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It's a Sony.
 
  

12/13/08 @ 04:48:18 am, Categories: Life of Baka, Magical Blue Smoke, 523 words, 1014 views  

If you don’t get the title, don’t sweat it. (Though you really should watch Kannagi, it’s hilarious.)

Lately, I’ve been really busy with ideas and things, and sort of keeping to myself a lot. So, in case I get hit by a bus, lightning, a de-orbiting Soviet satellite, or a micrometeorite tomorrow, I want you all to know I was working on great things.

For instance, I went on a jihad against all my optical drives, in the end having disassembled four drives. Leaving just the three drives in my current machines, and some older SCSI optical drives I was on the fence about dismantling.

I’ve been trying to build a CNC machine for a while now, and the only real obstacle has been the engineering involved in the precision rails and other portions of the drive and chassis.

My primary need for a CNC at this moment is for etching PCBs for rapidly prototyping circuit designs. The current favorite method for doing so among hobbyists involves printing a mirror image of the circuit with a laser printer, and then using an iron to fuse the toner to the copper clad board, removing the paper, and using the toner as an etch-resist when chemically etching the boards.

That’s easy enough, but it’s labor intensive. You have to soak and soak and peel and soak and peel and peel and soak and peel to get the paper off the boards, and it’s not a 100% proposition in the first place; it doesn’t always come out right.

I saw a different take on this sort of non-traditional etch resist method, some folks sprayed the copper-clad board with black spraypaint, and then used a laser to burn off the excess paint, leaving just the circuit design as an etch resist. Much faster, more accurate, and apparently more reliable than the toner transfer method. But you need a computer-controlled two-axis lasing setup.

Well, you only get a working area of 1.5″ x 1.5″, but a pair of optical drive chassis rigged together is very precise and sturdy. You have the option of using the two chassis as an X-Y table to move the workpiece, and building a stationary tool (Presumably with a Z-axis), or having a stationary workpiece with the two chassis suspended above it, and keep the laser unit in the second one.

Besides being able to burn etch resist off a PCB, the laser would also be powerful enough to engrave and etch plexiglass and other materials. (As well as cut some plastics.) Though, unlike with PCBs, the 1.5 sq. in. work area limits the usefulness for cutting and etching tasks. (Since I’d be working with surface mount stuff primarily, small boards aren’t that big of a problem.)

The first task for it, upon getting its bootstrap version working, is for it to produce its own custom control boards, to replace the Arduino and breadboarded circuits that would control the prototype.

Oh, yeah. And since both of the chassis are from Sony optical drives, I will be naming the unit ‘IT’S A SONY Mk.I’. I’m thinking it needs a chibi Nagi etched onto one of the acrylic panels. :3

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A peek inside the mad, mad, mind of Baka-chan. Animator, artist, hater of stupid people, and evil genius. Look upon the undoing of all order in the universe, and tremble.
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