MacroFab Engineering Podcast #310
Will Parker and Stephen cross off all there new year resolutions or will they be forgotten?
The US Mint Denver produces 30 million coins a day. Denes, the tooling department manager, discusses with us how production at this scale functions.
Stephen is on the hunt for the next step in his electrical engineering career and shares the shifts in the industry and what employers are looking for.
Relay manufactures hate this one simple trick that makes your “sealed” relays last longer! Except TE connectivity who has an note about this relay feature.
Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.
In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.
In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.
Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.
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.
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!
Welcome to the McAfee engineering podcast a weekly show about all things engineering, DIY projects manufacturing engineer. Oh, industrial news, not, not what I almost say.
I'm not sure.
I'll know in general nerdery. We are your hosts, electrical engineers, Parker,
Dolman and Steven Greg.
This is episode 310. And we only did that correct once before we messed it up. Obviously, I messed it up, not we,
we need to sign this as zero weeks since messed up now, you can just in the back. So before we get started, I just wanted to make a quick announcement that we are going to be having a TIG welding, live stream coming up here soon in January 15. That's a Saturday at 6pm. Central. You can tune in at twitch.tv/macro Fab. Parker and I are going to be live streaming our our TIG welding skills, which I'm pretty sure that you and I are probably about the same in our Twitch, ditch TIG TIG welding capabilities? In other words, I think we both kind of suck right?
that's what I'm saying. Kinda,
yeah. No, suck is awful.
So we're both we're both going to learn together, we're both going to kind of like feed each other. So and what knowledge should I say. So one of the takeaways I want to I want to get from this as is I'm trying to TIG weld large pieces, semi large pieces of stainless steel to stainless sheet metal. That's what I want to kind of come away is better knowledge on how to execute that. So it's a little bit of what I'm looking for. So if you're interested in joining us, come crack a beer and hang out on Saturday, January the 15th at 6pm. Central on Twitch. That's twitch.tv/macro Fab.
Yeah, we've got to figure out how to make that stream work. Probably going to do probably like a stream on like, Will horror stream on like, our personal channels. And then squad. Like you can squad link the streams. And so people can see both streams at the same time. I think that's not way. It's not like Steven sending my his video to me. And then I'm also re encoding that, like, that's how the podcast works now, right? And then that goes way out back to the ether. Also, like I forgot how to set up a webcam near my welding bench.
Yeah, I'm just mine is going to be really, really ghetto. But yeah, I
think that's gonna be really ghetto. And but it'll be fine. It'll be fine.
What I'm going to start with, so I bought some some steel coupons, just that are just like practice chunks. What I'm going to do is just throw down a piece of sheet metal on my bench, and then weld a coupon to it such that I have something to connect my ground clamp to. That's, that's sort of my first project. I have I'm making a project in order to learn how to make projects. There we go.
Yeah, I mean, that's how I learned how to MiG. Well, at first I took a class at my local Hackerspace. And then I basically welded a pre cut welding bench together. And kind of didn't go and do the same thing with TIG. I don't know if I can get everything cut for the TIG stream. But I want to make a holder for a gas can for offerding on my jeep. Right. And I think we've talked about this before maybe on the podcast or not. But I don't know if I can do pre kind of thing. But I think I'm just going to buy a whole bunch of steel coupons and just practice I need to practice steel.
Yeah, just running. Just laying down beads. Amazon has kits of coupons of various gauges just snag a pack. That's what I did. It'll work out well. Yeah, a little snack pack of steel. Yeah. And so the thing is, in the stream, I don't think we're going to actually be trying to get images of the Ark itself. We're not like That's hard. That's really difficult. Yeah, this is more like hang out. Like I want to hang out with our listeners. And just have some fun together.
Yeah, it's probably going to be like hanging out. Maybe maybe someone in chat will know something about TIG welding more than us.
Yeah. Hold on, hold stuff up to the camera and they just say no, don't do that again. Yeah, You get to watch us make a lot of mistakes.
A lot of mistakes. Yeah, make a lot of recyclable steel. That's
the best part about welding though, like your mistakes, you just chop them up and then re weld them together.
Everyone together so, yeah, that's a Saturday, January 15. At 6pm. Central time. We'll probably have more information. Or more. Yeah, more information about next podcast, too. Yeah. Like the details on like, how the stream is going to work. Okay, so a topic this week is New Year's engineering resolutions. And so this is kind of like, last couple of weeks, we talked about projects and wrapping up stuff at the end of the year. But now this is the podcast, we get to talk about things in the future. That means that this is also stuff that our listeners can hold us accountable to Oh.
Yikes. Yeah, so I guess you get to call us out if you ever see us not doing this.
Yes. So I have three, I guess we can just go.
See, like, let's just bounce between each other. Yeah, let's just bounce through
all the different ones. So my first one is, I'm going to finish the cat feeder on reminder. Finally, I it's already scoped out the schematic is pretty much done. I just gotta lay the board out and get some boards made. Yeah, and then 3d print a little enclosure and sticky tape it to the side of the the cat food bin.
Since we haven't talked about in a while just give like a real brief reminder of what it is.
So you Oh, that's such a good idea. Because it's been like a year since I've talked about this project. It's been a while. So the cat feeder on reminder is a a electronic device that basic basically makes sure you don't feed your cat more times and needed because cats really like to bug humans for food. This is also this is why the Reddit subreddit, slash are slash Junkers is a thing. chunker is a is a slang for a big like
cat a chunky, chunky cat.
And, and the problem I have is I'll feed my cats. And then my dad will go and feed the cat because he because the cat will eat all the food in the bowl. And then me out my dad, my dad will feed it feed her the same amount of food. And then that doesn't mind. Cat doesn't mind cat just eats everything they put in the bowl. So why I want to do is I wanted to do was make a giant device that basically when you feed the cats, you just press a button on on the actually I was actually think about change as going feature creep this on this episode though, is instead of making it a button, is I'm just gonna put a tilt switch on in it. So that way when you open up the lid of the food bin, it's it trips, it
resets and really, it resets
it. So the idea is, is that has a red or green light. Green means you can feed the cat red means don't feed the cat. And then it just has like an 18 hour timer on it. And they go I think I think it's gonna work out to be like a 22 hour timer.
Wow, that's an intermittent fasting on the for the cat.
Yeah, well, if you only feed the animals once a day. Yeah. So I mean, I only eat once a day too. So it's like a big deal. Yeah, forgot to finish that project. Oh, the other thing about that project is it's also solar powered right. So that you don't have to worry about batteries. It always runs
well, I mean, the good thing is if you see neither of the light drawn like that, that means address the issue.
Yeah. And the that was one thing is actually it's going to be a blinking I think it's a blinking green. Because running the green all the time will take too much power. Because solar power. Yeah, I think I worked on all the power calculations like a year ago and they will Yeah, it does work out. Yeah, it does work out.
Alright, so one of the resolutions that I'm looking to do is I call it smaller but more directed action. And I know that's a little bit awkward, but I've noticed one thing about the way I work, both at home but In my day job to that is, I want to be more conscious of and try to adjust it, like I, what I'll do with a project is I will save up lots of work for the project, and then I will take like two or three days and do nothing but that and, and what's kind of sucks about that is I ended up, it ends up looking like I get no progress. And then a lot of progress happens all at once. And then like no progress whatsoever, and I am gonna design meetings, I have to be like, you know, there'll be like two or three design meetings, there's like, no update, no update, no update, and then I'll take like 20 minutes describing all the updates in the next meeting. And at the same time, I've also noticed that like, I will put off tasks that in my head are going to take forever, but in reality take like 10 minutes, I will I will put those tasks off for like a week or two or even more sometimes. And then like, I'll finally be like, Okay, I'm setting up and I'm going to do this task. And then I realized that only took 10 minutes. I'm trying to be more conscious of those and just be like, okay, in reality, this task is not going to take eight hours, it's going to take 10 minutes go and do that that task. So
yeah, I have a I started implementing a rural. This is like four or five years ago. Yeah. Basically, if I if I, if I need to do something, and that task only takes five minutes. I do it right then. Yeah, regardless of what's going on. Yeah. It makes it seem kind of crazy sometimes. Because sometimes a lot of like five minute, things get stacked up. And so you're just doing live stuff and erode. Yeah, but it it works better for stuff, like stuff that you don't want to do is what that's for though, like making your bed. Doing the dishes. Yeah, during laundry, that kind of stuff. It only takes five minutes to do it, you but you put it in your back in your head that you don't want to do that. But basically, if that I don't want to do it. And I know it only takes five minutes to do or less to do that. Just go and do it. That like that almost chain, like revolutionized my life where I started doing that, you know, way more stuff done.
I did something like that earlier this year, and it's helped out a ton I made I made a rule when it came to those kinds of things where like, if I was presented with a task, right, then that could be done in five minutes. If for whatever reason I chose not to do it or I couldn't do it at that time, I would immediately pull up my phone. And I would make a task in my phone, put it on the calendar. And it's like you will do it. When this bell rings. You get to Yeah, delay this once. And then as soon as you do it.
That's a good idea. I should I should add that to that process. Yeah.
So it allows you to delay the task with the intent that they that task will get done.
Yeah, but yeah, only you only allowed to delay it once. I like that idea. Yep. Yeah, cuz sometimes you are, you start bouncing around too much. Yeah. And so that would help help that problem out.
Right. So um, yeah. So overall, this resolution is to just look at things in smaller chunks and take direct action and just say this thing is smaller, you can get it done right now. Just go get it done.
Alright, so my other resolution is to get my 1965 checker running and running is in quotes. And so what that means, so I have a 1965 checker marathon, which is basically a taxicab it's like, it's whenever you watched a movie, and it's like in New York City, and there's a cab. That's, that's a checker. So I bought a rolling chassis 65 checker a couple years ago at this point, and you put some work in I did get, I did get the engine the turnover, and I drove it and again, in quotes into the front of my backyard into the driveway. But I want to get it running in terms that I can drive it down the street and like go around the block like so, it needs to have a cooling system, it needs a it needs to have a enough electronics to not catch on fire. It needs to have breaks that break. Because right now you have to like kick the door out and put your foot down Flintstone Stein stones. Yeah. Everything that you think a car needs to do, it needs to do, right so like it already steers it already. It rolls was around. But everything else about it doesn't do what cars do, right? So I want
to get the ancillary stuff that's required.
Well, so like, there's other stuff like, oh, it needs lights, well, you don't need lights to drive it around the block, right. So I'm not going to worry about electronics, like, it just needs actually has enough wiring already, which is a key that tells the solenoid on the starter to kick on. That's, and then like the distributor, which just give it power, it does its thing. So it's like, that's actually electronics wise, is actually technically done from the standpoint. But the main thing is, it doesn't the engine itself doesn't hold water. When it was stored back in like the 80s. It was It wasn't properly stored for long term storage. I don't know why maybe the person who owned it died or thought they'd get back to it or something, but they never did. So all the freeze plugs are called are now rust plugs now in the engine block. And so which isn't that big of a deal, because that happens. But one of the freeze plugs is in the back of the engine between the engine and transmission. So you have to at least pull the engine out which uncoupled the whole transmission and drive train out to get to it. And I do have basically the engine I want to put into it, which is a bigger version, it's an inline six engine. I have I have like the biggest Chevy inline six came out of a truck that I want to put into this sedan. But I think I'm not going to do that yet. I'm going to I'm going to take the small inline six and it's going to pound new freeze plugs in it. I got to remove a a rusted bolt that snapped off in the water pump. Got to remove that and you know, re thread that, and then put that back in as it is and kind of get it like kind of what I want to do is like drive it how it was stock ish. Actually, I've already converted to disc brakes. For the brakes, I just have to run the plumbing, I think I'll have to do. So I won't have like the stock four wheel drums anymore. But kinda like the original engine original transmission. Just drive it around the block at least couple more a couple times before like that engine gets joint to go into the junkyard.
And that's, that's like a year goal. Right?
That's a resolution goal. Yeah. Oh, honestly, it's probably only like, if I had a whole week off. I could knock that out. No problem. But I don't have a whole week off just to work on the checker, unfortunately. Right? I'm probably gonna take a week off to do other things.
Not that's Yeah, sure. But now we get to hold you accountable for it.
Yes, hold me accountable for getting it running in quotes. It wouldn't be nice to get it running enough. So I can just drive it down to the local there's a like a inspection shop right down the road. Because the I have a full blue title for it. But the title is got a what's called a mark on it. And the mark means that the tax office here in Texas basically said where we are, we are holding we are trusting you kind of with this mark, that the serial number is correct on the title. And what you do is you take your your blue title with the mark on it to an inspection shop and then the inspector goes, yep, that's the same number stamp. And then you get a full unmarked blue title. So and I said serial number, not a VIN, which is a vehicle identification number because VINs did not exist in 65. That's great. So it's got Yeah, so it's got a serial number. Plaque not a not a
weapon. When did VINs begin?
Oh, I don't think it was long after 65. Actually. I want to say late 60s. Okay. I want to guess I used to know that back when I was like trying to figure out how to get a title for the checker. Yeah. So that was fun.
Do you get Do you get any kind of like special exception for it? Like do you get one of those license plates that says something like, unique about
oh, oh, like antique or whatever? Yeah, so those have weird rules. Because basically when you get one Most of you pay less taxes on your car. And you can't drive your car lot. It can't be a daily driver. Yeah, you basically can only really drive it in parades. And like, maybe your car show a couple times a year. Like is not is they basically you, you report your mileage every year. And, honestly, I'm just gonna get regular license plate for. I'd like to actually drive this car. Yeah. So that'll be I don't want to be restricted on my car driving. Right? Right, right, I need three daily drivers we're talking about.
And only, he will
not be a daily driver by the end of this year. But I want to be able to drive it around. Like at least move it around when I need to move it. If not have to push it around. Yeah, so get the original engine running, get it? That the big thing is I don't know if the radiator will hold water or not.
Okay, so question about that. Why spend the time getting the original engine if you're already if you're gonna replace it.
So the new engine has different motor mounts and tried to weld in different motor mounts.
Right. But how does that change anything?
So, okay, so the new engine is straight six is actually it's the same length as the original engine, except it's two inches taller. Okay, so I had to lower it down about three quarters of an inch to make everything fit under the hood. Yeah. And doing so changes every bracket on the drive train.
So you really just want to see it move before putting all that work into it.
Well, yeah, that in the end to get the new engine and the new engine I pulled from a running truck, like, three years ago at this point, I'd rather instead of trying to fire that engine up and maybe perhaps damage it. I want to send it to a machine shop and get it built correctly. First, too. Yeah, before I decided to stab it into the checker. Got it. Because it's going to be it's gonna be it's gonna be turbocharged. So there's
some like parallel action going on here. Yeah,
it's really I want to get it running. So I can at least like if I need to move it, I can just move it. I don't have to like, get my neighbor over and be like, Okay, you sit in the car, and I'm gonna push it and then you know, throw a brick in front of the tire. So it stops it.
Yeah, you need to use a wheelchair, right? For this. Yeah,
it does have wheel chocks well big bricks. Yeah, so does that so I just want to get running be able to drive around make the brakes work just actually on the brakes This just needs a this tubing I think on the front to rear because it's it has the I actually rebuilt I don't know why I rebuilt it a rebuilt the original single pot master cylinder. It was actually only $3 to rebuild it in like an hour. So it wasn't actually that much work. But so I'm going to run disc brakes off a single pot master cylinder just to get it running. Because like eventually the plan will be the pot of hydroboost units and then you know a split two pot modern master cylinder on it. But to make that work, I need power steering and the car doesn't have power steering so I've had power steering to this this checklist now to make it run in quotes. So again, I'm looking at as what is the least amount of work I have to do to get it in that quote driving unquote phase which is why I'm not putting the new engine in yet. Yeah, because the new engine like I don't have a carburetor or anything that fits it but I have the original carburetor actually rebuilt original carburetor. Low Low. Low almost looks like a big coffee mug. Like a thermo house. One one jet
Cool. Well, hopefully by the end a year and a half like maybe December
we need video evidence video or it didn't happen. You will get it we'll get it. Cool. That's exciting. That'll be fun.
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.
So one other resolution that I'm really trying here is is out I'm actually calling this a stretch resolution. But it's to be more present. And I understand like Barker's giving, like concrete things. And I'm giving more like heady abstract abstract things. But but this one. So over the past couple of weeks, I've realized that I have a tendency to hold myself away and not be in the mix with everything, I've sort of been that way my entire life. And recently, I got a promotion at work that that puts me a little bit more in charge of more people. And I realized that I don't have much of a relationship with a lot of the people I work with. I mean, like, I have like friendly relationships and stuff like that. But in terms of like, I want to be, I want to be a little bit more present at work with everyone. But I also want to be more present with what I do in my own personal life, with these projects, but also on social media, which is something that just doesn't come naturally to me. I don't post to social media much, because I guess I have some kind of a feeling where it's just like, I don't care, like, oh, it's not that I don't care. It's just like, I, I make the assumption that no one else would care about what I have to post so I don't. And I realized, like sitting right next to me right now is like massive amounts of projects that just could have been tons of good content to go out there. And I'm not talking about content in terms of like, increasing or growing a podcast or my own brand, or whatever. But just like content that just adds to cool stuff out there. So I want to be more present with that. And especially with the amps I'm building now I have, I have cool amps that have been building and playing. Like, I don't have pictures of them to show people you know, like it just be like, you want to see it, like set up a time where we can meet up and like, No, I just need pictures and content and videos and me playing guitar and things of that sort. So it's just, that's one resolution, I'm trying to be just a little bit more forward in a way, but not in your face. I mean, because you send pictures to like rosin. I have all your projects, and we're like, this is awesome. It's like, you should be posting that stuff. Great. And that's just the thought of like, or any social media goes. And that's how I've been my entire life. Like my close friends are the ones that I'm sharing all my cool stuff with, like, I could be sharing it with a lot more people. And that's the whole thing. I'd like to just put some more action into that.
Yeah, and people do care. Like last night I was I last night at like, 1230. I finished like wiring the battery on the battery stuff on my, my mother's golf cart. And I took some pictures and posts on Twitter and James Lewis and I were just chatting about like, motor controllers. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So people care. People really want to see that kind of stuff.
I just think the more stuff like that just makes those platforms better.
No, actually, that was about what I'll say is there's so much negativity in this world, we can bring some positivity to it by showing off cool stuff and talking to people about cool stuff.
100%. And that's that's the feeling I have right now. It's going to take work for me because it just does not come naturally. Like when I do something, I don't immediately think like, oh, I need to tweet this out. Like it doesn't just doesn't come to my mind. But like, I want to try to be more present in those areas.
So I've mine last one is I'm going to lose my last 36 pounds, I need to lose nice. This is more like personal I guess because my other two are like projects, stuff like that.
Could be an engineering resolution because I could bet lots of engineers could lose 36 pounds myself.
So my goal is to get to 200. And how I'm doing that is I have a really good diet. I've been on a really good diet for a while. I just plateaued at 236 for ever. And basically what I'm gonna do is I am not going to drink alcohol until I hit 200 Oh, wow. So that's 200 pounds before I can drink now there is only there's one exception to that rule. It's not the podcast
any day that day.
Isn't wise. Oh, that's
it? Yeah, my bed. No, no, it's
Oh, if you go like a vacation. If I go
on vacation to ski. That's the only exception skiing also
makes you burn a bazillion calories. So yeah, I actually
every single time I go skiing, I end up losing like two pounds over the week. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work and You're like hydrating, like, like drink tons of water, and drink, I drink a ton of Erongo skis. Like, I'm like, I'm like, I'm, like I calculated, I'm just like 4000 calories a day, not in beer alone, but like just overall food and everything. And I was still losing weight, just because how much activity you're doing. But yes, I'm going to not drink alcohol until I hit 200 pounds. Welcome, gram, six pounds ago, that's a big goal. Yeah, because that's really I'm like, that's where I'm losing my, my calorie count is, you know, drinking a six pack of beer on a Friday night. That'll do it. Yeah, that's, that's, that blows out, you know, an entire week's worth of doing really good basically.
So I have one more. And this is something I actually talked to my wife about. And we both kind of agreed on this, we have a lot of tendency to utilize our shared time of us together just watching TV, like, like, we both have separate interests that just don't really align. And we go our separate way to do it. And then like when we're done, we come and watch TV. And sometimes we that can become a crutch that can become like, it's just the default that we end up doing. And so we're willing to sacrifice a bit of that time for something else. And what I want to do is start replacing a bit of that, like just watching random garbage stuff with executing, well, I apologize, not executing with practice. And so that can be a certain things, certainly I, I just don't play my guitar enough. Most of my guitar playing is actually me just like banging out noises on something I made, as opposed to like actually creating music, or actually like being a musician of some sort. And on top of that, I've noticed a lot of my engineering and a lot of the work that I do outside is execution of skills that I've already created, as opposed to specifically putting practice or learning new things. Now I'm constantly like researching things and gaining knowledge and things like that. But when it comes down to things that are skill based, like even our TIG TIG welding, and things like that, perhaps replacing 30 minutes of show with 30 minutes of TIG welding, or something like that, where you're putting, you're not just like toying around, you're actually practicing a new skill and trying to get better at that skill improvement improvement. And that's that's sort of the last resolution there was to replace things that are just mindless in a way, because a lot of a lot of the TV stuff we watch is just, we're both on our phones, and it's just noise in the background. And so I want to replace that with practice of some kind of a skill, and that might be welding, there might be guitar playing, there might be any number of things. So
that's a good idea. Yeah. Well, you get the start that with the the TIG welding stream, then
I would love to get better at TIG the the biggest the biggest problem with TIG for me is that I need, I don't want to create projects. But in order for you to get better, like you need projects to do. And the thing is like, I would love it, if I could weld a lot, just I don't have the projects lined up for it. And I don't really want to create the project for it. I have, I have two projects, I know that I could weld up. One is a piece of furniture that I promised my wife that will eventually happen. And then the other one is a weld cart for my welding equipment. Because right now I just put it up on the table, which is fine, and it works. But I want to weld up on my own wheeled cart. But both of those are not like once they're done, they're done, I'd have to create another project. And the problem with with welding projects of that sort is like you end up creating these larger structures and then you have to put them somewhere. And welding isn't necessarily the cheapest thing. I mean, like you got to pay for the gas electrode, you got to pay for the the filler rods for TIG and then the actual metal itself is not the cheapest thing on earth. And so like, I would like to get proficient at it, or I should say proficient enough that I can be confident in the structural aspect of my welds. But but I don't necessarily care about like, the extreme levels of cosmetics that other people do. Oh, the Instagram welders. Yeah, and like all the walking the cup stuff and like the serpentine looking. I don't care about that. Yeah, I want to stick things together because I'm going to grind my welds. Let's just go The reality of life, they're just gonna happen. Because Because 90% of the stuff I'm going to do, I'm going to paint anyway.
Yeah. And you want it smooth, right? We're gonna paint it Right, exactly. So that's, that's what I did when I learned MiG, is I took a class at a hackerspace. And then I went to my garage and I spent at least 30 minutes a day, for an entire month. Welding on coupons. Like I would sit there, my first would be a warm up just like laying down flat beads. You have the caterpillars on a piece straight and then I'll do joints. You know, I'll do like a 90 I'll do a butt joint. Overlapping joints. Yeah. And then once I got confident with those, I cut a bunch of box tubing into like miters and started welding the miners trying to do inside welds. And and I spent 30 days 30 minutes minimum a day and some sometimes I spent a couple hours like just Yeah, welding stuff. Now, MiG is a lot less expensive than TIG is because the material the consumables are a lot cheaper. And I feel like
the learning curve is faster. Or at least fast. You get you you get to something that seems acceptable quicker.
Yes. Like I still mess up. Well, it's all the time. Oh, yeah. Like, you overheat something and like it bubbles like, like, bubble gum. The good. And so you'd like gotta get the grinder and grind the weld down and we weld it.
I think with MIG and with stick, there's fewer variables to change, and fuel each variable. It's like range of acceptability is way wider than with TIG. Yeah, it's like TIG if you're off by a few amps. Like that could be it, you know? Or if you're if you're if your gas is not flowing fast enough, or too slow. That's it. You know, it's just done. You're not even gonna get anything acceptable.
Yeah. So actually, what I'm gonna, I'm gonna do is I'm going to actually, I'm going to buy some stainless to because I have stainless filler rod, I can't remember what number it is, but I should just buy some stainless coupons too. And do that with you. Because when I think about it, what am I going to use? My, my biggest thing with TIG right now is, why should I take something when I can make it? You know, yeah, because most of the time again, most time, like why I'm, I'm going to paint whatever it is. So I want to grind it down so it's smooth. Well duh smooth because no matter how good of a TIG welder you're, well, I guess, I guess you can actually make a really flat weld with TIG. But it is going to be a better maybe even a stronger weld, at least from my skill set to make it and grind it flat then is to try to tickets flats. So, that's where I'm coming from. So I'm like, Okay, I think I need a that's why I started on aluminum with TIG because I'm like, I can't do aluminum material on MiG. Tried it, couldn't figure it out, couldn't make it work, couldn't get the skill set done. So I'm like okay, what is something else with TIG that I can learn a skill set on and it's going to be stainless and for building tubing like exhaust and so I think I'm gonna get some thin like you thin materials to start practicing TIG on and maybe I actually buy some round tubing to to cut up and try to make weird shaped like like you know when you start like yeah, basically make snakes you know, like you make balloon animals for a certain first time and you're like I made a hotdog.
Yeah and so I'm doing two things on the stream I the coupons I bought are all cold rolled steel and I bought those as a as like a nice like confidence booster where I can be like yeah, I can stick things together because cold rolled steel is so easy to weld. Yes, it is very easy. And so just like get get the feeling with the cold roll steel and then move over to I got a I got a sheet of one millimeter 304 stainless steel. And then semis welded Wilbanks that I'm going to try and stick to it.
The funny thing is the first thing I success like project I built well with the TIG is I put those little stainless tabs on the little stainless like coolant reservoir. And the welds are not pretty at all but they're there. But they are they're not bubbly either. There they are an acceptable weld. It just doesn't look Are you at all? But the thing is I polished it and it looks looks fine. Yeah, it's just all wavy. It's not a straight weld at all. Well, I
mean, for the most part, TIG is inherently wavy.
Sure, but I'm like, I'm talking about the Instagram. We're like they're dipping perfect. Cross stack in the dimes minds, just like minds like a stack of nickels and dimes. Miss couple of pennies in there.
Yeah, you know, one of the nice things about TIG that is different than MiG. I couldn't MIG or stick in my basement, my basement floor is wood. Like, I can't throw sparks all over the place. But I take in my, in my basement, because I'm not throwing sparks all over the place. So it's nice for that kind of thing.
So I'll pick ups. I'll pick up some stainless coupons, others I think I'll pick up some steel coupons, stainless coupon because I have all the other consumables and just not the I have plenty of steel.
You can just you got some some
14 gauge, I got a bunch of 14 gauge less than prime steel. Nasty, is grind grind a scale off of it. Yeah, I'm sure get some tubing I should try to make I should get some like two inch two V stainless tubing. Yeah. And just like make a weird shape snake, like because that's the one thing is practice welding around the tube, and also back purging it I gotta get I gotta just get the equipment to back purge,
I I'm going to try cold welding on this stream too, because that's, that's really what I want to see if that's a viable option for my brew rig is cold welding. Because you don't have to back purge. And anyone who knows what cold welding is and is a welder is probably cringing, like mad right now that I'm even considering that because cold welding is like, it's a great way to make a terrible weld. But I'm what I'm trying to do is stick things to my pots and make them watertight effectively without damaging the stainless nature of it. And without blowing holes through my my pot. So like in terms of structural like the most amount of stress it's going to have is my hand opening a valve like what kind of torque do I apply to a thing on a pot like, so it doesn't need to be able to handle huge amounts of stress. So if I can make it look nice, I can make it function for a long time and hold water. That's what I want without having to create like a crazy backwards system for filling, you know, a 15 gallon pot with argon like I don't have that. And I don't want to buy all this stuff for just three or four welds on a pod, you know? Yeah. We'll find out. It's gonna, I think it's gonna be really fun. I'm looking forward to it.
Okay, so we have a New Year's resolution from the macro fab engineering team. And this is to this is actually just really good advice is run DRC on your designs. That was that was like, I thought it was really funny when I was like, hey, what do you want me to tell our customers and they said, run DRC. So we do have DRC files for eagle and ultium. I don't know if we have those for dip trace we did when I was doing I created them. Yeah, so we still do. It might be an older version. But that's that's all exists. And there's also key CAD as well. That might actually need to be updated to KiCad mods. And if you have any questions like, like, if you just go to like macro.com, I think knowledge base, the DRC is right there. And but if you have any questions about DRC or any other like you have a weird requirements for your DRC you can drag that support to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up in the Slack channel, which is Mac fab.com/slack. Because the big problem we run into is like a lot of people like this. It's not really actually people out route, just ignoring DRC design rule checks for the PCBA designs. It's people like to try to cheat DRC and this is not like oh, I'm only going to pay for six mil but I have three mil traces. It's not that it's like I have a 5.8 mil trace. Is that okay? Yeah, and
I have I have one of them. Only one of them. Is it fine?
Only one of them. Is that fine? Or like hey, my drill hit is like nine mils. It's not 10 mils like the min. So the thing is sure. or you can run that through, the problem will happen is your cost is going to go up one way or another. Okay? It's either going to go up because basically the PCB fab is gonna say, hell no, we're not going to build that, and your real charge. Yeah, they're gonna charge you up. And this This is why, though, it's not, because they're just getting more money, right? It's because the smaller features ends up costing more failures during E test, and during manufacturing, trying to make a trace smaller, will result in more Fallout, or they have to have a stricter tolerance in their machines, or they may have to use a completely different machine altogether to get that tolerance. And so let's just say you just push it through, right, and you just because there's a lot of people go, Oh, I build, you know, small drills or and small traces at these, like cheap, you know, fab houses, and they don't seem to care. Well, that board might even work right then. But you're gonna have infield failures because you might have over etching or under etching, at some spots, or, especially like inside of vias, because vias is where all your stress builds up on your printed circuit board, like during PC when the board flexes, temperature variations. It's actually why when you like, look at like stack cups, you'll see like, like one ounce copper might end up being thicker than one ounce copper, because you're trying to you have the plate enough material in that hole, that via the build it up, so it doesn't crack like crazy. But, but if you if you have under etching problems, stuff like that, you're gonna get infield failures, you know, four or five years down the road. And you're not going to have any idea or you might not be at that company anymore. If some other schmucks in, you know, field technician being like, this design sucks, they might not even know why the design sucks, though anymore,
right? No, but nobody has any clue. And no one has any idea, you know, here's a hot tip about DRC DRC, in a lot of ways is an error check, it's there to show you when things are wrong. And when things go wrong, or you made a mistake, it's not a check to make sure that every little thing you're doing is right on the boundary. So in other words, let's say your DRC, use put trace width at six mil and trace spacing at six mil. That's not just like, from a design perspective, that's not just freedom to make every trace six mil and every trace be close to every other trace by six mil. Yeah, if you do that, that won't throw an error on your DRC. But you're adding a ton of complexity. And, and a lot of potential for error in your board down down the line. So the DRC it only plays by the rules that you give. And if you download the DRC files from macro fab, you'll play by their rules. But that doesn't necessarily mean oh, just because this allows me to do it. That's a good choice. Just keep that in mind. DRCs show you when like oh shoot, I did something dumb and I overlapped traces or something of that sort or I did violate this and that would cause a huge cost in increasing cost.
Yeah, what was the rule? We came up with the 1010 10 Oh yeah. 10 mil trace 10 mil spacing 10 mil drills.
That rule we came up with was was the basic if you follow this, most people not most PCB houses should be able to make that no problem. Regardless of what PCB house you go to
that yeah, it's that and that fits. I mean, especially, unless you give below like half a millimeter pitch with on on components, it will work for practically anything. And it's also like a 10 mil trace can carry an ampere current for at the low voltages that embedded systems are running over a short period of distance, like a couple of inches. So it's like it's kind of like foolproof, it's a really good rule for beginners. I say,
you know, I might add to it, amend it just slightly and make it 1010 1020 And that would be 10 Trace 10 space, what was the third 110 Oh 10 drill, and then and then 20, annular ring for your vias, if you can do 1020 On your vias, so 10 Hole, 20 annular ring that will allow plenty of slop for the hole to be to have tolerance and for the drill hit to have tolerance and you'll still have plenty of an annular ring. And that's actually an issue
when that leaves you only a five mil annular ring
around well okay so it It depends on how you how you define find it. Yeah. But
define annular ring by the basically the radius difference. Some people do the overall different overall diameter, I do the radius difference. Sure, it's actually 1010 1010.
Yeah, there we go. That's, that's a good way of putting it. Let's let's do it that way, where the actress gives you 30 mil 10. So that it gets if you if you look at it that way that would be that would work the best. Okay. And that's, that's actually an issue I see a lot a lot of people do is they'll put us a large drill hit for vias thinking like this is great. And then a microscopic annular ring. So yeah, right, right. So if the xy is off at all, or if the tolerance of the drill head is large at all, you've just chewed through the annular ring. And then it's not even a via at that point, it's just like sloppy copper in
a hole. Yeah. It's also the thing is, is for beginners is investigate the DRC tool for your EDA tool, because it's a computer, it will do what you tell it to do. So if you input your DRC, incorrectly, it's going to run the DRC incorrectly, well, it's going to run it correctly, given the parameters you gave it, which are incorrect.
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, you are smarter than your DRC. But you should never ignore an issue from your DRC. So it may be that the error is throwing, it's throwing in error, like it's giving you an incorrect error. But you should go and fix the reason why it is giving you that error, as opposed to just ignoring it. In fact, I really one of the buttons I don't like much in EDA tools is hiding errors or ignoring errors on DCS. Because like, Yes, I get it, you can do that. But there's a like, that's just as an example, we had a client that gave us a board that had 700 Something errors on it. But they gave us this board, and they're like, we've gone through all of these and every single one of them is not an error. So please ignore all 700. And it's like, no, go and fix it such that if we run it, it says no errors, you know, and the thing is like, yeah, it was fine. We were able to make the board and those were not actually errors. The problem was it was improperly set up DRC. And the client was just not interested in setting up and going and fixing those things, because it would have taken a lot of time. Well, that's that's a problem at the very beginning. You didn't set it up properly, and then follow it. And then you violated every single one of the rules that wasn't set up properly. That's a great example of just don't do that, you know, and neither party was interested in spending the time fixing it.
Oh, exactly. Yeah, no one wants to spend time. But
in my opinion, a board is not done until DRC says no errors. Yep, I agree. I do have some really small caveats to that there are some times where I've gone outside, like, there are certain limitations to dip trace my EDA tool that I have to create errors to get what I want done. And it's because there's certain things that I need to get done on the board that that the software doesn't support. And so I I really grinds my gears, but I have to create errors and just know it. So what I do is I like basically create those errors, snapshot them. And then make sure that whenever I run the DRCs I just have to, in my mind, ignore them. But I try to avoid that situation as much as possible.
So what I do is on if I have those is I use the note layer and Eagle. And I'll put a note at that spot on the board. Oh, that's a good idea. Yeah, be like, hey, this error will pop up on this DRC check it. This ended up go. This is why this is okay. Yeah. Yeah. And then you click the little Approve button.
I hate that. Yeah.
But in case you ever change DRC and run it again, you can it will if it pops up, you have a note there saying? This is why this is okay. So,
so one other quick thing about DRC from the WMD team. You don't get to cheat the numbers I'm sorry. Like we want you to you as being the designer, like get the numbers. All right, we can cheat the numbers at the CM because we know how our machines work and 99% of the time, at least from my side. The the numbers we give you in the DRC are such that you'll be successful through our line and they're based off of our PCB manufacturer and our machines. And so there's certain things that we can cheat like tolerance on selective solder. So from the like, position of an SMD component to a through hole component, there are situations where we can cheat and get away with them being closer. But if we give you those original design requirements, and you build the board to it, there's nearly 100% chance that your board will be successful. And there's no issues with it. So we give you those numbers as an initial design requirement. And then if we need to fudge them, we do it on our end. And that just works better for everyone.
Never thought about that way. That's interesting. So one last thing. Podcast resolutions. I thought this was gonna be the bigger topic, but I guess not. Yeah. So we are going to this is basically how do we make the podcast a better experience? Experience entity, like experience, though? Like, that's a good marketing term. Oh, yeah. So the first thing we're going to do is we're gonna release, we're gonna start releasing the podcast Friday at noon. Because currently, we record Tuesday, six o'clock ish on Saturday said Tuesday on Central Time. And then, Josh, our editor has to basically rush like, Wednesday morning slash afternoon to get me the mp3 file. Then I put that and post it like right away like I publish it like right wine, get it? Yeah. So the release window is somewhere between Wednesday at noon, and Wednesday at like 9pm. Sometimes it just depends. So I want to get off of this depends. And I want to push it to a set time that it always comes out at. And the reason why Friday at noon, because sometimes Josh is done by Wednesday at nine, well, Wednesday, nine o'clock, I don't want to be doing anything related to the podcast at that time. And so while I want to do is on Thursday, I want to spend time and actually because right now I just, I honestly just trust Josh, and I publish it right away. Like I don't want to listen to it. And I want to change that though. It's not because I don't trust Josh, I want to actually listen to it and make better notes. For our podcast, spend some more time doing that make better notes because like we used to have some like, super in depth notes. If you go back to like, the hundreds numbers, like our notes are super detailed, because I would I would go and listen to the podcast and write in notes. Because I want to do that by need to have time to do that. So Thursday will be my day to do that. And then Friday at noon, do a publish for the podcast. The reason why Friday at noon is that seems to be a really good time to release a kind of goofy podcast like this goofy slash informative podcasts like this. So we're going to give that a shot, we might move that around some day on Friday, basically, Friday is going to have to be the day or like Monday, because I wanted to actually I guess we could do it like Thursday, late Thursday as well. But we're gonna try Friday at noon. Going forward also we are going to be going to video. So right now we stream the podcast at twitch.tv/macro Fab. But we currently don't like do anything with the VODs the video on demands that Twitch makes. And we also are we started recording all the video to like in our in our broadcaster. But right now we don't do anything with it. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start editing that too. And then that will also go live Friday at noon with the podcast so there'll be a video and the podcasts now it's all going to be audio first so we're still going to be the audio quality will still be are nice or nice voices that Josh from Shazam years and edits correctly. But he's also gonna be doing our video. And so we're going to upload that to YouTube and same time. We are also going to start transcribing the podcast. I don't know exactly how I'm going to do that yet. But basically that way one, if you listen to the podcasts on our website, Mac fab.com/podcast is like a fancy player there. And it will have like the transcribe will be in there like it will scroll like as we talk. And also the transcribing allows us to have really good closed captions on YouTube. So we'll be able to have closed captions on YouTube and we'll have the transcribe on the podcast page. Nothing we want to do is more polls. Like more voting polls, figured out more user engagement with the podcast. We started doing that last two weeks ago, we did a poll about changing the stream time, when we like, record the podcast and people, the people who responded said they want to like us at six o'clock on Tuesdays, or shifted around to, I think we would kind of keep six o'clock right now on Tuesdays. But I do want to try to get more people in on livestream as possible. So that might have to shift depending on how more people respond to that. I think once people realize how cool it is to listen to us live, they might be more willing to show up guys. It's cool. It's cool. And also, we're going to start giving out swag to our livestream events. So when we livestream we're not doing it today. Sorry, we want to chat not yet. So we got to set these up. But yes, these are resolutions. So these are things you can hold us accountable to on December 31. This year. If I this year is 2022. For those that are in the future, listen to this in like 2024
Well, they'll know about our really cool podcast in 2020. They'll know they'll know about all the cool swag.
Yeah. So you're out swag. Got the livestream event.
And hey, we actually have some legitimately some really cool ideas for swag coming up. And I know Parker and I are really good at generating ideas. But we're pushing really hard to actually execute on these ones execute.
Yep. So I think that's it. Yeah, that's, there's there's more we want to do with the podcast for sure. But these are stuff that are like that. Our resolutions in terms of this is like the minimal that we want to be able to do. I think that's it. Yeah, I think that's good. So, you know what, we should have a resolution on figuring out how to end this podcast.
I think you just found one right there. Yeah, that found a way.
Yeah, so that was the maximum engineering podcast we're your hosts Parker Dolman and Steven Greg. Letter one. Oh, take it easy Thank you. Yes, you our listener for downloading our podcasts if you have a cool idea, project or topic. Let Stephen and I know Tweet us at Mac fab at Longhorn engineer or at analog E and G or emails that email@example.com Also check out our Slack channel. You can find it Mac fab.com/slack. And also check out our live stream on Tuesdays at six o'clock pm at twitch.tv/macro Fab really need to get a URL shortener for that one