Buying Machine Tools: Foreign or Domestic, New or Used?
The last time we discussed machine tools, we talked about how to choose the size of the new metalworking lathe that your wallet is itching to pour itself into. The next big decision to make is “new or used?” If you’re in North America, this question has a lot of overlap with the classic question “Import or American?”. The answer boils down to what your needs are, and what you want to get out of this machine.
If you are new to machining, and want to learn the skills, I recommend starting with an Asian import machine. If you’re careful …read more
CUDA is Like Owning a Supercomputer
The word supercomputer gets thrown around quite a bit. The original Cray-1, for example, operated at about 150 MIPS and had about eight megabytes of memory. A modern Intel i7 CPU can hit almost 250,000 MIPS and is unlikely to have less than eight gigabytes of memory, and probably has quite a bit more. Sure, MIPS isn’t a great performance number, but clearly, a top-end PC is way more powerful than the old Cray. The problem is, it’s never enough.
Today’s computers have to processes huge numbers of pixels, video data, audio data, neural networks, and long key encryption. Because …read more
Inventing The Digital Watch Again And Again And…
In the 1950s, artwork of what the future would look like included flying cars and streamlined buildings reaching for the sky. In the 60s we were heading for the Moon. When digital watches came along in the 70s, it seemed like a natural step away from rotating mechanical hands to space age, electrically written digits in futuristic script.
But little did we know that digital watches had existed before and that our interest in digital watches would fade only to be reborn in the age of smartphones.
Mechanical Digital Watches
In 1883, Austrian inventor Josef Pallweber patented his idea for …read more
3D Printer Halts and Catches Fire — Analysis Finds a Surprising Culprit
Let’s build a robot that gets hot. Really hot — like three times hotter than McDonald’s coffee. Then make it move around. And let’s get the cost in at around $100. Sounds crazy? Not really, since that describes the cheap 3D printers we all have been buying. [John] found out the hard way that you really need to be careful with hot moving parts.
The short story is that [John’s] Anet A8 caught on fire — significantly caught on fire. Common wisdom says that cheap printers often don’t have connectors for the heated bed that can handle the current. There …read more
Visible Light CT Scanner Does Double Duty
If you’ve ever experienced the heartbreak of finding a seed in your supposedly seedless navel orange, you’ll be glad to hear that with a little work, you can protect yourself with an optical computed tomography scanner to peer inside that slice before popping it into your mouth.
We have to admit to reading this one with a skeptical eye at first. It’s not that we doubt that a DIY CT scanner is possible; after all, we’ve seen examples at least a couple of times before. The prominent DSLR mounted to the scanning chamber betrays the use of visible light rather …read more