Viewing entries tagged
awesome

It works!

Thanks to Gabe for his awesome breadboarding!   

Remember kids, too many amps make smoke!

Procrastination can lead you down a pretty funny path sometimes.    A lot of you have asked us about flyers, business cards, brochures, and we’ve mostly just shrugged and pointed at the website.   Those things are important in a business, and it’s not like I don’t know that, but they’re fairly low on the stack of important things to do, and as I’ve said many times, I’m interrupt driven.   Last night, business cards jumped to the top of the stack because we’ve been doing some work for the Seattle Central Creative Academy Portfolio Show and around 6PM or so, we figured out we didn’t have anything to hand out at the show.   We have some nice veneer and a laser, so the most straightforward thing in the world for us to do is engrave and cut a business card.  Right?    So since this is one of those ‘straightforward’ things, and we have a big sign that says MAKE SOMETHING AWESOME on the wall, we started bouncing around ideas of what would make an awesome business card.   Would it be rounded corners?  Or maybe a cool die cut gear or something?  Should it fold up and become something else?   The hours started to tick away.   How about making something useful?  What can you make useful in a 2”x3.5” rectangle anyway?  I started to wander down the path of a DC motor.   A simple fold here, a bit of wire, a magnet.   This could maybe work.   Duncan and I pulled out the notepad.   To make a DC motor, we’d need to wind a rotor, stick some magnets on the side, and have brushes.   Kind of complicated.   Brushless DC might be simpler;  more awesome.    11:30PM, time for Inkscape.   With Duncan driving and an evolving idea, we start figuring out what we have at the shop, and whether or not we can do this in the time we have left.   Magnet wire?  Yes, we have 5lbs of it.  Magnets? hm.  only a couple, but good enough for a prototype.   Time for calipers, some wacky design and more caffeine.    By 3:00AM, we have a design.  Cut, assembled and Photographed.      Tonight we’ll see if we can drive it with an Arduino.   Maybe add our actual information to the card.   In the meantime, I’ve started in on a simple veneer card.  a 3mm plywood press-fit brushless DC motor business card might not fit in everyone’s wallet.

Procrastination can lead you down a pretty funny path sometimes.    A lot of you have asked us about flyers, business cards, brochures, and we’ve mostly just shrugged and pointed at the website.   Those things are important in a business, and it’s not like I don’t know that, but they’re fairly low on the stack of important things to do, and as I’ve said many times, I’m interrupt driven.  

Last night, business cards jumped to the top of the stack because we’ve been doing some work for the Seattle Central Creative Academy Portfolio Show and around 6PM or so, we figured out we didn’t have anything to hand out at the show.   We have some nice veneer and a laser, so the most straightforward thing in the world for us to do is engrave and cut a business card.  Right?   

So since this is one of those ‘straightforward’ things, and we have a big sign that says MAKE SOMETHING AWESOME on the wall, we started bouncing around ideas of what would make an awesome business card.   Would it be rounded corners?  Or maybe a cool die cut gear or something?  Should it fold up and become something else?   The hours started to tick away.   How about making something useful?  What can you make useful in a 2”x3.5” rectangle anyway? 

I started to wander down the path of a DC motor.   A simple fold here, a bit of wire, a magnet.   This could maybe work.   Duncan and I pulled out the notepad.   To make a DC motor, we’d need to wind a rotor, stick some magnets on the side, and have brushes.   Kind of complicated.   Brushless DC might be simpler;  more awesome.    11:30PM, time for Inkscape.   With Duncan driving and an evolving idea, we start figuring out what we have at the shop, and whether or not we can do this in the time we have left.   Magnet wire?  Yes, we have 5lbs of it.  Magnets? hm.  only a couple, but good enough for a prototype.   Time for calipers, some wacky design and more caffeine.    By 3:00AM, we have a design.  Cut, assembled and Photographed.   
 
Tonight we’ll see if we can drive it with an Arduino.   Maybe add our actual information to the card.   In the meantime, I’ve started in on a simple veneer card.  a 3mm plywood press-fit brushless DC motor business card might not fit in everyone’s wallet.

Pico Computing Component Case for the E-101

pico component

The hardware in the shiny, shiny case that we cut is an FPGA Board by the total badasses at Pico Computing, a teeny tiny blank slate of programmable logic. It’s used for sexy things like code cracking, image processing, and genome sequencing. Hotcha, hotcha, hotcha.

Sometimes, we see projects go from start to finish in a day,  mostly we see our shop projects take longer than we’d like, and other times, we get to see just a slice of something that can change the world. I’ve mentioned before that in our first week, someone came in and made a “DNA cloning machine”.   I still don’t really understand what PCR really means, I’m not a wetware guy.  I do understand the massive changes that happen in the world when you take a technology that costs several thousand dollars and bring it down to near-zero.  I also understand how awesome it is when people get together and build things.   It totally helps when there is a video to explain it all. LavaAmp is the result of the collaboration of Rob Carlson and his engineering partner, Rik Wehbring, founders of Biodesic, a Bioengineering firm, Jim Hardy, bioentrepreneur founder of Gahaga Biosciences, Joseph Jackson, a philosopher interested in Open Science and DIY Biology and Guido David Nunez-Mujica, a Computational Biologist. They all met at Science Foo Camp, and decided to develop, manufacture and market a simple, inexpensive device to perform PCR, which is the backbone of molecular biology. They are at the prototype stage, and gathering funds to go to production.  If you want to help change the world, please sponsor their project! I knew they were on to something when they wanted me to cut those polycarbonate donuts…

Sometimes, we see projects go from start to finish in a day,  mostly we see our shop projects take longer than we’d like, and other times, we get to see just a slice of something that can change the world.

I’ve mentioned before that in our first week, someone came in and made a “DNA cloning machine”.   I still don’t really understand what PCR really means, I’m not a wetware guy.  I do understand the massive changes that happen in the world when you take a technology that costs several thousand dollars and bring it down to near-zero.  I also understand how awesome it is when people get together and build things.   It totally helps when there is a video to explain it all.

LavaAmp is the result of the collaboration of Rob Carlson and his engineering partner, Rik Wehbring, founders of Biodesic, a Bioengineering firm, Jim Hardy, bioentrepreneur founder of Gahaga Biosciences, Joseph Jackson, a philosopher interested in Open Science and DIY Biology and Guido David Nunez-Mujica, a Computational Biologist.

They all met at Science Foo Camp, and decided to develop, manufacture and market a simple, inexpensive device to perform PCR, which is the backbone of molecular biology.

They are at the prototype stage, and gathering funds to go to production.  If you want to help change the world, please sponsor their project!

I knew they were on to something when they wanted me to cut those polycarbonate donuts…

Sometimes you wonder about things.   Strange things.  I’ve been watching the stepper motor row in the vending machine, and seeing motors quickly disappear. I wonder where they go.  It seemed like yesterday we had a huge box of them.  Mostly, I don’t know what happens to them.  They go to live a second or maybe third life somewhere, in some project.  The machine is just a temporal stop in their exciting life of spin and step.   

_DSC1154.JPGSometimes though, people bring their projects in, and we get a peek at their new function and snap a blurry picture.   A few weeks ago, Michael came by to show us his propeller powered etch-a-sketch.   We were all amazed.    We boggled at the speed, accuracy and awesomeness of this project, then we wondered how he did it.

Now we know.  He’s detailed every gory detail (including source) of the propetcher here.   It’s also up on Hackaday, which has some less blurry pictures than our Flickr stream, as well as the normal flurry of helpful suggestions from the peanut gallery.

If you’ve been curious how to drive our 3 wire steppers, Michael has also produced this very helpful diagram.

Tomorrow is The Blitz Capitol Hill Art Walk, and we’ve got two great artists presenting. Jessie Heaven Lotz, who’s photographs you may have seen hanging over the past month, and Amy Johnston, with her teeny tiny army of robot jewelry. More information is up on the wiki. Maps and fliers of the entire artwalk are available at Blitz.

Tomorrow is The Blitz Capitol Hill Art Walk, and we’ve got two great artists presenting. Jessie Heaven Lotz, who’s photographs you may have seen hanging over the past month, and Amy Johnston, with her teeny tiny army of robot jewelry.

More information is up on the wiki. Maps and fliers of the entire artwalk are available at Blitz.