Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Break and playing with our new Nikon D7000

Just a couple of pictures taken during our christmas break, of christmas trees, christmas dinner, puppies and the traditional feuerzangen bowle.

German Christmas Pyramid

Christmas dinner appetizer

Wifey and me + a basil bee

things left by santa and highly appreciated by us

metaxa, while reading in front of the tree

the mentioned tree

basil taking over the couch yet again

traditional feuerzangen bowle

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PCB prototyping research...

over the last month we spend an ungodly amount of time trying to figure out how to make double sided PCB's in a decent speed at home...


1. CNC
  • works great for through hole soldering
  • not so good for small SMD connectors and it was just to much hit and miss
  • 2 working boards out of 30 attempted are not acceptable, 0805 and SOT-23 package size mostly with some JST-PH 6 connectors
  • breaking to many mill bit's
Toner Transfer Method:

1. H2O2 + CH3COOH etching
  • 1h in the tank -> 2 bubbles
  • 24h later, still not done
  • problem are these 3% H2O2 solutions you can get locally
2. HCL + H2O2
  • about 3 hours a board, but this causes some serious under cutting and a lot of destroyed traces.
  • again 16.5% HCL is the strongest I can locally get
  • again 3% H2O2 is the main culprit for super slow etching speed
  • lot's of nasty fumes, causing rust on stuff around it, not good in a machine shop
  • but might be the only way right now
3. FeCL2
  • not tested yet, since rather messy and expensive
Combination of Toner Transfer and Milling

The really big advantage of the CNC is right now that it will drill all our VIAS and mounting holes for sockets, etc. Which makes it lot easier and it's rather fast. I do wish that I could find a decent free G-CODE optimizer

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

mixit - slow progress

We keep making progress with our little MixIt, there is still not much to see. But a lot of work is going on and we are sure to make our deadline.

as you can see it's missing a base and a faceplate

so we ordered a CNC as a KIT and started assembling it

it's mostly assembled, but still waiting for the spindle controller and tinyg to arrive
So last week we started assembling the order CNC router, to help us create a nice looking face plate. Sadly our 3D printer was not really up for the task and things kept warping constantly.

We are still waiting for a handful of parts, but hopefully by the end of this weekend everything arrived and is assembled. We can start milling the faceplate and move on the fabricated the prototype circuit boards.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Busy, Busy life

So the last weeks have been a touch stressful or in other words, my wife forbid me last weekend to touch a pc or think about anything related to:

  • cnc research
  • cad drawing
  • pcb design
  • electronics
  • programming
  • 3D printing
  • general work
  • c++
  • swift
  • soldering smd parts
  • some other things
And to just grab a book, some beers and relax.

Thinking about my workload, yeah I overdid it a little bit, between working during the day at the lab and working at night on Kickstarter project, I barley slept more than 2-3 hours on average since we have come back from germany. 

I guess I should take a break.

Anyway current accomplishments:
  • bought a 3D printer and using it for 'rapid' low cost prototyping
  • rediscovered my CAD skills and designing parts. Yay for free cad, I do would love to have solid works and better CNC/3D Printer integration
  • researched and ordered a CNC router, which we will spend the next couple of days assembling. Thinking about machining parts out of acrylic and aluminium to make things look oh so pretty
  • assembled a prototype more or less, still need's finishing touches
  • wrote a partial iPhone application, it's boring but does the job
  • assembled a working and awesome team to actually build this thing
  • spend tens of hours of soldering and starting to order SMD parts for the next step, cutting PCB's on the CNC and SMD soldering
  • researched hot air rework stations and reflow ovens.
  • wrote the firmware
And last but not least, organized an amazing 10 year anniversary party with my wifey. Well she organized everything and I was brewing 3 amazing beers.

Now how to mill acrylic and where to get a 12V DC Motor with enough torque to crush ice. We are really trying to get away for 120V AC.

Next weekend, we will finish up the prototype housing and wrap it in aluminium with a nice scotch brite finish. Looking forward to playing with the laser table.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A way overdo post

So for some reasons I haven't managed to blog here in the last 8 months.

And I have no real valid excuse, except:

  • travelling
  • fixing the house
  • brewing to much beer
  • drinking to much beer
  • and working on my first kick-starter project

Our project:

As people know, I have been doing software development since a very long time and got interested in microchip programming a couple of years ago and have been wondering what I can build, which doesn't already exist.

Well as soon as the kickstarter project goes online and I got the ok from the last crucial Team members, mostly our CAD guy, I will post he some more product updates and pictures during the build.

 If we do not find our CAD guy, I guess I have to rediscover my CAD and 3D Modeling skills, when I was 15.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Final christmas gift arrived

A couple of days ago, our final christmas gift from my parents arrived and is now looking for the perfect spot in the house.

A classic german christmas pyramid, which you can't really find in the states and so it was stuck in 'traffic' for close of a month now.

Needless to say, once 'sober january' is over, we have to make some Feuerzangen bowle.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

my luck with car's continues...

So now it's the 2nd time that our new car is at the dealer for service, due to an check engine light. And there latest statement was:

It will be here for an undefined amount of time, since we have no idea what's wrong with it.

This was last thursday and now it's wednesday and not a single beep except 'we are talking to Porsche Germany, since we are out of ideas'

I really hope it doesn't turn into a buy back, since frankly we would loose at least 4k$ during this process and I really don't want to start shopping yet again.

On the other hand, they gave as a 2014 Porsche Cayman loaner car, with a PDK transmission and I'm really happy that we decided to buy the convertible instead of the coupe as well as the manual transmission instead of the PDK (which is in all respect an amazing transmission, but just doesn't feel right and is rather boring)

our rental coupe on the left, classic 911 Targa on the right