Non-mercury tilt switches are handy for reading when motion’s passed a threshold (and much cheaper than accelerometers), but sometimes hard to find. Here’s one Hatti Lim found. Thanks to Hatti for the link.
Sparkfun has started two new spin-off sites recently, BatchPCB and OpenCircuits.
BatchPCB is a site for getting printed circuit boards printed cheaply: $2.50 per square inch. Send them a Gerber file and they send you your boards. It’s slower than other PCB fab sites, because they manufacture them in batches, but it’s one of the cheapest I’ve seen.
OpenCircuits is an open wiki of circuits for projects. So far most of the circuits there are parts from the Sparkfun inventory, but others are undoubtedly on their way. It’s open to contributions as well.
D.Tools is Stanford Design School’s entry into the microcontroller module market. D-tools is based on the Atmel microcontrollers, like Wiring and Arduino. Also like those modules, it’s based on Pascal Stang’s AVR C libraries for the Atmel micros.
Dan Mikesell sent this link to a site explaining how to make your own organic LEDs (OLEDs). Assuming you’ve got access to a chemistry lab, it seems very possible. I’d be interested to know how noxious the chemicals are, though. We were both wondering what happens when you start making OLEDS in different shapes, and on different surfaces, like fabric, plastic, metal, etc.
So we tried a few experiments in toaster oven soldering this weekend, and had limited success. In the end, it was easier to do the job with a soldering iron, because our surface mount chips were fairly big. But here’s a few tutorials on others’ attempts at it:
Sparkfun has a number of good methods, using a skillet and using a toaster oven.They also have a good tutorial on solder paste stenciling.
Seattle Robotics has a nice clear tutorial on toaster oven reflow.
Thanks to Raffi Krikorian for the link.
Raffi’s notes on his experiment at ITP, on how to get the timing right for reflowing a part already soldered to the board: “we put a piece of solder in there too (on a piece of tin foil), and the instant that solder melted, i pull the board and just tapped it — the IC fell right off…”
Here’s another toaster-oven soldering example, thanks to Sasha Harris-Cronin for the link.