Adjustable Lights Help Peer Inside Chips With IR

If you’re used to working through a microscope, you’ve probably noticed that the angle of the light greatly affects how your workpiece looks. Most of us prefer the relatively flat lighting provided by a ring light, but variable angle side lighting can be useful too, especially when you’re peering inside ICs to make sure the silicon is what it’s supposed to be.

That’s what [Bunnie] is working on these days with his Project IRIS, short for “Infrared in situ,” a non-destructive method for looking inside chip packages. The technique relies on the fact that silicon is transparent to certain wavelengths of light, and that some modern IC packages expose the underside of the silicon die directly to the outside world. Initial tests indicated that the angle of the incident IR light was important to visualizing features on the metal interconnects layered onto the silicon, so [Bunnie] designed a two-axis light source for his microscope. The rig uses curved metal tracks to guide a pair of IR light sources through an arc centered on the focal point of the microscope stage. The angle of each light source relative to the stage can be controlled independently, while the whole thing can swivel around the optical axis of the microscope to control the radial angle of the lighting.

The mechanism [Bunnie] designed to accomplish all this is pretty complex. Zenith angle is controlled by a lead screw driving a connecting rod to the lights on their guide tracks, while the azimuth of the lights is controlled by a separate motor and pulley driving a custom-built coaxial bearing. The whole optical assembly is mounted on a Jubilee motion platform for XYZ control. The brief videos below show the lights being put through their paces, along with how changing the angle of the light affects the view inside a chip.

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A Case For Project Part Numbers

Even when we share the design files for open source hardware, the step between digital files and a real-world mechatronics widget is still a big one. That’s why I set off on a personal vendetta to find ways to make that transfer step easier for newcomers to an open source mechantronics project.

Today, I want to spill the beans on one of these finds: part numbers, and showcase how they can help you share your project in a way that helps other reproduce it. Think of part numbers as being like version numbers for software, but on real objects.

I’ll showcase an example of putting part numbers to work on one of my projects, and then I’ll finish off by showing just how part numbers offer some powerful community-building aspects to your project.

A Tale Told with Jubilee

To give this idea some teeth, I put it to work on Jubilee, my open source toolchanging machine. Between October 2019 to November 2020, we’ve slowly grown the number of folks building Jubilees in the world from 1 to more than 50 chatting it up on the Discord server. Continue reading “A Case For Project Part Numbers”

Jubilee: A Toolchanging Homage To 3D Printer Hackers Everywhere

I admit that I’m late to the 3D printing game. While I just picked up my first printer in 2018, the rest of us have been oozing out beautiful prints for over a decade. And in that time we’ve seen many people reimagine the hardware for mischief besides just printing plastic. That decade of hacks got me thinking: what if the killer-app of 3D printing isn’t the printing? What if it’s programmable motion? With that, I wondered: what if we had a machine that just offered us motion capabilities? What if extending those motion capabilities was a first class feature? What if we had a machine that was meant to be hacked?

One year later, I am thrilled to release an open-source multitool motion platform I call Jubilee. For a world that’s hungry for toolchanging 3D printers, Jubilee might be the best toolchanging 3D printer you can build yourself–with nothing more than a set of hand tools and some patience. But it doesn’t stop there. With a standardized tool pattern established by E3D and a kinematically coupled hot-swappable bed, Jubilee is rigged to be extended by anyone looking to harness its programmable motion capabilities for some ad hoc automation.

Jubilee is my homage to you, the 3D printer hacker; but it’s meant to serve the open-source community at large. Around the world, scientists, artists, and hackers alike use the precision of automated machines for their own personal exploration and expression. But the tools we use now are either expensive or cumbersome–often coupled with a hefty learning curve but no up-front promise that they’ll meet our needs. To that end, Jubilee is meant to shortcut the knowledge needed to get things moving, literally. Jubilee wants to be an API for motion.

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