Entries published by Brad

Despite what a lot of people say about the Arduino crowd and using C++ on a microcontroller, I like it.  Sometimes it incurs a performance or code-size overhead, but I’m not often approaching the RAM or Flash limits of an Atmega 328, or especially an Atmega 2560.  When appropriate features are used, C++ results in [...]

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I hate Make.  With a fiery burning passion, I hate Make.  From day one, I found it difficult to understand, difficult to write Makefiles, difficult to modify Makefiles, and difficult to use Makefiles.  Over the years, I have built a collection of boilerplate Makefiles that only sort-of worked for a given project, and any time [...]

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This past weekend, we had a 3D printing workshop at LVL1.  I built a Mendel Prusa i2, along with 9 other folks in the LVL1 community. Sonny Mounicou came up from Memphis, TN, while Jon Oly of SeeMeCNC came down from Goshen, IN to help us build 3D printers.  One guy had his printer up and running [...]

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Recently, Matseng at the Dangerous Prototypes forums posted another source for cheap printed circuit boards and test equipment direct from China: http://www.smart-prototyping.com The site is apparently run by German ex-pats in Shenzhen.  Although the site is pretty sparse at the moment, they’ve got a PCB prototyping service and a selection of very cheap test equipment [...]

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There has never been a better time to get into hobby electronics. Unfortunately, the tools required can be daunting for a newbie, and can quickly make the hobby look expensive and unappealing. I’m getting ready to move into a house where I’ll have my own electronics workbench, so I’ve been devoting a lot of attention [...]

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4 months ago, I read about Johan’s Nanino on Hack-A-Day, and thought it would be a great way to teach some folks how to etch their own circuit boards.  Although I’m increasingly shipping PCBs off to China, being able to etch your own boards is a valuable skill to have.  I’ve taught workshops on it in [...]

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We live in a golden era of the electronics hobby.  PCBs are easier to make and cheaper to manufacture than ever before.  In some cases, it can even be easier to have  PCB made than breadboard a circuit.  With the growing proliferation of surface mount components, and ever greater levels of integration, PCBs are more [...]

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I’m not dead.  I switched jobs back in September, and it’s seemed like an impossible task to catch up to everything until now.  But I’m working on some cool stuff! For example, I’m building a 3D printer: This is the start to my Rostock 3D printer.  I started printing the parts for this way back [...]

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I’ve been excited about the LPC1114FN28 for a while now (at least, as excited as one could be about a microcontroller).  The LPC1114FN28 is a microcontroller from NXP with an ARM Cortex-M0 core in a 28 pin DIP package. With 32k of flash and 4k of RAM, this chip isn’t the biggest or baddest on [...]

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This year, I had the good fortune to visit GenCon after a 2 year hiatus. Not much has changed, although I was surprised at the number of KickStarted projects on the show floor.  There were a lot of really interesting independently funded games, including a few print-and-play games.  Print-and-play has been around forever, but with the [...]

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