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Sudharshan

~ In the entire universe, wood is certainly more precious than diamond ~ Operating at the intersection of 🛠️ 💻 🧠, solving problems by day, thinking of new ones at night.

KerbalKontrol v2.0: Log 0

This is the post zero in a series of posts about the KSP control station we have been working on for a while now. This project got its beginnings back when we were preparing for Maker Faire Singapore 2016 where we wanted to make something big. Something that people would see from across the room and go "Wow!".

So in the end, we came up with the KerbalKontrol V1.0 which was quite successful and attracted a lot of attention at Maker Faire. In addition, it also got some love from the Reddit and Hackaday community! The response was some of the best we have had since we launched and motivated by that very response we decided to launch this series.

In this series, we will be re-doing the whole project again in a less rushed manner than it was done before and iron out all the quirks and the problems we had before, both software and hardware. We will also be starting a Gitlab repo for this and publicly sharing all our design files with the community so if you are interested in making

Oshstencils - stainless steel!

This post is a bit delayed, but Oshstencils, my goto solder stencil supplier, has recently revamped their website along with adding stainless steel stencils!

I was really excited about the new stainless steel stencils option as I have never actualy used stainless steel stencils before and as far as I knew, they were more reliable and durable compared to kapton Polyamide.So of course, I went out and ordered a set of stainless steel stencils for my EdiCopter PCB board. In this post, I will be comparing stainless steel stencils to the classic Kapton polyamide ones.

New stainless steel stencils from oshstencils!

A photo posted by Sudharshan Sudhar (@engineeringdragon) on

Benefits

The main benefit of stainless steel over Kapton polyamide is the durability. This can be seen from the rated usage cycle where stainless steel is rated for many times more usage compared to the Kapton polyamide counterpart. Another benefit for me personally is the stiffness which al

Things are happening!

Autodesk bought Eagle! If you haven't been living under a rock for the past week, you would have heard the news that Eagle was sold to Autodesk by farnell/element14. How do I feel about it? Well, that's what I'll be talking about in this post.

First reaction

The first reaction I had to this piece of news when I heard it was to think that that was awesome! I'm sure most of you who read my posts know I'm a hardcore Autodesk fan and the fact that Eagle is now run by Autodesk just gave me more reason to move to it (aside from the bountiful libraries). So, in short, I was quite excited about it.

Some time later...

So I gave it more thought as I contemplated switching from my daily driver software KiCad to Eagle. Then Adafruit released this awesome interview with Autodesk about their new purchase. It seemed to indicate that Autodesk will be making incremental updates to the Eagle software. I hope they improve on the UX a bit more and stuff but all that is going to take time.

KiCad vs Autodes

Maker Faire 2016

The second ever full fledged Maker Faire has made its pass this year and it was a really productive and enriching experience. We as MakerForce did have a booth there and we all had a lot of fun. In this post, I will be talking about the Maker Faire experience in Singapore , our booth and the interesting people we met there.

Our booth at #makerfairesingapore

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The Maker Culture

I've got to say that the maker culture in Singapore is increasing rapidly. Just 3 years ago, there were just 1 hall full of booths. This year, there was at least 3 halls full of fun and creativity. From pneumatic musical instruments to escape rooms, this year's Maker Faire was overflowing with awesomeness. Also, this year's Maker Faire was held in in the SUTD campus, which gives me a good excuse to check out SUTD as a future university.

Personally, this is my 4th Maker Faire I've been to and the 2nd Maker Faire I've had a b

DIY solder reflow oven - last words

Part 1: Toaster

Part 2: Electronics

Part 3: Software

Part 4: Conclusion

So it has been a while and I've been using the solder reflow oven for a while now. For the past weeks, I've been experimenting with finer and finer pitch components and I've been having really good progress so far.

The reflow oven performs way better than what I expected as it has fairly even heating through the oven and can solder super fine pitch components. One such example is the edison or hirose 70 pin connector. Despite the 0.5mm pin pitch my reflow oven managed to perfectly reflow the connector countless times.

Solder paste applied and component placed. Ready for reflow test 1

A photo posted by Sudharshan Sudhar (@engineeringdragon) on

Woah. That was way better than what I expected. And that barely took me 15min

A photo posted by Sudharshan Sudhar (@engineeringdragon) on

So having said that, I think there are still a few software bugs that plagu

Fusion 360 vs Inventor

As some of you might know, I am a regular AutoDesk Inventor user. I do a lot of my projects using AutoDesk Inventor and I really enjoy the user experience crafted by the guys over at AutoDesk. So, we were at Maker Faire Singapore last weekend and I was looking at the AutoDesk booth. They were showing off their new software—Fusion 360. And I was completely blown away. After a really long look at its UI and the features it offers, I was bought over. I decided to switch to Fusion 360 to check it out and I thought I should write a comparison between Fusion 360 and Inventor.

Basic features

Before we start a full on comparison, let's take a quick look at what Fusion 360 has to offer. Fusion 360 is the all encompassing software. It integrates 3D CAD, CAM and CAE software into one big user-friendly bundle. This means that you can design your product, simulate or render it and provide 2D drawing files all from a single application. In addition, it also has both free form and parametric method

EdiCopter rev 2

The EdiCopter board is back and its better than ever. The EdiCopter board has seen several revision since I last posted on it but today I'm releasing the second public revision of the EdiCopter Board. It employs the use of SMD components and optimizes the space in the PCB to better use the area and make it smaller.

Improvements

I have made several improvements to the board since last time. One of the more significant changes is the fact that the components are more evenly distributed between the top and bottom of the PCB. There is also proper silkscreen labeling of the PCB.

The size of the PCB has also shrunk by almost half. This makes it easier to mount them on the SentiBot and also allows for us to make the SentiBot smaller.

Solder Reflowing

I will be reflowing this PCB in my new custom reflow oven. I also had bought the OSHStencil stencil for reflowing. I will be posting a follow up talking about how the reflow oven performs soon.

From startups to scams

Startups are all the rage these days. From simple Socio-enterprise startups, to software startups of apps and service people from all walks of life are creating startups . Entrepreneurs are also provided with a myriad of ways to fund their projects. Finding investors and a potential audience has never been easier with the internet and social media helping to spread ideas and word quickly across the globe. This kind of funding is unparalleled in the history of Mankind. Granted that the benefits of these types of technology is widespread, there is always a negative side to everything and in this post we will be looking at the ugly side of crowdfunding.

Scam Startups??

When I say scam startups, what do I really mean? Well if you haven't been living under a rock, you would have seen the headline-making "revolutionary" products that are crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Some of those products are really good, but others are pure scams. Here's a list of just a few of them.

  • Solar Freaki

DIY solder reflow oven - software

Part 1: Toaster

Part 2: Electronics

Part 3: Software

Part 4: Conclusion

In this penultimate installment to the reflow oven project, we will wrap up by quickly going through some basics of the final hardware assembly and the software.

Insulation

Insulation is a important concern when you are building a reflow oven. If poor attention is given to insulation, you might end up reflowing your control electronics along with the other board. I implemented insulation by putting all the sensitive electronics into a cardboard box.

Power

Another important concern is the power for the arduino and the processing board. I implemented that by hacking a 5V 2A power supply and converting 240AV to 5VDC in the toaster. This 5VDC can then be used to power the electronics.

Solder reflow oven fully functional

A photo posted by Sudharshan Sudhar (@engineeringdragon) on

Software

The software is critical to this project. Every reflow oven goes through 3 main phases. These phase

DIY solder reflow oven - electronics

Part 1: Toaster

Part 2: Electronics

Part 3: Software

Part 4: Conclusion

In this second installment of the solder reflow oven series, I'll be going over the electronics that makes it work. The solder reflow oven can be split into 3 main sections.

Temperature Detection

The first section is the temperature detection. The temperature detection at this kind of high temperatures (around 250°C) requires the use of a thermocouple to work. This is because a thermistor doesn't work at high temperatures. The thermocouple I obtained was from SparkFun and was a type K thermocouple. As a typical microcontroller cannot directly read the output of this thermocouple, it is necessary to have an external circuit to process the thermocouple voltages. Fortunately, SparkFun also sells a MAX31855K breakout board which I also grabbed.

Thermocouple
MAX31855K breakout

Heating Element Control

The second section is the control method. To manipulate the temperature inside the oven, we need to toggle the power to the heating elements. For this,

One year milestone- Project SentiBots

This is it. It has finally been one year since the SentiBot's project launched. This project is older than the existence of MakerForce itself. Let's take a look at some memorable moments from the past year.


This was the first ever prototype model created of SentiBots. It has evolved into a completely different model today.


Here is an early snapshot of the EdiPlane PCB created last year. We very quickly realized that a spherical shape is just pointless and makes it hard to mount stuff inside.


Prototype 1- codename Prime.So naturally, we extended into a bean. Also beans are awesome. The battery mounting was still a bit iffy but its an improvement. This model did not fly.


Prototype 2- codename Snow White. Snow white was a very interesting prototype as it is the only SentiBot created to have a nylon frame and its extraordinarily durable. This still uses the single EDF propulsion method.


Prototype 3- codename Sentinel. This was the first SentiBot to have the hump to expand upon the spa

5 things to build when you're bored

As the holidays roll around, students are starting to lose their purpose in life as they are bored by the lack of things to do. Therefore, naturally just like everyone else, here at MakerForce we are also hopelessly bored. However, instead of wallowing in boredom, we decided to write this small guide of random things to build when you are bored at home so that we could help some of you out.

#1: Build a cardboard house

An essential part of every builder's dream is to build you own house with the necessary internal decor that you prefer. Of course, as fellow students, we know that students generally are quite broke so we settled for a cardboard on instead. You could go actual full size cardboard house or mini highly detailed variants. Whichever path you decide to strode on, you are sure to have plenty of fun. Check out this link for some inspiration.

#2: Build a car

A car. A a widely used tool for transport for both humans and items, its considered extremely useful tool in the 21st cent