Rooting around in the fascinating stuff at the bottom of a draw labelled 'Engineering - Junk Miscellaneous'. Delving amongst the delightful...

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Worth a look: LaserHacker

This guy is extraordinarily inventive and good at making things.

Construction is excellent and the electronics look that way too.

He uses 3D printing to make the frames of some particularly interesting motors – the one in the photo is electrostatic.

It took me a while to realise that commutation on…

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GE 3D prints jet engine

Using laser metal sintering, General Electric has made a working jet engine that ran at 33,000rpm.

Fabricated at its Aviation’s Additive Development Center outside Cincinnati, the firm use plans for a 30x20cm engine designed for model engineering as the basis for its jet.

“We wanted to see if…

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What ever happened to ARC processor cores?

Once heard of almost as frequently as ARM’s cores, the buzz around ARC’s 32bit RISC cores dwindled to a whisper.

It transpires Virage Logic bought ARC International and then Syopsys bought Virage after which ARC cores became part of Synopsys’ DesignWare library of licensable intellectual property.

“ARC processors…

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555 with complementary outputs

Ever wanted a 555 timer with complementary non-overlapping outputs.

The XTR651 from X-Rel Semiconductor is just such a thing.

Very similar to the good old 555, it includes a built-in 200pF timing capacitor, and an open-drain ‘charge’ pin to go along with the traditional 555 discharge…

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Not to secret ballot

I voted today* and noticed that each ballot paper has a number on the back.

I asked, and they are indeed traceable – and there for the investigation of voting fraud.

On reflection, maybe stopping fraud is better than my anonymity, but it would not be a system that favoured free…

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Frightening e-cig chargers

I came across an electronic thing lying in a car park, which turned out to be an e-cigarette charger. 

It was a bit battered, but I thought ‘How useful, 5Vin 4.2Vout, that could charge any Li-ion cell’ (no wonder my home is full of rubbish).

Out of…

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Light stuff cuts sound

I have a soft spot for honeycomb composite because an extremely skilled engineer friend of mine once used some to make the floor of a racing sidecar – most impressive.

But who would have guessed it could be used for sound-proofing – where I always thought you had to use heavy…

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Thorium nuclear reactors

Thorium reactors are rather interesting things.

Firstly, they consume thorium instead of uranium.

Secondly, they can be switched off instantly instead of having to be slowly shut down – or so I read once – which means extra safety should one get hit by a tidal wave, for example.

However, the reactions…

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A bit more industrial heritage

Looking like it was about as modern as waterwheels ever got – it is an over-shot iron or steel design with a shaft driving a dual-piston pump through a wide roller chain.

Although the reservoir overflow looks like it leads off to day light, as far as I could…

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Getting somewhere with PartSim

Having had some some issues with my first attempt at PartSim, I had a go at simulating the same circuit in LTspice.

The components are the nearest equivalents I could find quickly.

Both plots are with 10ms max step size – although I am now thinking that 0.01 step size…

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