Comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists… [via]
I don’t do a lot of PCB design, just the occasional hobbyist odd and end… but I DO know computers, freeware, etc… I’ve used Eagle (some), but really like what I’ve seen of KiCad so far, and would commend it. Another interesting option is DesignSpark. I’ve published a comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists… Goes into pros / cons of Eagle, KiCad, DesignSpark, plus less extensive comments on some other options.
Comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists – [Link]
Cool Tools: Cobra Ink System. Kevin writes – [via]
After much research and trial and error I found that the easiest cheapest method of printing is a continuous ink supply built into a printer. Once you are set up you can buy ink inexpensively by the pint, quart or gallon. A pint bottle of ink will cost no more than one of those itty bitty 1 oz. cartridges and will last hundreds of times as long.
A continuous ink system runs tubes from the refillable ink containers into the moving ink head in the printer. The printer operates normally. You simply refill the outside container with bulk ink and keep printing on the same originally installed cartridges. There are a number of outfits that will sell you a kit to do this yourself. I’ve heard of occasional satisfaction with this method. But installing this gear can get really messy and hairy. You are on your own if it does not work correctly. And some printer models are easier to retrofit than others.
Continuous ink supply printer mod… – [Link]
Fun with a few 9V batteries. (244 of them) @ The Custom Geek… [via]
So I needed a break from working on a project again, and I remembered that I had a bunch of 9V batteries and thought, ‘I wonder if that would be enough voltage to hold an arc?‘. The answer is yes, it would. So I made a little video of melting some alligator clips and crispifying some LED’s, a CD, and a cap. Or at least trying to blow up the cap, that was one tough cookie..
I used 244 9V batteries, that were not new, but not dead. When you do the math, this should be 2,196 Volts, but that is when they are new. I measured (in blocks) 2,000 volts total. Lots of sparky..
Fun with a few 9V batteries. (244 of them) – [Link]
The MAX7219 does all the control and refresh work for you in driving either an 8×8 matrix display or 8 x 7-segment displays (usually these also have a dot so its really an 8-segment display) – 64 LEDs total. All you have to do is send it serial commands via the 4-pin SPI interface and it will auto-magically take care of the rest. Wiring is simplified as well, you only need to set the current level for all LEDs with a single resistor instead of 8 and you can also dim the entire display digitally. It’s a thru-hole chip so you can use it in any breadboard, perfboard or other project, although if you’re soldering it in, we suggest using a socket.
MAX7219CNG LED Matrix/Digit Display Driver – MAX7219 – [Link]
Upverter – A new tool for open-source hardware… [via]
Open-source software communities have myriad tools for writing code together and sharing it all over the place…
Enter Upverter, which handily makes hardware design free, open, web-based and collaborative.
Upverter – A new tool for open-source hardware… – [Link]
Researchers achieve a goal they’ve been after since the 1980s—the advance could make cars and airplanes lighter, and renewable energy more practical.
For the first time, researchers have made carbon-nanotube electrical cables that can carry as much current as copper wires. These nanotube cables could help carry more renewable power farther in the electrical grid, provide lightweight wiring for more-fuel-efficient vehicles and planes, and make connections in low-power computer chips. Researchers at Rice University have now demonstrated carbon-nanotube cables in a practical system and are designing a manufacturing line for commercial production.
Nanotube Cables Hit a Milestone: As Good as Copper – [Link]
NEW in V6 |. Lots of stuff, but this is the lead story… [via]
XML database structure redesign
Read, edit and parse the data outside of the EAGLE tool The new XML database structure provides the ability to write scripts that manipulate designs in the EAGLE format which will give users huge productivity benefits. You can make design changes, import information from other designs, and even translate from other formats. This is the first CAD database format to use ASCII text as a format and could become a standard in the industry for communicating designs – making EAGLE the most flexible, user friendly and productive PCB tool on the market.
What’s new in EAGLE v6 – [Link]
The Open 7400 Logic Competition brings awareness to open hardware and software, and fosters understanding of the building blocks of modern integrated circuits. What can you build with logic chips?
Open 7400 Logic Competition – [Link]
3M and IBM announced that the two companies plan to jointly develop the first adhesives that can be used to package semiconductors into densely stacked silicon “towers.” Processors could be tightly packed with memory and networking, for example, into a “brick” of silicon that would create a computer chip 1,000 times faster than today’s fastest microprocessor enabling more powerful smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming devices.
Adhesives for semiconductors – [Link]