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.
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.
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. This is episode number 55. We are your hosts, Steven Craig and Parker Dohmen. So we would love to hear from all of our listeners, we would love to hear what you think about the podcast, what your current projects are any topics you would like for us to copy, or cover, I should say, or just say hello to us. If you'd like to reach us, you can hit us up at podcast at macro fab.com or on Twitter with at macro fab.
Yeah. And last week was the first week we started doing that, I guess. And Derek Woo, who is a longtime listener of our podcast, his Twitter handle is the current source, which is a really cool Twitter handle. He's got a cool logo too. Yeah, that's a TC s and with a nice blue font. And yeah, no, he
clearly spent time on that. Yep. But he
emailed us last week asking that what we had any project ideas about this ginormous thyristor that he just got, and it's a 1000 to 1200 volt SCR thyristor. So do you have any idea? What is the thyristor? Because I actually had I never even looked at that part before.
So okay, I've had a little bit of experience with thyristors. In the past, it's not a really common component. You don't you don't really run into it.
Well, not anymore, either. I was looking up the history of them. Yeah, yeah.
Well, and mainly because MOSFETs have become much better
and Triax and right sort of things.
So a thyristor. Actually, have you ever heard of an SCR before? I think it's silicon controlled? You know, I don't even remember what that what that is. Okay. So let me let me back up a thyristor is, is basically two transistors that are are stacked on top of each other.
P n n a p and then right. So
yeah, it's got four, four junctions in there. What's unique about a thyristor is it will not allow current to flow until you activate its gate effectively or its base. But once you activate its base, it will not stop. The current flow is almost like a runaway. Yeah, it's sort of almost like an avalanche, actually. Okay, in a way. So basically the avalanche effect inside the diode, yeah. Right. So once you pulse the gate, the current starts to flow from the from the collector to the emitter, and it just doesn't stop because it turns itself on after you do that. So you trigger it on it stays on, the only way to turn it off is to remove the voltage from the collector,
it's like throwing that pebble on the side of a mountain, and you kill everyone at the base.
That's right, right. So one of the really useful things with these guys is AC control. So if you put an AC wave across this, you can actually chop the AC wave and effectively PWM an AC signal. So if you've ever wondered, like, how do I dim a light bulb without just putting a big resistor in series with it, you can use a thyristor
and then pulse the input so to speak,
right, right. So check this out. Here's what's actually cool about it, you because you don't really have a sense on the mains frequency, if you just send a pulse to this thing, it may turn on at any point in the the cycle of the mains frequency. So what you can do is you can actually take the main frequency and put that into a comparator with with a zero threshold, and what you get is a square wave pulse that is at the frequency of your mains, it'll go up or down whenever the main frequency crosses zero, and then you just adjust that duty cycle. That's right, throw that into a into a microcontroller and adjust however you want. And then what's cool about that you can make a dimmer that doesn't convert the last energy into heat. So it's way more efficient than just throwing a big resistor in series. So Derek has his has got his hands on a 1200 volt thyristor so you could use that on a on a light bulb but it's way overkill for that. A cool idea it this might be expensive, but like a power dump. So get a whole bunch of capacitors and charge them up like crazy to a very high voltage and use this thyristor to dump all that energy all at once and you can make us like a huge spark gap or just something that just blows crap.
Or our you can control a Jacob's Ladder probably with it too.
Yeah, yeah. So there's the there's a lot of cool little applications you can do with them. There's they're sort of niche because it's just once you turn it on it it does not turn off until everything is gone effectively but But yeah, no, that's it. That's a that's a thyristor. So give it a shot there.
Yep. See what you build with that crazy? Actually, I want to take a picture of it cuz I want to know how big something like that is. You know? Okay, so actually probably more depends on the amperage it can handle. Yeah. Not really the voltage.
So So I worked on a I Gosh, what was it called? It was a dredge a dredge out in the Gulf. Gosh, a little while ago. That's actually we're
still work. You're working on that crap,
too. Yeah, that's right. That's right. Wrong. Dirty,
disgusting motor controller. And
you know what that motor controller was? It was a thyristor controller. Ah, it what it did was it controlled six separate thyristors in a in like a Triple H bridge to control a 600 volt 300 amp motor for the dredge. The dredge floats along the coast. And it just basically eats up the coast and spits it back out into the ocean. Yep. And it's all about firing pulses into these thyristors. Now that 600 volt 300 amp thyristor it's about the size of a hockey puck. Okay, so this one is probably depending on how much current it can handle is about that size. Yeah.
That's awesome. I want a part I if I ever designed something crazy, I want to park that's, like just a big part. Yeah, that's the cool thing about designing audio gear is you get like a part a transformer that's like this is like an old McDonald's Happy Meal. Remember when they actually came in cardboard boxes? Oh, yeah. I wonder why that came into my mind about like comparing to that size, but I'm hungry.
So what you've been up to this week burger. Um,
so last week, we talked about marking capacitors, on silkscreen and all that good stuff. And so I wrote an article about that. I covered pretty much I didn't cover every single type of capacitor by covered the problem ones like electrolytics, pretty much electrolytic. So you know, aluminum electrolytics I covered tensile limbs. And that's pretty much where I left off in that arc. And those
are those are the big ones. Yeah.
I did do radial and axial style. Aluminum as well,
though. And you did through hole and surface mount, right? Yes.
Cool. Have you ever seen a through hole tantalum capacitor that was polarized? Oh, yeah. Yeah, I have never seen one of those because all the ones I've seen are bipolar.
they look, they're called dipped capacitors. Mm hmm. And they were actually dipped in resin. That's right. And that little like yellow goop that's on them. They'll have a handful of plus signs on the
positive side. Okay, so maybe I need to update that article with that, then.
Yeah, that, you know, actually, funnily enough, that happens a lot in audio circuits, they use dip tan alums. But in other words, it's audio. So it's through hole, because they sound special. Actually, tantalum sound like crap. But they but they're, they're really, they're cheap. And they're really good for power supply. Ripple. So you don't you don't put them in the signal path. You put them in baffle?
Well, cuz they have low ESR. Yeah, very low. That's why they can eliminate ripple. Okay,
so there we go. Yeah,
there's Steven. Like, do you have anything else? And he's just like, look, I mean, like, I think I'm
good. Yeah, no,
I think that's it. All right. Um, and then kind of a side project because I do all the board design for spooky pinball. Mm hmm. And we just started the next revision of the Pinball Controller.
But hang on, hang on. Which revision Are you on? I think people need to know
this is Rev. Seven. E, right? Actually, I think we're actually it's such a it's actually me. We're changing it more now. So I think we're actually gonna have to increment that eight.
That's, that's, well, not just eight. It's, it's eight with letters in between. Yeah. But
Well, the thing is, it's been a production board since rep four, right? So there's been pinball machines over the past four years now, of all these different basically, whenever we need a new game comes out. We're like, Okay, we need to tweak design slightly or improve it slightly. And the slight improvements are our letter increments, right? And then when we actually like, Okay, we need like, move this stuff around on the board. That's a number increments, alright. So
a component change would be a letter
depends. A lot of times we don't want to increment the the silkscreen on that. It's just like, replace the like our 134 with a, you know, move it for from a 71k to 100k, which we actually did too, because it was on the amperage suppression, then inrush current production, we actually had to increase that because we were having issues with Sir servo motors, basically browning out the five volt one. And so we basically had to relax the protection on that. And so we had to go from 71k to 100k. And we just made a bomb change, we didn't actually do anything else for that.
Gotcha. Okay, so this is going to be a little bit of a tangent here. But this is a problem that that a previous job I had, we had, we had a big issue with it, and I want to get your opinion on it. So you have a product. And that product inherently has a whole bunch of drawings and a whole document package and artwork and all kinds of crap that goes along with it. In order to make it you have to have I don't 50 6070 drawings.
Yeah, that like, entire CD full of stuff. Right, right. So
even to make a PCB, you have, you know, your bill of materials, and all the other drawings that go along with it. So what at my previous job, we outsource a little bit of our work. So we would have a PCB bill, but then it had an assembly drawing that went with it, because we would put wires on it. And then we put it in a little cup, and we'd fill it with epoxy. And there was a couple steps. And each one of these things had its own drawing, as engineers tend to do,
what needs to happen and how it how it gets done. So here's
the thing, the the the people we outsourced to, they were trying to get us to have all of our revisions for all of our drawings to be the same level. So in other words, if we wanted to change the value of a resistor on a bill of materials, all the other drawings that are associated with that product would then also have to roll, even if nothing changed on each document
from a as since fact that MAC MAC drive we built stuff. Yeah, I would agree with that. Okay, yeah. Because nothing is worst when you open up a file, and you're new working on, let's say, board v one. And then on board v2, right? And you go, Okay, let's go flash all these boards with the correct hardware, and you open up the hex file says V one, and you're like, there's a version difference. Is there should be a version difference, or is there not a version different? Yeah,
I see. Yeah.
Yeah. That's, that's having all all the revisions that or what I really, I really like is, if you change something, you repackage it into a zip file, or whatever, and then change the versioning. On the master top level. Yeah. And so you increment that or just put a new date on it or whatever? Sure. So they know, at that date, when this was created, that was the master documents.
Yeah, yeah. And from the manufacturers side, that makes a lot of sense. But like, If Ford decides to change a bolt in one of their engine cases, should they have to roll all the documents for the entire truck to the next level? Or should they just roll the bill of materials that has that?
Well, yeah, they would roll that, but then they would take the whole thing, that that factory and make and then change the top level to be, you know, to 16 2017?
Sure, but but I guess what we were posed with with all of our documents, if one of them rolls to Level II, all the rest of them on the document should say E. And that and that got to be, you know, we've gotten a bunch of arguments over Is that valid? Is that worthwhile? Because I mean, we make a small change, we now have to pay a guy for an hour and a half to go in a change every doc up. Right, right. And, and it gets confusing, too, because if you look at the revision change log, there would just be a ton of line items that say, no change. But we had to change the revision because this other document change, we eventually just created. We didn't change every documents letter, what we did was we just made a giant change log. That was like, if you're building this product, then you need this document of this revision, this document of this revision. So we yeah, we had this big log, and we would send that to the manufacturer and they would they would do everything based off of that. So in an ideal world, everything would line up. Yeah, but they never did. I never
does. I mean, we had to change a single resistor, like almost mid run last time.
Right? Right. And then everything just gets crazy because then if you did that half of the board that you built would be referencing one letter and the other half would reread all it's crazy.
Well, it's even worse the first game we ever built. Spooky pinball ever built America's most haunted The original rev that was production was rev four. And when we started that was built halfway through the development of America's most haunted. And we realized we needed like XYZ in the kitchen sink added to the board. And we did that and made Red Five. Well, when rev five rolled around, the pinball machines were actually already in production. So a couple of Rev. fours are in America was hunted. And there's enough difference that they're running the first batch a code that everyone went gold, basically, huh. So it's running rev one a code and you can't change it because the Vert I think they're on like, oh, man, Ben is on Rev. 28, version 28 of the firmware that runs America's most haunted now. Wow. And there's such a huge difference. You cannot make it work on that for now. Yeah, and the amazing thing is those machines that are running before have never been updated, and they still work fine. Well, that's what you exactly. So we are making the changes, probably Rev. Eight. And we are actually working on we're actually named it's pin hack Rev. Eight. ATOL, which is end of the line edition. Because this is the last of the last of the pedigree of the pin hex system, the last of the propeller. Yeah, lots of the propeller action.
Maybe not, yes, because the propellers
not gonna be on rev eight actually at all, right? But we're working on this system is basically going to be a testbed for the next system, which we have not named yet. Because we want to come up with a different naming scheme and there will be rev one of whatever that is.
Okay, we just restart because it's a new product.
Yeah, we're actually going to be on be basically wiping the schematic completely 100% clean, and starting all over, it's gonna have the same elements, same kind of connectors, stuff like that, but where parts are at is going to change a lot. You know, I'm updating all the the footprint practices from that I've learned over the past like four years will be all new stuff. You know, crazy. Cool. Yeah. So Steven, yes, sir. Question. What have you been doing?
What have I been doing? Well, I think last week, we mentioned that the resistor resistor would be arriving this week and it showed up today this morning and they said that is the greatest resistor in the world. Yeah, this morning. And you know for the for all of our listeners who've been listening for a while you guys have been waiting for it. I've actually we've actually had some people write in been like this is cool. You know, waiting for it. Can't wait to see what's going on. So it showed up. And it looks great. There does, there is a small issue. And this was a complete derp moment from me. I think Parker Do you want to tell everyone what I did?
So I actually was the one who unpackaged it this morning because I had my name on a pull it out and I immediately saw what was wrong. So Steven put on the sides of the resistor big strips of copper and so look like the edge of a resistor know where the metal wraps around basically the end Yeah, that's what you solder to. So but he forgot to put the solder mask resist there so it's all solder mask over on the edge so you can't actually connect anything up to the board at all SATA Max Dover.
So, so the resistor resistor doesn't doesn't currently have a way to connect connect to the outside world. So yeah, I'd done goofed on that. But but the luckily there's there is a plenty easy workaround to it.
Oh gosh, pin. Yeah,
yeah, we Yeah. Or even sandpaper? high grit sandpaper, like 100 grit. You could do 400 And then and then go higher than that. And it won't even look like except if you mask it off. Yeah. Do like a little circle mask or something. You can sandpaper, the the solder mask right off, and it'll look fine. It's just a little extra work we have to do. And I got that. I was just like, damn it.
Yeah. Well, and also I like your idea of making like some aluminum blocks that slide on the
edge. Yeah, because then it actually looks more like a resistor and then we should have got it main
black solder mask too. So it'd be Blackboard. Yeah. Yeah.
It's the the board is ridiculous, though. I mean, to see 40,000 parts on the mix your eyeballs hurt. Yeah, but you haven't focus on anything. It's just ridiculous. Yeah. And here's the thing that's that's really great. It's I don't remember the width, I think it's 18 inches,
something like that. Yeah, it's
What if you look at the pads with the naked eye, you can see that the PCB manufacturer slightly got their stencils off. Because on one side, the the Oh 402 pads, the Left Pad is slightly smaller than the right pad. And as you as you look across the board, you can see get more and more aligned.
Yes, I'm in alignment. It's actually a stretch.
Or even BOTH Yeah, right. Or
no, it's a stretch. It's the when they shot the masks with lights. Oh, the lights. That must be where where it's more lined up is where the light was more overhead to UV.
Oh, yeah, it could be. It could be. Yeah, because on one side of the board, all the pads look uniform and great. And as you go across the board it it almost uniformly gets worse. Yeah. It's not any any kind of issue. We'll still be able to build the board. But it's noticeable. And it's on both sides of
the board. Interesting. But yeah, so we're gonna have to come in on a Sunday or Saturday and build that thing. Yep. Maybe next weekend? Not this weekend. Next weekend? No.
The. So my wife texted me. My synth PCBs have showed up. So I will be cracking those open tonight and taking a look at them. Oh, yeah. So that's another come in on the weekend and spend, you know, eight 910 hours making. So I know a little project we've been working on is some conversation out on the floor. And we've been we've been building some circuits for one of our hand place benches that goes in between our pickin place in our oven. So boards come out of the oven, and we occasionally need to put some parts on by hand. Well, I've been kind of putting together the the conveyor control system in there. And we bought some, okay, so the motors that we have on this conveyor system kind of funky, they're funky. They're big,
the 130 volt DC, yeah, motors, which is weird. They don't pull out of current, though. But the 130 volt DC,
and yeah, 130 volts, like, what where does that come from, but we found 130 volt motor drivers, yep, that just take line voltage in and they do all the rest of the magic of getting it to 130 volts. So we got those, but they have a really cool in the manual, they have a little circuit
that because it's usually just a potentiometer control, right? It's usually potentiometer
control where the high leg is connected to some voltage, the bottom leg is ground, and then the wiper is some voltage in between. But but in the manual there, like if you want to control it with a microcontroller, they give a little circuit. That's an opto isolator that goes into a dual stack transistor, which is basically a current amplifier. Nope. And then it's an RC filter afterwards. And by running that you can PWM it. And you can get something between zero and five volts, and not have to worry about your micro pumping into the potentiometer. Jack.
Yeah, it's kind of like a basically a low pass filter for your PWM.
Well, it's not really just a low pass filter. It's it's a, it's an amplified low pass filter Exactly. That but it only uses two transistors as opposed to building up like an active op amp circuit or whatnot. So I built those up on a little perfboard Parker actually bought a little cool. Take a carrier wagon thing that holds a little perfboard and it goes on a XiDan
rail. I did a Z rail as in.
Yeah, it goes on a little DIN rail. So we need to take a little picture of that. Yeah, but I got some I got some screenshots of the the scope of the circuit working.
It's pretty cool little thing. Yeah, it's out I was Wonder is because that thing was like, the directions that came with these motor controllers were like Xeroxed 100 times, they were so faded. And so the schematic was pretty faded. I'm always wondering, like, I wonder how many people have actually made that circuit?
The original engineers and
us, so two people? I don't know.
I mean, it's a really cool gesture that they even put that in the man.
Exactly. Cuz I was like, I've like got the motor controller. And I'm like, oh, because they can be PWM controlled on the description. Yeah. Then I looked at it. I'm like, I don't see. Wow. Because it just has a wiper there. And yeah, that's how some assembly required.
Unfortunately, you can't do this kind of circuit with any pot in any situation, or potentially on it. I wish you could, because it would be great to just be able to PWM and do analog control on anything. Yeah, but in this case, it works out well. Yeah,
it not I said earlier, it's some Assembly card. No, it's some engineering new card. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Because I mean, I just had a perfboard and a handful of parts. And I had to build actually two of the circuits because we have two motor controllers.
So yeah, that's what I've been doing.
Yeah. Okay, so on to the RFO section. Yep, Arvo So this week on the RFO. We have solar roadways. Yes, that again. We have SparkFun launches spark x. And then we have McDonald's reinvents, that's why I thought about McDonald's earlier. Oh, they subliminal messaging. Straw. They're in my head. They reinvented the straw apparently. Okay, so topic one, solar roadways. So we harp on solar roadways like IOT a lot. Shoot, you know,
didn't we we didn't we talk about solar roadways in our first podcast and our first podcasts? We did. Yeah. And we were crapping on them then let's see what happens now.
So this is a different company that's doing solar arrays. Okay. They're doing it in France. Their name is what way
like what the the power
of one watt power. Huawei is a two year experiment in France. They're basically doing a single lane road and stretching it stretching one kilometer long, which is like point six miles. Yeah, okay. Around there. It's gonna cost 5 million euros. Okay, which is 5.8 million USD. Right? Yeah, yeah. It's gonna be like 2800 photos cells. So it's a lot it's a lot a lot of photo cells there. Yeah. And it's gonna produce 280 megawatt hours of energy a year which is roughly 600 767 kilowatt hours a day. Okay, which is guess how much enough power for a few houses the street lights on the road? Just enough
for 5 million euros Yeah.
And the thing is if you work out how much that is? It turns out to be $19.29 per kilowatt hour we pay four cents a kilowatt hours here in in Texas. Wow. Yeah. Well then no like well, people probably gonna complain or the the people who support solar roadways like well you got to include the cost of the road right? Well in the United States to build a two lane road so it's twice as wide as this road. It's actually probably even wider because we have SUVs here to when you need bigger roads. That's only 3 million per mile. Wow. So it's it's half the it's it's a quarter of the cost to build a normal road hmm, then the solar roadway Yeah, they just said $19.29
a kilowatt hour. Yeah, get over that. That is ridiculous. So
if you if you quarter that or if you take 75% of that because some of that is that dollar amount is actually building the road. But then you're still at like $15 per kilowatt hour. If you remove the how much the road costs? Yeah, that's just it doesn't make any sense. So it's just burning money.
So the okay
some some some they've actually done this right. And this is somebody that that they've actually gathered.
Yeah, this is actual numbers. Okay.
Wow. So the I'm gonna
pull out something that says oh, it's
only for two years and then I had to redo it
Well, so are they storing the energy somewhere because
they're gonna have to if they're going white streetlights I was about
say they are this is just ridiculous.
No, it doesn't work. No, it just doesn't work need streetlight Yeah,
this is this
will spend 5 million euros and light them during the day
yeah all right. Renewable Energy whoo Come
on, guys. Get it Get away no renewable injuries fine. When it's smartly applied smartly. Yes. Mainly applied big Lee applied. Okay, thumbs down solar. Get on with it, guys.
Focus on another version of renewable energy that can work
like solar tiles on roofs that actually work that that idea works, guys. Alright, anyways, SparkFun launches spark x this week. And so basically spark X is spark funds plan to rapidly iterate on ideas, products, parts, etc. And they have three commandments of spork X, okay and speed over polish. So they weren't won't be doing the live documentation for this stuff. So basically it's build it doesn't work. And if it does sell it, and when they run out, that's it. So there's not like developing a long term product.
I will do what it sounds like is it's just setting yourself up for failure. What am I missing?
Number two is John A Bellman? If it doesn't work, just sell it all? Well,
actually, what is number two is unabashed heart failure. The second commandment is, don't you don't care about failure? If you fail, just fuck it. Okay, and number three is go.
I feel like we may be missing something here.
No. Well. So I think what the idea is, instead of spending a lot of time, like, let's say making a breakout board for a new brand new part that just hit the market, yeah. Okay. Instead of spending all the time, you know, making sure that you know, don't make a breakup or that it works, right. But instead spend all the time doing the documentation, setting up sample code, all this other stuff, a website for it and product page to go. Here's this part, here's its datasheet. You can buy it. Okay.
Okay. So it has a little bit of buyer beware, in terms of, you get what you see. And that's all you get is
all you get, okay, there's no support for the product, nothing like that.
If you want to throw together a product in an afternoon and get it to market. This is a way to do that.
Yeah, it's kinda like, it's their internal. Basically, it's taking their I think it's they're taking their engineering team, and the ones that are itching to try new stuff, but don't really care about documenting stuff.
Or they're just trying to get it there quickly and see if it's something that could
be success. Exactly. And then roll that back into okay, this was a successful product, we sold out of it in like a day. So let's actually send that over to the guys to make documentation for it and re spin it.
So So is this
is this. Nate the CEO
who started No,
Nate's not the CEO. Okay, I thought he was he was and then he stepped down and another CEO took over SparkFun. So he's just Nate the engineer.
Ah, okay. Yeah. Okay. And but Is this his?
This is his deal. Oh, okay. So, Nate, if you happen to listen to the podcast, we would love to have you as a guest. Yeah,
that would be great. I'd love to I'd love to talk about this and hear more about the details on it.
I doubt he listens, but it'd be awesome. If he does. Hey,
maybe one of our listeners knows Nate, and they would like to reach out to
him. Maybe a spark fund engineer that listens to the podcast will like be on the podcast as well. Well, let's
get them to Yeah, yeah.
So let us know at macro fab. podcast at mag fed.com.
Well at mag febest Twitter also, so you can you can reach us there? Yeah, podcast at macro. fab.com. Reach out.
Yep. Okay, topic three. McDonald's reinvents the straw. This is this is something that I really liked. Because it's something I would name something.
So straw is really, really bad. Cheesy acronyms. Yes.
Okay. This is suction tube for reversal. Axial withdrawal.
That is awesome. I
did, did we, before we even get into this project, did some guy get his master's or his PhD doing this? Please tell me someone got
it back. Oh, you mean actually designing the straw or making that acronym? Both. So they, they basically were trying to figure out a better way to get ace is actually something I wrote a 3d printed straw that fixes problems by withdrawing thicker, or I should say viscous, more viscous liquid out of a cylindrical shaped vessel.
So, you know, I
actually looked this up a little while ago, the everyone's had that problem when you get like, super thick nucleic and you suck on the straw and it just collapses the straw. Yeah, they fix that with this. All right. So it's, it's actually it's, the walls are a little bit thicker. Okay, little bit larger in diameter, but then it's got a J turn at the end. Yeah. And so it's got three holes at the one at the bottom. And to at the J turn, or in the in the upper panel looks like a candy cane. Yeah, upside down candy cane. And so apparently what happens is as you suck in the milkshake, the extra holes allow more volume to enter the straw. But when it gets to the upper part of the Jade J turn, the liquid is so thick, you don't get air because it sucks out the bottom. That my favorite thing about this was one of the like pictures that took off one of the this is Hiller's say a McDonald's engineer basically pointing at a flow diagram of a straw. Yeah, but it was like a vector float vector flow diagram of a simulation of a milkshake basically. It was I thought that was great.
Yeah, yeah. So I read something also about the fact that this can be inserted into like special cups, where you mix two different flavors in the straw. Yes. So you can do some
kind of so what No, what you do is you pour, while they put half of it one flavor and half the other. Oh, it's layered. And then when you put the straw in there, half the J of the bottom that J is in the bottom stuff. And the other part of the j is in the top stuff. So you suck both of minutes same time. Neat. Yeah, that is this is something that was like I'm like, like I'm like it amazed me that's something that someone actually designed this I could team of people yet will sign this
I could see a new bit on either this podcast or or some other engineering something rather called unnecessary engineering. And this would fit perfectly what can we do on this podcast? Fine. Unnecessary engineering. There we go. This is the first bit the McDonald's
straw. I think that's actually probably the title of this podcast.
Episode number 55. Unnecessary engineering.
Yep. Awkward silence. Yeah. Awkward silence. Neat. Neat. Um, so I guess that will wrap up this episode of the podcast. Right? Yeah.
Okay, we're your host, Stephen Craig
and Parker Dohmen. Take it easy guys. Hit us up on Twitter. At macro fab