Archive for “August, 2013”

CNC Milled PCBs – Alternative Prototyping

This is a guest post from Thomas Amely on how to make your own CNC milled PCBs. A short author bio is included at the bottom of this post. Have fun making and enjoy the post!

Within the maker community there exists a sub-community of makers who have access to or have built their own CNC mills; I am one of those makers. Never being one to own a single purpose device I set out to mill circuits of my own design with my desktop CNC machine.

While many of my designs have reached a level of complexity which is well beyond the capabilities of this workflow, I still regularly create prototype circuits following this process. This is my workflow.
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How to Design the Perfect PCB – Part 2

This post continues from “How to Design the Perfect PCB – Part 1.” In part one we covered how to finish the pre-layout work like setting goals, visualizing your design, and selecting parts. In this post we focus more on the physical side of PCB design and discuss the caveats that may trip you up.

The featured image for this post is the Manga Screen designed by Elias Bakken, you can learn more about it and explore his work at Hipstercircuits.

Before we get started, I think it is worth saying that this is NOT a guide on how to use any specific CAD software. This article is meant to serve as a general guideline on how you can design the best possible PCB regardless of your experience level.

When I set out to design my first PCB I was told “Well, it’s your first PCB so it probably won’t work anyways, but that sounds interesting.” Even though this was discouraging to hear, I didn’t let it stop me and I ended up with a working design. I now want to take my experiences as well as the experiences of others and make it as simple as possible for you to design your own PCB.

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Anchored: #3

Every Friday I post a roundup of my favorite links, articles, images and videos from around the web. If you have any suggestions that I may have missed, put them in the comments. Links open in a new tab/window.

Shameless Plug: My first major article has finally been posted to! You can check it out here.

Winner: Following up on the distributed flight array from Anchored #1, here is a TED talk from the project lead. In the video he demonstrates some very impressive capability of quad-copters using the advanced algorithms developed by him and his team.

Hal Lasko, the Pixel Painter. If you haven’t shed a tear by the end of this short bio then something is wrong with you.

[Link] Hack-a-day found a home! I’m not sure that I’m on board with it, but the previous owner seems happy. It probably doesn’t hurt that it was a $500k deal.

[Link] The headline speaks for itself “Engineer can’t get decent dinner reservations, creates Urbanspoon-dominating bot”

[Link] The Los Angeles Unified School District hope to buy iPads for all of their 640,000 students. Perhaps this is one reason Apple bought so much AAPL last quarter? This could be huge, not in terms of initial profits, but in encouraging similar contracts and getting students exposed to iOS.

[Link] An engineer at Ford has created a vibrating shifter to help teach a new generation how to drive a (not so) standard.

[Link] For you fellow beer lovers, WIRED has written a summary of the best way to find good microbrews wherever you are.


If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

[Link] Security testers underwritten by DARPA have managed to take control of a Prius. This just shows car manufacturers that it is time to step up security.

[Link] Haha, if you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like to be Kanye West you should try “Kanye Quest 3030”

[Link] More good news for Apple as they bring home three “Brand of the Year” awards in the categories of Mobile, Tablet, and Computer. This is the second year in a row they have taken all three categories.

[Link] A long read but worth it, this article discusses the ongoing research of what makes some people smarter than others.

[Link] This walkthrough from Dave shows how you can mount your iPhone on Raspberry Pi even if you don’t have a graphical client setup.

[Link] In this article from 99u they explore how to optimize your workspace and then back everything up with scientific evidence.

[Link] Looks like the Engineers at Disney have been hard at work on some cool new air cannon designs. Let’s hope they find an equally cool application for them.

[Link] Interesting change of opinion from Google. Now that they are in the business of supplying bandwidth they seem to be flip-flopping a little bit on net-neutrality.

[Link] A nice tutorial from Oscar on how to get your Arduino and Raspberry Pi talking to each other.

[Link] Facebook has finally enabled embedded posts. All I can say is about time.

[Link] Starbucks is switching Wi-Fi providers from AT&T to Google. I’m excited about this because it will help spur growth of Google’s internet services and maybe even bring it to my area. Maybe.

[iTunes App Store] Dialogue allows you to answer calls from your phone on your computer.

[Link] It’s easy to hate on AT&T for their questionable downright shady business practices, but I am certainly a fan of their redesigned stores. I hope to see more retailers go this way in the next few years.