Andrew Sarangan @ edn.com:
Why make your own printed circuit boards when you can get them commercially made for low cost? For one, it can take one to four weeks to receive the boards. For prototyping, this can be a major hurdle. Each design iteration will then take a month or more, and a project may need many months to get done. The DIYer can fab the board and assemble everything in one evening. That advantage is really hard to beat.
Besides time, there are other reasons to make your own board. Commercial services charge by board size, not complexity. Larger boards will cost more even if they are completely blank. I once had to make an oversized PCB because the parts had to be spaced far apart. It was a very sparse board, but getting it made from even the cheapest commercial source would have been expensive.
Make high-quality double-sided PCBs – at home - [Link]
A state-of-the-art, mobile maker space, that brings the richness of hands-on making to you.
Tesla Truck (www.teslatruck.co) – is a mobile maker-space and a cutting edge prototyping facility equipped with 3D printers, Laser Cutters and CNC machines. Tesla Truckʼs mission is to enable students, teachers, makers, and other creative minds to collaborate, innovate, and create in a dynamic and accessible space. Tesla Truck brings the richness of hands-on making to your community by delivering a cutting edge fabrication facility on a mobile platform.
Tesla Truck: A Mobile-Maker Space for the Masses! - [Link]
by mlerman @ instructables.com:
This is the second version of my E260 modification. It uses an ATtiny13 MCU to control the timing of the printer and make it possible to print double sided PCBs at home.
As an electronic hobbyist and inventor I often need to make printed circuit boards (PCBs) in single or small quantities. Usually these are relatively simple circuits, an MCU, some input conditioning circuitry, some output circuitry, and usually they are single sided or perhaps double sided, with just a few vias. And usually I want them right now!
Toner Transfer (TT) has become the method of choice for most hobbyists. A laser printer is used to print an image of the PCB on special “transfer paper” which is then placed on the bare copperclad board and either ironed on or run through a modified laminator to transfer the image to the copper. When the PCB is etched, the toner acts as a resist, preserving the copper below it while the rest of the copper surface is etched away.
Modification of the Lexmark E260 for Direct Laser Printing of Printed Circuit Boards - [Link]
A group of engineers have developed the smallest organic laser [via] :
The 8-µm-long device, which looks like a suspended bridge riddled with holes, is carved into a silicon chip coated with an organic dye. Integrated into microprocessor chips, such tiny lasers could one day speed up computers by shuttling data using light rather than electrons. They also could be valuable for sensors and lab-on-a-chip devices.
Engineers Build Ultrasmall Organic Laser - [Link]
A new type of sensor being developed by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley based on Plasmon laser technology is so sensitive it may be able to detect the presence of land mines in situ. In a paper published recently in the journal ‘Nature Nanotechnology’ a team of researchers led by Xiang Zhang, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, have outlined how they have been able to find a way to increase the sensitivity of a light-based plasmon sensor to detect minute concentrations of explosives. The new sensor consists of a layer of magnesium fluoride sandwiched between a semiconducting layer of cadmium sulfide, and a sheet of silver.
New Sensor could sniff out Land Mines - [Link]
Here’s a DIY 38mm x 38mm laser engraver build using CD-ROM/writer on ATmega328p by Davide Gironi:
A laser engraving machine, is a tool that uses lasers to engrave an object.
To build this tool I’ve used two old CD-ROM writer that lays around in my garage.
The X/Y positioning system it is build using the CD-ROM motor assembly. For the engraving laser i use the CD-ROM writer laser.
With this hardware the engraving area are will be almost 38mm x 38mm.
A DIY laser engraver build using DVD and CD-ROM/writer - [Link]
Here’s a cheap and simple Laser Power Meter LPM for small power source, based on “MarioMaster LPM meter” by Davide Gironi:
This type of meter uses a ThermoElectric Cooling module (TEC) to measure the power of a laser. The TEC will absorb the laser light, and transform the heat generated by the laser beam to an electrical signal.
An operational amplifier is used then to amplify the signal and ouput it to a volt meter.
Voltage meter will display the power in W unit of the laser beam you are testing.
The TEC takes a little amount of time to heat, so wait until your reading became stable.
This type of meter is simple and cheap to build.
It can measure laser power up to 2W, with an accurancy of +-10mW.
A cheap and simple Laser Power Meter LPM for small power source - [Link]
Here we have it – an affordable Open Source Laser RangeFinder – OSLRF-01 from www.lightware.co.za. You can order it fully assembled and working or just PCB and optics (all other components have to find by Yourself).
An Arduino Based Laser Rangefinder - [Link]
by Kalle Hyvönen:
Here’s a quick project I made in couple days or so. It is a push-pull step-down laser diode driver based on LT1683 SMPS controller chip from Linear Technology. The circuit works with 12-18V input and can put out about 1A to a 2V load. I used a PL140-105L planar ferrite transformer from Coilcraft which is quite overkill for this application (it is rated for 140W).
Switchmode laser diode driver based on LT1683 - [Link]
Ian D. Miller made a Raspberry Pi powered laser engraver using two old DVD RW drives. He writes:
engravR is a Raspberry Pi powered laser engraver built primarily using two old DVD RW drives. It was built following the following tutorial: http://funofdiy.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-raspberry-pi-controlled-mini-laser.html Note that I did make changes to the code given there in order to allow remote engraving and to be able to read the kind of GCode that GCodeTools generates. It is available at the above GitHub link.
engravR – RPi Laser Engraver - [Link]