Hackaday Links: April 20, 2014


[Josh] hit the same issue we’ve faced before: cable modems don’t match a form factor and usually don’t make themselves easy to mount on something. We could complain about routers as well, but at least most of those have keyhole slots so you can hang them on some screws. Inspiration struck and he fabricated his own rack-mount adapter for it. Velcro holds it in place, with a cutout bezel to see the status lights and an added fan to keep things cool.

Here’s a pair of strange but possibly interesting ones that were sent in separately. The first is an analysis of how much energy short-run CNC prototyping consumes versus traditional manufacturing. The other is an article that [Liz] wrote about getting started with CNC mill bits. She says she compiled all that she learned as she was getting started in the field and wants to save others the effort.

This one goes back several years, but who doesn’t love to hear about a voice-controlled wheelchair?

So you can solder QFN parts but you can’t hammer a nail straight into a piece of wood? The answer, friend, is a laser guided hammer. Someone hire this [Andybot] person, because the solution to the problem shows the ability to out-think an interesting dilemma: how do you put a laser in a hammer head and still use it to hit things?

We’ve seen a lot of these long-range WiFi hacks over the years. This one is worth looking at because of the work done to create an outdoor mount that will stand the test of time.

And finally, we’re still really fond of this 2-bit paper processor that helps you wrap your brain around what’s going on with those silicon wafers that rule our everyday lives. [glomCo] liked it as well, and actually coded an emulator so that you can play with it without printing anything out on paper. We think it takes away some of the fun, but what an excellent programming exercise!

23 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 20, 2014

  1. Laser in “hammer” rubber mallet, swing and a miss. You’re out.
    Despite the duh factor of hitting nails with a rubber mallet, there is one serious flaw. This would only work in a pile driver “swing” as any real swing of the arm would have the laser moving in an arc. Study bionics and use a hammer.

  2. While I didn’t read the entire article, the CNC energy consumption article looked to me artificially skewed to favor manually operated mills. Comparing a very large, fully automated CNC machine in a car factory to a small, hand operated, mill is like comparing a small hatchback to a train, and deducing the hatchback consumes less energy.

    Here’s a comparison I’d like to see: How much time (man-hours, which also cost $$$) and energy does manually manufacturing a given part take compared to a CNC???

    1. “Choosing fewer automated technologies is the key to sustainable manufacturing.”

      I’m sorry, but what? Fewer automated systems = key to sustainable manufacturing? I completely disagree.

      1. Surely having the same mill operate in Manual VS CNC, you’d see Manual use a huge amount more power because you’ve got the big spindle (or whatever it’s called that drives the cutting head) running for a lot longer. CNC would surely be orders of magnitude faster than Manual, and I can’t imagine the x/y/z motors and controller would use more power than the extra time of Manual control would.

        Obviously if you’re just machining a flat surface onto a small piece of metal things might change.

      2. “It’s obvious that the switch from human- and water-powered tools to fossil-fuel powered tools has made manufacturing less sustainable. Automation is more energy-intensive than mechanisation (sic).”

        Uhh, who said electricity must be fossil-fuel powered? Renewable energy is growing in market share at a very fast pace.

      3. This article is just terrible. I dont think the writer has ever even step foot in a machine shop.

        You have got to look at where the article was published at, “LOW-TECH MAGAZINE, Doubts on progress and technology”
        They already have ax axe to grind, dont expect much from objectivity and it shows in their article. Other on their site have pointed out how they have cherry picked the studies they quoted from.

        At the end they basically said, ” we used to make all the parts on manual machines and not cnc” And to that I say, you have not clue what you are talking about. Manual lathes and mills as we know they were mostly found in shops that did repair, tool and die work, and small quantity or prototype machining. They were rarely used in production work. Pre-cnc mills that made a lot of parts were air or hydraulic tracers. Pre-cnc lathes were screw machines and turret lathes. All in their own right programmable machines.

    1. I understand the concern with knots but it’s something I have seen a lot of, usually the mains lead in the base of lamps.
      I thought it was a neat enough idea.
      if you can keep the min bend radius within tolernace i’d rather have the cable strain than whatever damage the hardware would suffer if the clip didn’t give.

      1. I hope you do see the difference between tying a knot on a cable made from 2 or 3 conductors, that is carrying only power and one made from 8 conductors carefully twisted together to provide best possible conditions for data signals in 100s of MHz?

        1. That is exactly what I was going to say, thanks.

          Perhaps I should have added in my original post that yes, with single/double strand power it’s done a lot and doable in many cases, but not with data cables surely.

        2. not really?
          like i said, as long as you stick to the min bend what is the problem?
          Is the minimum bend radius even calculated with signal degredation in mind, or is it only protecting the cable from mechanical stresses? Is there any signal degredation from a knot?
          Twisted pair is used because it negates interference.
          I havent analysed any knotted cat5 afaik, but i have definetly used some and it *seemed* to work fine.

          I would knot a signal cable before knotting a ‘high’ power cable. Damaged or bent conductors resulting in reduced CSA can pose fire risks.

          1. The minimum bend radius for Cat5/5e is 1″, so although you’re wrong on several points, explain how your “knot” falls under the it’s ok because it’s following the minimum bend radius guidelines. Plus any stress on the cable will only tighten the knot and make the bend radius smaller.

            You probably don’t want to go for your BICSI cert until you figure out basic (correct) data cabling principles.

          2. well obviously if the knot is bigger than 1″ radius then it’s not a problem is it?
            i would rather have a broken section of cable than potentially breaking whatever its connected to.

            good thing i wasnt planning on getting certified then.

    1. “Style”

      It wouldn’t do to just have the router be a simple box that could be stacked with all your other network gear! How will their product stand out from the rest?

      Never mind that Everybody seems to be doing it that way in the consumer space, meaning that their fancy not-a-box looks like all the other not-a-boxes that you can’t nicely stack together.

    2. With their ventilation slots they suggest not to be stacked or covered up.This project has no less than two fans with their noise chorus and dependance on a flea’s pee of lube.

  3. While inquiring a degree of sustainability is good for human kind. But in our enclosed home with an ever growing population with a finite amounts of resources the best we can hope for is to use those resources to keep the largest number of humans comfortable as long as possible. Actually Low Tech Magazine is pro progress pro tech. I can’t recall them advocating resurrecting any old tech for everyday use today. Generally they advocate looking at old tech for the suppose what can be learned and applied today. More likely than not that is something a business that has be profitable decades does on a daily basis in some manner. The goal being to determine if they can get a job done without additional spending. Respectfully anyone that accuses others of bias with out pointing their readers to what they believe is a better balanced article on the subject is that pot calling hettle black.. Admitting that one is commenting without reading it is honest, why bother commenting? I refrain from commenting on something don’t have tome to read and attempt to study the noted sources. Wjile it may not look like it I keep fingers off the keoboard that Put them to ir.

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