Tools: Aoyue 968 3-in-1 soldering and rework station

aoyue968-front

The $10 “fire-starter” is the most common beginner soldering iron. These are simple irons with a hot end, a handle, and little else. There’s no temperature control or indication. Despite their simplicity, they’ll do just about anything. You can solder any legged chip type with this type of iron. We used fire-starters in the lab for years.

Eventually, we wanted a hot air rework tool to salvage SMD parts and solder QFN chips. Aoyue is a relatively unknown Chinese brand that makes soldering stations very similar in appearance and function to Hakko. Aoyue stations are recommended and used by Sparkfun Electronics, something that factored heavily in our decision to buy an Aoyue. Read more about our experiences with this tool after the break.

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Non-von1 supercomputer

nonvon_box_small_comp

[Chris] sent us this project, where he built a tiny supercomputer called the Non-von1. Wanting a supercomputer, but lacking space and funds, he opted to go after the supercomputers of the 80s. His system was patterned after the “Von Neumann” systems developed at Columbia university. His system has 31 8 bit processors to crunch numbers for him. The whole unit communicates with the computer using a19.2 kbps serial link.  He does talk about its limited capabilities, stating that he could use it as a way to store roughly half of his cell phone’s phonebook. This reminds us of the Basic stamp supercomputer we covered back in November.

Experiments in polaroid

polaroidpage

[Peter] found that Polaroid film was an easy medium to play with, as the ability to develop it is built in. He has done several fun experiments, from electrocuting it to making giant mozaics. The Polaroid film may not be easy to get your hands on though. They stopped producing it in the summer of 2008. Some former employees are trying hard to get it back into production, but that may never happen. Polaroid has recently received permission to sell itself at auction. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Flatpack walker

flatpack

If you’re into robotics, you’re probably already familiar with the 2 motor walker. This design, usually used in B.E.A.M. robotics is a pretty easy way to make a 4 legged walking robot. [Edwindertien] has made the design a little bit easier to build with these flatpack walker plans. He used 4mm thick birch, cut by laser to get his walker into shape, but the design would work with almost any material. His walker is Arduino powered, so it could be programmed for all kinds of behavior, especially if you add some sensors. You can see his bot in action after the break.

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