When Engineering, Fine Art, And ASMR Collide

The success that [Julian Baumgartner] has found on YouTube is a perfect example of all that’s weird and wonderful about the platform. His videos, which show in utterly engrossing detail the painstaking work that goes into restoring and conserving pieces of fine art, have been boosted in popularity by YouTube’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) subculture thanks to his soft spoken narration. But his latest video came as something of a surprise to lovers of oil paintings and “tingles” alike, as it revealed that he’s also more than capable of scratch building his own equipment.

Anyone who’s been following his incredible restorations will be familiar with his heated suction table, which is used to treat various maladies a canvas may be suffering from. For example, by holding it at a sufficiently high temperature for days on end, moisture can be driven out as the piece is simultaneously smoothed and flattened by the force of the vacuum. But as [Julian] explains in the video after the break, the heated suction table he’s been using up to this point had been built years ago by his late father and was starting to show its age. After a recent failure had left him temporarily without this important tool, he decided to design and build his own fault-tolerant replacement.

The table itself is built with a material well known to the readers of Hackaday: aluminum extrusion. As [Julian] constructs the twelve legged behemoth, he extols the many virtues of working with 4040 extrusion compared to something like wood. He then moves on to plotting out and creating the control panel for the table with the sort of zeal and attention to detail that you’d expect from a literal artist. With the skeleton of the panel complete, he then begins wiring everything up.

Underneath the table’s 10 foot long surface of 6061 aluminum are 6 silicone heat pads, each rated for 1,500 watts. These are arranged into three separate “zones” for redundancy, each powered by a Crydom CKRD2420 solid state relay connected to a Autonics TC4M-14R temperature controller. Each zone also gets its own thermocouple, which [Julian] carefully bonds to the aluminum bed with thermally conductive epoxy. Finally, a Gast 0523-V4-G588NDX vacuum pump is modified so it can be activated with the flick of a switch on the control panel.

What we like most about this project is that it’s more than just a piece of equipment that [Julian] will use in his videos. He’s also released the wiring diagram and Bill of Materials for the table on his website, which combined with the comprehensive build video, means this table can be replicated by other conservators. Whether it’s restoring the fine details on Matchbox cars or recreating woodworking tools from the 18th century, we’re always excited to see people put their heart into something they’re truly passionate about.

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This CT Scan Of A PCB Is The Accidental ASMR We Didn’t Know We Needed

At risk of getting any ASMR buffs who might be reading cranky because there’s no audio, [Chris], or [@no1089] on Twitter, has gifted us with this visually stunning scan of his Maxim MAX86160 in-ear heart monitor mounted on a rigidflex PCB. You can take a look, in the video below the break.

If you’re wondering why anyone would scan a board, other than boredom, know that it’s actually quite common. X-Ray machines are commonly used as a quick, passive way to check a board that’s fresh off the production line. These aren’t the X-Rays like those of broken bones you’re (hopefully not too) used to seeing though, they’re Computed Tomography scans (CT scans, CAT scans), in effect just 3D X-Rays.

CT Scan of a BGA

For electronics manufacturers and assemblers, CT scans are incredibly useful because they provide a non-destructive way to check for errors. For example, how do you know if that middle BGA pin is actually soldered correctly? You could run a functional test and make sure everything is working (at least, everything you check), but that takes time. The longer it takes to validate, the higher the manufacturing cost. In manager speak: “cost bad. Fast good.”

It’s also common to use a CT scan to create a full 3D model of a board. This makes it easy to check every little detail, especially the ones that are visually obscured by surface mount devices or critical signal paths that are buried under board layers.

Highlight of solder joints on small-outline integrated circuit (SOIC) to a PCB’s pads.

If you want to geek out on CT scans, you can learn more about the lab that did this scan or by wading into this unclassified research paper from Australia’s Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division.

But we know you really want more of this video, but better. And we’ve got the goods. For the chill folk among you, here’s a 55-minute version without all the CT scan info cluttering the screen. For those of you currently blasting eDM in your headphones, here’s a 30 second clip of it looping at ~5x speed. Eat your heart out:

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Hackaday Links: February 24, 2019

Back To The Future Part II, released in 1989, told us the far-off future of 2015 would have flying cars, drones working for national newspapers, and self-lacing sneakers. Our best hope for flying cars is Uber, and that’s going to be hilarious when it fails. (Note to Uber: buy KSMO, Santa Monica airport, as an air taxi hub because that’s the most hilarious of all possible realities.) National newspapers — heck, even newspapers — don’t exist anymore. Self-lacing sneakers? Nike’s self-lacing sneakers brick themselves with a firmware update. Don’t worry, it’s only the left shoe.

HackSpace magazine Vol. 16 is out, and there’s a few pages dedicated to Tindie from the person who runs it, our fabulous [Jasmine]. There’s some good tips in here for Tindie sellers — especially shipping — and a good introduction to what Tindie actually is. The three-second elevator pitch of, ‘Etsy but for DIY electronics’ is not in the feature, though.

Is it duct tape or duck tape? That’s a silly question, because it’s ‘duck’ tape, but that’s not important. Gaffer tape is superior. [Ross Lowell], the inventor of gaffer tape, passed away last week at the age of 92.

[Peter Stripol] has a hobby of building ultralights in his basement. Actually, he has a hangar now, so everything’s good. His first two planes flew as Part 103 ultralights, however, there were design problems. [Peter] is using an electric powerplant, with motors and batteries, which is much lighter than a gas-chugging Rotax. However, he was still basing his designs on traditional ultralights. His now third build will be slightly more trimmed down, probably a little bit faster, and might just use 3D-printed control surfaces. Check out the intro to the mk3 airplane here.

[Matthias Wandel], the woodworking Canadian famous for designing the pantorouter, just built a three-legged stool. Sure, that doesn’t sound impressive, but check this out. All the weird mortises were done on the pantorouter, and there are someĀ weird mortises here.

You’re only cool if you got chainz, so here’s some PCB chainz. This was done by [@jeffwurz] with OSHPark PCBs. The design, from as far as we can tell, is simple. It’s just a PCB without a soldermask, and a small cutout in one of the links. Assemble it into a chain, and if you’re clever, solder some resistor leads across the gap to make it a bit more solid.

ASMR, or officially, ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’, is the tingling sensation moving down your back induced by specific auditory (or visual) stimuli. That’s the scientific definition. On the Internet, it’s people breathing into microphones and smacking their lips. Yes, there are videos of this. Thousands of them. There are 11-year-old girlsĀ raking in the YouTube money posting ASMR videos. It’s weird and gross, and don’t get me started on slime videos. You’ve also got unboxing videos. The Raspberry Pi foundation found a way to combine ASMR with unboxing videos. I gotta respect the hustle here; ASMR and unboxing videos are some of the most popular content available, and the Pi foundation is not only combining the two, but doing so ironically. It’s exactly the content everyone wants to see, and it’ll bring in people who hate ASMR and unboxing videos. Someone over at the Pi foundation really knows what they’re doing here.