Intermission: Technically dreaming.

Every now and then, when my city has big festivities, police/press helicopters roam around, mainly for crowd control. This evening I went to take a long nap while the city was having fun. (having a cold, weird sleep timetables are allowed):

The night was almost pitch black, there was this helicopter flying low around my neighbourhood. At some point, it’s sound becomes a roar, and I realize it is hovering just between my buildng and the next, as if checking something. I jump out of the bed to the balcony, because (and this is true) I haven’t seen a helicopter “up close” (i.e. less than 20 meters) since I was 8. As I am watching it hover, it starts to slowly fly backwards.

Before continuing, you need this little bit of info:  Both buildings at my balcony height (5th floor), are like 20 meters away, thight space for a helicopter, but doable. Also,In the building next to mine, there has always been a cable that runs, diagonally, all the way from top to bottom of the wall. Don’t know what it is, or what it does, but it’s been there for as long as I can remember.

So, while the helicopter is backing away, I just see that it is going to snag the cable…it starts tangling more and more into the rotor hub, toy-like, hindering it’s flying capability as seconds pass. At a certain point, I try to protect myself behind a wall, but still, parts of the rotor manage to strike my arm. However, I am not injured. Once the crash is over, I just go down the stairs to see the wreck.

I am NOT surprised to see a military-ish person poking around the remains. He is removing sensitive electronics from the wreck. They all lie in the ground as a big pile of boards connected to other boards with PCI-slots, pins and smaller connectors, much like a fractal pile of electronics.

At that point, I decide that I am going to remove the turbine and take it home. The “pilot” asks me what am I going to do with it, but I don’t know, I’m not sure I have the equipment to start or run it. Funny thing, I am carrying the turbine in my arms, like a pillow, as if the smallest helicopter turbine doesn’t weigh 200+Kg…He states it is military, someone might be looking for it, and I say that if someone asks, I’ll give it back, otherwise I’ll keep it.

I am having quite weird dreams lately, not sure why. I will probably make a series if they continue displaying any technical aspect, like the fractal-connected boards.

Also, just in case you’re wondering what happens when a helicopter snags a cable:

And we think humans are fragile…

Note that there is no fire or explosion and the turbine keeps running (NOT slowing down) for some seconds after the crash.

And also, I got sidetracked while looking if the wop-wop of the helicopter blades has a name, and found this interesting post I’d like to share.

And now? Time to continue modifying the laser…(Since I have to install a new tube, I’m changing quite a few things: Machining the ball bearing carrier to extend cutting area by 1cm, change chain carrier for the X axis, because the convoluted one I had before, it’s always in the way to put new pieces in. Made some great adjustable standofs, but I changed my mind again and will make them even better, stay tuned for all those changes)

The hard truth. (1 of 2)

I broke the laser tube.


…did it, again.

On my defense I’d like to point that I had slept like 2 + 2 hours in 72 hours prior to the incident, wich happened at about 4a.m. in the morning, 6 hours before Eurosteamcon 2015.
Now you know that the posts tittled “Busy” and “Even more busy” were not jokes. I kept awake with caffeinated cola (I don’t drink coffee, nor red bull or monster or similar) and sheer willpower, altough it did prove not to be enough as to keep me from making a very bad, unwise and really stupid decision.

Because, you know, learning from the past, as I rushed to install the new laser tube, I didn’t had time to attach the flow meter, so I decided that the water pump had to stay ON if the machine was on, and viceversa. Easily enough, I connected everything to the same multi-socket. And everything was fine.

My prior experience in sleep depravation never exceeded 36/40 hours, and I wasn’t as stressed. Wrongly, I decided I could go for 72 no problem.

So, as I was working against the clock in the final hours before opening, I had left behind the MP3 I had been wearing nonstop while working on the lathe and mill. I had the [laser] machine powered, but not doing anything while I was using the drum sander. Instead of picking up another multi-socket, I connected the sander to the same sockets as the laser and water pump. And here is the fatal moment. The water pump, wich usually is very quiet and doesn’t disturb me at all, started to make my nerves cringe. It became so annoying I just had to get rid of it. However, I was using the multi-socket for the drum sander, so I couldn’t just stop everything…and what did I do?…just disconnected the water pump.


In retrospective, I just can’t remember turning it off…so, obviously, I just had no clue it was stopped. To me, machine ON = waterpump ON…and that was it.

And just like that, I just broke my second laser tube.

As I write this, I am waiting for a new one, wich should arrive in a week or so.

The good thing? I happen to have some extra bits I want to install in it, and since I don’t have to worry about disturbing anything, I can work calmer than ever.

The Machinist, episode 0: Tango for two.

And so, it begins…

Just test fitting one of the two (or three) SMT lines we will have, for the electricians to make the apropriate connections. Won’t be filming that or the enclosure build, because I’ll be busy working, but you’ll have full coverage of the real fitting, starting and everything else of the machines. Enjoy! (XD)

What we’re moving (in order of appearance):

  1. Solder paste dispenser.
  2. Vacuum cleaner.
  3. (set aside) dual stacker for the yAOI* machine.
  4. Destacker. Dual operation, from rack or bare board stack.
  5. Conveyor, (1m).
  6. Pick and place unit. (six nozzles, up to 10.000 components/hour).
  7. Conveyor (just 3 frames, 50cm).
  8. (set aside) yAOI machine.
  9.  Second pick and place unit.
  10. (set aside) dessicator chamber for component storage.
  11. /TOP SECRET/
  12. Oven (5meters)
  13. Stacker (board line to rack)
  14. yAOI destacker.
  15. yAOI machine. Artificial vision board inspection. (it’s AOI, but I have added the “y” for fun, look it up)
  16. yAOI stacker, dual rack (good and rejected boards)

smt line

After that, we moved one pick and place to check for spacing for a second line, or even a third, that has to be decided.

As you can see, there are no special crews or anything like that to assemble the machines. Just two guys moving the machines they will be operating (that’s my boss, by the way, as you can see, he did as much work as I)

Look for the tag #The-Machinist to see the complete series once it has more than one episode.

Intermission: Brainfart.

I like science fiction (typo was going to say “fucktion”, wich I find hilarious). Where was I, oh, yes, I was saying I like Sci-Fi, also, I suck at strategy games…I just don’t have the pacience for it. So imagine my oniric surprise, when, dreaming who knows what, the following occurs:

At some point in the dream, I am going to play some strategy game, wich, well, it’s fine if I have nothing else to do. So, the empty surface of the playing area sits in front of me, and out of no where, and totally ignoring all I know about these games, I cast a space warship, wich enters the battlefield from one side and proceeds to bombard an advanced post the computer has just built.

By now, since I have mentioned I like Sci-Fi the most, you can imagine what game I was gonna play, and so did I…but funny thing, this brain of me. As I am about to build some barracks or whatever structure to have soldiers, I find out I am, in fact, playing some medieval strategy game…and I go “WTF…no, seriously…What THE…”

Dear brain, If I must have to play, at least let me play STARCRAFT…

…WARCRAFT is NOT the same, you should know, really.

While I am pondering what the fuck I am doing, the computer raids my base with axe throwing mobs. ALSO, one of those, tries to sneak in the base, prone crawling, wearing Fallout’s Vault jumpsuit (number “III” (very pixelated 111), I suppose because F.4 is due really soon).

And there, I just go:

-“No, seriously, fuck this, I’m not going to lucid dream some warcraft-ish game, especially against a computer”

And decided to woke up (inside the dream), and so, I woke, and decided to write it.

As you can see, this is by far the STUPIDEST dream I have ever had, e-ver. Well done, my dear grey matter, well done.

Back to bed it is.

The F word.

That’s what you utter when this happens:

F word 001

There’s not much to be said for a repair other than “rape”:

F word 002

It is important to note that the integrity of the face surface must not be compromised. This is one of the oldest repairs and I used quite big drills, nowadays I use more and smaller holes.

F word 003

Aaaand that’s it.

Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Supposedly,  I have to ask the manager every time I want to make tooling. However, my views or enthusiasm do not always guarantee I’ll get permission, wich annoys me somewhat.

The thing is…what if I just don’t ask? If I don’t get caught all is fine and dandy. And if I get caught, well…that’s life for you.

So, what’s the deal?

Well, we have these boards wich require three handed testing. You must probe a frequency in a coil, probe a voltage drop in a resistor AND also provide power to the board. We have gotten away without a tool in a two step test because there where not many boards to test (100…200).
However, a big order came in and I was just not in the mood to spend that much time in 2000 boards.

Meet “Poggy” (from pogo-pins)


The green piece is a general test tool to provide power to boards, hence the alligator clip and not a soldered wire for “Poggy”. Before you ask, yes, I used a cheap probe to connect it to the oscilloscope, however, I was in a rush, so I did not add a resistor or any other means of impedance match. Luckily it worked enough to see the frequency altough the waveform was a bit distorted. (next time we test I’ll screensht a tool test vs a probe test to see how much the waveform is distorted).

Anyhow, it sorta works, so we’re fine. And it boosted test speed by 2.5 times, wich granted a presidential pardon once the manager found out.
Story went like this:

Me – “Look, it goes more than twice as fast, you like it?”
Manager – “Then why didn’t you made two?” (it was a two person team)
Me – “Cos I didn’t ask for permission, so wasn’t going to risk you stopping me”
Manager – “Right, you should have asked” [frowns]
Me – “You might have said no, PLUS it’s more than twice as fast”
Manager – “that’s not the point…”
Me – “Yadda yadda yadda, TWICE AS FAST” (yup, I actually “yaddaed” him)
Manager – “Oh, fuck off, go make another one so we have two”
Me – “Yessir!” [military salute]

I just can’t avoid doing these things, it’s just personal.

Also, here’s how it works (as if there was any mistery to it):


Aaaand, that’s it!