MacroFab Engineering Podcast #300
Is the DIY maker movement now dead or is it shifting to be less commercialized now? Chris Gammell joins our podcast to discuss is DIY Dead?
Stephen gets an upgrade in his electronics lab with a new multimeter, A Fluke 87V! We break down Stephen’s old meter vs the new Fluke.
This week, Riley Hall of Fictiv joins the podcast to discuss how Fictiv connects engineers and designers to job and machining shops.
The US Mint Denver produces 30 million coins a day. Denes, the tooling department manager, discusses with us how production at this scale functions.
If you are currently enrolled in college we would love to chat with you. We have some ideas for future podcast content that you could perhaps help us with. Also, we would love to get to know our listeners more. If you have not already, please send a hello email to email@example.com. Thanks to everyone who has reached out already. On Nov 6th, Parker is doing a 24 hour video game stream for the Extra Life Charity which benefits the Texas Children Hospital network. Last year our listeners helped him raise $2600 and he is hoping to double that this year! You can donate through the Extra Life page here. Or just come hang out his personal twitch channel and chat. Will be playing from 8AM on Nov 6th till 8AM on Nov 7th.
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. I am your guest Chris gamble.
And we are your hosts Parker Dolan
and Steven Craig.
This is episode 300. Yay. That's great. Congrats. Thank
you, Chris. Did it. This is some kind of a milestone.
Yeah, numerology and stuff. So that you guys hit and 50 a year. I mean, like, so is that six years, as well, roughly?
Yeah. I think we're having our fifth anniversary at the beginning of February next year. So 20 22/5 anniversary, I think.
I mean, that doesn't that doesn't check out what the math right. Was it six? Well, 300 divided by 52.
So we average in the amp hour, which I think we're gonna be posting this as the amp hour. So Well, hello, amp hour. We do about 50 a year, you know, like we take a couple off. And we do a couple of repeats and whatever. So yeah,
we've recorded once a week continuously for 300 episodes. I've missed two out of that because of travel. And in a work event. But Parker was Parker has been here for 300 episodes once a week for 300 weeks. So that's almost six years. Yeah, the
our first episode was February 12 2016.
Wow. Yeah. That's great. Yeah. We're doing it.
And people are still listening.
And still listening and still like it. You guys still like doing it? It's like, Well, I think you guys were saying before we started recording, it's like, you know, you just get to, you know, come here shoot the breeze.
It's, it's a lot of fun. It was it was one of those things where we so we started the podcast as just a way to generate content because it was it's easier to it's, it's easy to do a podcast than to write a engineering article. Tell me. I think I have, I think I have a article that I need to finish. And it's like two years old now. Wow. And so yeah. And we thought Steve and I thought that we were to get to like maybe episode 25. And then like, like, Chris Church, the other founder Mac fab would just like pull the plug. Yeah. Like he's like, No, this is dumb. Pull up like
I remember we started and the amp hour was was already well established. What you know, you're on 500 something at this point, I think what five? This will be 564 and 564. Yeah. So So you were already in the two hundreds when we started. And I remember looking at them be like, Oh, 200 Something episodes? Like we'll never get anywhere near that point. Yeah.
time marches on, guys. You know, time marches on. Yeah. Has not been kind to me. Well, so it's been 210 episodes since I've been here. What's been what's been the happy haps? What's, what's been going on?
Let's just ignore like the last year and a half, right?
Okay. Right. Yeah. Yeah, that's still that's only like 90 episodes. So that's
episodes. Yeah. It's been crazy at macro fab. Like the. So last last year, even during COVID We were at like, 50 some odd employees. We just crossed along with check slack. See how many people we have right now? I think it's like 120 127 people. Yeah,
so you're definitely figure that numbers call. But like, you know, that number where you can't like, you literally can't know everybody's name in a group. And it's like that starts to impact things. It's about 5555. Is that's that's your number. Yeah, no, it's I think it's 150. It's like, Morgan's number or something like that. I don't know what it is. But
oh, so it's talking about macro fab. Like, oh, when we hit about 55 employees, like I couldn't remember everyone's name anymore. Who is that
number to like hiring during pandemic times to it's just like, you know, people are onboarding because they have to be and it's just just a normal thing that has to happen. And I don't know it. First off, it really sucks for the people coming in, because it's really hard to like, make solid connections with someone. And, and, like, I don't know, like feeling comfortable. like asking someone for a favor. When you haven't met them in person. It's just tough to do. It's like I don't know what they're like. So you just gotta like, force people together. Otherwise, it's
been interesting because we're doing we do manufacturing where I'm at and we've hired plenty of people throughout COVID time. And Ed, you know, we're having a zoom call in this Interview and we're sitting there saying, like, we're probably going to see each other maybe once a week kind of thing. You're going to drive in, pick up parts in a bin and drive them home. And then if you have questions, we'll talk. And it's just a completely different paradigm. And in fact, we just hired two new people last week or two weeks ago, actually, and I'm forcing it where it's like, we're having a barbecue in the parking lot. Because the last, the last group of people, the first time they met, the owner of the company was at the Christmas party, just because of COVID. You know, and, and it was just one of the things I was like, you know, we got to change that.
I mean, yeah, there's just some some fundamental human things that you just can't get past? And I don't know, like, I think so. Like, I'm working with some teams that are like, overseas, even. And I'm just like, when are we going to, I don't want the borders are gonna open back up. And like, when I could see people, and so you just gotta, like, force the issue as much as you can? I mean, if you can't, if you can't have the barbecue in the parking lot, you got to, you got to do something else, you know, I don't know. Yeah,
I've really appreciated that about the owner of my company, he's put a kind of a cap on the employees. He doesn't really want to go past 20 employees at the at the company, we very easily could, but he doesn't want to go past that. Because he wants to be able to at least know everyone's name. And he takes he puts effort into spending time with all of his employees, he'll he'll go one on one with you to go get a beer just to see how you're doing, how's everything going? And he just really fears this concept of like, I don't know who my employees are, I just sign their paycheck.
You know, problem is with staying at 20 employees, we grow big enough. It's like, Well, you got a 37 hour work day tomorrow. So
trust me, we're all feeling that because like, yeah, the company grows. And sometimes it even grows when you're not even intending it for it just does. And it grows and it's like, oh, okay, so you have two options, hire more people or figure out a way to be more efficient. And sometimes both of those are really difficult. And it kind of goes to that whole the idea I've talked to Parker about this a bunch, we we've worked with people in the past, where like, the way they surmounted a problem is they just say oh, I'll work harder. And that that doesn't like work harder for most people just amounts to I'll put more hours into a thing and that's
exactly what it is. Steven?
Well, yeah, yeah, right. Two
months from now I'm going to have a nervous breakdown.
Like what always goes through my mind is like someone who's like I'm working hard just like you see them at their desk and they're just like, oh, like
all their years.
What does that even mean? Like it doesn't mean my new layout so hard.
Get don't go over there Steve. Was that the call IT department and get a new keyboard? Because they noted so hard?
Yeah. Working hard is it's just a goofy term. If he asked me because it because it just amounts to less. Somebody's been like, well, I'll work overtime. You can.
There is a way of saying it as becoming more efficient at your job is a thing. If you know a little bit of scripting and have some it's funny,
in times of stress, though, like I the last thing I'm thinking is like efficiency, or like figuring things out exactly doing things better. It's more just like, Oh, God, just you know, like I talked about, like thrash mode. That's what I that's why I always do is like when I'm like healing. It's like, you know, like you got your your adrenaline's really go and you're just like, Oh, I just got to frickin figure this out. I don't know. Try this. I got to try it again. Try it again. Try it again. Try to it's just you like you get yourself in a hole. And
and you can't get out. Yeah, you can use
I'm gonna use that next time when when when we have a big problem. And someone's like, yeah, we just need to work hard be like No, no thrash move. That's
it because it's one of those things where sometimes we're you do have like, a little bit of a break. And you can like maybe write a little piece of like a script that helps you out up to drop out or whatever. Because the worst thing that can happen is you write that script. And you never ever use it again. That's right. Yeah. So you made this all this efficiency and never get to use it again.
That's right. Yeah. Like the idea of working hard or working extra extra time in this like thrash mode, I think is actually valuable. For like, a quick short period of time, like, you could surge and work hard to write that script that makes everything really simple, you know, down the line, but nobody can just withstand like this complete surge of working hard. I'm using air quotes here indefinitely.
Well, I mean, that's the entire thing with past couple years in the video game industry with crunch. Oh, it's, it's where well, well, you say last month, but what was happening with these video game developers was they were in crunch mode for years. And so developers software developers are in our working 7080 hours of just working hard right now. And, and then it just explodes. What's interesting though, is that's kind of been like the dirty little secret of like the video game industry of developing video games. What's interesting, we're seeing the same kind of thing happening with all industries because of COVID. Yeah, because we have what massive layoff people just saying, fuck it. I'm not working anymore, right?
Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of people quitting and the the Great, the great quickening or something. There's a bunch of, you know, fancy articles about
the great. It's not recession, but it's another Navy resignation.
I think it's. Yeah. You guys know. Anyone? Anyone in your circles doing that? Basically? Yeah. I haven't heard it in the electronics industry much. I mean, I don't know if it's, maybe it's a
I've only I've only seen people leave for wage issues. Oh, sure. Because they've looked at they've looked at during COVID brought a lot of introspective thought, where you can look back and be like, What am I doing with my life? You know,
YOLO? Some of them YOLO.
Right. And then yeah, it's like, okay, so maybe I really liked my job, but it's just not paying the bills, and being at home. 24 hours a day, is making me really look into that. So maybe I trade, you know, a job I really enjoy for a higher pay, you know,
yeah, or the, you know, some places are going or moving back to everyone in office. And people really enjoyed the work from home, which, for me, I got really after six months of working from home, I was ready to go back to the office. But for some people, they have family, kids, you know, which totally makes sense, actually, from working from home. Like, well,
I I'm currently in my home office, and I have been very lucky the house that I've just moved. And if you guys heard that I'm in Durham, North Carolina No. And so I'm very lucky to like have an office here. And I was like, really excited to also like join a shared workspace like I did in Chicago. But then I realized I was like, Wait, but all my tools are in the lab. It's like I have to have like non non hardware days to really, like make sense to go into the workspace even though I want to you know, I want to meet people. I've obviously got a lot. I'm trying to build a new network here, stuff like that. But yeah, it's, uh, you know, tied. I'm married my electronics guys. And also my wife. So don't tell her I said that about the electronics.
You got the order wrong there
that I did. Yeah.
Yeah, so So I was in the office all of COVID because I had to, I was considered essential because I was running some of our manufacturing machines there. And since COVID, has opened up, I've, I've trained people to do my job. And now I work from home as often as I can. And it's amazing. It's so great. So it's just completely opposite from everyone. But I my productivity has gone through the roof because of
that. That's great. Yeah, unbroken time is like super important to me, like as well like, just to have like, a three hour block of just, you know, but it happens to your to, like, you know, Zoom meetings, whatever. It's just like, I need to, you know, if I'm doing a layout, I need to be able to do it for a couple hours. So like, get into it and get in that mode, get in the flow and whatever, if I'm, God forbid, writing code, I need to like, work myself up to it, you know, get a pack of smokes and you know, really calm myself down, get myself amped up with a pot of coffee, and then you know, an entire pot. Yeah, yeah, right.
I'd be curious, because
there's an emotional roller coaster.
No Truer words have never been spoken.
Parker. I'm really curious from our listeners, if you put it up in the in the Slack channel, if you're the same way. I'm exactly the same way with that with that, Chris, I can't, I can't just get into layout mode for 10 minutes, I have to get into layout mode for half a day. And I've even been known to put a song, a single song on repeat and listen to it over and over and over. And like I'm not really listening to the song. It's just has me in this like layout zone kind of thing. And being at home and being away from I hate to say this, because it's like everyone knows what I mean. But it's this is a little bit mean. But like being away from dumb questions, and dumb questions are those things where like, Look, I've asked a bazillion dumb questions in my life. But if you if somebody doesn't have the ability to just walk into your office and ask that dumb question, they'll find a way to figure it out. It's just if you're the person that can like answer that quickly, they'll just go that that route and trust me, I'm the person that goes that route as well. But it's I've found that COVID has actually been really fantastic for that people are so much more self sufficient. Because they have to be not because there's just like someone with the answers one door down.
Well, I feel like that goes in both directions too because like you know organizations have to be, you know, the remote first, which many are becoming that way or shifted that way, at least during COVID is like, you got to document better. Whereas like before, it was like, well, I'll just go ask Stephen again. I'll just go as Steven again, as Parker again, you know, like, and it's just like, and now it's like, you guys also have to document the thing so that people can find it later. And it's a little bit more hassle, but I don't know. No, I definitely.
I would say about a third of my job is documentation. And the I think my my biggest response now is copy pasting links from our documentation to that person.
That answers in here, bless bless your heart. You go darlin.
I'm honestly really close on things about writing a Slack bots, that if someone finds a sentence towards me with a question mark at the end,
it searches that into our our knowledge base. That is so perfectly result, Parker that is that is like the most passive aggressive engineer thing you could do.
Because of them, it would just be like me just copy pasting links
still. Yeah, right. Yeah.
I just had
a couple of fans like, hey, the answers in this article. Give me another message. If you need more help. Yeah, yeah. But make like four or five different revisions of that sentence and just randomly picks one
thing go, I actually, I, I'm not a big fan of the program itself. But I am a big fan of the idea. One of the companies I work with, uses this thing called loom L O M. And basically, it's like five minute limit. But you can record little videos and like snippets and stuff like that of yourself and whatever. And I really liked that for like, sharing ideas. And like, basically, it's like having many meetings without having to actually then be like, oh, and what do you think? What do you think is like, no, here's just my information, leave me alone. And you know, and then you just go off into your next thing. That's kind of a cool idea. The, you know, the software itself, just okay. But the idea concept is, and actually, I think slack just stole it. They do it now for like little snippets in Slack as well. So yeah, there's like huddles too. Yeah.
Yeah. You can do like a quick Hangout, basically, Google Hangout, basically, with anyone that's in that slack channel. Which is, it's kind of nice.
Slack, Slack is not my favorite.
Yeah, it's not mine, either. I'm actually kind of so we've talked about this before. Moving off of slack and well, not as a company but as a the community for macro engineers. And going to discord. Because that seems to be like the hotness, or it's okay. Yeah, community driven stuff.
There's a lot. There's a lot out there. It's just not that, you know, he's just like, how do you pay attention to him? You know, he's like, Well, if we were to, you know,
if we were to shift right now, you know, we've got six 700 People in our in our Slack channel for the podcasts, if we were to shift that would drop to 100, you know, and we'd have to restart. So yeah.
That's the only downside. But hey, let's go. Let's just go back to HipChat
yet. Oh, that's classic.
On the you know, so Dave, and I talked about the collab tools last week on the Empower. Have you guys taken any hot hot takes on collaborative tools? And yeah, what are you doing for layout these days? I guess. That's what this is all stuff. Yeah. This is around EDA, like collaborative EDA.
Oh, man. I'm still using eagle and I'm trying to I'm actually been learning Altium Okay, yeah. Attempting to learn Altium No, they have some collaboration tools in there. I haven't even touched that yet. Because Altium is a I've all the EDA tools I've used it is completely different than anything else I've ever used before. Really? Yeah.
I think it's, it's worked out to be fairly serendipitous because I started using dip trace back in 2013. And, and I got pretty, I got proficient at it. Until I came to this job, which this job uses dip trace 100% And I've noticed that what's interesting is in the synthesizer, community dip traces kind of a standard. So it just worked out that I was able to plug right in pretty easily with it. So that's, that's been my main I've but
I was like, I like to trace it's, it's nice. I mean, like it's, you know, very straight ahead. It was always like really straightforward as a as a platform I thought
ever Yeah, it doesn't like it tries really hard to make the user interface not engineering. And and actually, I really appreciate that. But we do have some customers that use Altium and some that use KiCad. So I have to kind of bounce around or chi cat I'm not sure which way it is. Now, yeah, okay. Either or right? Sure. Yeah, your shirt doesn't even answer for me.
There Yeah. Microphone I use, I pretty much have to be least I wouldn't say proficient but at least navigate pretty much every single EDA tool that we use for our customers use everything.
Yeah. Got it? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think the real question is just like, if you were, I don't know how much you guys have to, like, work with other people on layout stuff. That's the
Yeah, cuz that would be more on. Like, for me, it's just, I get stuff from customers, or it's my own design stuff out really collaborate with other layout engineers?
Well, okay. So we have two main designers that work myself and the owner. And we both are proficient at DTrace. And we mainly try not to step on each other's toes. So if there's a project that I'm working on, it is 100% Mine, unless the owner needs to massage it for whatever reason, into our system, or whatever he's going with. And sometimes he'll kick me stuff over for review. But we've, we've, we've argued it out enough that I have a method and he has a method, and they plug in, okay enough that we don't have mistakes, but like simple things, like I prefer silkscreen on my boards, and he doesn't. In terms of reference designators I like having reference designators and stuff like that.
But yeah, but yeah, these are just just personality at that point, right. I mean, it's like, yeah,
and it's really funny, because like the people down the street in our manufacturing line, without even being told they can look at a board and know who it came from. Like, of course, the ask is, but can you if they just look at the traces, they could be like, I know who made this board?
Yeah, it's like, it's like your handwriting effectively, right? I mean, yeah, there's a fingerprint. Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting. For sure.
I would love to I've never, I've heard it's out there. I've never experienced it. But I'd love to see a multi seat concurrent EDA tool where multiple people are working at the same time. I I think that would just be chaos.
I feel like that's, that's like engineering porn. That's like, what people think that it's like that if that's needed, you know. And it's like, that's not how it normally happened. Let me tell you about the birds and the bees.
That's like, if you pitch that and made that work, you'd get so much VC funding. Yeah, exactly. No engineer would actually use it.
I just think about it, like the, you know, like, well, so So Parker, I'm sure you see this a lot in macro fab to like the, like CAD so often done at an institutional level. I guess, Steven, you're even just talking about it, right? You want went into a company. And it's like, the CAD stuff is already decided it was decided 15 years ago, and by the, you know, the pilot designs that are already made. So it's like, all right, you know, so then, so, engineer, Bob was in the chat, he was talking about, like, chi cat at home. LTM at work, right. And so that's how, that's how that split sometimes starts happening. And that makes a lot of sense, where, you know, you could you know, if you're doing your own thing, you're starting from design zero, and you get to just go and, you know, use whatever you want, but you just have to use what they use at work. And that might be Altium. And might be eagle and might be God help you. Or cat.
Yeah. All three of us. We've, you've used AutoCAD, right, Chris? Yeah.
I've used the only the schematic capture the I was never allowed to do the layout.
Allowed? Yeah. Wow, that oh, you had to have the dongle. Right? Yeah. I've parked and I both dealt with it. And and it was a nightmare. Yeah.
I don't know how any company functions with that piece of software,
the dedicated people. That's I mean, I think that's what it comes down to. It's like, it's like another structural thing. You have to have people in, in and then in there and then so now you have someone who has a job based on work had they're probably very proficient at it, right? No, no doubt about that. You can get stuff done if you need to. Right. And then they do right I mean, like the some of the biggest design houses use it. And then it's like, Alright, now we're gonna have an engineering review. And should we switch to another thing and the guy who's like, who has AutoCAD designer on his business cards? Like, I vote no.
I just know this guy spell it out to me one time cuz I actually purchased AutoCAD for a previous company because the the engineering manager just said, go buy a copy of workouts I just did. And, and the sales guy came in after we had it for a month or so. And I was I looked him straight in the face. I was like, This software is horrible. And, and I used it in front of him. And I was like, why does it do this one? And he was like, Look, let me just be honest with you. He's like your company. You have one seat of this. He's like, you're kind of a small fry. He's like the old Graybeard engineers at this other place that have 50 seats. They're the guys we pay attention to and all their engineers are in their late, you know, in their mid to late 60s And they're the guys when they say jump we say how high and it's just like oh, good lord. So okay, cool. So I'm getting screwed.
I mean, this is not that is not that is not limited to EDA either, right? Oh, of course. I mean, Every time a past company of mine that was in the test equipment industry talked about taking off a Jeep head port. Let me tell you every every arm was thrown in the air. Oh my god, we can't get rid of Jeep him. It is. It's the needed modern, modern interface that every user wants to see. Well, they all they all have equipment that has it on it. Well, that's because nobody took it off that old equipment, right.
That's, that's fantastic. Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, that's just, that's, I think, I think one of the things he points out to me is just like, there is hyper specialization in our industry, right. And people need very specific things. And then you have companies that are servicing these niches, not even niches, but just like these pipe or specify, you know, they have this lane. And if you try and go outside that lane, it is really tough. And, you know, I feel bad. Sometimes I feel bad, disparaging people who are trying something new, which is what I was doing last week, it was a startup who's trying to do something new and like, you know, good on him, honestly, like, I'm glad that they're trying something new. It's not for me, but but there might be other new engineers, it really all comes down to like, what, what's the object rate of the Greybeards? You know, like, we need to really just hit that eject button a little more often. How old is your audience? Guys? I don't know about my audience. I love the gray beards. I love them.
It was it. It's the phrase I really like our sentence, I guess is tradition. Because you know, everyone like goes on about traditions. So So orchid is like the tradition at a company, right? Well, traditions are just peer pressure from dead people. So
I've not heard that before. That's fantastic. Yeah, that's great. So it's Yeah,
train looking at different software. I mean, it's also because I've, I've used like, four different Ed like made boards and four different EDA tools over my short career so far. I wish I was better at CHI CAD KiCad than I am, I'm awful at it still. I still can't get my my brain around its interface.
I try real quick tangent. I still cannot figure out origins in KiCad. I had I had to pay analyze a board and then create create a pick and place file for our assembly team. And just trying to tell them where 00 was was a headache.
Yeah, it's top left. Yeah, top left. Yeah, it's top left,
but they don't work in top left. That's not your complaints team. So it's like,
it's yeah, the V six. That's fixed.
Yeah. Really? Okay. Yeah.
When we started macro crab, I actually was the person who wrote one of the first parsers for KiCad for our platform. And yeah, it was because we were, the industry is bottom left corner of the board is 00. So that was one of the first things I had to figure out was, okay, where's where are these numbers coming from? Oh, it's top left. And so you have to figure out it's top
of the sheet as well. The sheet.
Yeah, all all of my y's are negative, and they're big. And I don't know.
And then going in basically finding where the where your board is at, and all that good stuff, and then just doing some ops, and then you can easily figure it out. But it was one of those. Now, that was actually my first introduction to KiCad. So that was a lot of fun.
Yeah, it's getting there, guys. It's getting there. Couple more years. Couple more years.
I had to I took a customer's board, and they gave it to us for a DFM. And I well, it was it was a board assembly. So it was three PCBs. And within a day or two, I had you know that I had them panelized up I had all the all the correct manufacturing files spit out and things like that. But I feel like I was only able to do that because I had knowledge of other EDA tools. And I had done that on a day job. If I was doing that from scratch, it would have been like, oh my god, what am I doing here? Yeah, I'd because like, Yeah, I knew what I needed at the end. So I just had to figure out how to make KiCad do that thing.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I'm really excited. I mean, like, one thing I get excited about with with chi CAD in general is like the is the influx of software people. Like, I think that people that have like, like CI CD type of stuff, like I'm really interested in that sort of thing, you know, so like, at some point, if I hit save, it would be really cool that it goes and checks everything on the board, and like, you know, all the way through to the export, like that would be that'd be the best case scenario if like, maybe not saved, but you know, I do a commit. And like, and I think there are a lot of people pushing that kind of methodology generally. And then just other Python scripting gurus that are making things capable for me or possible for me that I am not capable of. So that's that's all So really important.
I think the most exciting thing about KiCad is how fast new features get added to it. Yeah. And how quickly it's, I guess you could from the AutoCAD perspective, it's a bad thing because things change. But from the other side of the spectrum, it's a great thing because it's rapidly changing and rapidly evolving. And
that stuff is that's where it usually that's when things fall apart when people get upset, right? They're like, Oh, I don't want it. Where did where did my button go? I know. Like, that's always. Oh,
so we had that happen at macro fab. Yeah, is on the admin side, we a button got moved around. When no one told anyone with a button. I think that was actually this morning,
See what did what dip trace, they lead you with a carrot. And they'll give you smaller revisions, like 3.1 3.2. And they'll just keep feeding you those and then they'll put everything into this beautiful 4.0 package and be like, well, it's $300 to upgrade to 4.0. And it's like, Ah, I have to because all of these features are awesome. And we've been asking for years for them.
Yeah. Autodesk on other hand just takes a big bite out of your wallet every month. That's true. Yeah.
Yeah, well, you know, industry industry in the fun
I get nothing we've said here is new, right? No,
well it's 300 episodes for you guys and 560 for us, I mean, like it's we're gonna we're gonna get some repeats on here. One thing I probably didn't bring up last time on episode 90 Development Board guild I'll show you I should go read those notes too. So I since since the last time we recorded I started using EFM eight parts talk about modern guys let me tell you at 51 cor
using the sleepy I am not
using sleepy be as easy to be laser laser yeah oh top laser be Yeah, well you know I wanted the for DAX that's where that came from. Having four decks is pretty important for my for my scenario. But I know Park I think when after I just saw I first chose it because I can know what I can can over a parallax noon. I can
know he would try to get you to do a prop. Yeah,
yeah, no. Who am I thinking of? $1 microcontroller guy? Sorry.
$1. Engineer, but yeah,
Jay Carlson, J. Carlson,
engineer, Bob and chat says the ad 51 Is the Orca the CPU world that is that is a great comparison. Because there's so much never die. They'll never die. There's so much code written for that microcontroller core. That is, yeah.
So J. Carlson wrote the $1 microcontroller. Amazing $1 microcontroller, you guys have surely read that article. Yes, he turned me on to that laser b part. And I started looking at it and I needed for DAX sometime later. And I was like, Oh, wow, this hits it. And so, but then I like started, like trying to learn it. And the only things I could find were posts from Parker and posts from Jay. I was like this, you know, you're in a bad spot. It's it's not quite as bad as when you're like doing a Google search and you find your own question stuff that has been unanswered for years. That's that's also bad. I've done that before too. Or, or the blog posts, you've written on the topic that you have now forgotten many years later. That's also yeah, I've done that.
We've mentioned this multiple times. You also run into that Stack Overflow or Stack Exchange, whatever. That forum posts where somebody posted the problem. And then the last very last thing was I found a solution. And then they don't say anything. And that's it.
Eggs gone like a fart in the wind. Yeah, so yeah, it's it's been an interesting journey. I think they're gonna keep it alive. As you know, it's interesting the days of there's the chip shortage. It's like, yeah, I guess there's there's a big product lines, it's still kind of around but it's not getting any better. Second, any other features? That's for sure. So it's interesting to drag you still doing some of that Parker now?
The if I made no we love the big project I've been working on is, you know, Pinball Controller stuff, and we're using a 80 Mega Sandy.
Okay. So I looked at those, they're just expensive, though. I mean, like, so they have DAX on them. And that's nice. Yeah. Well, when you when they're hard to find, well, that definitely.
That's everything that's on my controller right now. Although, although I'm looking at I'm looking at one of the big players right now and you can go out and buy any of them eight right now, and you could buy some of them.
Yeah, okay. Yeah. And there is some incompatibility you might be downgraded in terms of what you have on board but
Yeah, even it's a great The reason why is the we picked we picked the sandy because they actually for the price point and the features we needed. It was actually really good for it. Yeah. And the inmates just didn't really have the features that we wanted. I'd rather right now be in the FMA boat if I could, because you can actually buy them.
Yeah, yeah, right. Right, right.
It's also like, you can buy parallax propellers right now.
Someone's laughing about that all the way to the bank. Exactly. Yeah,
I actually know about my current hardware project I'm working on now. I'm actually using a parallax propeller because I have a tray of them. And I'm only going to build a couple of them. Nice. Why Knight?
What is up with the propeller, right? I kind of forget it exists. And then sometimes I'm like, oh, yeah, cogs.
cogs are thing. Yeah, there's a prop to now. Yeah,
I knew that. Yeah, that finally exists. Ken and Chip were on this podcast. But I remember it came
on while ago. Yeah. Yeah, a
year and a half ago at this point. Was that during COVID? Or, or right before? I can't remember. Oh, that was anyways. Yeah, I finally got a prop to dev board about a year ago. And it's a because now they support like C because it used to be just spin. And then assembly spins like there was their own language. And actually, that was actually the first embedded language I really learned. And actually, I really like it. And then I went on to learn C and then assembly and all that good stuff. But now let's see for it, but I actually still find myself writing spin code because I find it faster to write it that way.
Is it like a scripting language? What is it I mean, I remember hearing about it,
it's it's a if I recall, it's like it's it's like more like Python where it's runtime Okay, that's it's not compiled,
but it's colorful. I remember that. Yeah. Yeah. Colorful like actual colors like
there's like yeah, like in their IDE like colors. Oh,
it just like your variables are here. And this is going to make your variable block a different color. It's
actually it's actually kind of weird. Growing up I had a Bible. This is a super weird tangent, but I had a Bible that was like, depending on what was being said it would color it so if this is prophecy would be this color. If it's Jesus speaking would be this color. If it was Satan speaking it'd be this color. And programming is spin just makes me think I'm coding
blind. Oh, man, this devil says some weird shit. Neighbor. Confusing. Why is it only gray? Yeah, not to make fun. I'm not making fun of people of color colorblindness, of course, just that. Interesting. Yeah. Crossover.
Yeah, that Bible and spin has has a fatal flaw for colorblind people.
I guess. It's a real thing for design. Yeah. I mean, like high contrast design is important for for colorblindness, for sure. Yeah, no, I've
never tried. I have to say, I don't think I will. And it's an oddity. It's 100% an oddity, but they're still around.
I mean, that's what's weird about the educational people doesn't even have products.
Um, I mean, our my first Pinball Controller, which we built a couple 1000 of it random had a parallax propeller on it. It's a really $8 microprocessor. Yeah, it's expensive. What a new one. I think so. Yeah. But the new one is just what it can do is amazing. Like, Oh, yeah. So on the new one, I think there's like 64 pins, I hope, general purpose IO pins. And each one can be a DAC or an ADC. Yeah, it's bonk like the peripherals. And that thing is just crazy. It really is like the anything chip. Like you can but you have to code it that way. Because like you have to for where like you have like you set up a DAC like you like us to set up some registers and then the hardware does its thing. It's actually more kinda like an FPGA in terms of, you have to write that stuff in code to make, like, you turn you turn a cog into a, a, a, what would be good
is like block configuration unless like you're saying, this is a blank and then it does this function. Yeah, it
does this functionality. Yeah. But they can do a lot more than that. But that's just a good way to think about it.
You know, one of the big downfalls is I'm actually looking at it on Mauser right now. A prop to Def board is $130 and and that's not like horrible or anything like that. But if you're like a do it yourselfer, or if you're like a get into entry level guy $130 Dev board to just have access to the processor is steep, right?
Well, maybe that begs the question, guys, is DIY dead, dead
40 minutes in and we reach our topic
Yeah, we did. Yeah, we got that. We did it. We're gonna circling around it. Yeah. I think that's an interesting. I mean, like around the I don't know, like so first off,
so I think we I think we have to have our binary answers first. No, no, maybe binary
I'm analog I work and I say I'm gonna go with no
no, I don't. Yeah, I think it's a The reason it came, why did it come I came up around like kinda like maker culture or stuff like that we were kind of talking about, but I think that the, you know, it's kind of never been easier to do DIY stuff. I think it's just more of is it romanticize as much? I think that is a that's a so is the romanticization of DIY dead? I hope so. Because, like, you know, like, oh, you can start your business making 3d printers like,
Cool. Yeah, it needs to. Yeah, it's gone.
It's interesting. Where I think it depends, I think the mass market ability. This is like looking at Maker Faire because Maker Faire has gone. Especially I wish, like San Mateo was a lot of fun. But like, I think what happened there is they the idea of big companies coming in to sponsor makers, I think is over. Big companies like Microsoft coming in,
will tend to the might, yeah, and Microsoft, the Barnes and Noble tend that was my favorite. That's when you know that an event is doomed. It's like our biggest sponsor is Barnes and Noble, Barnes and Noble. I mean, you're an acre read about it on paper.
I remember when Autodesk was was the premier sponsor at Maker Faire for San Mateo. And that was that was they had a bonkers booth. Yeah, that was when they launched Autodesk one to 3d, which turned into Fusion. No, interesting. But, uh, oh. So craft lab and chat says maybe it's because of COVID. And there's no Maker Faires for people to obsess over, trying to show off their hacks.
Well, okay, wait. COVID though. So yeah,
that brings up a problem like, are you just making it so you can show it off to people? And at that point, is it just like, social media DIY? Or are you actually trying to solve something, you know?
I think yeah, all things go all things, you know, move towards commercialization, right. And you kind of like, any kind of excitement that happens is people are gonna be like, Oh, I could maybe make that into a business opportunity. You know, like, and I'm not, I'm not immune to this myself, you know, like, so I think that what happens and I think what, specifically with Maker Faire, and maybe more broadly, in the industry is like, people started doing that. And then they they're like, I'm a maker, and then they're like, I'm making maker business. And then they're like, I'm making money off my maker business. And then maker fairs, like, okay, cool. Now you have to pay us to be here. And they're like, Whoa, we're gone. You know, like, and it's just like, so not cool, man. Yeah. Cool. Ethos of me making money.
Yeah, no, this thing about that is trying to make money off. People who DIY because most reason why there's two groups of people who DIY one you're doing it to save money in one your use enjoy doing it. I would say the group that enjoys DIY, just to do it is a lot smaller than the people who do it. Save money.
Oh, that's interesting.
This is this is like, we're talking about DIY, like, I want to, I want to fix the plumbing under my sink.
Okay, why not saying like, I'm posting my project to Instructables you're like, getting it done, because I don't have to. I'm not hiring a professional.
I'm not going to I'm going to fix my toilet myself. You know, I'm going to fix, right, that's, that's a DIY project.
Yeah. Yeah, that's right. That's right.
So I would say that segment is way larger of a segment of the DIY community. And so when you have the I wouldn't have
put the, you know, the the toilet fixtures in the DIY. In my head. It wasn't in that camp, but it's okay, because we're talking about Maker Faire already.
Yeah, yeah. But that's what I'm getting at is we're pitching to the DIY community. You're trying to pitch to people who don't like to spend a lot of money.
Yeah, yeah, I'd say that more broadly, as well. hardware engineers are cheapskates. I mean, like,
Oh, yeah. And we were talking about $1 microcontrollers. And we're like around is that is that can we do that? 50 cent microcontroller?
I mean, the thing is, like there are some very real implications from the saving money I can make more things I can you know, I get to fund like in like some like actual like business things to like, I can fund my business for longer because I make more margin per board. So like being a cheapskate actually leads to my company's longevity. You know,
how many design meetings. Have you guys been in though, where you're proposing something new? And people are just saying like, well, that's going to raise the cost of this by 20 cents. You know, and like the bean counters are going to, you know, beat us with a whip if we if we add 20 cents to this. So like, Yeah, I mean, we're kind of we're we're trained Disha to think about that condition. Yeah.
Right. Right. We are Pavlovian in our cheapskate pneus.
I mean, who? So the pre supply chain issue, you would go online? Search it at 10k? Oh, 603. And you would me click the Sort by price ascending.
will still do it? Yeah. Yeah.
I think nowadays, you click that in stock button,
too. Yeah, there's that. And then I was also like, then there's also that like, mental switch of like, well, I'm not sure I should really, even though they're the cheapest, like getting resistors from Bob's resistors. Shed, you know, like, like buying some, like off brand. Who knows what then it's like, okay, so maybe if I've been burned enough times, I'll think twice. But yeah, most of the time. Yeah. Sign me up for the cheapest. Yeah, I think that's just how the industry goes. Right. I mean, that's also what drives Moore's law, everything else, right? It's not, people aren't doubling their transistor count every 18 months or whatever it's actually doing these days. You know, it's not because of, because it's fun to make things smaller. You know, I have friends in the chip industry. It is a slog, it sucks. It's like, no, we need a big money and keep up or else we're dead.
Yeah, well, and with component shortages nowadays, I think that kind of cuts a line down. Wait, why middle? Yeah, like there's shortages. You can't find things. Yeah. So it kind of cores out this middle section of industry, right? You have big players that can throw their weight around and can spin up fabs or convince people to make stuff for them. Or you have the really really small guy that's making five of something and can sit there and hunt and find for five things on eBay and buy them and make his little project but in between there you have this really like you have the people who are sweating every day saying like I need three controllers and I can't find them. Yeah, I
hope I can outsmart someone by buying when DigiKey is like just happens to have the parts on hand. Exactly like window.
Yeah, that happened against gets me on sandy 20 ones. Yeah,
you got you got you got sniped.
Yeah, someone Someone sent me like, Hey, did you see he's got 2500 days. I'm like, perfect. That's a year of production and be good to go. 10 minutes later on my Digi keys website. Already Gone, just sailed away. Yeah, back to that box div and hit digital keys warehouse before was out the door going again? Yeah.
Well, and that goes that goes exactly to what you were saying, Chris, with commercialization. Like, if you're a DIY guy, and you kind of have that idea where it's like, Oh, I've got this cool concept for a widget and maybe it can make me some money someday, you're looking at chip shortage and be like, Why even try right now? To make it into something more? I might as well just make one for my house. And that's fun and cool. And there we go.
Yeah, yeah. And I think it's, it's going to be interesting to see what companies make it. I mean, not interesting is sad and terrible, and everything else. But like, you know, they're they're always going to be a reckoning because of this, you know, some companies are just gonna maybe not close up shop, and maybe they'll shift their business model, whatever. And it's like, yeah, I don't know many people who are like, I'm really looking to get into dev boards right now. You know, where the money is? $20 breakout boards.
Yeah, yeah. You know, I haven't looked in a while. Has has the technology section on places like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter? Is that is that significantly different given chip shortages and things? Or are we seeing
emails? More marketing emails from them?
Okay, yeah, I probably battery follow up Crowd Supply. I don't really follow IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, because of past just, I can't die. Yeah, I just, it's just not I think it's just lower signal. And like, I feel like the you know, like crowd supplied, pretty good, you know, some stuff. I'm just like, okay, come on. But you know, pretty good, you know, because it's because it's pretty niche, Indiegogo. And Kickstarter. If I had a random, you know, Indiegogo is lowest and, and crowd supplies that the best thing so
well, I'm just wondering if if, if you were to look at the data behind stuff that's available on any of those platforms right now? Are you seeing lots of people saying like, hey, delays, hey, you know, whatever. Or if you were to even see like the back end of people who were interested in opening a new campaign and saying, like, I'm gonna hold off, like, how much is that? See?
I've done that. We had Chris Craft on a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that on lease on. What's the other one? The one that craft website.
The blue box macaroni and cheese.
No. No. Etsy, Etsy. Alright, Etsy and Pinterest. Attendee candy there. Were a lot of people are closing their shops because they just can't get parked. Yeah,
they'll just come back whenever. Yeah,
yeah. I'm sure attendees influx quite a bit.
Yeah. I think the real thing is people, people should probably be raising their prices. But I think there's also resistance to that, you know, it's just like, oh, I shouldn't do that. I want to, you know, so like, Okay, so now we're back to this DIY ethos, right? I think I want things to be cheap. I think shooting should be cheap, and I sell them. But then it's like, okay, but you're not getting as much margins, you're not going to stick around. And so it's just like, that's going to hurt. I kind of hurts everyone, I feel like, you know, I feel like you've got to raise your prices, on a pretty regular basis, too. And, you know, I feel like people in the DIY space might be more willing to sell flagellate in the, in the business sense of the word, rather than rather than, like, look like they're gouging customers, you know, it's just like, the price increases are just a natural part of, well, other industries, at least maybe not our industry. Usually. I remember there was a FAA I used to work with he's like, Yeah, only industry where every year the parts get cheaper. You know, same function parts are supposed to get cheaper, though. It's like, oh, yeah, think about that.
Yeah. I haven't I haven't thought about that the DIY community in thinking that the stuff that they should get for cheaper, they should also be able to ply supply things for cheaper, where that just isn't making sense right now.
Yeah. I mean, I've seen more than one, like, Oh, we're sorry, we have to raise prices? And it's like, of course, you do. Like everybody has to raise money. You know, like, that's just a thing that happens.
I to two to 3% per year is pretty expected. Yeah. I
mean, if you're gonna have I mean, like, so yeah, if you just have the inflation cost of like, you know, assembly services that come through, maybe there's some efficiencies through a macro fabric similar, but like, you know, there's just going to be price increases, maybe if you can just have an office, you know, like, things are gonna go up. So, I don't know, I feel like, I feel like that's one of the one of the downsides is that, like, there's just a lot of kind of emotion tied up in it, you know, like, because we're cheapskates, and yeah, that sort of thing.
Well, we, I guess I got two things here is so on that gamble is we, we also look at it as a well, if it was $40, I would, I would just spend my own microcontroller board and spend $25. Right myself, and assemble it myself. Oh, yeah. And so that we get that in our brain and go, that is the worst. That is always wrong. It's always wrong. But we always had that mentality. Oh, yeah, for sure. I can do that cheaper. Yeah, that whole, I can do it cheaper. And we're the ones so just
spend like 16 hours on the weekend. And I'll just like, be done. Right, then I'll build one. I think I'm fine. Everything quantity one.
I think I'm finally getting to the point. Old enough where I'm starting to realize time is important. So figuring that out and projects but then two is on Stephen. With I'm not I'm not gonna pretend to be an expert in inflation. But if you look at the actual inflation for like the past 1015 years, it's been pretty flat. Until now. Yes, that's right. Yeah. And so it's like, it's been that two 3%. And then it went to like this. It actually sometimes it had dipped down. Yeah, dip down ultimately. Yeah. So there's, I'm not gonna pretend to be an expert. But you know, there's a lot of people are like, freaking out over like inflation stuff. But it's like, well, if you actually draw a linear line from way back, then we're still not even up to it yet. That's right,
last year dipped really hard. So it looks like it's way worse than it actually is. Possibly,
but the maker this whole maker commercialization stuff has really, maker and DIY has existed for a long time, but it's really become the like Maker Faire and the forefront and be news kind of things has really been the last 10 years during that period
of flattening of stuff flattening. And now think that that contributes to that, too, is just like the China ecosystem coming online growing so huge, right? So like, if you really think it like 2000, you know, China was like, not a, you know, it was obviously it was a market for low cost assembly, stuff like that, but just like the dominance in the electronics industry, and just the flattening of cost, I think because of the volume there and like the, you know, taking over a lot of the assembly that's happening and just like all the things that were there, and that how that contributed to the low, you know, just the lower cost of goods overall in you know, in certain parts of the world. Of course, we're all in the States. And then how that then played into the maker movement as well right. So then now people are saying Hey, I as a individual, I can go and take stuff maybe over to China even, and you know, harvest some of that value as well. And then that starts to go away because, well, other brands are doing the same thing or whatever. And it just gets harder and harder to do that. And the cost of imports started go up as well. So yeah, I could I feel you got an economics paper there. Parker, maybe maybe. You might have you might be halfway to DC. Yeah, yeah. He's
got to finish this one article that he's writing for.
last two years. Right.
Right. If that maps, then he'll, you know, by the time he's in his mid 80s, he might have gotten
the also think about is, when was the first time you could that you buy a prototype piece, just a bare PCB? That was under $100? That's right. Yeah. When was like 2006, seven ish, maybe? That was mine. Well, I've bought a prototype from PCB cart.com, which still exists. Yeah. But that was like the first time I ordered a board from China. And it was under 100 bucks. And as a college student, I could barely afford that. So well. Now I know when a board
is like 10 bucks. It's that's expensive. Right.
Right. Yeah, I think that that totally enables that enable a lot of things, right. I mean, like, as someone who's trying to build a board business out of that is or like a assembled PCB business out of that is, it's more possible than it maybe it would have been back in 2005 or 2000. So yeah, sure. Yeah, my first the first boards I got were, I think, advanced, advanced circuits out of Colorado, which I demonstrate for me. Yeah, just purchased by what's the names, tempo, and no solder mask, just bare PCB, various PCBs, you know,
I did that because it was the cheapest option I did at one time and nervous. And then I hand soldered it, and there were shorts, and it was not fun. It is like, come on this. Why am I doing this? Yeah, I
did that same exact thing.
Oh, they called it bare bones. That was the bare bones.
Yeah. Yeah, it was fun.
That wasn't the first board I bought for my whole thing was like, under a certain price point. Because I sold I think those were so over $100.
Yeah, yeah. They were not cheap for what they were. No.
Yeah. So yeah. The, I think the what would they call it now? Democratization that PCB pricing from China.
That's right. Yeah. I mean, so certain things came out of like the D, you know, if we, if we conflate DIY with like, maker culture, and just kind of like, I think, like, digitally enabled stuff, too. Like being able to, you know, like, when we order boards from China, it is not because we're calling China at, you know, seven at night here. And it's seven the morning there. It's because we ordered online, and when they get in, they just make the stuff and whatever. No big deal. And, but just like that the digital front end for services. Man, that is sweet. I hope that never ever goes away. I don't want to talk to another goddamn human ever again. You know, I know we're on macro fed podcast. So macro fab, doing things right. I don't want to talk to Parker ever again. I'm just kidding.
No, no, no. When Mike, when I first started, I remember that being a selling point where they were like you're an engineer, you want to make something and you want to just input your data. You want to be in control of your data. And you don't want to talk to anyone. maktab allows you to be an engineer. Oh, yeah,
start sign me up for that all day long. No, it was awesome. I want to talk to people after work. And I think the real thing is, I don't want to go back and forth. That's the real thing. I recently ordered laser cut acrylic on Ponoko, which is, you know, been around a long time with very different service than when I last I remember hearing about it, looking at it, whatever. It was so easy. That was just like I'm an illustrator. 20 minutes later, I've ordered things and it just shows up and it was like, oh my god, this is like, like, I don't have to join a makerspace I don't have to get into the politics of the makerspace to get access to a laser cutter. Like
do I really have to get training for this machine
that's so cool, I more of that, more of that. I don't want to be around people
just the other day I use the service to order some some jst assembled cables. So basically, you sh style connectors with the wires in between, effectively that's it. And I use an online service that allowed me to pick my connectors, pick the colors, pick the length, and just press buy and they ship yesterday and I haven't talked to a single person
right and you also didn't have to make a engineering drawing of it. I mean, like fingers are important, but boy they're a stupid process for like translators like, like Stephen knows he wants this color of wire here, like, so we have to put it in a PDF to know this like, no. Sounds like you're like specking a brand new color of wire that's going to go all the way back to the plastic manufacturer that then coats you know, stranded 24 gauge wire or something, you know, like,
honestly, I swear PT, engineering drawings, not just PDF sorry engineering drawings have traditionally just been a club that you can beat your manufacturer with when they get it wrong. No, I swear to God, I'm not done not trying to be like, Oh, that's what it is like, you didn't follow the drawing like, you know,
it's like, it's like the bill of sale for like, yeah, for like your specs, you know? Yeah,
that's exactly what it is.
Yeah. And then you get those drawings that are just almost black with text and just so much information that there's no way anyone could read it and actually get it right.
And no one's ever read it. No one's someone, some engineer made it unlike a before. And this gets copied paste on each each layout page, and no one reads it. And so they say and erase notes. Yeah. But then they send you the actual specifications and doesn't match that.
I see. You see that? Every single day.
I've had a call out to me where they're like, Yeah, you sent them this drawing this, this is what you ordered. You know that I'm like, oh, yeah, I didn't mean to do that.
I actually, I had some I had some guys just the other day, I'm getting some plastic parts made right now. And so I'm getting them injection molded. Well, they come out of the mold and plastic shrinks a little bit. So I gave some tolerances for shrinkage allowance on my drawing. But the The place was asking, Hey, you know, we're seeing X number show up on all the parts that we've manufactured. Would you mind changing the drawings such that the nominal is now the shrink part? I'm like, Well, no, I'm not going to put that because now whenever I leave the company, and someone else needs to go and get another mold made, they're now going to make the mold for the new shrunk size, and it's going to shrink again. And you're going to ask them to change the drugs. 100 years
your part is like
did you I've mentioned this on the Empire before but I love the baba verse books. Have you guys ever read those? Or do you know what they are?
On? Is? Is that the? Is that the word? They put someone's brain in a satellite?
That's right. Yep. Yeah. Okay, so basically an engineer, he dies, they freeze his brain, they make him into consciousness. But the whole Yeah, he goes out to space. So he's really, yeah, he becomes an AI basically. That's right. Yeah. It's like think about it. But he always talks about like, you know, like in this very, very fictional, although hard science fiction, in this very fictional future. He has access to like matter compilers, and that kind of thing. And I feel like that is like, that is the ultimate and that's also like, in Diamond Age. If you read Neil Stevenson to like, it's all matter compiler that's like, that's like the ultimate pinnacle for what we're talking about here. It's like, I don't want now we're not talking about like, like color wire, we're talking about, like, Oh, I'll build that where myself. Thank you very much. I will get the PVC. You know, read it. Okay. Build it up atom by atom. And yeah,
I'm gonna, I'm gonna make this Steven seafoam green colored.
Yep. Yeah, I like that. I mean, we're, frankly, even though we're talking about different processes, we're actually not super far away from that, in terms of silicon, like, we're getting close to atomic level transistors were like, like, some of the gates are, you know, measured in 10s of atoms, like, you're, you're getting close to being like, well, there's not like a different way we can stack all these things, you know, even though we're talking about, like, a subtractive process, in a lot of ways. But But yeah,
I mean, this is like, you know, additive is like they're saying, like atom by atom sort of thing. It's just, I don't think we're gonna get there anytime soon. But, yeah, well, I
mean, in terms of in terms of manipulating the universe, I'm saying we have a process that is on that scale path, you're
saying, huh, yeah.
Okay, that was always one of the weirdest parts about some of my semiconductor physics classes, where we had to deal in Angstroms and units that are close to the size of atoms. And it's like, we just threw that around on our homework. Like, it was nothing and like, wait, no, like we're talking about like, the smallest of small.
That's right. Yeah. It's like being really zoomed in on a CAD drawing, you know, and you're like, oh, it's no big deal. It's just like, you know, 20 nanometers no big deal and like, oh my god,
yeah, yeah. It's funny, we haven't we haven't seen see at work that we we have to run a calibration on and we have a run a shop, Ruby tip probe on it, that measures down to one nanometer and, and one of the person one of the things So I'm training on it. She, I've given her some specs in terms of when you're calibrating the machine, you should see numbers like this. And she's like, Hey, it's reading like 12 nanometers. Is that good or bad? And I'm like, It's 12 nanometers here, like, like, start thinking about the scale of these things. Like, yes, I've given you parameters for these kinds of things were like, 12 is like, around the edge of it, but like, also stop and think like, what is 12 nanometers, you know, in a manufacturing scale, where we're like, screwing things together, 12 nanometers is? Yeah, we're talking fine.
I did see. Oh, okay. They barely answered on the chat. Someone was asking about the book. So nevermind, they've already they figured it out.
They figured it out. Yeah. Yeah, that's I think I listened to audiobooks. I couldn't remember what what the baba verse was. I mean, that only listened to the first book is the first one
that's actually called We are Legion. We are Bob. Yeah, we are leading. The series is called Baba verse.
Okay. That's BTOB I've versity Yeah, that's okay. Yeah, not Bob a or Bob. Oh,
I actually I really recommend that voice actor on the the audio books are awesome, too. Yeah. I really liked the first book. So yeah, yeah, there's for now. And he got he's actually an engineer. Not surprisingly, the author was an engineer, and now as a full time author, so kind of like Andy Weir style. So
how long have these been around for?
Five to 10 years? Not not like a ton of time? Not classic. But yeah, yeah. Yeah,
I'd recommend at least the first one because that's one I have experienced with. Yeah. All right.
Yeah. Is there anything else we should talk about? Guys? We hit an hour here. I don't know how long you're usually recording these days, usually about an hour. That's our thing. You can't do that.
We're the amp a little bit longer than an hour.
Yeah. So what's funny about that is we first when we started this podcast, it was like 15 minutes, and we're going to be done. Yeah. And then it kept growing, kept growing.
I mean, there's so much to say, you know, well, I
think in the beginning is I think we were trying to differentiate us a lot from the other podcast, like the Ampyra at the time, and just grew into our own style. Like it just that's just what happens,
right? Yeah. Yeah.
So 300 More 300 More episodes. Yes. Hopefully. Rog gambled back on on 600 actually know what have you back? We're having way sooner than that.
So well, if you guys need anything. Yeah, I'm always there. I'm, uh, you know, building hardware. So let me know if people need help with hardware.
Yeah. So are you doing contract work then?
Yeah, I do. I do consulting for people. That one of my clients is public. And it's pretty cool. It's called Goliath. So that's like IOT interface kind of startup. And so like, I make IoT thing use now. It's pretty great.
Awesome. So there is one thing you can do for me gamble. Yes, sign out our podcast.
This was the macro FEHB engineering podcast and I was your guest Chris gamble, but also like a host because I'm the host of the amp hour and this is also being posted on the amp hour and thank you to our guests, who are also the hosts,
Parker Dolman and Steven Gregg. Later everyone
take it easy.