Hackaday Links: April 10, 2016

Spot the mirrored mac
Spot the mirrored Mac

Here is the best Mac mod we’ve ever seen. [Doogie] decided to take an Apple G5 Quad to the max. This means maintaining the liquid cooling setup, adding the max amount of RAM (16 GB), adding a Sonnet Tempo 6.0Gb PCI-e card and two Samsung 840 Pro SSDs, and an Nvidia Geforce 6600GT. The best part about this Mac? Instead of the classic anodized aluminum, [Doogie] polished the case to a mirror finish. Here’s a video of the entire build. The computer is currently serving up his webpage, and if you want to see how the server load test is going, you can check out the stats page here.

Hackaday links posts are where we put interesting kickstarters and crowdfunding projects, and this one is near the top. It’s a crowdfunding campaign for a glassblowing workshop in England. If this project is funded, people can come repair their scientific glassware, make new tubes, or take a glassblowing workshop. It’s not quite a crowdfunding campaign for a business (perhaps it should be?), but maybe someone out there has a glass lathe they can donate.

A few months ago, Microchip acquired Atmel for $3.56 Billion. There’s a lot of overlap in both company’s portfolios, leading many to wonder which products would be EOL’ed and removed from the market. This week, Microchip released a statement on the acquisition (PDF), and spelled out what to expect from the product line. It’s good news:

We know that stability and growth in manufacturing is an important consideration from a supply base, and it has been one of the key elements that Microchip has executed well throughout its 25+ year life. We will honor that concept in this integration activity as well. We also recognize that product End-of-Life may be one of your concerns in any acquisition, including this one. Microchip has a practice and track record of not putting products on End-of-Life, and it is our intent to continue to offer the complete portfolio of products from both companies.

On April 5th, Makerbot announced it has sold more than 100,000 3D printers worldwide. Sounds like quite an accomplishment, right? Wrong. From December 31, 2014 to April 5, 2016 – fifteen months – Makerbot has sold only 20,094 printers. Sales figures are hard to come by (I’m working on this), but Lulzbot is outselling Makerbot given one of their latest press releases and basic math. There will be more on this after Stratasys releases their 2015 yearly report (on May 9), but I’m calling this the beginning of the end for Makerbot.

Here’s a Kickstarter for a laser cutter. The first reward that will get you a laser cutter is €1.300, “a special 50% early bird Kickstarter discount off the estimated retail price.” That means this is a $3000 laser cutter. What does that get you? A five watt ‘shortwave’ laser, 20×16″ working area, and a software interface that actually looks rather good.

22 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 10, 2016

  1. Just to make this clear first and foremost: The second part of the G5-Quad video series has been in the works for a long time now–Lots of video has been taken and pictures too, but Doogie is away on business and will inevitably be moving, or so it seems, so access to the footage to make up the video is not possible at the moment.

    I supplied the original G5 for the mod, and the original images you find on that webpage linked with images of how it looked before the mod were taken by me. the G5 was saved from otherwise inevitably being scrapped, so this is a much more useful fate than becoming hot slag at the end of the day. :D

    1. If you’re talking about the 50% of 3000 is 1300, then the answer arises from the change in units. $3000 is about 2600 euros according to the google search I just made when I had the same question.

      1. Oh wait, now I see the exact words. As far as I can tell the author is assuming that there are fewer than fifty printed parts in each printer, and… no wasted parts? I guess? Just dividing 1000000 parts by 20000 printers of the competitor. It does sound pretty sketchy.

    1. You can’t do much better than polished aluminum. Now it has a layer of sapphire. Same way you don’t have to paint polished aluminum on planes. If the surface is clean, any exposed aluminum gets an oxide layer, which depending on gross structure is sapphire or corundum or alumina, second hardest stuff next to diamond and won’t turn into CO2 and vanish when heated.

      1. Ordinary aluminum oxide is incredibly hard – no question. However if formed naturally it is also only a few molecules thick. Unless you intentionally make it thicker by anodizing it or a similar process it is easily scratched due to the very soft aluminum that lies underneath.

      2. I’ve always found it amazing that aluminum oxidizes to sapphire but if you give a woman an aluminum engagement ring and say it’s sapphire she won’t really appreciate it.

    2. If he was careful, it should be easy to clean. but the oxide layer that grows on aluminum in air is extremely thin, and any impurities or finger prints on the freshly polished aluminum will be permanent (unless polished away).
      The oxide layer is also of poor consistency, and is easily (and permanently) stained by organic dyes. This property is used when anodizing, where organic dyes are used immediately after the anodizing step (after clean water rinse) to color the aluminum oxide layer. He may see some benefit in surface quality and stain resistance if he seals the surface with an acetate sealer as used in the anodizing industry.

    1. Revenue for fiscal 2015 was $696.0 million compared to $750.1 million for fiscal 2014.

      GAAP net loss for fiscal 2015 was $1.4 billion, or ($26.64) per diluted share, compared to a loss of $119.4 million, or ($2.39) per diluted share, for the same period last year.

      Non-GAAP net income was $10.0 million for fiscal 2015, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $103.6 million, or $2.00 per diluted share, reported for the same period last year.

    2. They do not care about the maker market at all. Makerbot is not about the maker market. It’s about the small business market. Of those 20k printers, I expect at least 70% to go to small businesses. Education is after that, and after that comes the makers/tinkerers/home users.

      (Roughly based on numbers I know from our market at Ultimaker)

  2. 400W home server? replacing 1700W one??? Was he running a full rack of ML350 G4 (Pentium 4 Xeon) boxes?!?!
    this is retro computing audio phoolery :/ wooden volume knob level. looks nice, does nothing :(

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