[lexie] is a librarian, and librarians live in the real world. They’re not concerned with vague digital notions about the size of data, but practical notions of space. Thus, she created a tool to answer an important question: how long do your shelves need to be if you’re storing all your information on 3.5″ floppy disks?
It’s a great question, and one we find ourselves asking, well, pretty much never. [lexie]’s tool is also built using modern web technologies, and 3.5″ floppy disks were never really used for bulk storage, either. It just makes the whole thing all the more frivolous, and that makes it more fun.
You can key in any quantity from megabytes to exabytes and the tool will spit out the relevant answer in anything from millimeters to miles as appropriate. Despite the graphics on the web page, it does assume rational shelving practices of placing disks along the shelves on their thinner 4 mm edge.
Tired of all your completed (or half-completed) projects cluttering up your workspace? Or you toss them in a box and later forget which box? Well [Another Maker] aka [Develop With Dan] came up with a solution which he dubs Mission Control — panelize your projects and store them in one of many cubbyholes which are provided by a false wall.
Each project gets a panel and is neatly stored away when not in use. For some project, this could be simply for storage. For other projects, this might serve as a showcase. Occupying the center of Mission Control is a large monitor, presumably a permanent installation. It looks like there are two different sizes of panels, but we wonder whether more and smaller panels might be more useful. As he’s putting this together, we particularly like one piece of advice that [Dan] offers regarding his custom tool, the Cornerator 3000:
Never hesitate to make a jig when you want to repeat something.
[Dan] will be posting this workspace on his GitHub repository along with code and documentation for various projects he posts on YouTube. He’s also proud to have built this system out of 100% recycled material, or as he says, he went dumpster diving. Do you have a good system for storing / displaying projects in your lab? Let us know in the comments below.
As nation states grapple with the spectre of environmental and economic losses due to climate change, we’ve seen an ever greater push towards renewable energy sources to replace heavier polluters like coal and natural gas. One key drawback of these sources has always been their intermittent availability, spurring interest in energy storage technologies that can operate at the grid level.
With the rise in distributed energy generation with options like home solar power, there’s been similar interest in the idea of distributed home battery storage. However, homeowners can be reluctant to make investments in expensive batteries that take years to pay themselves off in energy savings. But what if they had a giant battery already, just sitting outside in the driveway? Could electric vehicles become a useful source of grid power storage? As it turns out, Ford wants to make their electric trucks double as grid storage batteries for your home.
Home is absolutely everything these days. Plenty of spaces around the abode have had to do double and triple duty as we navigate work, play, and everything in between. Although it’s been a great time to engage in hobbies and even find new ones, where exactly are we supposed put all the stuff that accumulates?
[Fabse89] started by stripping the box out to the bare walls and modeling the inside in Fusion360. Then they built and cut an acrylic insert that holds two power supplies and a soldering station. There are fixed 5 V and 12 V outputs on one power supply, plus a variable supply that maxes out at 48 V.
When it came to tool storage options, [Fabse89] got lucky with a small, seldom-used set of plastic drawers that fits perfectly next to the power station. These hold all the small tools like flush cutters, pliers, and a de-soldering pump. The top section of the case folds back and is the perfect place for component storage boxes. We think this is a tidy solution and especially like that you don’t have to dismantle it to use it — can be used with everything in place and packed up quickly. We also like that the front lid pulls down into a makeshift table, so this really could go anywhere with mains power.
[Jacob Stanton]’s design for 3D-printable, stacking and locking boxes is a great example of design for manufacturability (DFM). MicroStacks show how part of good DFM is taking the manufacturing method’s strengths and weaknesses into account. [Jacob]’s boxes are created specifically with 3D printing in mind, which is great design whether somebody is making one, or dozens.
The boxes have sturdy parts that all print without any need for supports, fasteners, or post-processing. In addition, since no two 3D printers are quite alike and some print better than others, the parts are also designed to be quite forgiving of loose tolerances. Even on a printer that is less well-tuned than it could be, the design should still work. The boxes also have a nice stacking feature: a sturdy dovetail combined with a sliding tab means that once boxes are stacked, they’re not coming apart by accident unless something breaks in the process.
The boxes as designed are about big enough to store AA cells. Not the right size for you? One nice thing about a 3D-printable design that doesn’t need supports is that it’s trivial to uniformly scale the size of the models up or down to match one’s needs without introducing any print complications in the process. You can watch [Jacob] assemble and demonstrate his design in the video, embedded below.
Think you’ve seen the best component storage system? This system could only be better if you could walk up and talk to it. [APTechnologies] was tired of using a hodgepodge of drawers and boxen for storing their components. What they needed was an all-purpose solution for storing all kinds of small-to-medium-sized goodies, be they through hole or SMT.
This one happens to have a software interface as well that is searchable with short, crisp expressions that find parts by ID or with parameters. It’s a Python 3 script running on a Raspberry Pi 4B that’s hiding behind the HDMI display. [APTechnologies] printed a special arm for that, and you can find all the files on GitHub. Not only does the LED above the corresponding drawer light up, it lights up in a color that represents the inventory levels. We assume green/yellow/red, but [APTechnologies] doesn’t specify.
It seems like just yesterday (maybe for some of you it was) we were installing Windows 3.1 off floppy drives onto a 256 MB hard drive, but hard drives have since gotten a lot bigger and a lot more complicated, and there are a lot more options than spinning platters.
The explosion of storage options is the result of addressing a variety of niches of use. The typical torrenter downloads a file, which is written once but read many times. For some people a drive is used as a backup that’s stored elsewhere and left unpowered. For others it is a server frequently reading and writing data like logs or swap files. In all cases it’s physics that sets the limits of what storage media can do; if you choose wisely for your use case you’ll get the bet performance.
The jargon in this realm is daunting: superparamagnetic limit, LMR, PMR, CMR, SMR, HAMR, MAMR, EAMR, XAMR, and QLC to name the most common. Let’s take a look at how we got here, and how the past and present of persistent storage have expanded what the word hard drive actually means and what is found under the hood.