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!
Hello, and welcome to the macro fab engineering podcast. I'm your guest Dustin Holliday.
And we're your host Stephen Craig
and Parker Dolman. Yeah,
we got it. So we got we got Dustin here. Dustin is a production line engineer at macro fab. Yes. I'm we wanted to bring him on and have a chat about what you do at macro fab and, and how everything's going.
It's pretty cool to be here. I've always wanted to do a podcast. So it's it's pretty cool to be able to have you guys to to invite me.
And Dustin is a recent graduate of the University of Houston. Yes. With a eceee degree. Yes. Yeah, what was your favorite thing at favorite class? I guess.
Favorite. It was pretty much the last class I took which is embedded systems. Okay, cool. The the maze robot we built a robot to solve a maze. With the goal. Yeah, remember that you had a single right turn algorithm you had in the shop? Yeah, very, very early version of it. At the shop. It wasn't really working, well done. But we eventually did get it to work pretty well. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. It was the only thing we did in that class was was build and design a robot to solve a maze. There's no exams or anything. And I really loved that.
That sounds like a perfect
class. Sounds like all you do is get to work on electronics.
Yeah, pretty much.
So it's, uh, you graduated in December? Yes. In December. And what was your what was the focus of your engineering degree?
So yeah, focus in embedded systems. And I took a bunch of controls. Well, two controls classes, too. So
yeah. Controls, do you take two in college? And that's considered a focus? Yeah.
I'm an expert now. So yeah, I think
I took one controls class. And I'm like, that is done for me.
Actually, like that stuff. It's really interesting. Automation. We're gonna be doing maybe a little bit of that microphone.
Yeah. A little bit automation at macro. Yeah.
A lot of bit of automation at the maximum is kind of automated. Yeah, in a
front end is Yeah, yeah.
We're gonna take it to the next level, hopefully. Cool.
So doesn't it step us through a day at macro fab? What do
you what do you do at macro? So macro fab, I programmed the solder paste, jet printing machine, and the pick and place machine and the selective solder machine that we have. And also, I also help run it troubleshoot the problems that the machine is having, and also help with, with the technicians in the issues that they have contact when it comes to customers and solving issues and stuff like that.
So you're basically technical engineering help for all of the manufacturing floor?
Yes, pretty much.
Um, what's your favorite machine that you get to work on?
I really like a pick and place machine. It's great. It's fantastic. Little a little bit more difficult to operate than the pace the pace jeder but it's really interesting machine that I read that there. There's some of the most complex robotics used in industry.
Doesn't that wouldn't surprise me when these things are insane.
Yeah. Especially the tolerances involved when you're the placing? Oh, 105 component part.
Yeah, I don't even see how that's possible. But it doesn't, it doesn't easily or the
fact that that the head has to go and pick up a handful of components. And then it just zips across the rails without moving the components at all or tossing them or jostling them and pits them. Dead Center when you ask it
to Oh, yeah, super, super, super smooth motion. uses magnetic rails for its Yeah, MagLev. Yeah.
Yeah, no screws or chains or belts or anything like that? Yep. Kind of floats across
it. It's definitely a step above our old machine, which was a universal GSM which was really cool. Just was definitely showing its age. Yeah.
Yeah. And it had two heads. Yeah. And it was slower than than the newer
Yes, yeah. I think is a dinosaur
what goes into programming the machines.
So, we start out with with our batch or output which is takes all the customers data and batches them into one file. So I have xy coordinates and rotations for each part on the board or on the entire panel, which is a series of boards. So I use that to tell the the machine where where to place the parts and what part exactly the place and the pace jeder we use the the bachelors Gerber output, which is a digital representation of the boards layout, and we use the solder paste layer to tell the machine where to print the paste. So it perfectly fills in the pads.
Cool. So you have you have control. I guess you take in customers, paste files, and then you have control over it. keypad and how it goes and squirts out paste on each one
yes down to down to the pad even down to each individual dot that it places you have control over Wow Yes each.is 0.33 millimeters I believe something like that.
Yeah, we've gotten it to paste a point four millimeter Q FP and point four millimeter BJs before
it gets really it gets really tight but it does work
so it's it's a really big really heavy really expensive inkjet printer
that's yeah, it's yeah inkjet printer that prints solder paste
actually works really similar to inkjet because actually uses a piezo in the head. Yes. To basically shoot out the stuff. Yeah,
it doesn't it doesn't give like a little burst of air into the nozzle and that releases a.of paste.
Well, it uses a PMO to frickin What do you call it? Agar it out.
Oh, really? Okay. I thought I thought it gave a little
vacuum like when the when the dots come out of the nozzle. They break apart a little bit so the the smaller nodules it sucks back up into the head into a filter box. Oh, really? Yeah. That's cool. Yeah. So in between each dot, it's sucking stuff back in pulsing back and forth pretty well.
That's pretty crazy.
Another another cool thing about is that it actually releases the dots before the head goes over the pads. So it's like a die bomber. If you think military like bomber points, they released the bomb far before the target. And that's as a parabolic trajectory down. So arcs little balls, solder. Yes, it does. Yeah, because it's moving so fast. It has to Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Cuz I think you can, it can basically pay stuff or panels in about a minute and a half. Yeah. So it's pretty fast.
It has some limitations, though. I mean, it's kind of slow. It's a lot. It's a lot slower than than stencil printing. Because it stencil printing, you just you just wipe, wipe a squeegee across it. And it's done.
Well, if you think about run time and efficiency, I mean, it blows a stencil printer out of the water
efficiency and solder quality it does. Absolutely. Yeah.
Yeah, for sure. Because the great thing about it is you don't waste paste with that machine. No. Whereas if you if you chunk some stuff on the stencil printer, at the end of the day, you got throw that paste away.
Right. Well, and the paste we use is has no clean flux in it. Yes. Yeah. So so that that reduces postprocessing Yeah,
a little bit. Yeah. The base is like super expensive or super inexpensive. It's only like 15 bucks at two. I forget how many milliliters it's 150 million or 50 milliliter two for only 15 bucks and they have this stuff specially formulated so it can be shot out using jet printing techniques.
Yeah, I was actually really surprised it's basically the same price as a really good sack. 305 no clean paste. Yeah, but it's specially formulated for this machine.
It's actually cheaper than the paste we used to buy in the in the cows.
Yeah, it is cheaper. Yeah. So it's a tight five pit no is a type three paste type five but is a type five I can't remember type five has a stricter tolerance on the ball size. Yeah, otherwise it might it probably is type five
I'm fairly certain it is type five Yeah.
With with how precise that thing is and how fast it runs. It probably is
five paces Yeah, yeah. And actually I really like the no queen that actually uses a lot of times no clean it because we for through hole we do water base flux because it does work a lot better in our selective solder process. But when you go to wash it and you have no clean flux, a lot of times the no clean will kind of dissolve and not really and so it gets all over your board and it looks like white mist Yeah, all over the board. Whereas this no clean flux kind of like it hardens up kind of on the surface and it doesn't dissolve readily in water and so you can do a water process wash afterwards and be completely fine and not getting any cosmetic issues
Yeah, yeah I don't I don't even think any of that no clean flux messes with the washer at all. It doesn't even doesn't even come off the board probably
does actually does not if you pull the board's out of the washer after a selective solder on and look under scope you can still see the no clean flux is basically makes a little
like a little yellow pool.
Yeah little yellow on top of on top of the joint. So you can actually hit it with like a tweezer and it'll crack and pop off right yeah,
it's like it's like really hard. Yeah,
it's I've never seen a no clean flux do that before. Works great. That works great.
We actually had to do that with the with the macro watches we had to scrape flux off of it because was pulling up Yeah.
Yeah, cuz on the macro watch. We had a battery. Coin cells in the back of them. Yeah. And I didn't make the pad big enough. For the coin cell the touch it so we actually had to lay some pastes on it and kind of raise that, that pad up a bit. And we did that. And then we found out this was the flux was basically making a dome over it too. So we had to chip off 150 Little, I guess all caps basically, it was, it was really annoying.
You learn as it goes, yeah.
That was a trial by fire kind of project because it was like, right when we got all our brand new machines and two weeks to implement two weeks to design implement, and in program, a binary watch.
You would think that you look at two weeks, and then you're like, oh, yeah, I can do that. And then you actually get into it. It's like, oh, my gosh,
we actually almost missed the deadline on that one. Yeah, because we didn't have the restrap show fast enough.
Isn't it funny how the wrist strap was the linchpin in the whole? Yeah, watch
this. They got hung up. They got hung up in customs. It's always
been mechanical aspects. Yeah, never blame
the electrical guys. Yeah. Well, we
were always we actually had an old done like three days before. Beforehand, right? Well programmed ready to go rock and roll and no customs hung up our wristbands.
They're so dangerous. They had the code check everything
was anything else you want to add? Just doesn't move on a little bit. Oh, yeah. I really I really think microphones are a cool concept. Like it's like it's pretty neat. It's pretty neat working for for such a novel company. Like when we first started nobody nobody was doing saying shit
Oh, no, no, no. Continue with that. I think that that's actually a great topic. Now macro hub is super cool. Well, good, man.
That's it's the first time someone's ever like, I think actually, um, I've read German pitch just gave us a pretty good review on the podcast, too.
And I've called out macro fab for a couple of boards that I've made to. But well, and this actually works out because this is the first guest we've had from internal to macro fab
really? First? Yeah. First special. I get
to choose. Probably because you can get nerdy like
I'm on that level.
You understand most of the stuff we talk about at work. Oh, cool. Now, though, Steven, yeah. We'll go into what you've been doing this weekend. I know. You've been working more on customer stuff like last week?
Yeah, yeah, I've a pretty fairly intense, less two weeks with working for some some customer jig stuff. We have some, some big orders coming through. Were making some testing and programming jigs. So been working pretty solid on getting those jigs up and running. Some some pretty interesting stuff. Getting a jig that that has to talk to a panel of different boards, program each one of them, talk to them, have them turn a motor and indicate things to a computer. All on this one test jig. So it's so it's not it's not insane. But there's a level of complexity that that adds some time and difficulty to the design.
And actually, Dustin is going to help you with the computer side programming for that.
Yes, he will be writing a little Python script.
Dustin is a lot better at writing scripts than I am. So I Dustin sits about I don't know what 15 feet away from my desk. Yeah, it so I lean over one day, Dustin, you want to write a script for me. So yeah, that's that's gonna work out pretty well.
And you were talking about cuz you're using the paradox propeller on that? Yeah,
I've used a handful of microcontrollers in, in projects before but I've never used a prop. And Parker over here is like Captain propeller. Yeah, he uses props and everything. And I've wanted to learn just because the whole eight cog thing is super cool, in my opinion, and I want to get more familiar with it. So this is the first time I'm using a prompt, and I'm hoping to learn all the fun aspects that go behind it. But honestly, the so far in the layout of this test jig, laying out the prop is actually been a ton of fun, just because it has so much GPIO and they're all kind of Dressel to whatever you want. So making my layout look beautiful is really easy with a prop. Because like, if you choose another micro, a lot of times you're stuck with the way their pins are. So you have to figure out the best rotation. And a lot of times you have to snake traces and things
like this, these pins are the SPI or I squared C raise are the UART. Yeah, all that stuff. Whereas on the prophets kind of like, I will make these pins, the UART, I will make these
Yeah, the spy. And that's super cool. So, I've been actually a lot of my work today, I was I, you know, laying out a handful of traces because I've got like 40 or 50 data lines coming in. And I'll see a way where if I just change this one pin to another definition, then all the traces will line up perfectly. I'm like, oh, yeah, I gotta do it that way. It's kind of fun. Yeah.
Going back from your layout back to schematic and changing pins around. That's what separates the men from the boys in layout design. Absolutely. Yeah, it does make sometimes the firmware engineers angry. Because they're like, at the center, you know, like, hey, we just change those pins. So we write all your low level code.
You know, if I can, when I'm doing that kind of stuff, I try to like, like, say, with with a pic, how they have the different ports, you know, Port A, B, C, that kind of stuff. I'll, I tried to line up all my signals such that it's zero through seven or whatever, such that it makes sense. But with the the prop, I've kind of worked a little bit more towards the layout than the pin definition. So you know, this pin might be on number 27. And this one might be on five. But in the code, they're one number apart,
you know, yeah, one number apart. And why I like to do on the prop in the Prop code is basically do definitions. Yeah. Or constants, basically, for those pins. And that way, if you change it, you'd have to swap two numbers around and you have to go picking through your code finding wherever you used it. It's got changed at the top header. Cool.
So what you've been working on Parker,
that tested more fixtures, programming fixtures,
it's just been a fixture week.
Well past two weeks. Yeah. I've been working on the article I said I was gonna have it done by this podcast, last podcast. But it's not done yet. It's almost done. I have a lot of material done. Basically reverse engineering, what I did, and all my old notes to figure out how to write this article the best way. Basically, going from Gerber's getting your DX F files, creating 3d models for stuff so you can make sure everything fits and sending off that stuff through like Shapeways to get the jig made. Yep. And then like, what kind of pogo pins do you need? So there's gonna be a list of pogo pins of like, if you have these kind of holes, you want to use these kind of pogo pins, and make sure everything's, you know, the same height and the end. Yeah, it's almost done. Cool. And then I've been testing that a ESP 8266. Wi Fi module. Yep. That makers, like really? Like, I've been really using the ESP 12 e module. It's basically has that chip on it? Okay. It's a little like, capsulated module board that you put on your board. Okay. Yeah. And it's already got, you know, an FCC ID and all that good stuff on it.
Plug and Play kinda.
Yeah, I actually got the board yesterday from macro fab. plugged it in, it all works. And then my friend, Roy out in California gave me some code, make it work with Blink, which is that it's kind of like a IoT platform that uses a web server. So you can basically talk to a device anywhere, right? That has Wi Fi. Pretty cool stuff. So he actually ported the code, because they have a bunch of Arduino code. He ported that to the parallax propeller in spin and assembly. Okay, and then. Yeah, actually, we only had to do some slight tweaks to the Conan work last night. So very cool. And it's got some weird power issue but I think that's just crappy USB power. Because on like, like on laptops and the back ports on computers, it works really well. But on like front USB ports, it doesn't work.
You were saying it when it numerated it does a reset?
No, we're in a numerated asks for basically half an amp
write the full full thing. Yeah.
And I think what it is on basically crappy front USB connections, is it says it can do 500 milliamps, but it can't really. And so you just get a power dip. Basically, I was monitoring it with my meter in the scope and you would see the dip when you're on a bad power, bad USB connection, but on a good connection. You would never see
it Interesting. So not all USBs are the same? No. And
they report that they can't do power. So
what are you going to do? Yeah, we tried it on multiple front ports on on desktop computers, and
it failed on all of them. Yeah. And then the front connections on my computer at home were great. Because they have, basically power lines going straight to them, right can supply the half amp. But the ones that work that can't Gotcha. So I think what we will do is basically write some code that it will write into the programming space, when we don't use all the programming space, it will write a code. And if a prop resets, it will look in that section and see if it's got code there or not. And if it doesn't, then it knows it's reset. Kind of like a a hacked around watchdog kind of thing. You can tell the user, hey, you're browning out, you need to switch USB or get an external power supply.
So then if it looks in that program space, and it succeeds, whatever your code is, will it write that back to zero?
Yeah, so if it knows what does is on boot, it looks there. And if it's blank, it says, Hey, I'm booting up, okay. And then it writes to that space. And so if ever looks back into that space, again, it can see if it's been reset or not, then it can report to the user. I'm resetting all the time. Gotcha. And then be like, hey, check your power, because we're going back and forth and cycling. It's kind of easy. Yeah, it's not really even that it's when the when the Wi Fi module actually starts transmitting is when it starts to die, because it pulls a bunch of juice, it basically doubles its power consumption instantly, and drops the USB voltage down on those crappy ports. Great, but on a regular, improperly designed USB port, or a charger or whatever, it works great.
Well, you know, when I plugged my phone in, as I have an Android, in the front porch of my computer, it says, it gives me that warning message that says this is not the original charger. If you want to charge faster, please use the original charger a big it's because it's not supplying
the full half. And it's probably only supplying 100 milliamps.
I actually charged my phone at my shop from my power supply. So I know my phone poles 430 milliamps. Yeah. So it's not the full half an amp.
Now, it's almost like they're almost there. See, I was working on that Prop ban board. And this is that a issue with that I had to get that analog signal in. But I didn't have a reference to chassis ground. And came up with this really cool idea. Well, me and Chris, Chris, Stephen Campbell, this really cool idea to basically use an isolated op amp. Yeah, to do it. And it should work. We have to test it yet. I ordered the board a couple days ago. But it should work. And I think the main thing with that op amp is you can only do a two volt input. Yeah, so you don't have a huge span, like a normal isolated ADC. But you also don't need an isolated power supply. Or an isolated, you know, Spy bus converter.
Well, yeah. And it's it's jumping analog across the isolated gap. Yeah, we
think it's doing it by basically it has its own built in ADC. Yeah, it's doing that and spitting it across a isolation barrier. Yeah, right. But, uh, we had a really good funny thing where Steven asked me how many bits it was. And I said, I don't know it's probably enough. It's only need four levels. I need to know when it's, you know, it's zero to 14 volts by only need to know four divisions of that. So yeah, so you don't care. I don't really care how many bits it is, as long as it's more than two bits. I'm fine.
Who would use a four bit two bit? Well, yeah, okay. I'm sorry. Yeah. Who would use a two bit isolation up in other than you have
one specific application that one application? Yeah, this, this is a really cool idea. It's a lot cheaper than isolated power supply isolated. You know, I squared C or spy bus, however you want to communicate to your ADC, and then the ADC. Yeah. Overall, I think I think this chip was like four bucks, and you spend that alone in your isolated transmission bus. So yeah, it's pretty cool. Well, I'm gonna do some tests about it and probably post a little article about it. Compare it, see if it actually works. Well. Cool. That kind of stuff. Yeah. Should have enough resolution, I hope. Are you looking for looking for
my sheet because I just noticed the sheet I have in front of me, says episode 12 on it. Yeah, that's wrong. And we're on episode 13.
So you've been waiting this whole time.
I'm that good. You're pretty good. I have another sheet that says episode 12.
I guess I'll take over
the Art Section episode 13. Buried under the RFO section, our first section.
So we talked a couple episodes back about the only the good way to find the connector is through pictures. Yep. And a couple days ago, I went onto Digi keys website, Digi key has been like changing the website a lot recently. Yeah. And went on it a couple days ago and went to find a connector. And bam, they had pictures in the connectors now. We informed something maybe Digi key is listening to us. Yeah, maybe. I'm basically going to the site. And when you hit connectors, it shows like 20 pictures of all the different categories with like, you what connector Are you looking for? And so it's basically like a picture book for engineers.
This this may be the only podcast on Earth where we talk about connectors all the time. Oh, yeah. multiple locations. We talked about connectors. No, but that's that's incredible. Being able to have pictures, because, okay, I was dealing actually that test jig I've been working on all day, I needed a ribbon cable connector, which I found out or called IDC receptacles. Go figure. Yeah, I didn't know that name. But regardless, I needed that kind of connector and I just needed it's a standard point one pitch to row 10 pin each row. So 20 Total pins. I just needed something like that. It's just Oh, I hate searching for connectors. Digi key has pictures. It's like that's the one I want. Right there. Thank you
Yeah, and you were talking about a one of your previous jobs. Yeah, I gray beard that had a really cool setup. Yeah, they actually the
the engineering manager there. He suffered from the same plight, that all of us engineers have in the past of connectors are just annoying to find. And I would I would regularly get emails from him where it's like, Oh, check this connector out. I just found this out. I'm gonna put this in my database. And he literally had like, his own little database of connectors, where it's like, we can't use these right now. But in a project in the future, this is the connector we're going to use. And let's remember this.
I'm assuming I'm assuming this thing was like a big three ring binder. Just just images of connectors. Yeah.
The connector bible actually,
when I first started at macro fab, I remember I brought in one of the old Mauser catalogs. They're basically like a Bible. They're they're enormous. Because I like looking at
his mouse's catalogs pretty nice. Yeah. But you would, if I find a connector, that's kind of like what I'm looking for. I immediately go to the catalog page. Yeah, cuz it has all the connectors that are like it in the same page, right? And you can scroll through and like, Okay, I needed this one little locking tab to be this way, right? And then you can find it.
And it's one of those things. It's like, I know, I'm not going to go to a catalog to look up a resistor. That's stupid. Yeah. But something that matters the way it shaped is. Yeah, I would love to see a catalog page on that.
And maybe maybe I'm reading it like DigiKey Mouser. To have like, just their catalog printed for connectors are every single connector they sell. They have a picture of it. Oh, man. I mean, that'd be a lot of pictures, but I think it'd be worth it.
Just an entire book of data sheets. Every datasheet printed out would be huge.
Enormous. But no just just pictures of connectors and their part number. That'd be awesome.
Have you had any bad experience Dustin with or good experiences? With searching for connectors?
Oh, dude, it's it's a nightmare. If you if you don't know specifically what you're looking for it man. It can take you days. Oh, researching what connector should you use? What What's the mating connector then based within?
Oh, yeah, you might find the one you're like this is great. And then just never find them? Yes.
Yeah. Sometimes I put it in the datasheet sometimes. Yeah.
Or the datasheet has atrocious dimensions. I've literally I've literally looked at connectors before and been like this connector is great. I want to use this. And then I looked at the dimension drawing and I'm like, I'm gonna go find another one.
To be like that for me. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Where they would have this really cool like, Oh, what a couple years ago but this really cool SD card slot that had a little flip top that you put the card in and flipped it down. Yeah. So there's four more permanent SD cards. And I looked at the datasheet. And they were missing a dimension. So you could not actually design this footprint correctly. And I was just like course, and I got like halfway through the design and I'm like, Screw it. I'm gonna go with this three part. They had it properly. dimensioned Yeah, that's schematic. I mean, I guess I could have emailed Molex and like, waited a couple days to hear back from an fa e and blah, blah, blah, but nah, nah, not worth it. So
actually, speaking of connectors, and and dimensioning. So, I want to get you guys feeling on this. How you guys think about instead of having a drawing for every connector they have, and understandably, some of these guys have zillions of connectors, they make a unified drawing, where it's like, here's what the body is going to look like. Here's its number of pins. So they'll either have a chart, or they'll have like, if you want to see how long this connector is. Take a plus. You know, whatever this dimension is the number of pins. Yeah, things like that. What do you guys think about that?
Yeah, well, a lot of companies already do that. And ti interconnect does that. Yeah. Molex says that depends on the part Phoenix connector, does it? Yeah, I think it depends on the part for that. Do you like
that? Or is that?
Usually, I would consider that acceptable. Except Except I always like seeing parts. Harker
has very high standards.
I'm not very high standards for datasheet.
Should I'm really picky about data sheets. Yeah.
Usually I like to see it's, it's that part. Yeah. Because then you know, that there's not going to be the errors for in between, like just increasing the pins. You might be like, for some reason, this one molds got a weird thing. And then in that unified datasheet, it didn't get in there. Yeah. Whereas if it's a specific part, it will tell you that. Yeah. That's my only gripe. Usually, those kinds of sheets are fine, as long as they're dimensioned. correctly.
But above, yeah, above and beyond the dimensioning. You got to go and calculate all that stuff. It's not a big deal. But it's a
dimension to the centers. And all from one edge,
yeah. Yeah. A point of reference. Yeah. Yeah. One reference point. And please, if you're making a datasheet and the datasheet that you're putting out there has, like, some guy from 1980 to his handwritten notes on there that have been scanned 100 times and you can't read them. Just remove those. Yeah, just write them. Well, yeah, right. Right. Well, you know what, most they probably don't even know what it's,
they know. It's important, though. Yeah, right. You have to have
it's, um, it's really fun when you go to like, the really old school. The seven four? Was it 7400 series? Oh, yeah, yeah. And especially this is especially bad with ti sometimes. And you would go to the park. And the first page is like all like nicely typed up and stuff. And the second page is clearly been Xerox from the 1970s, or a datasheet. And you can barely read out like all the charts and stuff, but they posted there, it really instills
a lot of confidence in you.
Building apart so long, but even the data sheets are fading.
PDFs are starting to degrade.
bit rot. And I totally saw these things on EEPROMs. And then there was a we hear about this every every six months or so. But there's another research group that's come up with a way to put ink into conductive traces now, whoo. This looks a little bit more promising, because it has cool words like gold nanofilm, and stuff like that. And it's oh man,
I need some of that. Yeah, so they didn't even know I needed it.
I use a gold nanoparticles that are covered in an organic conductive polymer. Oh, apparently what makes this different from the previous attempts is usually the organic polymer is not conductive. And so you're basically you have to make sure the ink is totally dry. And actually you have to bake the ink to get all the organics out and so that you're left with just the metal nanoparticles, but they've made a way to make the polymer conductive so you can just like draw your circuit and then wire it up.
You draw it on like a sheet of Fr four or something.
Anything paper, plastic,
you know, you have to if you have to bake it then well on paper they don't say how
you actually stick parts to it. I think some people made like some kind of like adhesive conductive glue that they dot down like paste and then just Take the part on it dries. I mean, this was always cool for like, educational stuff, but it has very little, I guess applications in electronics still
in the real world
in the real world. Well, you got like, actually on like, on your back of your windows in your cars, you have the defroster, oh yeah, this is similar material. Well, similar concept, it's ink that they've actually silkscreen onto it, and then it dries it's conductive. Hmm. So similar ideas, but I mean, they don't that no one's doing this and they haven't. No one that's done. This has solved like the issues of like, two layer boards, vias stuff that's really simple that you need. But no one's done it.
Yeah, that's it's really easy. It's a you have a piece of will use that for for because it's feasible material. You just draw around the edge to layer two. No, you can't.
You can't do that yet, in modern PCB manufacturing.
Can't do wrap around traces.
I know you can. You can because they can. They'll plate the edge. Yeah, I guess they could you can, you could totally wrap around.
Pleat the whole wedge though. So could only be one trace. No, you
could you could mask it. No, you're right. You can't you can't mask the very you can only plate. So technically, you could only have you could have a maximum of one trace that goes around the edge. Yeah.
You're one via Yeah, I wonder.
Well, no, no, no, because if you if it's in a panel, and there's mounting tabs, those you could selectively use those to separate.
Y'all are y'all are contract manufacturers?
Nightmare? Oh, yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, I might have to design a board just to
but yeah, it's, uh, I think I think my favorite thing was the research one of the researchers that was that's designing this stuff. It says, with this ink cartridge, it can be loaded into a fountain pin. I'm like, oh, man, what's more hipster than that?
Having script writing on
Bing that lightsome an LED circuit calligraphy
actually in draw an electronic circuit to illuminate an LED. So all this stuff does right now is light up LEDs in cursive? Well,
it can do your wildest dreams, right? If you can draw it, you can design it. Or they can have that that quote right there for free. I'm giving that one away. Oh, I
got it. No, it's It's electronics in cursive a Kickstarter.
Nobody can write read or write cursive anymore?
No, I do everything block lettering. Speaking of Kickstarters
a couple of excellent segue by Yeah.
We had the sleeve crappy. Dustin was going on about that a couple weeks ago.
We talked about it and we asked our listeners for crappy Kickstarter ideas. And no one came up with an idea. Oh, but the current source is a he's a engineer out of Florida. Uh huh. He actually gave us an idea this week. Oh, cool. And his is a microprocessor Launch Pad Kit. That is basically a piece of metal. Okay, Sharpie, some micro drills and bonding wire. So you can build and design your own microprocessors on the Nano scales. Can you send us a picture of it? And we asked him What about the silicon wafer and then he posted a picture of a silicon wafer with a hacksaw. It says this is the add ons.
Oh, is that the stretch goal?
silicon wafer and a hacksaw to cut it.
All right, where do where do I insert my wallet?
Take all my money. I like the fact that it's called the microprocessor Launchpad. That word is pretty cool. Launchpad ti has a launch pad, don't they? Yeah.
MSP 430 and T VCs. TVC PVC and then they also have a C 2000 Launchpad. A bunch
of launch pads actually. Yeah, they probably have a lot.
Yeah. So you can launch your micro processor design to the next level.
Something like something like like that.
That's That's some serious hacking there.
Yeah. I think that's gonna do it for this. This episode of The McWrap engineering podcast, right?
I think that's it. Yeah.
You're gonna sign us out.
Or sign you out. Surprise me.
He's our guest
What do I What do I say? Oh, didn't tell me. He just he just led you in.
This was the macro fab engineering podcast with our guest Dustin Holliday and our hosts Stephen Craig and Parker don't have a good day.