They may be known for being electrical engineers but on this episode, Parker and Stephen dig into the more mechanical aspects of their current projects
How low can the power consumption of the Cat Feeder Unreminder go? Parker and Stephen discuss leakage current on this episode of the podcast!
Parker and Stephen discuss Chat GPT-3, a language processing AI system, and what it can mean for engineers and society.
Rapid Fire Opinion
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 macro fab engineering podcast. We are your host, Stephen Craig and Parker Dolman. This is episode 213.
So one of the things is, we're gonna be doing that McWrap soon is we're doing some webinars things like every Wednesday, it's actually one this week with the pod. But we forgot to mention it last week's podcast with Chris church. But I'll be doing a webinar, I think churches doing a webinar. And I think there's one more at the fab doing one.
What, uh, what are the topics is going to be
basically just going over the macro platform and how to use the tools to make you you know, a better engineer or a better supply chain manager, stuff like that. Okay. It's not really how tos, it's more of like, explaining what tools are there.
Right. Yeah, things that you might not see that can help you out.
Yeah. So I think yeah, the first one is tomorrow, which will be too late for when this podcast comes out, because this podcast will come out like after the webinar.
Will Okay, so for next rate planning hmm, yeah, yeah. Fantastic. for next week's I guess, just go to the website, and you'll see webinars something
Yeah. In our in the podcast description is tweets and stuff. And I think I'm doing the second one of the check. Okay. Partially check. Is there gonna be like live chat, people can ask questions and things. Yeah, there's gonna be live chat and and stuff like that. I think we're using what is the platform we're using? Super prepared.
Yeah, ah, zoom. Cool. It's one of those Voice over IP kind of with webcam, stuff like that. Platforms? Apparently they do webinars, they have a webinar portion of their software. So we're gonna be using that. Cool. I'm working on that a lot of the fab
tips and tricks, right. Yeah. Hot Tips by Parker. Yes.
Hot mouse click action. Speaking of that, hot mouse click Actions. I've been doing a lot of Autodesk fusion 360. And I used to be a big into SketchUp for a long time. And the the problem I've been finding with SketchUp is it's not like the mentioned, it is the mentioned, but like, when you need to go back and change something like iterate on your design, it's actually really bad at doing that.
It's abysmal. Yeah, you just have to, like, cut and like, stitch stuff back. Yeah, it's not very good. You use extrude to fix your problems, like, yeah, make big blocks of blocks and just extrude through your what you don't want. Yes.
So I've been learning Autodesk fusion 360, because I've, they actually, with Eagle, if you have Eagle professional, you actually get access to Fusion 360 for free now, which is kind of cool. So basically, they roll up fusion 360 and Eagle into one package. But I'm getting pretty good at it now. I watched tons of YouTube videos, and I bugged Stephen. Like, I think I spent like half the day bugging you. Like four hours of your workday was spent chatting with me over slack on like, getting like stuff to work, right?
Hey, but you got it.
I got it. Yeah. And, um, almost as fast as I am in SketchUp, it's definitely the overall process is still faster. Because when I 3d print something, it's never right, the first time you go back, tweak it, that's all it now super fast, because you just go back in the fact that you just go back to your base or your 2d drawing, and you edit it there, and it mostly reflects it into the model. You just have to make sure you design it, right. That's the big thing is it's a different way of designing stuff, because you design a 2d view extrude that, pick another face, and then do your 2d drawing on that. And then extrude or unexcused? Yeah, it's,
yeah, it's everything is two dimensional face drawings that become a three dimensional thing. And then you make bodies, components, assemblies, that kind of stuff. Yeah. And like the first time I got a 360, I was like, oh my god, this is this is weird. But as soon as you like, once you get, and I'm using like air quotes here, once you get their workflow, then it's like, Ah, I get it like, but before that, it's like, What the hell are you wanting me to do?
Yeah, it's a different way of drawing things. Like, you have to start learning all the tools because in SketchUp, you can get by with like only actually knowing three or four tools. And you can get you can line circle rectangle. Yeah, lines and extrude is like the only tool. Whereas in, in fusion, you had to learn almost the whole tool sets. So you can prop properly in air quotes, design something in Fusion 360. Like, the whole idea of a whole being its own tool. When, in SketchUp, it's just do extrude a hole.
Right? It's but but then you like you extrude a hole, but fusion doesn't consider it. A hole. It's not a selectable thing that Yeah, it's like it's now a cylindrical face.
Yes, it's cylindrical face. Whereas the best way to do it is to draw it as a hole feature. And so you have to set that up in your sketch first, with like intersecting point, construction lines and stuff like that, so that when you move, if you need to move the hole, you just move the construction line in your sketch in your sketch. It's a different way of thinking, but once you as you, as you said, once you get how it works. It's so much better than anything else you've ever done. Because it makes iterating.
Much faster. Yeah, yeah. Oh, for sure. Like, once, I was telling you this a while back, and I think like, I think it like you'll agree with me, like it wants things to be defined. Once you have things defined, it's happy. If it's not defined, then it's like, well, all bets are off. Good luck.
I was reading on a form, like what I was trying to figure out some of the UI stuff. It's like, what does the lock mean? On your sketch, right, like, whereas in your little drop down of all your sketches and stuff. And that means that everything in that sketches constraint, which is 99% of time, a good thing. And, and the forum posts or something like, you will have nightmares of unconstrained sketches. Yeah, for sure. Which is true, because if you change one thing, and something's not constrained, it just goes out the window, what that thing is going to be, you know what that thing's going to look like. Or crash it, which I've happened before,
I've got I've got a little bit of a gripe with with Fusion, and it's super minor, but it happens to me a lot. So I use Fusion every single day, because I do all of our CNC work with Fusion. And I've got it down now to a process because all of our work is flat metal work. So the only thing that changes is like the elements that I'm engraving or where a hole is or whatnot, even even down to like the hole sizes, we have probably, I don't know, maybe 10 unique hole sizes, but they're all like it's which of these 10 Or when am I doing. And but the so when you use the cam portion of fusion 360, the first thing you have to do is you have to create a setup. And a setup is basically what is my stock that I'm cutting, and where is my model inside of that three dimensional stock. That's pretty simple, right? So, in fact, all of our stock is the same size, we have large sheets of sheet metal. And so like it's always the same size.
It's like looking at the block of marble, and you see your thing inside of it, the statue of David is in there.
Right? So So here's the thing. After you do that, then you define all of your operations, like I'm going to chamfer a hole or I'm going to do a contour or something like that. And once you once you enter into yours, your things to get into the options on how to contour or whatnot, it for contouring, there's five different pages, all of options that are that are have to do with contouring. And so it's like things like feeds and speeds, what tool you're using, what's your depth, what's your roughing passes, you're finishing all of that, all of that good CNC jazz that you have to deal with. So So here's the thing. If you if you're in those menus, and you you want to change between your units between millimeters or inches, you have to go into the unit's drop down tab to be able to change change from millimeters to inches. But if you want to change that it automatically dumped you out of your contour settings just such that you can go change millimeters and inches. So let's say you're like way into it and you're doing all of your settings which are five pages of settings. And then you're like shit, I don't like is this going to be a three millimeter hole or is it going to be point 125 inches and you want to just switch? Like it'll dump you out and you have to restart all of those things just to switch units like why can't I just like press a button and I'm like, everything is like, Oh, now you're millimeters or now you're like in dip trace, shift, you automatically switches units and everything changes. And that's all you have to do. So you can just bounce in between, like no problem whatsoever. It's super annoying, like, should not kick me out of that I there's been many times where I'm like starting a new CNC project, and I'm having to do all brand new settings for everything. I'm getting new feeds and speeds and everything. And I'm probably 10 minutes into doing stuff. And I was like, oh, I'll just switch units. And then I forgot, and I lost everything and had to restart. It sucks.
Yeah. I haven't I haven't used that section of fusion yet. Because I don't I don't do a lot of CNC work. I do a lot of 3d printer work. And I use cura for my, my tually my tool package, so to speak. So I exported STL file, import that in the Carrera and then that's where you build your tool paths and do all your slicing. I bet you fusion probably has that capability. Yeah, it's just I've been using karo way before, and I have all the settings set up in there. Yeah, and I don't really want to retune this printer again, for another slicer.
You should try it once just to see. Yeah,
give it a shot. Yeah, we'll do that after this podcast. Because I am just thinking right now, people might be able to hear it. We Oh, we are. It's actually like, very accurate representation of stepper motors.
So you had you had sent me an image of something you drew up in, in fusion? Is this something you can talk about? Or is this
Yeah, I can talk about this. That's actually why I sent it to you. That's something I drew in 15 minutes last night. Nice. So um, and that includes putting in, like, inserts and those.
So let me let me let me look at this and take some guesses. Well, okay, so I can take one. Let me start by asking we'll do some 20 questions. 360 20 questions here. So, first one is just a binary question here. Is this for a macro pet project or for a Parker project? Parker project? Okay, it's automotive related, then. Yes. Okay. Like that's, like, guaranteed, it's automotive related. Okay, so this is a big this, this thing is rectangular. It has two circular extensions off of the long edges.
And the give you the circular extensions are gonna be longer. Okay? They're that short, because this thing is, is like the that's like, the maximum size I can put my printer. So I'm going to prototype it on my printer and I'm not going to use it in real life. And then when I get the real one made those extensions, the tubes on the end go longer. Got it. Got it. Okay, that gives you some scale of how big this thing is.
Right? Okay. Okay. So, one, okay, so the one face of this rectangle is is like wide open. Basically, it's not a complete closed. Well, I should say a cubed, or whatever you would call that.
It does have a lid that goes over. That's what the screws are for.
Is it a clear lid? It would be but not inherently. Okay. And then it has six. What are they? Allen screws? Yeah, that's the whole the lid on? Okay. Yeah, just to hold the lid on. And then. So so the circular extensions off of this rectangle have their their halfway blocked. Half on one side and half on the other side. So this kind of makes me think that there's some kind of airflow that goes through this, right? Yes. Okay. So, so here's the thing. I know you have three cars, you have a Jeep, you have a wagon. And you have a checker. Yes. Which one is this? For? None of them in particular show could be for any of them. Yeah, this is more of like prototyping. A future system I
kind of want to design.
Okay, if it goes on one of those cars, does it go on the intake or the outtake of a car? For an engine neither. Oh, okay. So it's not part of an engine? No. Okay. What is the what is the radius of those circular parts is like three inches, three inches? Yeah, okay. So only five millimeters. Okay. So some kind of like hose connects to this. Yes. And it drinks air somehow. Yes. Is this some kind of like air conditioning thing? Yes. Okay, what what part?
It is a at a cabin air filter Ah,
so you can put like a rectangular filter into this. Ah, there it is. Got it.
So it's a little, like, almost like three inch by six inch little filter. These are actually the filters, cabin air filters that you put into the newer Jeeps.
Ah, I see I see that. Okay, so there's some inside this rectangle. There's one thing that really kind of gives it away. It's the fact that there is a, an angle, some angled slots, such that the filter fits into this thing at a bias. Yes, gotcha. Okay. Okay, cool.
So you slide your filter in, put the lid on, and then you've got a enclosed inline filter.
Okay, okay, so the lid on this does need to be clear. So you can look in and see if it's dirty and see if you need to change it.
You just replace it every year. Cuz it's gonna be tucked under this is like I'm prototyping a way to because so if context for this project is all aftermarket air conditioners for cars, like vintage air or classic auto air all these guys. They're never they're not designed to cycle outside air. They're only for recirculation. Which is great, because that's actually that stuff gets the hottest and stuff gets too cold is when you recirculate. So if you fart. Yeah, well, most cars are actually when you start up the car, it's default. So circulates. That's the fastest way for it to cool down. I actually liked having outside there mixed in. Like when my, my TJ Jeep or red Jeep is I usually actually will just have outside air blowing into me while I'm on the freeway or driving around. Like, like 80% of the Year, like up until it gets about 90 degrees. That's enough to keep me cool down. Over 90. It feels like a hairdryer now blows on your breath. Yeah, so you want her an air conditioner on? Yeah. And that was actually one of the downsides when I did the wagons air conditioner is I don't really have an outside air source besides like the stock style vents. So you basically on old cars, you have a cable that you pull the cable and it opens up a flap somewhere. And then air comes into the cabin that way. But it's dependent on air, like how fast you're driving. So if you're sitting at a stoplight, you don't get any fresh air, right. So that stuff kind of sucks. So what I wanted to do was is develop a system that you could put into your car, old car that would work in conjunction with like a vintage air air conditioner system. So you would take the vintage air air conditioners and remove the fan, put a spacer in between the fan and the body because they kind of unbolt and so in that space or you could pipe in your fresh air. And so how you get the fresh air is um you need to filter it first. Because you're gonna get like pollen and bugs and stuff. And so you want to capture that before you force that through an air conditioner, evaporator core. Right. And, and so to get that air, I'm actually looking at bilge air pumps, or bilge air blowers for like boats. How? Because they make them they make them perfect. They're like they are designed for inline tubing that you would use an HVAC system, right? Like three inch automotive stuff. And they're three inches diameter and they flow like, you know, 150 cfm. And I'm like that should be we'll see if it's plenty we'll see.
I would think in Houston, that filter, you would need to change it once a month, not once a year.
I changed the one that's on my dad's Tahoe and it was in there for two years. And it still had plenty life. Okay. I went off mileage for that. And after two years, I pulled it out in the hat. It definitely had like pollen and stuff all over it, but I'm like yellow. You could probably run this for one more year and be fine, but went ahead and already had it apart. Like I'm not putting in a I already bought the $10 filter. I'm not putting the dirty one back in. So that's kind of what I've been doing Autodesk fusion for modeling, that kind of stuff up printing. It's doing a lot of fixtures at work. But more on the car stuff is I've been learning how to braise stuff like ball I say stuff like gas tanks and and radiators, especially for the checker because everything's really old and rusted out. So I've been bracing bracing brass radiators is pretty easy, because the lead flows really easily on it. I haven't Try doing like silver solder. Well, no, I did do it. I did silver solder on my kettles. Yeah. Yeah. silver solder is a pain to work with because you need to be it needs to be a lot hotter. And I only have a propane torch and propane. Barely hot enough to do it.
I saw some guys on YouTube do their kettles with Map gas.
Yeah. So I'm thinking about getting the Map gas but I also have an acetylene torch setup. So I'm like, Oh, well, that'll
do it. But you'll you'll go through your kit.
Yeah, I just gotta be you gotta be careful with it. And I gotta get a new hoses because I've actually never used it.
Make sure you put those arresters on it. Yeah, and yeah,
I need a modernizing things. I bought it for 150 bucks at a garage sale. Nice. So, I mean, the tanks are pretty much full. Oh, well, that's worth 150 bucks right there. Yeah, no, not including the tanks. Yeah, and all the torches I got and stuff. I'm like the hoses work. They don't leak. But they don't have arresters in them. So I'm like, Okay, well, yeah, you
want to rescue. You got bombs on your hands there. Yeah,
so I'm just gonna get some new cables forum. My cables have hoses. Anyways. Brass radiators are pretty easy. The stainless kettles for my brewing, I did those I silver soldered those that seems to be working pretty well, they don't leak. And then the new thing I've learned to braise is like brass fittings on steel gas tanks. Because apparently back in the 60s, and probably prior to this, when they built the checker is welding really thin sheet metal was a pain in the butt. Because they probably had I don't know when TIG started becoming a thing you could do, but if anything,
like if they had it would have been scratched art. Yeah, they I mean stick would have been what they had.
Yeah. So a lot of steel tanks and stuff like that were actually braised together because it was easier to easier manufacturing process. Whereas nowadays, everything's TIG welded, right? By a robot arm, yes by a robot arm. And so I re braise brass back onto the steel gas tank and it turned out great. No leaks and I've cleaned up the gas tank like it's been soaking in like etching material for because I'm like taking all the rest out of it. Like the past day, you'd be holding up pretty good not leaking. Nice. But one thing you got to be careful with with gas tanks is no matter how old they are, they will always still have gas fumes in them. So you have to make sure to get rid of all those fumes. A lot of people are like you take it to a like a radiator shop if you happen to have one and they boil the tank and it gets over a fuse i I've managed to just like I just decrease the crap out of it and let it soak for like a week. And once I drained it and dried out it didn't smell like gas anymore. Yeah, and all the varnish was gone. So I definitely did like flick a match edit from like across the garage and see if it will go and that didn't happen and so yeah, I've been drilling welding on it. When was the last time I had gas in it 32 years ago. Pretty sure you're okay. Yeah, but definitely did smell a little gassy still got it. So the last thing you want to do is pull out your propane torch and start bracing something and then you know explode your your tank all up in your face right? Because of course you're like hunched over like so you can get a good view of your Phillips as you're breathing
right right or you have your acetylene torch without arresters on it and and then it goes to tell
that the dancing blows up on blows you up.
blows back to the tanks and you got two giant missiles
Oh that's great suburban home in Houston Texas ablaze and on fire in a crater in the garage.
Oh man. I was working a job in Fort Worth while back and a welding supply well the largest welding supply shop in the entire area actually caught on fire and we all just sat there watching the TV because those giant 125 pound tanks are just taken off like rock it was kind of scary actually
drive by as close as you can get to the on like the nearest freeway and just get a cooler beer.
Now you it was pretty scary. I mean, they like they evacuated like miles around it. Oh yeah, for sure. You know, I learned I learned automotive trade. Pick the other day. And it totally makes sense. But I had never really done it before. I was actually having a little bit of trouble with my truck starting and I noticed I just had a ton of corrosion on my battery terminals. And so I was going at them with some, some toothbrushes and just trying to clean them and stuff. And then I looked it up hot water and baking soda. You just dunk your terminals in there and holy crap, it works really, really good. I mean, go figure you put a pretty hefty bass next to a pretty hefty acid and they kind of destroy each other. Right?
And the baking soda has has a abrasive property to it. Oh, yeah, if you scrub with it, then it's yeah, you scrub with it. And you basically make a paste and it kind of does its thing.
Right. But I mean, just dunking it in the warm water. I mean, my terminals came out and they look like brand new copper. Oh, cool. Yeah, it's worth it's worth giving a try. Yeah. The liquid comes out like a nasty green brown color.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. The fix the problem?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Like, yeah, you get you have 750 Starting amps on that thing. And you don't put any resistance in line with it, it starts your car up pretty fast. Cool. So I've been kind of moving on to not some new projects, but actually taking care of a bunch of old ones. So I've been trying to what's the best feeling? It feels it feels great. So get this. I've been really trying to book the standard of the podcast of like, projects like turning into dust and just sitting there on the shelf.
We need Thanos to show up and snap his fingers
and restart. So we can have projects, new projects to put on the shelf. No, no, no, like at the beginning of the year. I was like I really want to knock out a handful of stuff. And I was like if if I get caught in the trap of like, I need x tool for y project for z. Final thing, then I have to follow through with that. And luckily, I've been doing it and I've been super excited about it. So I had a jointer planer that I bought a year ago. And it was a year ago. Well it was a little bit over a year ago.
Yeah, a little bit over because you had it when I was up there in July last year.
Right. And not long after you were here in July. I tore it down bolt by bolt everything Yeah. And then I let it sit for six months. And I was like I'm not allowed to start or do any other thing until I finished the jointer planer and I totally just like rip through that. Now of course I bought a couple of tools in order to finish that like ultrasonic cleaner and stuff. Actually I bought that ultrasonic cleaner after we talked about ultrasonic cleaners on the podcast and it's amazing it's so worth it. Yeah, go get the get the 20% off coupon for harbor freight and buy their their thing I think it ends up being like 60 bucks. And you just, you know just squeezed like a boatload of dishwasher soap in there and then get some of their cleaner that they get that they sell. It smells like urine. And it just like a cleans boats like nobody's business. But yeah, so So okay, get this I completely redo my jointer planer and I spend like half a damn day calibrating that thing, like I got super anal, I'm got my my calipers out. And I got that thing flat to within like five thousandths of an inch which you can build
who can build a mahogany dash for the space shuttle.
That's, that's that's the goal. I mean, the Okay, so the biggest thing that sucks about this joining planners is like by itself, it's it's not flat. Well, the infeed table is not Gosh, what's the right word for it? It's not on the same plane. It's slightly tipped and tilted. So in order to fix that, you have to get feeler gauges out and you have to put feeler gauges at different points of the sliding portion of the infield in feed table. So you know it's sitting there like put an eight tau feeler gauge on there and then like put it all back together and then get your get your dial indicator out and then slide around and find out and they're like, oh, okay, well, maybe it was nine tau that I need to put on. It took forever but I got it super flat and super 90 now. So I finished that such that I could build the base for my CNC which has been inoperable for a while ever since you moved up there. Well ever since I moved out Yeah, right. It's just been sitting in my in my garage. So I ended up building the base for my CNC but in order for my CNC to work, I need 220 in my basement so I ran 220 lines with a Uh, with a disconnect. So I've got a new 60 amp service to my basement, which by the way, thanks everyone on the Slack channel who helped me kind of figure out what's the decent way to do that and pretend to be up to code.
And then I went out and I snagged a tablesaw such that I can build a torsion box that goes on top of this, this new table that I did, I also completely restored the whole gantry explaining what a torsion boxes, oh, torsion boxes. It's like, first of all, Google it. If you just Google it, look at an image you go. Okay, that's what it is. It's just a network of fine. I want to Google it. It's a network of
what's more like a matrix of wooden interconnects that form like a like an egg crate box style thing that is skinned on top and bottom. And because it's all just seamed together in the way that it is. It resists bending, twisting, and moisture changes. So it makes an excellent topper for a CNC.
Okay, yeah, I'm looking at it. Okay, that makes sense.
Yeah, a lot of a lot of like, nice workbenches use them because they remain flat, regardless of temperature changes in moisture changes. And if you use MDF, then it's a, it's a pretty good home gamer. Top, basically. So yeah, I completely just like the jointer planer I completely ripped apart the entire gantry top or the whole gantry of my CNC and I've rebuilt that top to bottom. Once again, great pizza, great thing for the ultrasonic cleaner to go to town on,
on all those chains and stuff. No, I'm just buying new chains,
those chains are garbage. I mean, they're just, they're just like, they're long strings of rust. Now. They're not like they're totally worthless. And a number 25 chain, like 20 feet of it is, like 10 bucks, you know, like, I'm not gonna worry too much about that, although, so all of my bearings on my CNC are V groove bearings, and those are not cheap. And I tested one of them in the ultrasonic cleaner, and it came out great. So I throw everything in there. And I just clean the living bejesus out of them. And they actually, some of them are a little bit crusty, and like you spin them and you can feel some, it's not even grit, but it feels like the it feels like the balls in the ball bearings are not balls anymore. But, but in general, like just the way that the CNC functions, like I it's not going to cause me any, it's like, I'm not going to lose sleep over that. It'll be fine. Also, there's a couple of positions that those V groove bearings go into that are less critical than others. So I'm going to put the good ones where it's critical, and the other ones that are just used for like tensioning I'll use the bad ones there. So and bad is sort of relative they still spin and everything they're just some feel a little more crusty than
I think that that scene see is one of my favorites because it's a very good drinking activity. Yeah, everybody is gonna time Steven I use that scene. See we'd be at your old shop Yeah, for like six hours and then kill like an entire cooler beer. Oh man, it's like when you when you bark when you smoke like brisket like or meats on it's it's a it's an event but you gauge it by how many beers it takes to like a brisket is like an 18th Beer thing. Sure, like it takes 18 beers and when you finish your 18th beer that briskets done that's a lot of beer but you know it takes eight the am I for me eight hours or more to properly smoke that brisket just melts in your mouth and he makes brisket now well my
CNC is gonna melt in your mouth when it's up and running. So here's the thing, like of course I have I have a larger plan with all of this like my CNC is not fantastic it's it's it's what I want to use it for. It's fine like it'll I'm going to be cutting plywood and that's what my CNC is meant for. I might cut some guitar bodies on it also it's plenty suitable for that I can use it I have in the past and it works fine to like drill holes in steel chassis and stuff. It works fine for that. I'm not going to be milling aluminum or anything I don't and I don't really have any needs for it. So all of these upgrades are going to work fine for the end product if I ever want to get into like home gaming milling a looming and stuff I'll just go a different route. But But that being said, I did end up getting a new spindle for it and I went with one of those Chinese 2.2 kilowatt spindles which is One of the reasons why I put the 220 volt in my basement. Actually, one of the multiple reasons, my TIG welder that I bought a year ago runs on 220. So I wanted the full force of that, that guy. So the 220 on that I haven't brewed in a long time, and my brew rig runs on 220. So I'm like, I've got a CNC that I could run on 220. But those other two things that regardless are going to need 220. So I might as well install that and go to town on it.
Now you knew I guitar amplifier that runs on 220.
That's actually not that hard. Read
just the DRM,
most of most of my connections have the AVID 220 Tap on the power transformer anyway. So I would just need to switch it over. The biggest problem is just the the inlet or the IEC connector, just because I don't use 220 on that. So but yeah, so I've gotten most of that done. In fact, right after the podcast, I'm gonna go wire up the electrical box for the CNC. So I really hope to have that going up here soon, mainly because I want to get back to cutting guitar cabinets. I haven't done that in a while. And I've got some designs that I want to try out. So the new spindle is really going to kill on that because I was using a I guess, I think it was a Porter Cable router.
I think it was a DeWalt because I remember being yellow. No,
no, it's sitting right over here. It's affordable.
There's a handheld router.
The one thing that's nice, it's funny because I don't really need this. But this new spindle has it's a VFD. So I can run it at I can actually have like fusion 360s speed, spin speed control. And the nice thing about that is I bought a edge feeler a while ago. And edge feelers are not particularly happy running it like 10,000 RPM, which is what the router wants to spin it because it's air cooled. But since this one is water cooled,
I usually run my edge feelers about 1000 RPM, pretty damn slow. So I'm actually going to have some decent, you know, origin finding capabilities on this CNC if Parker you might remember my old one I used to just like, yeah, that looks about 00 Set origin, you know, like, just drive it to where you think it's good enough, because most of the stuff I did was flat work. So who cares, right?
Yeah, you're cutting out a big sheet of plywood. So you're like, Ah, it's near the corner, right. And as long as your, your your stock is, stock in terms of the plywood is square ish, it's gonna be fine.
Well, and you can use the CNC to make it square. Yeah, the biggest thing is with guitar bodies, especially guitar necks, which I have cut guitar necks on my CNC with a lot of that's like a 60 year job right there for sure. But you like finding the edge, squaring everything up. And the thing about guitar bodies and guitar necks, guitar necks. In particular. There's a will if you're talking about like a Les Paul neck, there's no there's actually no flat parts whatsoever on the entire neck. There's nothing to reference from on it. So how do you cut something that has zero flat parts? You have to be creative about how you clamp in your, your stock and you find your edges and things like that. So that's really what I wanted to use the edge finder for, which wasn't able to do previously, now that I look back, how did I How did I even do half this crap without? I don't even remember how I did it. I've cut like five or six guitar necks and they all came up pretty damn good. So I don't know. I'll just be better. Yeah, now now they're going to be awesome. I'm super stoked about it. One of the things I'd like to try is cutting an entire guitar, body and neck out of a single piece. You know, I'd be cool. Yeah. But I mean, that's like, I don't know how long that would take it would take forever. Yeah, if you look at if you look at the Fender Telecaster, if you look at it from a manufacturing perspective, it was very much designed to be manufactured, it has nice flats, there's certain areas where like this flat portion is the same plane as this flat portion such that it sits down on a table nicely.
A fixture would be very easy to make for it very
easy to make for it the entire neck. Like if you look at the stock or a stock profile of it fits within something that is exactly one inch thick. You know, there's a lot of like, like all of the operations for the body. There's no curves, or there's no three dimensional curves, I should say. So you can do everything as one operation from the top side, flip it over and then do one operation from the backside. So like it's it's very clearly meant to be that way. I don't know, I pay attention to that crap all the time.
I do. But I do a lot. I do a lot 3d printing. So I tend to break things down into, Okay, how's this going to be easy to 3d print? Because printing was supports. I don't like doing that because it takes forever to do that. Right? You can easily add a couple hours to your print to get the print supports, and then you got to go and clean them up.
Yeah, yeah. You know, okay, okay, I got I got a funny tangent here. I was taking a shower this morning. And I'll think thank the maker, the first one this year? No, no know so. So on that we have a shelf in our shower that where my wife keeps all of the 1000s of project products that she uses. And she's got two bottles of I think, I think it's conditioner. And they're these bottles were for people who have dyed hair, which my wife has dyed hair at the moment. And they're both the same thing. But one of them has like these, you know, new improved formula, and blah, blah, blah. So like I flipped them around. And lo and behold, the ingredient list is different. But they're both exactly the same product, but they are different ingredient. So yeah, sure. But one of the things I noticed is that the the a lot of the things on the bottle had actually changed. So like fonts, some of the images on the bottle and stuff, I'm going somewhere with this hang on. But like they say like new and improved on the front, but I noticed that all of the fonts were smaller, all of the text was smaller. And the number of colors that they used on the bottle, were had reduced, I actually counted the number of colors that they use. On the on the old version, they use six different colors. And on the new one, they only use three. And in fact, they didn't even use three because the substrate of the bottle was one color. So they actually only use two colors on the new one. And then I looked at the seam where they put everything together. And notice that like on the previous one, like the actual bottle was made of like an actual colored plastic or whatever they were using it on the new one it was it was just white, which I can only assume was cheaper. So I started going through in my mind like, Yeah, they did a whole new and improved thing. But what it probably was is they were just cutting corners and trying to make everything cheaper, less artwork, less colors to print, probably a different bottle design and things like that. But they're, they're marketing and excelling. It's Oh, we've got this whole brand new thing I've got, I've got a problem. These are the things that I think about what I'm taking. Like, clearly that's a manufacturing thing that they were cutting corners there. Yeah, with a creative marketing team. So and then I want to give just a quick update on my fermentation controller project, which I I'm also making project progress on that. So I've decided to pull a handful of small audibles on the design for it for the UI, because I put some more thought into it. And I was going really, really hardcore into like menus and all this other crap about like, No, and I realized, like I feature creep way too hard in my head about like how grand to this thing needs to be, the screen needs to show like the current temperature and a set temperature, like that's really all it needs to do. So I'm going to make this, like the menu system a lot easier. And I decided to just reduce the number of buttons, it doesn't need as many buttons as it had before, it probably doesn't even need a full keypad. Like, I'm gonna do some like, except buttons and rotary encoders. Because that just makes it easier. Like the like, there's two outputs that each output is able to heat and cool. And so, you know, there's a rotary encoder for output one and a rotary encoder for output two, and it selects the temperature and then you press, you press the button and say, okay, and then it goes to town, you know, there might be some extra features that allow you to set the hysteresis like, do you want it to switch on and off? One degree or five degrees? Oh, it's window. It's window. But I might not even make that an option. I might just like say like, deal with it. You got a one degree history. It's race. Yeah. So yeah, I think I think that might just be the easiest way of doing it. Not that I'm trying to like make it easier, but I'm just realizing like, it doesn't need to be as complex as I was making it before. I was just doing it for complexity sake before and now I just kind of want to get it done instead. So I did actually come across or finally get in some switches that I like. I don't have the part number on it right now. But I'll show it to Parker on the screen. They're nice. They're nice clicky buttons And then they feel kind of chunky and nice. So they're not, they're not cheap, but whatever, you know, I'm making two of these things. So then the the other thing that I've, basically the schematic is really close to being done. I just have to add one or two small things, some level shifters and stuff. And I finished the SSR footprints for that. So those were kind of crappy just because, like those SSRIs you find randomly, I say randomly, like, they're just like Amazon SSRIs, and things like that. Yeah. They don't have great data sheets, and they don't have great management. Oh, yeah, well, they do, but they're just not. They just don't feel up to snuff, you know, so I had to, with these kinds of footprints, I had to make some concessions and just say, like, well, this is what I think it's gonna be, you know, and like, good enough footprints, you know, a lot of that Chinese crap ends up just being good enough,
you know, good enough for your calipers. So I
have the schematic done. And like, man, the the layout for this thing I could probably do in two hours, it's not gonna be hard to do. So hopefully, I'll have some updates on that next week. Cool. Rock and roll. I'm looking forward to that. Yeah. Well, your rigs almost ready to accept it.
It is. So it is so close. Like, I gotta mount the pumps. And I'm thinking about doing that tonight. Yeah, let's stop. And while I'm, I'm thinking we'll make the mounts for the pumps out of aluminum, which means I need cut it and it might be too late to cut it. I'm just gonna cut the aluminum on my table saw. Oh, yeah, I got some leftover quarter inch aluminum stock. Wow, you're
gonna cut quarter inch on a table. So yeah,
works fine. Okay, there's no go super fast.
Kick back would send it through you.
Yeah, I just didn't cut it and then put some bolts through it. And then because I need to make like, maybe I'm making a wider flange because those those brewery chugger pumps, the flange is so tiny, you can't really get a like, I could just take the pump and mount it to the wooden counter I'm using for the top, because I'm mounting them upside down. But if I ever remove it, it's gonna be a pain in the butt. Because you have to get underneath there where the with your screwdriver at like a 45 degree angle. Yeah. And so I'm going to build on basically making a plate that they sit on, and you attach them the trigger prompts to the plate, and then the plate mounts up. Yeah, yeah. So you have straight access to the thing that's actually mounting it to the countertop. Yeah, I should do it tonight and get that all mounted up and then basically start doing tube bending. Nice to get that stuff done. Yeah, or frustrating. We'll see. I did some test bends was some stainless and stainless is very finicky. With bending, especially it's thin wall tubing stuff from using. You have to be very careful with it even with like I have really good, like bending dyes and stuff, but
you're going to fill it with sand.
Um, I don't think I need to. I think I just need to use some like WD 40 to lubricate the dyes. And it seems the bend really well without sand I think is mainly used for like if you're using like the hand Bender stuff. Yeah. But these are actually like dyes that rotate that roll. Right. seems to work pretty well. Cool. Let's see. What's the worst thing to happen?
You have to buy a bunch of stuff buy another role is
dubious? Yeah. Okay, RFO time. Cool. So,
Raspberry Pi four released a fix to their USB problem.
So you what that means is they ran out of their previous stock manufacturing neuron, right?
You know, that's what it's feeling like right now. Because what's interesting is if you go to like their website, they they're not like announcing this. It's not like, hey, we fixed our mess up here. In fact, the reason I even heard about is because there was a Hackaday article where people were noticing, hey, a handful of things have changed on this new pie that showed up at our shop. Like it looks slightly different. So it's interesting. I don't know why they wouldn't mention it or, like, hey, you know, we have our fix. Maybe they're just trying to quietly say, like me it's fixed, you know? Yep. So, they made a handful of design for manufacturability changes, which includes moving the voltage switch To the SD card. And they made some silkscreen changes that were causing some issues with solder bridging between pads and things like that. But then also added the missing resistor for making it because they I bet you an engineer fix that the day of it became a problem. Oh, yeah, committed everything. And that's like, Okay, we're done. Yeah,
it's just now it's got to make it to manufacturing, which is, you know, they got us all the PCBs and all the parts from their last run. So you can't just push that fix right away.
No, no, no, no, for sure. And you're probably right. They had warehouses of pies to get rid of. Yep. Cool. Well, now, if you buy it, you can use any USBC. cable to power as opposed to just dumb ones.
The next topic is the Chinese tariff we also hate right now. There's a slight exemption to it, which is probably a rejoice to a lot of people who are listening to this podcast. There is an exemption for two and four layer PCBs, bare PCBs.
When did this go into effect?
Like yesterday? Cool. Things like the 28th or something like that.
Are they doing this just to relieve pressure from all the from the Chinese New Year and the Coronavirus issues?
I don't know. It came up 24 hours Correct? Not I was correct. On the it was yesterday, I was incorrect on being the 28th. That was the reason I thought was the 29th. Anyways, came out this Monday. I don't know why it might be part of because I know our great leaders have been, you know, in meetings or whatever trying to strike a trade deal. And this might be part of their concessions. Maybe I don't know too much more about why. But it happened.
So so the list of items that are on here, I started just browsing through them. And I came to number 31, which listen to how specific this is. It's great bags of woven nylon with leather trim, each having a metal side fastener and a locking mechanism on one end of the bag to prevent the slide fastener from opening, measuring 11 centimeters or more but not 20 centimeters in length, five centimeters or more but not nine centimeters in width, and seven centimeters or more, but not more than 12 centimeters in height. That is exempt. If someone
could find us what that what the hell is the bag? That is a specific product. Yeah, right. Right. Exactly. What is that that it needed to be on this list? And now off this list? What the hell someone couldn't there someone couldn't get their fake Gucci bags as well. What that is?
That's true. Yeah. There we go. All right. Well, yeah, that that really does describe something incredibly specific. A lot of these are really specific.
Oh, yeah, very, but then some are super generic. Like, the PCBs have two layers. It's like, okay, that's like 90% of PCBs at that point. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Well, Could you could you make the argument that a six layer is just three two layer boards squished together?
super glued together? Ah, rejoice for everyone in San Francisco. drinking straws of paper are now exempt. Oh, tariffs on that anymore.
Nice. So they can melt and disintegrate fast. Well, what is this? This goes till August 7 of 2020.
Yeah, that's where this exemption expires, or let's say extended or get rid of the tariffs? Well, that's yeah, some of the stuff is we talked about this last time we were talking about that the tariff stuff and just like how oddly specific some of the stuff is. And then how broad some of this stuff is
look at number 75 printed circuit board assemblies of a kind using motor vehicle lighting systems. So
well, all my PCBs will be for automotive lighting systems now.
Game calling devices imported with or without remote control devices used in hunting to simulate the sound of animals to attract game
I actually own one of those. A duck mine was made in the United States though. Yeah, I think the check but yes, I use it to hunt. Coyotes. wouldn't wouldn't have you've hunted coyotes. past couple years haven't gotten one yet. So they're not coming to your house. No, no. Out West Texas. Yeah, in suburbia. He's, I keep calling her but they're not coming. Go Go down to the bayou. Is it okay, so
isn't coyote legal to hunt in Texas? Like just overall? Like they're considered past right?
Uh, I don't know if you have to hunt them. I've only hunted them through hunting season. I don't know if you can hunt them out of hunting season. But hogs you can hunt anytime. Yeah, well, hogs isn't. The hogs are an invasive species. So yes, I thought I thought I don't think coyotes are invasive. Maybe they are. I don't know. Apparently I'm very bad at hunting them because I have not gotten one in three years. All right, onward. This is a Reddit post I found which is the Fisher and Paykel I think that's the brand name of an appliance company. Yeah. PCB silkscreen design. And so someone was repairing a, an appliance they've owned for a long time. And they noticed on the PCB, underneath some components, there are sad faces, like frowny like emoji face in the silkscreen layer, and the silkscreen, and the hardware engineer that actually worked on that project back in 2007, or prior actually chimed in, which is this is amazing that they actually put those silkscreen markings underneath parts that are hand placed. And so if you look at a board and you see my frowny faces, that means you missed the part.
It's a cute way of doing it, I guess. Yeah.
So how do y'all know if you have all your components installed or not? We just do you just do?
Not? Well, I mean, almost Well, yeah, pretty much 100% of our through hole components have to fit through a hole in our panels. So it's pretty obvious. And almost 100% of our through hole components require testing. Like, because there are a knob that eventually has to be turned or a button that has to be pressed. Because we do 100% testing on 100% of our products. So So you know, that's one of the easier things to catch in our industry. One thing I've actually seen before that was pretty cool in a factory I worked in once they made overlay cutouts. So basically, there's there was a little jig that sat on the table, you put the board in it, and then you fold this overlay over it. And this overlay has holes cut out in it where a part goes. So instead of you see PCB, yeah, if you see PCB, then you didn't populate something. And so it was a pretty simple check to do. They also had it set up where once you were done, you would hand it to the next person and they would put the same overlay and they would double check you. So but sad faces is a pretty convenient way of doing it. Although most of the comments underneath that were like, holy crap, how awful would it be to just look at sad faces all day?
If you're bad at your job, yeah,
you will have a sad face.
Yeah, you have a sad face. Right. Cool. All right, I guess I guess I didn't have aeoi then.
That's that was the aeoi Yep. I cool. I think that's gonna wrap it up. We're Yeah, we are. We are 20 seconds away from an hour. Let's finish this right at an hour. All right. All right before Okay,
so that was the macro fab engineering podcast. We were your hosts, Parker Dillman, and Steven
Ray. Later if you want to get easy
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