A graphic showing the suggested footprint dimensions for 0402 parts

Want Better 0402 Reflow? Consider These Footprints!

Assembling with a stencil is just that much more convenient – it’s a huge timesaver, and your components no longer need to be individually touched with a soldering iron for as many times as they have pads. Plus, it usually goes silky smooth, the process is a joy to witness, and the PCB looks fantastic afterwards! However, sometimes components won’t magically snap into place, and each mis-aligned resistor on a freshly assembled board means extra time spent reflowing the component manually, as well as potential for silent failures later on. In an effort to get the overall failure rate down, you will find yourself tweaking seemingly insignificant parameters, and [Worthington Assembly] proposes that you reconsider your 0402 and 0201 footprints.

Over the years, they noticed a difference in failure rates between resistor&capacitor footprints on various boards coming in for assembly – the size and positioning of the footprint pads turned out to be quite significant in reducing failure rate, even on a tenth of millimeter scale. Eagle CAD default footprints in particular were a problem, while a particular kind of footprint never gave them grief – and that’s the one they recommend we use. Seeing the blog post become popular, they decided to share their observations on 0201 as well, and a footprint recommendation too. Are your 0402 resistors giving you grief? Perhaps, checking the footprints you’re using is a good first step.

The 0402 and 0201 components are in a weird spot, where soldering iron assembly is no longer really viable, but the stencil+reflow approach might not be unilaterally successful when you start off – fortunately, that’s where writeups like these come in. Interested in learning stenciling? Get some solder paste, and read up on all the different ways you can put it onto your boards.

DIY Custom Earplugs For Pennies Per Pair

Hearing is one of our most precious senses, and yet many take their hearing for granted, exposing themselves to loud noises that do lasting damage. [Jonathan Levi] of The Next Level does no such thing, at least not anymore. He’s even gone so far as to have custom acrylic earplugs made, which he carried around for two years, finally had them tweaked to be perfect, and promptly lost them. Rather than shell out another $150-$200 for another pair, [Jonathan] decided to see if he could make some himself.

While it’s true that [Jonathan] got a head start by asking the earplug company for the STLs they created back when he was fitted, he goes through the ways that one could mold and then scan one’s ears at home for not a lot of money. There are even kits for squirting that quick-setting goo into your ear to get just the right shape. Once you’ve got the ear canal positives, some quick photogrammetry work with your phone camera and a lazy Susan should be enough to get a model going in Blender.

[Jonathan] had the good sense to label left and right on the 3D printed mold, and furthermore added some small 3D printed screws that are color-coded to help him keep them plugs straight, and give him something to grab on to when it’s time to take them out. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.

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Hardware Store Chemicals Transform Sheets Into Waterproof Tarps

For hackers in the Northern Hemisphere, the seasons of wet and cold are upon us. Staying dry is every bit as important as staying warm, so what better than a hack or two to keep us warm and dry! All you’ll need is a bed sheet, some rope, and a run to the local hardware store, and a bit of knowledge. [NightHawkInLight] has us covered with the excellent video “Recycled Bedsheets Make The Best Waterproof Tarps” as seen below the break.

[NightHawkInLight] brings old traditional methods into the 21st century by turning away from oil, beeswax and canvas in favor of a recycled bed sheet made waterproof with silicone. The video goes into just enough detail so that you can reproduce their results without fear of working with the powerful solvent being used.

Cheap hardware store grade silicone sealant is thinned by naphtha, worked into the old bed sheet, and then hung out to dry overnight. The result? A perfectly waterproof sheet that’s just as pliable as before treatment. But how can you use it like a tarp, when there are no eyelets? If you watch the video for no other reason, check out the neat attachment trick at the end, where traditional technology is brought to the fore once again with nothing more than a rock and a slip knot.

We can imagine that the uses for such inexpensive, durable home made tarps are many. Perhaps one could put it to use when building your own Custom Cycling Camper.

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The Hackaday Summer Camp Survival Guide

It’s a feature of summer for us, the round of hacker camps in which members of our community gather in fields and spend a few days relaxing and doing what we do best. This summer I’ll have been to four of them by September, one of which was unexpected because a last-minute ticket came my way. For Hackaday they’re a chance to connect with our readers and maybe see come of the coolest stuff in person.

If you consult the wiki for your hacker camp of choice then you’ll usually find a page of tips about what to bring. Starting with a tent and a sleeping bag and probably going on to sunscreen, a hat, and maybe how to avoid dehydration. I’d probably add spare toilet paper and disinfectant spray in case the toilets are nightmarish. All very practical stuff, but expressed in a dry list format that doesn’t really tell you what to expect. A hacker camp can be overwhelming if you’ve not been to one before, so how do you get the best out of it? Here are a few tips based on our experience. Continue reading “The Hackaday Summer Camp Survival Guide”

The charging station on the table, with twelve powerbanks plugged into it, charging. A small meter on the front panel shows 4.73 volts and 4.38 amps.

A Simple Charging Station For Twelve Powerbanks

[jasonwinfieldnz] uses twelve small powerbanks day to day – powering LED strips around his trampoline, presumably, to avoid the mess of wires and make the assembly easily portable. However, if you have twelve powerbanks, you’ll find yourself hogging all the household’s microUSB cables every so often, as they eventually discharge. This was not good enough for our hacker, and he decided to build a charging station to refill them all at once.

If you need 5 volts and many amps, an ATX PSU isn’t your worst bet. From there, he only had to add twelve microUSB connectors to – and condensed the entire contraption into a beautiful charging station. For the microUSB part, he hacked some microUSB cable ends off and embedded them into the case. An embedded voltage and current module is of big help – letting you see at a glance when charging has really finished. Using copper tape as bus bars and banana plugs for charging input, this project is easy to build and solves the problem well.

The 3D printing files and cutting templates are right there on the project page, so if any of us hackers has a problem that twelve powerbanks could help with, [Jason]’s project is quite repeatable. If your devices are more diverse, you could use a pegboard to build a stylish charging station for them! If, on the other hand, you have a single device you need to plug multiple cords into, moldable plastic is there to help.

Hack Your Brain: Bionic Reading — Panacea Or Placebo?

In the Star Trek episode Space Seed, [Khan] famously said, “Improve a mechanical device, and you may double productivity. But improve man, you gain a thousandfold.” Most of our hacks center on the mechanical or electromechanical kind, but we do have an interest in safely improving ourselves. The problem is that most of us don’t want to mess with our DNA or have surgery, so it sort of limits our options.

We are always interested in less invasive hacks, so we certainly took note of Bionic Reading. However, a recent paper claims to debunk the claims of benefits. The company promoting the technology claims a Swiss University study showed that while the results were not clear, “the majority had a positive effect.” They also claim, anecdotally, that the technique can help those with dyslexia. What’s the truth? We don’t know, but it is an interesting discussion to follow.

If you haven’t seen it before, Bionic Reading — which, by the way, may not be free to use — is a way of using a dark font to emphasize certain key parts of words. For example, you can read this article using Bionic Reading. [Daniel Doyon] analyzed reading by 2,074 testers and found that participants actually read slower when using the Bionic Reading technique.

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Golf Club Shooter Is Your Ballistic Friend On The Green

Golf is a sport that has always enjoyed a good gadget or eight. Whether it’s something to measure the wind, or the latest putter guaranteed to save your game, golf enthusiasts have always flocked to such toys. [Nick O’Hara] has something that might just be a little too exciting for the golf set, though, in the form of his golf club launcher.

The golf club launcher essentially takes the role of a normal golf bag, with a rotating magazine containing all the necessary clubs for a day out on the green. The magazine is rotated into position on request, and the required club is launched out towards the player thanks to a pneumatic cylinder fired at 120 psi. A compressor in the base keeps the system charged with air for repeated launches.

The launcher even has a voice assistant built in. Telling the caddy the distance to the hole, and variables like wind and elevation, allows the device to select the right club for the conditions before blasting it towards the player.

It’s a device that easily puts a smile on the face every time it launches a club. We’ve seen some other great golf hacks before, too. Video after the break.

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