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View Full Version : Introducing the Parallax Inc "Inventor's Wands!"



Maddie the Intern
09-02-2011, 11:12 PM
What do you think?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6q4RmZXBhM

-MaddieTheIntern

Mike Green
09-02-2011, 11:15 PM
It's nice seeing the magic in operation.

mindrobots
09-02-2011, 11:17 PM
Wow! All you need to do is press the green button?? I really need to get a green button!

Those are very cool! Matt as my address. Thanks! :lol:

Roy Eltham
09-02-2011, 11:20 PM
I want one of those! :D

erco
09-02-2011, 11:24 PM
Gotta have one! At first I thought they might have BS2 pinouts, or a command summary.

What's all that silly E/IxR stuff? :)

Microcontrolled
09-02-2011, 11:41 PM
That looks cool, though I hope this isn't the "mystery project" that we have been waiting for!!

GordonMcComb
09-02-2011, 11:41 PM
Ah, the Mystery Project unveiled at last!

-- Gordon

erco
09-02-2011, 11:45 PM
Can't wait for the Mystery Protractor !

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-02-2011, 11:52 PM
I'm holding out for a Parallax pocket protector and circular slide rule!

-Phil

Those rulers are very nice, BTW! :)

Whit
09-03-2011, 03:23 AM
I want the ruler and the pocket protector!

W9GFO
09-03-2011, 03:45 AM
Very nice. Any chance we can get the file? I know there are a couple of us with lasers.

Maddie the Intern
09-03-2011, 04:12 AM
This was more of a brainstorm with Matt G over lunch about cool stuff we could make in the laser, the Mystery Project is much more awesome than this (but my lips are sealed)!!

We hope to use these Wands as promotional items... Stay on the lookout for them soon!

-MaddieTheIntern

sylvie369
09-03-2011, 04:29 AM
Maddie, I hope you're aware that most jobs aren't anywhere near as cool as yours. No lasers, no desktop Gatling guns, no Mystery Projects, just emails to answer and meetings to sit through. Be sure to enjoy what you've got.

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
09-03-2011, 05:50 AM
I want one! Awesome!

OBC

Peter KG6LSE
09-03-2011, 04:44 PM
I know a few EE 101 kids here at UNI who could use a few as they are not measuring up ........ Oh the pun ..


Peter

Loopy Byteloose
09-03-2011, 05:17 PM
A Parallax pocket protector would be nice. One of those rulers would be handy for my French maid to discipline me with as well... I just wish I had the machine that made them.

What I truly cherish is my Parallax screw driver. It has saved the day many a time.

potatohead
09-04-2011, 07:20 PM
Excellent!

I love lasers, and I'm stunned at how the technology has scaled to the office like that, having worked on industrial sheet metal class lasers in the early 90's. (We cut acrylic and cardboard on those for various things, but it was very expensive to do)

After watching this, I'm struck by the idea of a "PCB", where the key circuit details are etched in there, holes created, component outlines rendered in the acrylic, such that somebody could make interesting kits, point to point wiring style. Prolly not all that relevant, but I sure would build a few. I've seen people do this with paper, glue and perf-board. Hmmm...

DaveJenson
09-05-2011, 06:39 PM
I want one!

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-05-2011, 07:13 PM
After watching this, I'm struck by the idea of a "PCB", where the key circuit details are etched in there, holes created, component outlines rendered in the acrylic, such that somebody could make interesting kits, point to point wiring style.

That's the method I used initially to prototype the Parallax Mouse Sensor:


http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?119789

It kinda works, but you really have to be quick with the soldering iron to keep from melting the acrylic too much. Anyone who sold kits based on acrylic circuit boards would get a lot of them back.

G10 would work better, but it doesn't laser very cleanly. Paper/phenolic (e.g. formica) is another possibility, but it takes a lot of power just to cut through something 1/32" thick, and it leaves a black ash behind, as with G10.

Copper-clad G10 won't laser at all, BTW, with a CO2 laser.

-Phil

$WMc%
09-05-2011, 07:14 PM
Me too!!!!
'
I'd also like to have a Parallax pocket protector.I would retire my old Swagelok pocket protector I use now.
'
This is working to a point Maddie,I'm not on that other thread.

potatohead
09-05-2011, 07:38 PM
@Phil, yeah didn't really consider the heat issues. Nice job on your proto though. Exactly what I pictured in my mind. Yeah, it's pretty amazing what does cut at those power levels.

bsnut
09-06-2011, 06:12 AM
I want the ruler and the pocket protector when you send me the $150 in Parallax products from the Spinneret Contest.

Matt Gilliland
09-06-2011, 07:33 PM
This is working to a point Maddie,I'm not on that other thread.

That's my girl! Keep it up Maddie :-)
-Matt

Loopy Byteloose
09-07-2011, 09:15 AM
Pocket Protector, Pocket Protector, Pocket Protector.................................

It seems to be an idea that is ready to deploy. I'd love to have one with the Propeller logo on it. And I am sure there are a lot of kids that would think it very cool. The rulers are nice, especially that cool blue plastic - but Pocket Protectors have a long, long geek tradition that spans generations - handed down from father to son (or daughter - Do mothers hand down such things?).

While I don't need one, I do miss my double log slide rule. Maybe a Pocket Protector will fill that emotional void.

Beside, the Pocket Protector would be an interesting promotion at a convention or gathering of Parallax users. Is Maker Faire or something about to happen? Go forth and advertise.

prof_braino
09-07-2011, 02:10 PM
I bought the "last" slide rule in my area about ten years ago. Just recently I fought black pocket protector as amsci.com
But I would certainly re-buy these items if they had the parallax log on them.

Wand, protect protector, and slide rule; sounds like a techno-swag prize to me.

But I'd like the wand right now, please. :)

jdolecki
09-07-2011, 06:33 PM
Question?

Could you etch a circirt design.

Then fill the track with solder paste ( or whatever)

heat it up

instant circirt board!

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-07-2011, 06:58 PM
Silver conductive epoxy squeegied into the etched grooves might actually work. I don't know if you can solder to it, though.

-Phil

Maddie the Intern
09-07-2011, 08:35 PM
@sylvie369:

For sure! This is an incredibly unique company and I'm enjoying every moment. There are few like Parallax.

doggiedoc
09-07-2011, 10:48 PM
Cool! I want one! (And a ruler too.)

Paul

Maddie the Intern
09-08-2011, 04:39 PM
A pocket protector? Hmmm, that's definitely in the realm of possibilities...

Glad to see a positive response to the rulers! They were fun to make and "Parallax Gear" is always exciting.

Back to the laser room now!

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-08-2011, 04:58 PM
Maddie,

Please be very careful: most pocket protectors are made of vinyl. Cutting or engraving vinyl with a laser produces chlorine gas, which is not only poisonous but highly corrosive to electrical components. Cutting vinyl will also void Parallax's Epilog warranty. 'Probably better to have them silkscreened or pad printed.

-Phil

Maddie the Intern
09-08-2011, 05:02 PM
Thanks Phil!
We will be very careful (might even just order them from a printing company- we'll see)!

I'm not allowed to just put stuff in the laser printer anyway- I get to watch. The guys know what to put in them and what not to (as I don't know either way- I go with the flow and just help in the design process!) :)

-MaddieTheIntern

Publison
09-08-2011, 05:07 PM
I'm not allowed to just put stuff in the laser printer anyway- I get to watch. The guys know what to put in them and what not to (as I don't know either way- I go with the flow and just help in the design process!) :)

-MaddieTheIntern

As in pumpkins? :)

GordonMcComb
09-08-2011, 06:24 PM
Cutting or engraving vinyl with a laser produces chlorine gas, which is not only poisonous but highly corrosive to electrical components.

More specifically burning of vinyl releases hydrogen chloride, and upon immediate contact with moisture in the air the fumes turn into hydrochloric acid. This acid is what's corrosive to most anything but the alien in the Alien movies. (I post this for the lurkers, as I know Phil knows this. It's just a minor chemistry point.)

There are laser cutters that work with vinyl (though waterjet is better), but they require controlled atmospheres and scrubber hoods. Parallax's laser cutter isn't one of these!

-- Gordon

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-08-2011, 06:57 PM
I post this for the lurkers, as I know Phil knows this.
Actually, I didn't. I assumed Cl2 (a powerful oxidizer) was the product. Thanks for the correction!

-Phil

W9GFO
09-08-2011, 09:29 PM
To further confuse the issue, some products labeled as "vinyl" aren't actually made of vinyl, but a polyester or something like that. So when you hear of someone lasering vinyl without problems, they may not know that it was made of some other material.

Real vinyl, PVC and apparently pumpkins should not be lasered.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-09-2011, 12:06 AM
Rich,

'Any idea how to tell if something is vinyl? I've got some 1/16" clear acrylic which has a blue plastic protective covering on both sides, rather than paper. The plastic is stretchy, like vinyl, but it might also be polyethylene. I've been removing it before lasering, just in case, but that's causing other problems.

-Phil

localroger
09-09-2011, 01:16 AM
Phil, that's almost certainly polyethylene, since even Saran Wrap itself is now polyethylene according to Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saran_%28plastic%29

W9GFO
09-09-2011, 01:23 AM
The test that I have read about is to heat up a piece of copper wire with a propane torch until it is red hot. Touch the hot wire to the material to be tested then burn again. If it is green then it is not safe to laser. I have not actually performed this test myself but since it has been brought up I think I will go try it.

edit: I can confirm that this does work. I dipped the hot wire into some PVC sheet and then put it back in the flame. There was a very visible green flame that lasted a second or two.

W9GFO
09-09-2011, 01:39 AM
Regarding the acrylic, according to Tap Plastics, extruded acrylic has the blue plastic covering and cast acrylic has the paper. I have not heard of anyone removing the plastic covering for the reason of protecting the laser.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-09-2011, 03:29 AM
Rich, once again, I'm in awe: you're a veritable fount of good information. Here's a photo of vinyl, deposited on copper, being devoured by the flame:

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=84912&d=1315535195

Here's a photo of the blue plastic protective film from -- you guessed it -- Tap Plastics:

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=84911&d=1315535195

No green! Yay!

Oddly enough, though, rock salt, a known chlorine compound, does not produce the green color.

Of course, being the perennial skeptic, I had to question why the substrate had to be copper. I can report that the test does not work with stainless steel.

-Phil

Matt Gilliland
09-09-2011, 03:38 AM
extruded acrylic has the blue plastic covering and cast acrylic has the paper.
The acrylic enclosures for our Multi-board, Gadget Gangster, etc. are protected by paper. It's usually cheaper to get it plastic coated, but I think it's pretty ugly when cut, because it sometimes tends to curl. Paper cuts nice and clean. All of our enclosures are extruded.

We could order acrylic in plastic faced at a lower cost, but I don't like the look and nobody wants the smell :-)

We use Cast for parts that need to be drilled or tapped (such as the mounting bracket for our HB25 -
it's now included free with every HB25) (http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/hb25/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/740/Default.aspx).

The paper doesn't smell, it looks better, and seems to stay on better until you want to remove it.

Also, the new forthcoming Acrylic Ping Stand is made from cast (and is paper faced too), as it has two holes that are tapped by screws as you twist them in.

-Matt

-Matt

W9GFO
09-09-2011, 03:48 AM
Come on now Matt, if you're going to correct me at least include the whole quote!

Matt Gilliland
09-09-2011, 05:35 AM
So sorry W9 :-) Never meant to imply "correction" - even though you're a "W9" and I'm a "KA6" :lol:. That's just the typical stock that our supplier has - we also have a Tap Plastics here too - for one reason or another (only our purchasing dept knows) - we don't buy much there.

jdolecki
10-04-2011, 06:56 PM
I know its an old thread but while I was looking a my Defcon Badge you guys came to mind.

If you looking for things to burn up in that laser of yours why not create a badge for

the Propeller expo like thay have at the Defcon event?

Just ask Mr Joe Grand for ideas.