Monthly Archives: January 2008

  • Having lost a just-out-of-the-oven Quiche and a meal of freshly delivered Chinese food to an otherwise very well behaved dog, one of the guys that works here used a salvaged industrial emitter / detector pair, relay and car horn to provide a bit of doggy defense for his kitchen counter. The industrial emitter is a tad expensive, but you could probably use a laser pointer and photo transistor just as well.

  • We're proud to release our first home-grown product: a tapping block. If you're not familiar with tapping (cutting screw threads), the hardest and most tedious part is starting--an off-angle start can ruin parts and break taps. However, by guiding a tap through the close-fitting holes, it's easy to keep the tap straight. You can always make your own, or if you want something that will survive a nuclear war, get this one.

  • If you haven't checked out Gizmodo's videos from inside the lego factory, here's another encouraging link. They also have video of the shelving system robots that automatically store and retrieve legos from over 65 square miles of equivalent storage space. A couple more Lego fun facts:

    • The tolerance on the bricks is less than .00008 in. Human hair varies between .001 and .01 in.
    • Only 18 / 1 million pieces fail inspection, according to this HowStuffWorks article.
    • Lego now makes some 19 billion bricks a year.
  • We've gotten several requests for a DVD of our videos to show at club meetings, labs or classrooms, so we're happy to announce the release of just such a DVD. It contains our three most popular videos: an Introduction to Soldering, Surface Mount Soldering and Basic Metal Working. The resolution is much higher than the flash videos so it looks great full-screen on a TV.

  • You can now subscribe to our blog, which will feature tips on soldering, pcb design, working with metal, electronics, robotics, cat-fish farming and news. We'll also post tips from anyone that wants to submit one. Click the contact link at the bottom of any page. Cheers.

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