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Practical (3D) Printing

Although it is getting better a lot of articles about 3D printers and 3D printing concentrate on the tchotchke factory aspect or the high end metal printers and ignore the simple, utilitarian uses that are a much better example of the impact of this technology. The charging cradle for my Samsung Gear Live smart watch broke a little while ago (there is a small clip that holds it to the back of the watch, if that snaps off it becomes useless). Samsung no longer manufacture the device and replacement charging cables can be difficult to get. Because I have a 3D printer available it was easy to qui…

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Queueing Up Tasks

I've managed to keep on top of things for a while but now there are a large number of tasks queueing up again. I'd love to know why project work is so bursty - admittedly my scheduling is fairly ad-hoc but it seems to happen in commercial projects I'm involved in as well (where I don't get to set the schedule). Anyway - here's whats in the queue at the moment ... Babyduino My updated Babyduino boards have arrived (my first attempt at a board design was not as successful as I had hoped). The new boards at least have correct component footprints and seem to match my original schematic and breadb…

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4 Essential Software Tools (and 3 links)

Many projects consist of a number of elements including physical, electronic and software components. I thought I'd share some of the software and links that I consider essential for helping design and fine tune such projects (I use all of these products almost daily - most of the files that I provide for my projects are in a format supported by the software presented here). With one exception all of these tools are available on all three major desktop operating systems Windows, Linux and OS/X. All of it is free (or has a free version available) and the majority of the software is open source.…

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Breadboard Prototyping Station

Overview When my old breadboards finally became so unreliable that they were impacting on my projects I went off to eBay and found myself some cheap replacements. Rather than do what I had done previously and simply glue the boards to a suitably size piece of plywood I decided to spend a bit of time and build a prototyping station to sit them in. I had a number of goals for this project: It needs to be robust and transportable. I need to be able to move it around the workshop (and even take it to work or another location altogether) without fear of it falling apart. It needed an integr…

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Parametric PCB Holder

Here is a simple, parametric, PCB holder that you can print out. I've added the object to Thingiverse so you can access it there as well as directly downloading the code from my Git repository. This design is useful in the prototyping stage where you have existing boards that you need to protect from accidental shorting or to keep them steady on a more firm platform. As provided the OpenSCAD source defines a suitable holder for a Raspberry Pi Model B board, in the comments I've also provided settings for the Tobi and Chestnut43 boards from Gumstix (I use these at work a fair bit so they are im…

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