. So they can make an eagle eye. Oh, yeah. If they wanted to.
Host 1 30:25
Yeah, I think they can. Yeah, they have all the trademark?
Host 3 30:29
Well, hey, um, I say thumbs up, because they can actually make Eagle good.
Host 1 30:35
I think it's gonna be good. I really like Autodesk current product. Yes. Their fusion 360 CAD software is really awesome. Yeah.
Host 1 30:45
I'll take your word for it.
Host 1 30:46
It's like ooh, SketchUp. A NX Google product?
Host 1 30:50
Yes, I'm aware of SketchUp
Host 1 30:52
SketchUp. It's like a way better version of SketchUp.
Host 3 30:56
Alright, I wonder if the new eagle.io or whatever it's gonna be, we'll have an export to Fusion 360. So you can export your board? Like a full 3d model and then build your box? It's like an all in one package. That might be enough to make. Yeah, like
Host 1 31:14
You could take, like, yeah, design the box and then import the outline back into your EDA.
Host 1 31:19
Host 3 31:21
That's a pain
Host 1 31:21
For us for brainstorming.
Host 1 31:23
Yeah. Autodesk. Send money to one 800 macro fab. Actually, not know our phone number.
Host 1 31:35
I have it in my phone is another one. 100 It's a
Host 1 31:38
How often you call Brandon. Yeah. top of your list of favorites.
Host 1 31:43
Favorite. But at some point, it was like, I need to know he's calling me. So they pick up rather than like some scammer. Ah, yeah,
Host 3 31:51
They both have the the what the eye watches and they can feel each other's heartbeat. They're pretty close.
Host 1 31:58
Brandon. Yeah. I've talked with him quite a lot. So and it's been great to meet him in person too.
Host 1 32:07
Yeah. Brian Brandon's pretty good guy.
Host 3 32:10
Is he is he everything you expected him to be? Yeah.
Host 1 32:16
The best was actually when when Scott got to record and he was just like blown away about how like, relaxed everything was. He was expecting like, upright chairs and like a a table with like, mike stands like actually on the on the table and like the Emperor and stuff like that.
Host 3 32:37
Yeah. Like we don't record in a prison.
Host 1 32:42
I don't know. Man. It would be like the those like video radio shows that ESPN does and stuff. Yeah, yeah. Something like that. Now, we sit on a couch.
Host 3 32:57
Yeah, I'm quite comfortable. Yeah, take it easy.
Host 1 33:01
But yeah, so thing is good auto spy and now Eagle. Maybe they'll ramp the interface up to something that wasn't built in 90s.
Host 3 33:10
I wouldn't be surprised if they'd make some big changes. Yeah,
Host 1 33:13
So Autodesk by Eagle. Perfect for your pic Mega 30 twos. So how much more like because we're like collapsing all these like electronic suppliers and, and Chip fabs into like big towering conglomerates of companies. So who's next on the chopping block? Huh?
Host 3 33:41
Mouser and Digi key. They own the other day crush together?
Host 1 33:45
You think they allow that? Did you mouse?
Host 1 33:47
Did you? Did your did
Host 1 33:54
They have to move to Minnesota for that?
Host 1 33:57
No, no, no. They go right in the middle who's by who? They've got? No, they moved to Kansas.
Host 3 34:03
Mousers in Dallas with Digi key Minnesota, and Minnesota. So yeah, like,
Host 1 34:09
Like near the North Dakota border like in like small towns.
Host 3 34:15
So what would be like North Oklahoma is what they would eat.
Host 1 34:19
There was actually a project at Google that's named after the midpoint between the two teams that worked on it. Really? Yep. It's called Kansas. Like New York and San Francisco. So you got Kansas out of it. Because that
Host 1 34:34
Why Google Fiber started there. is right in the middle.
Host 3 34:39
I know that may actually have been because isn't it right there. It's pretty close. Yeah. Sorry. Continue.
Host 1 34:52
Yeah, that was a Stephens phone. Not mine. You think out the 22 episodes he would learn
Host 1 35:00
And now he knows.
Host 1 35:01
Okay, um, we talked about this on a previous podcast. I think it was with Greg. Who's Octavio systems? It was the was it Greg? I can't remember. It was the FR for machine shield. Pretty sure it was Greg. I think it was, um, yeah, cuz he saw that Maker Faire. And it's basically a CNC shield in quotes, I would say. So you basically take a, it's a big 18 inch by 24 inch sheet of, you know, PCB material. That's all routed out when you punch all the parts out. screwed all together and then stick a Arduino on it and you have a CNC machine. Hmm, that's nifty. Yeah,
Host 1 35:51
I think I saw that in terms of like a CNC machine made out of PCB.
Host 1 35:54
Yeah, that's what it is. But they actually announced the Kickstarter for it. Oh, those came out today. So they had more details about the actual product than I thought was really cool is their driver boards, or their driver chips that drive the steppers are actually on like edge connectors. And so they have a, a edge connector connector, like a PCI connector, and you plug in the driver boards into them. Now that's cool. And so one blows up, you just, you know, unplug it and plug a new one back in, like our Wi Fi card. Wright Brothers engine. I haven't seen anything like that before. That actually kind of wondering how much current those connectors can pass by I guess it's probably enough for a little tiny machine like this.
Host 3 36:43
Yeah. What's the what's the actual cut size on
Host 1 36:46
It? It can't be that big. Yeah, it's got to be tiny, entire flat materials. 18 by 24.
Host 3 36:53
Yeah. So maybe like a four inch by four inch bed or something like that.
Host 1 36:58
Probably smaller. I'm always looking like that fabricator Mini 3d printer have Yeah. Which is like a two inch by two inch by two inch. That's probably similar to that. Yeah, right.
Host 3 37:08
Oh, still, it's it's cool. Did you did you have to see anything about the pricing on it?
Host 1 37:13
Host 3 37:15
Oh, that's not bad.
Host 1 37:16
No, I think you can do laser etching, minor milling and said something else on that. Can't remember what they tested it with.
Host 3 37:27
Wait for 350. Does it come with everything? I think so. Including the mill.
Host 1 37:33
I think it's just a little tiny spindle. But yeah,
Host 3 37:35
Well, yeah. Yes. But
Host 1 37:36
I have to check on that. But I would assume it comes with something. Yeah, maybe a laser
Host 3 37:41
Because I was thinking that 350 was just the bed and the controls. That might be true. If it's 350 for everything that's awesome.
Host 1 37:50
You just get a you have the fabricator Mini 3d printer. And then right beside it this little guy
Host 3 37:57
So you 3d print something and then put it in in the CNC just destroys it. And you can conveyor it so it just moves over automatically
Host 1 38:06
3d printer conveyor.
Host 1 38:10
Don't destroy that one though.
Host 1 38:15
Yeah, I think it's cool. It's fun. The guys who make a pocket CNC, they have like this little tiny five axis machine that you can buy to that one's actually a proper machine. It's like all milled out of aluminum and steel and stuff.
Host 3 38:31
And it probably has a proper price too. Yeah.
Host 1 38:38
Yeah, I think it's cool idea. I think we talked about this with Greg is seeing more stuff like this being made is really cool. I think actually Scott's got something similar. He's got a spacer board. This was made fr for
Host 1 38:51
Host 3 38:53
Ever for is super versatile. And and even Dave Jones from the Eevee blog has his little microcurrent he uses his actual PCB is the faceplate of his little device. I think that's a great idea. It for double E's who don't necessarily want to spend a lot of time with the mechanical design of things you can you're already natively designing the PCB. Just use it as your faceplate. What's what's going to be the issue there? You know, I think the good
Host 1 39:23
Thing about the two is you don't really have to worry about when you send your files off, you don't have to worry about calling out tolerances. Which is word for new guys. It's very daunting. Like, oh, you know, like, like, you will put like, 0.000001 And it's like, and they'll come back with like, oh, yeah, that's gonna cost you like $2,000 and all this little time, right? Because you don't know better. You don't know.
Host 3 39:53
Yeah, when you say a quarter inch hole. I've meant a quarter inch hole. Yeah.
Host 1 39:58
That's been weird for me doing hardware. because I'm used to software and like software is very, like, discrete. And hardware is not,
Host 1 40:06
This registers going to be 255 plus minus four
Host 1 40:11
Numbers, right? It's either zero or one. There's rarely an
Host 3 40:16
In between. Well, the, the funny thing is, most of the time, the tolerances are already chosen for you, as a PCB, hardware designer, you go to a manufacturer and see what their capabilities are, if you make something within their capabilities, it will be within those capabilities. And most of the time stuff like whole tolerances, you know, plus minus 3000s, or even less in a lot of cases. But you don't have to worry as long as your design can work with, you know, those kind of tolerance instead of calling them out. They're just given to you. Yes, right. Which that's a that's, that's convenient. It's one less thing out of the 400,000 things you have to worry about on a PCB.
Host 1 40:55
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think that was one of the comments I saw about this CNC that's made out of the F R four is that the CNC or the PCB assembly or creation process is so good as far as tolerances go, for the price, that manufacturing other things besides just PCBs makes some sense. Because the tolerances are, like so good for the price.
Host 3 41:20
But per square inch fr for PCB materials, a lot more expensive than, you know, say aluminum,
Host 1 41:27
Or just buying. Like, was it gar light? Garelick keralite? Which is fr for?
Host 3 41:34
Yeah, right. But it's drill it out yourself.
Host 1 41:37
You draw yourself or mill it out? Yeah,
Host 1 41:39
I don't have a mill. In my house, I have to pay somebody to do it. So would it be cheaper than if I like paid somebody to mill it out? depends.
Host 3 41:49
Depends on how cheap the guy Yeah.
Host 1 41:52
If I lend it to you, and you did it for me, then obviously be cheaper. lets you charge me. Yeah.
Host 1 42:00
For Milene I like to use a parts badger. Hmm. Pepper in Wisconsin.
Host 1 42:05
Yeah, I remember you mentioning that on a previous podcast on a previous
Host 3 42:08
Podcast. They're interesting. Their their price is it raises an eyebrow. Yeah. So far, we've had two things from them. And there's a third on the way. Yep. And everything has been pretty. Everything's been great. And significantly cheaper than other options. Yep.
Host 1 42:29
And their pricing is pretty much you plug in the outer extents of what you're building. And then you select how many operations you have. So operations and CNC is basically how many times they have to turn the thing in the mill. So if you're most of that we do is faceplates. And so you only have one operation, you can going from the front into the material, right? So you can do two three up to six operations, and they support chamfering and all this other stuff, which costs more and more operations on Tori, and contouring. anodising is like $14. And I'm like, Sure, why not? But uh, but yeah, so you plug in the outer extense tell how many operations and you upload a STEP file. It tells you the price.
Host 1 43:19
Sounds like macrophylla similar. I mean, that's one of the things I liked about it was, I didn't have to talk to anybody on the phone in order to like figure out what the pricing was
Host 3 43:30
An engineer's dream. Yeah,
Host 1 43:33
The funny part is, is like I actually talked with another company. I emailed them some similar questions that I had with macro fab. And I, the response I got was give us a call. But they were like super simple questions, like, you know, what tolerances are you PCBs. And I was just like, nope. But the funny part is, I ended up talking on the phone with Brandon all the time at macro fab. Just like later in the process after I'd like kind of committed to it in my mind. So kudos to macro fat.
Host 1 44:03
Thank you. We try really hard to be self service.
Host 1 44:07
Yeah, yeah, it's been great. And, like I I've had a lot of non use case stuff being that I'm doing 13 different designs, and I'm doing custom PCB. And so I definitely, like wandered off that self service path, but it's still been great.
Host 1 44:27
Human did prototypes earlier with us, too.
Host 1 44:31
I did one run of just like standard prototypes, just to make sure that like, everything was right. Yeah.
Host 1 44:39
Cool. And this is probably something a little close to your heart, Scott.
Host 1 44:44
Yeah. Yeah. All this engineering, like hardware engineering talk. It's been over my head. I still like very much a newbie.
Host 3 44:52
So the well sounds like you're off to a really good start. Yeah, better than most people. Yeah,
Host 1 44:57
For sure. I hope so.
Host 1 45:00
I'm actually pretty impressed that you able to self learn a EDA tool so quickly like that, well, one of
Host 1 45:07
My boards is on Revision nine. On revision seven, that's kind of normal. And that while the revision seven one has one connector and two resistors on it, so that includes silkscreen changes, but still, that one took me a long time to figure out why the connector was popping off.
Host 1 45:26
Hmm, you got one of those? It's one of your ad pin.
Host 1 45:31
No, it's, it's a 20 pin. It's the same connector, but only in 20 pins. It's the power board. And what I finally finally realized, like revision five, was that when I had created the footprint and keypad, I made the pads too far apart. So I was barely getting solder contacts on the legs from the connector. And once I fixed that, knock on wood, cross your fingers. They've stayed on. Really worried about it, though, because quads can crash into things. And I'm sure somebody will break it.
Host 3 46:05
Yeah, you have mechanical stresses on all your components. Yep.
Host 1 46:09
Yeah. Fingers crossed.
Host 1 46:13
So yeah, the issues actually happened last week. Was the FAA, drone and quadcopter. Like regulations came out? Yeah. The
Host 1 46:23
Commercial ones. Yep. Yeah.
Host 3 46:25
They go even further than commercial, they go down to hobby.
Host 1 46:28
Well, the hobby ones I think came out before. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the happy ones were out like before the end of last year, okay. And the general gist for that is like, at the time, you could do it for free. But right now, if you went, you'd pay $5. You basically get walkthrough, like, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this. Give them your information. And then they give you an identification code that they ask you to put in an accessible place on your quad. So the numbers are the same for both of them, it's really a number for you. And then you can fly within the constraints that they lay out for you. So what came out last week was the commercial stuff, which is entirely welcome. Because there was a couple of ways you could do it before that, in my understanding, one way was actually having a pilot's license. So like for a proper plane. The other way was getting some like exemption thing that some companies did. But basically, if you were a small, nobody you couldn't afford to do. Hmm.
Host 3 47:30
It's interesting. I was looking through some of the regulations, and they have this, they have a chart that says, you know, if you're a hobbyist and you want to do XYZ, this is what you need. And you you have to have, what is it? It's not a license, but if you're if your quadcopter is over point, five, five pounds, it has to be registered.
Host 1 47:54
250 grams. Yep. Yeah.
Host 3 47:57
Which is, which is interesting. And then yeah, if if you're using it for work, you do have to have a license or some kind of pilot's license. It's not the same. It's not like a small aircraft. Right. License, but but it is a different you have to complete some kind, of course.
Host 1 48:15
Yeah. It's called the remote pilots, airman's certificates.
Host 3 48:19
That's it. Yeah, you have to get a certificate and a TSA has to approve you. Yeah, yeah, it does. They actually say that the the TSA vetting is the verbage that they use on the website, which is interesting. In fact, Josh, the owner of the studio that we recorded, he, he did a wedding was doing some photography A little while back, and they did some quadcopter photos. And so technically, that year, that was a paid job. And this quadcopter was certainly over 250 grams. Yep. This was a while ago, so it wouldn't, it wouldn't apply right now. But now, you would have had to have had a certificate in order to actually do things and the TSA would have to, I don't know, put you through an x ray scanner and figure out that that's it. Yeah, they've they've already proved that they
Host 1 49:11
Already know where that weird moles that
Host 1 49:18
Yeah, I think the whole area is just like, very much changing. On the car ride over park and I were talking about it and just like, how drones get a bad rap because of what some people do with them. And, you know, I, I take it upon myself to try to teach people that one you shouldn't do the things that people get in trouble for and to, most people don't. And that's, that's important to me, because it's my it's a hobby of mine, and I need space to do it.
Host 3 49:49
Mm hmm. Well, I'm kind of curious. You don't fly drones for a living. It's, you create hardware for drones. Do you need the certificate? Do you need a license of some sort? I have no idea. I don't either. I mean, it's kind of weird. I mean, I guess you do test flights, they have equipment. So yeah,
Host 1 50:15
They have talked with somebody who is making money via YouTube ads from videos that they took their quad. But basically, it's just all new. And and there's a lot of both court cases and just time before it's all gonna get settled out. So, you know, I, when I approach it, I approach it from a more practical standpoint of like, I'm not going to fly over people, because I don't want to hit somebody that doesn't know what's going on. Sure. I don't want to fly over somebody's property and risk damaging it. So what I think it's common sense, but obviously, some people don't also think that.
Host 1 51:00
Yeah, I guess that's the good thing about having to take this online course. So you actually learn about that kind of stuff.
Host 1 51:08
Yeah. And even the even the hobbyist, just like read this list of 10 things includes things like that.
Host 1 51:13
Yeah. Because it's just like, it's might be obvious to you or to me, but might not be obvious to someone else.
Host 1 51:20
Right? Like somebody buys a Phantom and then like, goes out into their front yard amongst their entire neighborhood. Flies it up and over their neighbor's house. Yeah,
Host 3 51:29
That sort of thing. So the real question is how long until we have to start taking defensive flying glasses?
Host 1 51:39
Only when Blade Runner comes true. Yeah. Yeah, flying cars are do pretty awesome. Maybe, maybe that'd be the future of your controller.
Host 1 51:53
Or somebody else is gonna do that. There's one guy working on tech motors. There's one guy working on like a person like quadcopter they carry a person that's not online. Yeah. I
Host 1 52:08
Saw a video was he was like, or someone it was one of those. Someone was standing on one and going out over like a lake.
Host 1 52:15
Yeah, yeah. I would never do that. I wouldn't either. They just seemed super dangerous. Yeah. Yes. Big spinning blade.
Host 1 52:22
Yeah, like 24 inch wide spinning blades to death.
Host 1 52:26
I'm scared of the six inch blades on mine.
Host 1 52:29
Yeah, well, even my little Hubsan if you get yourself hurt,
Host 3 52:33
It doesn't feel good. It does feel good. I've I've flown it. And I say flown in quotes.
Host 1 52:38
He hit the throttle on Amelie up into the ceiling.
Host 3 52:42
There's so many touchy, pretty common. They're really and I was in like easy mode.
Host 1 52:47
Oh, yeah. He's actually kind of hard.
Host 3 52:52
Yeah, they're not super intuitive. Yeah.
Host 1 52:54
Doesn't fly like a plane. Like if you actually like have less computer involved. You can get it to fly more like a plane one. Really? Yeah, it
Host 1 53:03
Host 1 53:05
Right. It doesn't self level. No. Which means it feels more like a plane. Yeah.
Host 1 53:13
Oh, cool. You have anything else guys that you want to talk about?
Host 3 53:18
I think that's it. It was good.
Host 1 53:20
Okay, cool. I've spent the last few days talking. So thanks for having me on here, though. It's been. It's been awesome. And
Host 1 53:26
It's been nice having you coming down from Seattle to come visit us. But yeah, thanks for putting up with me. It's a good change of pace at the fab. Yeah.
Host 1 53:35
I hope I didn't distract anybody too much. But I was super excited to like seeing the boards in the picking place. Like oh my god, that's so cool.
Host 1 53:43
It I'll put this right. That never gets old for me.
Host 1 53:45
So yeah, pick a place is really, really cool. The I saw the solder, solder jetter this morning, the pace gender paste gender. Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Host 3 53:55
I'm all new to this. That That thing's probably equally, if not more impressive than the pick and place.
Host 1 54:01
Yep. Yeah. So that was all great. And everybody's been super nice. I appreciate that. Awesome. Yeah.
Host 1 54:09
So you wanna sign us out, Scott?
Host 1 54:11
Sure. Well, I'm your guest, Scott shockcraft. And you've been listening to the macro fab engineering podcast.
Host 1 54:18
And we're your hosts Parker Dolan and Steven Craig. Catch you later guys. Take it easy.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai