Neil deGrasse Tyson’s 4th Nerdist Interview

Neridst Podcast
20-SEP-2016

You are probably familiar with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is as brilliant as he is entertaining. That fact is why I was so excited when I saw his name pop-up on my queue for the Nerdist Podcast.

Nerdist Podcast

In the past, I suggested some electrical engineering podcasts. The Nerdist isn’t like those. Hosted by Chris Hardwick, each episode includes an interview. As the podcast’s name suggests, most of the guests have some roots in today’s nerd or geek culture. So while not an engineering podcast, there may be the occasional guest that interest you.

4 Great Things Neil deGrasse Tyson on Nerdist Said

This episode was the first time I took notes while listening to the Nerdist. Here are four quotes I captured, that make listening to the entire episode worthwhile.

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3 Way Camera Shoe

Thingiverse.com
17-JUL-2016

DSLR Shoe AdapterWhen recording videos for either baldengineer.com or, more often, AddOhms, I need at least two things attached to my camera. I used a Canon T5i. The two devices I need to have connected are a shotgun microphone and a wireless receiver. In the past, I just let the remote’s wireless receiver dangle. That really bothered me.

I’m still surprised this DSLR shoe adapter didn’t already exist on Thingiverse. Anyway, I created one. Head over to Thingiverse to download it.

Top 25 Websites, Tools and Resources for Hardware Startups

Entrepreneur.com
2016-04-15

Check out John Teel’s Top 25 Websites, Tools and Resources for Hardware Startups. Hardware startups have the unique challenge of having to spend real money, to physical products, with the end product being something … real.

You need all of the help you can get to succeed, which is why John’s list is worth a few minutes. I am familiar with many of the entries but did catch a few new ones. Personally, #9 is my favorite, but I am probably biased.

If his name looks familiar, that’s because John was featured here a few weeks ago with his post on how to go from prototype to product.

Check out John Teel’s Top 25 Websites, Tools and Resources for Hardware Startups.

Need a G-code Viewer? Check out this Open Source CAM Simulator

CAMotics.org

gCode Viewer: Camotics

A gCode viewer is essential when doing anything with a CNC. Knowing where the tools is going to run can mean the different between a failed cut and a broken bit. Or let’s say you’re trying to debug some gCode scripting, no need to wait an hour to find out you messed something up. That’s where a GCode Viewer can help.

There are several on-line options that let you upload files and see them in a 3D view. However, if your CNC is setup like mine, there isn’t a good internet connection available. Camotics, formerly the unfortunately named OpenSCAM, is a cross-platform open source gCode viewer / simulator.

Most recently I used it to debug some gCode that pcb2gcode generated from a Kicad board I am working on.

Check out more about Camotics on their site: http://camotics.org

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Build a proper R-2R DAC

Hackaday: Logic Noise
05-NOV-2015

r-2r matrix illustration

Creating real analog outputs from a digital pin is possible when you use an R-2R DAC. What is a DAC? The letters stand for Digital to Analog Converter. This simple DAC is built using resistor. The principle works on voltage dividers. By enabling different combinations of resistors, it is possible to get various voltage levels.

Obviously, such a simple design will have some trade-offs.

The resolution depends on how many resistor steps you include. That is why discrete R-2R networks built on a breadboard have a staggered look. You could add more levels to smooth it out, or there are other options.

This R-2R Logic Noise Post talks about how they work in detail and even includes a section on filtering the output to be less “stepped.”

Learn the basics of Acrylic

Make Magazine

Acrylic difference between cast and extruded One of the most popular materials to use with a laser cutter is acrylic. Head over to buy some acrylic from Inventables and you’ll see options for “extruded” or “cast” types. Not sure what that means?

This Make Skill Builder on Acrylic gives the basics on the material. You’ll understand the differences between the two: especially important if you plan to mill or laser cut it. Additionally, there are tips for bending, shaping, and gluing acrylic.

Check out the Acrylic Cheat Sheet on Make.

Learn the difference between laser types

Makezine.com
22-OCT-2015
inside a laser diode

via Make:

One of the most versatile tools in a shop or makerspace is a laser cutter. The recently funded Glowforge makes having one in your garage a possibility.

With so much exciting around laser cutters, you might be wonder what is a laser anyway? There are two primary laser types: Gas and Diode.  Jordan Bunker goes into detail in the Make: Skill Builder article, about the difference.

The pictures and diagrams alone are worth the look. The diagram on how a laser diode emits light is one of my favorites. (Actually, I think it is a good general purpose “led/diode diagram.”

Check out “Learn the Difference: Gas and Diode Lasers,” via Make.

Print your own Graph Paper

incompetech.com

diy graph paper generator

Ever need graph paper for a project, but can’t wait for Amazon Prime? No problem, this free online tool lets you generate graph paper on the fly. Multiple types of graph lines are available and each are fully configurable. Once done, you get a clean PDF of graph paper to print.

Here’s a short run-down of the graph paper types available:

  • Squares
  • Triangle and Hexagons
  • Circular and Polar (Think Smith Chart)
  • Asymmetric
  • Note Taking

Check out the free graph paper generator at incompetech.com.

Huge archive from Project Apollo now on Flickr

Flickr
October 2015

Years of hard work, curation, and archiving have brought the Project Apollo Photo Archive to a Flickr album. Kipp Teague writes,

“This new Flickr gallery would have not been possible without the support of Mike [Gentry], Steve [Garber], and Eric [Jones], and many others.”

In this note, he corrects a misconception that this archive itself was an NASA undertaking. While the photos come from NASA, the archive is an independent effort.

There is also a Project Apollo Archive Facebook page, in addition to the photos on Flickr.

Elegant and cheap storage solutions for your shop

Make:
05-OCT-2015
lattice as shop storage

Picture via makezine.com

The article caught my eye because I’m about to make a move, and I’ll be setting up my shop soon. Seeing these clever alternate uses is already giving me some ideas.

The perfect shop doesn’t need expensive storage options. While there are stores dedicated to containers, they to tend to run on the expensive side. A workshop, may not need the most expensive storage gear. Especially if it gets as dusty as mine! This Make article offers 5 Simple Shop Storage Solutions.

Another resource for shop hardware is Episode #92 of The Engineering Commons podcast, “Garage Gear.”