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Welcome back Jeff!
- Jeff’s new setup is on Flickr! As are the pictures of his new cases for the Geiger Counter kit.
- He cut out the new cases at the ATXHackerspace using the ULS laser cutter.
- There’s a new Design News Radio Show. You can listen…if you trade all your information.
- Dave prefers using off-the-shelf cases from DigiKey.
- Chris brought up the recent news from Xerox PARC and Thinfilm. They announced 20 bits of printable memory from organic transistors. Chris recognized this is not the print-at-home revolution he is looking for (but it’s a good first step!)
- The term “baud’ used in communications comes from Baudot Codes used in telegraphy. Chris learned about it in the context of Radioteletype (RTTY while studying for a HAM exam.
- Farts cause seismic issues.
- Hackerspaces should install Ham radio stations.
- Jeff suggests reading/following along in The Electronics of Radio by Daniel Rutledge.
- He also is building a Norcal40 kit along with the book. This is a standard kit used in college electronic classes.
- The IEEE refuses to publish papers already in the public domain. Why do people use the IEEE still? Couldn’t people publish outside the IEEE?
- Jeff has found it useful, especially for older (more general) topics. He read about the Early Effect in issues from the early semiconductor days.
- China back in the news for stopping the sale of rare earth elements to outside countries, for a month! But why? To increase prices, silly!
- The US is responding with research dollars for a program called REACT to try and reduce dependence upon these rare earth elements.
- Shonky Product of the Week:
- From listener Wilhelm: The Fostac Maximus will harmonize your electro-smog. Just don’t forget to give it a few months to kick in!
As always you can reach Jeff on twitter at @mightyohm (not mighty om, as Chris said in the show), Chris at @Chris_Gammell and Dave at @eevblog. Be sure to leave comments and questions in the comment section!
Re. laser cutters. The cheap Chinese ones are about $1200. Build and controller quality is crap and they need some tweaking, but they are useable for cutting and engraving.
London hackspace has found tube life isn’t great.
CO2 lasers can cut metal, but you need a few kilowatts with flowing gas!
$30K Laser cutter and it cuts paper ‘Very Very well’ Wow! I’ve got a pair or £1 scissors that will do that.
Adam Ward says
Do your scissors have a “frickin lazer beam” onboard? If they do then you REALLY shouldn’t run with them. 😀
Have you seen some of the things that can be done with paper on a laser cutter?
See also: http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaperSaw
Very pretty but what practical use is that in engineering?
Check out the capabilities of a CNC machine in the same price range and you will have to agree that the laser cutter is VERY limited in comparison. Now if you are talking welding using a Laser then you are in a whole different ball game as the precision and localised heating have great advantages in keeping warping to a minimum, but as a cutting tool CO2 lasers are an expensive toy (But great fun)
There are some open journals that are appearing, that are gaining acceptance:
Adam Ward says
Glad to hear Jeff on the show again. You three seem to bounce off eachother pretty well. It’s always entertaining.
I mentioned this week’s shonky product to the guys at work and we all fell about laughing at it. It was pointed out that it looks like a bus bar in a cabinet. But it must be good if it “gives atoms more awareness”. Top comedy 😀
Maurice Perry says
That one was fun. Thanks guys!
LVL1 has a cheap Full Spectrum Laser. We got the 40W deluxe model, which runs about $2500. So far, it’s worked out great. We added a fan to the exhaust to evacuate air more efficiently, but that’s the only serious modification we’ve made. It can cut through 1/4″ acrylic without a problem.
There are only two real issues we’ve encountered: The device has no endstops, so if you try to cut something bigger than the build area, it will try, and it will dutifully slam the optics into the hard mechanical limits of the axes. This problem has been fixed with a big “Don’t be stupid!” sign.
Another more subtle problem related to this lack of self-preservation: A member was doing a test print that involved small, repeated circles over a single area of material. The laser would repeat very quickly over the same area. Heat built up, and ended up deforming the X-Axis roller bearings, causing wobble prints until they could be replaced.
A member’s employer purchased a cheap Chinese laser cutter on eBay, and it looks EXACTLY like the full spectrum laser, down to the drill holes. Unfortunately, the crappy electronics and stepper drivers result in a completely unusable laser cutter. These full spectrum guys are just gutting the electronics of the Chinese cutters, keeping the decent mechanical and optical bits, and marking them up 300%.
We bought our laser with club funds, allocated from member dues in excess of rent and utilities. As a result, our laser is completely paid off, and free for anyone to use. Anyone can come in off the street, receive a little training, and try to cut their laptop in half. As far as I know, we’re the only hackerspace in the country that offers this.
I have the Full Spectrum Delux Hobby laser too! I love it!
J Franks says
Ham radio stations at hackerspaces? Sounds like a good idea to destroy a hackerspace and turn it into another boring ham radio club.
Ouch! Why do you think a ham radio station would destroy a hackerspace? I know of at least two well-known hackerspaces that support ham radio: NYC Resistor and
In my experience, really hammy hams are tremendously turned off by hackerspaces. Spaces are too open, too experimental, too rapidly moving, and not bogged down enough by bureaucratic nonsense.
Amateur radio, like hackerspaces, represent a very diverse community of individuals. Within the spectrum of each there are definitely segments that would NOT get along with each other, but I think there are other segments that would benefit from more collaboration. Amateur radio could use fresh blood – IMHO hackerspaces are one way to get it.
J Franks says
Vampires need fresh blood, too. But that isn’t a good reason to invite them to your home or hackerspace.
Just read what WA5PSA is posting below. A complete cunning plan to convert a hackerspace into yet another boring ham radio club.
Hackerspaces of the world, buy more garlic!
You betcha. Having a radio in a corner of the room, and a meeting once a month would totally drain the life out of any hackerspace. I’m sure the hackerspace cool kids would have no interest in having folks around who’ve been building “open source hardware” for 50 years. And it would certainly dilute the hipster hackerspace branding to have some old school analog guys learning how to code and do arduino.
Here’s some pics of a boring ham “open source” project that I’ve built from scratch:
Here’s one of several sources of amateur radio “open source” kits (I’ve built a couple of these):
Chris Gammell says
I’m with WA5PSA on this one. While the “cool” factor might not be increased by the hams, it sure as hell would help the hardware side of things. And I think someone that can build radios is pretty damn cool (build, not just talk on them). As I said in the show, “That’s some Harry Potter shit right there.”
J Franks says
I don’t think it will help the hardware side of things. 99.9% of all hams just use off-the-shelf hardware and already have problems to properly solder a PL plug.
Just look at WA5PSA’s first reaction somewhere down in the thread. https://theamphour.com/2011/10/24/the-amp-hour-66-xenomorphic-xerox-xebec/#comment-6209 The first thing he told people is what they are not allowed to do. This is the typical ham attitude. Telling everyone without a license how inferior those are and how superior hams are.
Do you seriously want to have people with this superiority complex in a hackerspace?
And the superiority claim is of course followed by the typical ham bragging of the “we do electronics since before Ohm invented Ohm’s law and could teach him a lesson or two” type. Yeah, sure. The reality is the electronics knowledge of the average ham is deplorable. Using the ARRL handbook as a crutch brings you only so far. It is not enough if you want to teach “hipsters” a few lessons.
Everyone can legally build a receiver these days. Guess why so few do? Because it has become boring. If a hobbyist needs some bit of wireless transmission over a few meters there are many legal options these days, too. Without the need for a license. And the rest of the world is covered by the Internet.
WA5PSA falls in the same trap many hams fall in. They think they just need to claim superiority to attract people to their dying hobby. The reality is it is just not exciting any more.
And finally, I find the claim that hams do open hardware since ages laughable. They are doing it for bragging and for other hams, i.e. for a closed group. It is easy to publish something knowing fully well that the majority of people aren’t allowed to use it. Only that this “nah, nah, nah, you are not allowed to use it, ha, ha, ha” attitude has worn off over the years. People just say “so what?”, turn away and do their exciting things instead. Ham “open” hardware is like the Microsoft version of “open” software. Look, but don’t touch.
The ones who lose here are the hams. No one wants them around.
I should have been less pithy. I wasn’t trying to put down hams as a whole, but attempting to express the idea that a ham radio station won’t destroy a hackerspace (because the sort of amateurs that J Franks was talking about won’t like the hackerspace culture, anyway). All the spaces I’ve been to have a strong enough culture that even the most stereotypical hams couldn’t dilute it.
I’ll be mounting an HF antenna on the roof of our space tonight, so I really don’t mean to rag against hams. I’d love for more hackers to get on the air.
Brad Boegler says
I agree with Dave, the plastic cases at Digikey are great, I use them all the time.
As for making boards, I still make mine occasionally simply because I want to test something now. If i’m making progress on a design and want to test it right away, I can have a board made in ~45 minutes vs waiting a few days or more for getting one made from a 3rd party. I like being able to have an idea to a workign design within a few hours.
I have not renewed my IEEE membership, the magazine was a very good magazine but that alone was hard to justify the cost. I’m sure I never used my membership to its full potential as well, the website design is poor IMO too. Was difficult to navigate.
More details about my podcasting setup are up now:
My teeth tried from open mouth 10 minute non stop laughter, I love you guys.
btw I dont see a point of ham radio in hackerspace, we have internet 🙂 Radio projects are another story.
The way to get a ham radio into a hackerspace is to make a radio case out of laser cut acrylic panels and have it tweet the frequency you are on, run off a generator that uses Clubmate and is remotely controleld by a TV-B-Gone. Oh and of course the antenna support mast has to be printed by a Makerbot in 500 segments. THEN you would get hackerspaces interested!
Looks like the AmpHour packs some clout!!! Just two days after their rant about professional journals being locked up from public view, the Royal Society decides to place the entire archive of their Journal (“the first ever peer reviewed scientific journal”) online for free public view and search.
When asked why the Royal Society made this sudden move towards academic openness, a spokesman said, “We were all sitting around listening to the Amp Hour during our staff meeting, we heard their rant, and just looked at each other and said, ‘Dude.'”
[well, OK, I made that last part up.]
Chris Gammell says
hahahaha, if only. That’s great news though! I like the trend we’re seeing here, between the recent openness of the RS and schools opening up their courseware archives (http://ocw.mit.edu and the like). I think they’re all realizing that it’s their brand that’s important (yes, even the IEEE) and that the papers being open can help draw more people in. Including China.
Dave’s “million-dollar idea” about augmented reality glasses with in-built camera is not new. The Terminator had one (well, not glasses). Here’s a IEEE Spectrum article about “Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens”. They also talk about them having internet access:
I am totally buying these when they become commercially available.
Jelle Haandrikman says
The main character in the novel Accelerando from Charles Stross uses them.
In one of the chapter he get’s mugged is completely lost without them. The mugger on the other, hand becomes completely reprogrammed by wearing the augmented reality glasses.
All-in-all a great show once again.
As for having ham radios in hackerspaces, that would be great except that, without a license, members could only listen (unless the transmission is controlled by a licensed amateur). But I would imagine that hackerspaces would be great place to house club stations and/or a place to hold amateur radio club meetings. This would expose “hackers” to some different areas of electronics/rf.
It could also open some amateur’s eyes to the world of digital/opensource hardware [hint: many of them have been doing digital and opensource for years]. Dave counts his years of writing hobbyist construction articles as the same as “open source.” Hams have been doing this since the beginning, in magazines such as QST, 73 and CQ (and now, the internet). Hams are also very big into kit building (radios, test equipment, etc.) and “hacking” commercial gear to suit their taste.
No reason to keep the groups apart.
I envision solving the license problem by offering classes and tests within the hackerspace. Hackerspaces would be a logical place to offer VE exams and I think it would benefit both the hackerspace and the local VE groups/radio clubs.
Hams have been doing open source forever, under various names (or no name at all, just doing it). I think bringing hackerspaces into amateur radio would bring a lot of fresh talent interested in pushing the state of the art, and keeping it “open source”.
You are not missing any codes in Bardot code.
The Bardot code has an instruction that shifts from lower to upper case. So with the 32 possibilities you can have upper and lower case.
It was used extensively in Telex.
Telex was 75 baud (75 characters / sec) later increased to 150.
I think you are confusing Brigitte Bardot with Émile Baudot.
You guys are getting good! Last two episodes have been fantastic. Thanks for your efforts.
Ah this cast was sooo fun, keep throwing Jeff in the show 😛
Thanks for the support, guys! It’s nice to know that my voice is appreciated. 🙂
I’ve recently been linked to your radio show and it was just the thing I was looking for to make my boring work days more interesting!
Going back to the cheap Chinese laser cutter discussions – I’ve recently bought one of them – cheapest on ebay ~£450 including shipping, no extra costs.
I think that if you buy one you have to be prepared to do *some* changes and fixes when you get it but you could get it working with minimal modifications.
Everyone complains about the software that comes with it but if you’re prepared to have a go and don’t want to do really complex stuff you can get off the ground very quickly with it and get cutting and etching stuff!
I’m documenting my modifications here: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/laser_engraving_cutting_machines/138554-cheap_laser_cutter_modifications.html
I’m obviously doing some major modifications but I fancied a project to keep me occupied and it should be far better when I’ve finished and I’ll have saved myself a *lot* of money.
Cheers for making my day more bearable with this episode!
This is in response to WA5PSA and J Franks – our discussion hit the “reply to” limit above so I am starting a new thread.
That radio construction (manhattan style, wow!) is amazing. I have a lot of respect for guys like you who build transceivers from scratch, without even a PCB! And to make the construction so beautiful at the same time – wow.
Building a transceiver (even from a kit, like the Norcal 40A) is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and hopefully this winter I’ll finally have a chance.
Go easy on WA5PSA. First, his point that just sticking a radio in a hackerspace is not enough is a good one. I agree that there are licensing issues, and most hackers do not like rules and restrictions. I think you’re overreacting to his reply. If you keep reading he points out some positive benefits of a ham station in a hackerspace.
That said, I am familiar with the kind of amateur radio operators you are referring to – those who are quick to point out rules and regulations and what you CAN’T do vs. promoting and furthering the hobby.
But you know what? These same types of personalities can be found in hackerspaces. Since becoming involved in hackerspaces I have met hackers who seem to take pride in restricting the freedom of others with their rules and their “I know best” attitude.
In my opinion these guys have no business being in a hackerspace, just as the rule-nazi hams have no business being in amateur radio.
However, I don’t think we should let this minority spoil the fun. The best approach, in my opinion, is to politely ignore them and not let their negativity bring you down. Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the fun.
Hams have done some really amazing things over the years, and I don’t think all of them share the attitude of not sharing that you posted about. I have met some of the most giving, generous people in my life through amateur radio, people who were willing to share knowledge as well as spare parts with me when I was first getting into radio. I don’t think the ham community is closed or elitist in general – there may be some groups who are, but there are also many who will welcome anyone who is interested in participating – and will help newcomers get licensed, get a radio shack set up, etc.
The “um” postfix is likely used in elemental names because it is a common singular nueter ending for latin words.