3D printers are all the rage these days, and are coming down in price gradually, but are still a bit out of reach for many.
So many capable electronics and maker hobbyists have turned to re-purposing all sorts of things to build their own 3D Printers on the cheap.
Here’s one great example (though he uses a number of prefab things like stepper motors, extruder nozzles, and Arduino boards).
The tutorial is in three parts, and is pretty complete, including showing how to program the Arduino, and actually use the printer to create parts. (Humorously, he actually uses the printer with temporary “duct tape and bailing wire” construction to make the last few printed parts brackets and then replaces them into the machine!)
I’m currently looking for parts to build a HF Antenna Analyzer from a much passed around plan by Beric Dunn, and the search has been somewhat difficult. The search has led me to start thinking about how dependent we are on China for electronics parts.
On the one hand, it’s great we can go to sources like AliExpress, BangGood, GearBest, and dozens of other Chinese companies to get parts inexpensively as hobbyists.
But on the other hand, many people in the “maker” space are rolling their own electronics as prepping activities, such as building battery packs for solar power.
So what happens when your supply chain stretches all the way to a country that is actively stealing product designs from US companies, and has been caught installing spy software/spy hardware in products they produce for us?
Food for thought.
Are there reasonably priced alternatives for parts and small run PCB’s in the United States?
If not, could someone make a go of it in a cottage sized industry, perhaps with desktop sized PCB milling machines?
There’s a guy named Jehu Garcia in California who’s made it his mission to recycle laptop and other batteries in the United States instead of sending them back to China.
One of his ongoing projects is building DIY power walls (similar to the commercial ones made by Tesla at a premium price) using these reclaimed batteries and modular PCBs and commercial battery holders.
This is a lot easier than soldering the cells together with nickel strips and making your own brass buss bars.
Here’s his tutorial on putting together the battery packs, including how to match cells, and even build the ribbon cables for the battery management system monitoring.
Just found this great tutorial on how to make your own soldering iron from bits of wire, fiberglass tubing, nichrome wire from a hairdryer, and a rough cross section of a branch.
When I was searching to find the video again to place it above, I found that there are MANY MANY different versions of the home made soldering iron made with slightly different parts, so there are lots of options.
WSPR implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions. Transmissions carry a station’s callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and transmitter power in dBm. The program can decode signals with S/N as low as −28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth. Stations with internet access can automatically upload their reception reports to a central database called WSPRnet, which includes a mapping facility.