- Audio quality of the podcast leveled up! Stephen and Parker went over to The Pharmacy Recording Studio which is run by Josh Moore. He hooked them up with 2 (!) microphones and an acoustically pleasing room. Big thanks to Josh!
- Parker has been working on the X-Y Platform which has been code named the SAIM which stands for Semi-Automatic Inspection Machine. Half of Parker’s job is coming up with “cool” acronyms.
- The SAIM will be a PCB inspection machine for low volume runs at MacroFab. See Figure 1.
- Parker gets Open Beam and Open Builds confused again. Similar names and similar products! Parker is using Open Builds V-Slot Linear Rails for the SAIM.
- Controlling the SAIM is the Macro PLC. It is a in house designed CNC controller based off the Parallax Propeller.
- Stephen has been working on the FX Development board. This board has all the power supplies and trimmings you need to develop guitar pedals, analog effects, and synthesizer circuits. The board has two solder-less breadboards as well built in. See Figure 2 for the prototype.
- This week Stephen and Parker have not been able to work on the Super Simple Power Supply (SSPS) but will be getting back to that project next week. Getting a solid cooling solution down is the next step.
- Selling 3D objects that you did not design? Ethically or Morally wrong? Depends on the license.
- Mouser’s website verse Digi-key’s website. Stephen really likes how clean Mouser’s website and attribute searching works. Parker likes Digi-key’s pictures as they make it easier for shopping for connectors and switches.
- Parker suggests reading the errata datasheets first before picking a microcontroller.
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
Hello, and welcome to the macro fab engineering podcast. I'm your host, Parker Dohmen.
Host 3 00:14
And I'm Steven Craig.
Host 1 00:15
So this week, I guess we're not going to introduce this whole area we
Host 3 00:20
We probably should the the audio quality, your hearing is probably quite a bit better than it has been in the last couple episodes. Thanks to Josh more at the pharmacy, a local recording studio. So the macro fab engineering podcast is growing up. Yeah, this
Host 1 00:35
Place is really, really interesting in terms of the all the equipment kind of scattered about and yeah,
Host 3 00:42
Well apparently used to be a pharmacy here in Houston and converted into a recording studio. And it's
Host 1 00:47
Pretty cool. So, this during this week, I've been working on the XY platform, and we had decided to co name it the same machine. Same same at the semi automatic inspection machine. Half my job here at macro fab is coming up with cool acronyms. Sure. So I got most of the the chassis design today and going to be ordering all the parts from
Host 3 01:15
Open beam. Didn't you already order a couple parts from there? Yeah, I
Host 1 01:19
Ordered some parts that test out their their V groove system for all the railings. But I'll be actually ordering all the rest of the parts. Probably on Friday, tomorrow when he's outside. They did it.
Host 1 01:32
They did the episode already. Yeah. So when we order in tomorrow morning when this episode comes out. Awesome. Yeah, it's got some pretty cool, I'm using their C beam, which would be really, really rigid.
Host 3 01:45
And no problems with racking or anything like that
Host 1 01:49
Shouldn't have any problems with racking and twisting. Awesome. And most of the code for the macro PLC controller is pretty much done. We can send serial commands from the PC over to it, and then intergrates or interprets that and does what it needs to do move the steppers around and all that crazy stuff.
Host 3 02:12
So pretty much when everything comes in. It's just a matter of building some adult Legos and getting stuff moving.
Host 1 02:18
Yeah. Allen wrenches in a chop saw. Awesome. So what are you been working on this week?
Host 3 02:24
This week has been a little bit of a mixed bag. But I've been doing a bit of work on my FX Development Board, which is what is that man? It's a an audio electronics development platform. Basically, if you're into audio, electronics, guitar effects, building amplifiers, synthesizers, I have a board that has all the correct peripherals, all the development tools that you need power supplies, all the connections all in one platform in one location. So I've been kind of getting things geared up for that release here soon.
Host 1 02:58
Yeah. And you've been testing the power supply for that to the front end of that.
Host 3 03:02
Yeah, I've been trying to get. I basically did a cross section of what what power supplies are needed across guitar pedals, guitar amps, synthesizers, and basically made a power supply that consumed all of them. All on that one dev board. Yeah, that was a pretty interesting design, because you're doing a negative rail on that, too. Yeah, yeah. The since guys, they gotta have that plus minus 15. Or they'll start complaining.
Host 1 03:27
Yeah. Oh, audio guys complain? Yeah. So that in the recording studio. Um, I guess that's what the what was something else that we're working on this week? We did a little bit of work on the super simple power supply just a little bit, but not too much.
Host 3 03:50
Yeah, we're still looking into getting rid of getting rid of all the heat that that thing produces.
Host 1 03:54
Yeah, I think next week, we're gonna be tackling getting rid of the heats. And we're gonna make some make some basic rudimentary water blocks and a water cooling setup just to dump it. And so we can actually test these these op amps without melting the vinyl on our on our desks.
Host 3 04:10
Yeah, the longest time I turned the op amps on was about a second and a half. And they got pretty hot. They
Host 1 04:17
Were pretty toasty. Okay, I guess we'll just go ahead and move into our rapid fire opinions, which is what we're gonna call this segment now. Not questions anymore, not questions, because they're not really questions because we, yeah, we turn them into opinions real quick. So earlier this week, there was a article I saw on Hackaday, about selling CAD prints that are basically people downloading prints from Thingiverse and then selling them on eBay after they print them up.
Host 3 04:47
Yeah, as I was reading that actually earlier today. What are your thoughts on that?
Host 1 04:51
So from what I gathered from the article is, when you upload stuff to Thingiverse, you give up all your rights
Host 3 04:59
That you get that's what that's what it looks like,
Host 1 05:02
You know, um, is it is that you give up all your rights. And does that? Does it have any kind of commercial clause in there?
Host 3 05:08
I think I think it does. I think it explicitly states that it is basically an open project. Once you've put it up on things.
Host 1 05:15
There's no, there's no non commercial clause in there. It's all open. That that's what it looks like right now. Okay. So I guess if that's the case, people need to read licenses more often than Well, butthurt about it.
Host 3 05:31
I think I think the biggest thing that that the question here is, is less of a legal question and more of an ethical question, did they since they didn't design that themselves? Should they be taking that design and profiting off of it?
Host 1 05:46
Well, I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it morally, or ethically, I think you should be able to, as long as I think actually what it needs to be is the licensing on Thingiverse need to be more clear. Yeah. Probably more explicit.
Host 3 06:03
Yeah. more explicit. It's kind of like open hardware. If you put something out there, anyone can make it.
Host 1 06:09
Anyone can make it. It's actually interesting. Like you're doing, you know, Creative Commons or something licensing like that, that actually covers hardware. Because most people just slap, you know, MIT on it and say, That's good. But technically, I only actually deals with software.
Host 3 06:26
Yeah, yeah. Well, it also, it also brings up the question, why are you posting to Thingiverse? In the first place?
Host 1 06:32
Oh, if you don't want anyone to copy your design, right, right. If
Host 3 06:35
You're posting up there, and it's just wide, just out in the open for anyone to do is it just is it just a cool thing for anyone to print? Or? Or what I mean, it's got to go through your mind, you know, you spend 800 hours making some cool 3d anything, and then you put it up there, it's got to go through your mind that somebody is gonna take it.
Host 1 06:53
Yeah, someone's gonna actually take it and print it. I guess what? People want to make it so other people can print it and not profit off their own work without any kind of kickback. And think about it like that is that's just the original designer being lazy, or not profiting off it themselves? Hmm.
Host 3 07:11
I'm not sure it goes to a matter of them being lazy. They might just, you know, they might have been an artist at heart and just want to share their 3d thing with the world. Oh, yeah, I can see that. I don't know. But I think I think I agree with you. This is this is a matter more of you got to read that license agreement before you go and start sharing your stuff everywhere.
Host 1 07:31
Yeah. Or Thingiverse? Actually, I can't remember what licensing they release everything under Creative Commons. Creative Commons. Yes. Because Creative Commons does have a non commercial tack on, you can add. And maybe if Thingiverse would just have that as a checkbox, where you can say, I want to upload my design, but I don't want anyone to sell it on eBay, check this box. But how do you prevent that? Well, so the only way to get around that I think is basically you have to sue the person is Thingiverse gonna go around soon. Everyone doesn't have to sell it's the original content creator, we have to sue that person. And if you don't want anyone to profit from it, then you just kind of can't release your item then. Yeah, but
Host 3 08:14
You know how that goes with, with counterfeiting stuff in China. It just, you sued the company. And then three days later, they pop up as another name.
Host 1 08:22
Yeah, it's just whack a mole. Yeah, exactly. I, and then, earlier this week, I think was on Tuesday, we were looking through Mouser and DigiKey. And actually realizing, like the differences between those two, two providers, or parts, distributors, or parts, and how different their interfaces are from each other, where they actually do the same thing as in you order small volume parts, and they show up at your door. What do you think about? Well, actually, how about this? Which website? Do you like the best?
Host 3 08:58
If it's just Mouser versus digital
Host 1 09:00
Versus G? And then you can throw in if you'd like some other site better? Okay.
Host 3 09:05
Okay. So when it comes down to purchasing parts, those are probably the first two that come to mind. Yeah, for pretty much every one we write for the in the States. But, I mean, there's what element 14 New Ark farno those are all AIMCO. Well, those
Host 1 09:23
First three are all one company, right? Depending on where you're at. It's only 14 states and it's far now and the UK,
Host 3 09:31
Right. But in terms of the Titans, oh yeah, it's gonna be it's gonna be Mouser and DigiKey. And, and I think the deck is a little bit stacked for me on this. I'll be honest, I think Mouser just just completely obliterates Digi key.
Host 1 09:45
I think I Well, yeah, it's stacked against because we're Mouser is melser is here in Texas, right. And so when we order parts they come in the next day ground shipment.
Host 3 09:54
I've ordered parts at seven o'clock at night on like a Tuesday and had them before noon on a Wednesday with standard shipping.
Host 1 10:02
Yeah, it's kind of stacked. But I guess we're not talking about that we're talking about their interfaces.
Host 3 10:08
Well, okay. Still, still, I hold my position. I think now there's interfaces cleaner. And the mouse's interface gets you to your parts faster. And, and their filter system is just awesome. It just, I know what I want. And I can zero down to it no time flat.
Host 1 10:27
Yeah, their attributes seem to be a lot more organized, also and more explicit, their
Host 3 10:33
Site looks a lot more polished. And and I know that most of the time engineers really don't care about that. But but in this case, it just looks cleaner.
Host 1 10:41
Yeah. One thing I really liked actually, about Digi keys, actually, our shop for connectors and switches on Digi key because Digi key actually takes pictures of the parts. Yeah, it wouldn't take a picture of a resistor two. That's the exact resistor that you're buying. Yeah. Whereas Mouser pretty much just uses what? The manufacturer that part gives them?
Host 3 11:03
Yeah. And they have morning in the part may not look like this. Yeah. And so
Host 1 11:06
When when the thing about buying connectors is you really want to look at it first. Yeah, before you even say anything else about it. You want these mount of Connect connections, and it's in it needs covered, you know, it needs to carry this amount of current. And then all you care about is what it looks like at that point. Well, yeah,
Host 3 11:24
And then there's then there's aspects like if you have a key or something like that, or if the rows are offset or say something weird like that. You want to be able to see that yeah, you want to connectors or the weird thing where they like if you if you bought an IC and you buy an SOC package, you know, it's gonna be an SOC package. I don't I don't ever worry about that. But but with a with a connector or a switch or something. I want to feel it. I want to touch it. I want to see it. I want to look at it.
Host 1 11:49
And you really don't really care about what like a resistor looks like or what the IC looks like. Yeah. Because some resistors are black, or there's some that are blue. I'm talking surface mount parts. Yeah. Same with through hole. Yes, I went through whole, like metal films can sometimes be like gray in color. Yeah, the body instead of the cheapy thick films, which are composite, and Manila colored, I guess. Whatever color that is.
Host 3 12:20
I don't know, one thing I've noticed though, Digi key just completely beats Mauser out in terms of their stock of ICs. That's, I guess I just say that this is my, what I've noticed about them, they they tend to have more stock of the weird ICS that I'm looking for. Whereas Mausers like Yeah, sure. We'll get them for you. If you order 1000.
Host 1 12:42
Yeah. Also, it's really good. We'll go back to the attributes is when you're looking at a part on like, let's say a resistor on on Mouser. Yeah. And you need to find, like an OT name. And then you go to your next part, so to speak. Yeah. So you want an o 805. That says current rating. And that that ppm, but you need a different resistance. So in Digi key, you have to go all the way back a couple spots to get to back to the Calculate the parametric search, right? Whereas in Mouser, you just select you just checkbox, all those attributes and hit show similar. And then it just popped up with all the resistances. Again, yeah, select one thing again, which is really nice when you're trying to find similar parts.
Host 3 13:26
Yeah, if you if you have like 80 different values of resistance on your board. And in general, you want them all from the same manufacturer. You can go real quick, getting all those all those different guys,
Host 1 13:37
And see what I'm trying to do that I actually just like, look at I download the datasheet. Yeah, and just look at how they build their part number,
Host 3 13:45
Right, and then change 104 to 105 or something like that. Yeah, yeah. A little faster, you know. And another thing, Melzer puts the datasheet, like right next to the part, a picture. And it's it's off on its own, because if I'm searching for a new part, what's the first thing I want to look at? I want to pull that data sheet up. I want to look at that. I want to see what's what's there. And I want to get there fast. That's that's something that actually Parker and I talk about a lot about stuff. engineers don't want fluff. We don't we don't want a bunch of extra stuff on your website. Just get us to what we want and get it to it's fast. Yeah. And Digi key has it has the there has the datasheet. Right, right. Beneath all the information. It's usually the first thing in their little array of cells there. Yeah, usually what is a little bit buried mousers I know exactly where it is. It's always in the same spot. And that's my data sheet.
Host 1 14:35
Yeah, on Digi key, I think it's like, it'll actually have a URL for the picture. Yeah, and then something else and then it says datasheet
Host 3 14:43
Yeah, and if there's like a Rata or anything else, they kind of stack it together in a list. Yeah. Well,
Host 1 14:48
That's true. That's true as Mouser doesn't have any of that stuff.
Host 3 14:51
They do mouse's harder to get to down at the bottom of the page. There's some tabs, that's like extra information you have to give to look for that. which can be a trap. But it's one of those things where the datasheet is 99% of what you want. And then that extra 1% You can go hunting for
Host 1 15:08
Yeah, I'm good word word of wisdom is if you're looking for a new microcontroller, don't look at the look at the datasheet first look at their raw data first. Oh, yeah, see what what they actually had to change? And then see if that's like, going to affect your project any way
Host 3 15:25
That could be. Shoot, we could do like 10 podcasts on picking a microcontroller alone. Just with with all the traps that are in there,
Host 1 15:33
Ah, picks on microchip Yeah, yeah, in
Host 3 15:37
Fact, we were doing we're doing a project what, a couple months ago, two months ago, three months ago, something like that, where we use the pic. And it nothing was working that everything was solid. The whole circuit was fine. Yep. And it just was not working. And and Parker was just digging through the through the whole data sheet. And it was like a note somewhere. There's
Host 1 15:59
Like a little footnote, like on like, page 86? Yeah, one little
Host 3 16:03
Footnote. And it's like, oh, geez, if you don't follow this one little line on page 86. Your whole port eight doesn't work. Yeah. Yeah, it was ridiculous. So watch out for that. It's, it's tough. You pretty much have to read through the entire data sheets. That's That's why FPGAs really scare me. Because I don't have time to read, you know, 900 pages.
Host 1 16:24
Yeah, um, I actually do a lot of FPGA development. And I have not read most of the datasheet yet. Well, that's I said, that's why they scare me. Yeah, most time is, as long as you you're pretty tame in terms of what you're doing. Yeah. You don't have to worry too much about what's going on inside the FPGA. If you let the compiler do its magic, and then
Host 3 16:45
It works on you know, you don't want to take it to the extreme. Good,
Host 1 16:52
Yep. Well, I think that will wrap up this week's macro fam engineering podcast. I'm your host Parker Dolman.
Host 3 16:58
And I'm Steven Craig. Catch on next time. Take it easy.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai