Thursday, June 30, 2011

555 Footstool

555 Footstool: "555Footstool20

The succinct story of a modest little footstool-- involving datasheets, cnc routing, laser engraving, plywood, glue, chips, all-thread, angle grinders, mountains of sawdust, dowel rods, spray paint, and a picture of a cat.


We wanted a new footstool at the lab, and somehow came across the idea of making it in the shape of our hero above, the 555 timer chip.


We started our design by looking at the datasheets, and found a few good dimensional drawings that we could scale up. Our model is roughly 30 times actual size at 12 1/2' long, compared to 0.4' for a genuine 555 chip. More importantly, it's a little over 8 1/2' tall, which we determined to be a good height for a footstool.

The first stage of construction was to cut out a stack of 1/2' thick plywood shapes on a CNC router. We used a strong and dense grade of hardwood plywood for this, since there are thin parts that need to be strong. There are 15 elongated hexagons, six with short legs, and four with long legs. Note that every shape has four alignment holes through it.


To get the right lead shape, we sanded down the edges of the 'short leg' pieces before laminating them together.



We used long rods of 1/4-20 all-thread to align the 25 shapes into a vertical stack, and bonded them with wood glue. The whole stack was clamped tight for gluing by tightening 1/4-20 nuts on opposite sides of each rod.



After the glue had set, we removed the all-thread and hammered in long 1/4' wooden dowel rods to fill the holes.

If you look closely, you can see that we angled the end-faces of the chip, including the ends of the wooden dowel rods. To make the angled surfaces, we used an angle-grinder equipped with a sanding flap disc. (This is a highly efficient tool for sculpting wood, but requires a light touch and produces a staggering amount of sawdust.)


We made the polarity-indicating 'dot' and 'notch' by laser engraving. Next time that we make these, we're going to engrave deeper or cut those by other means-- they aren't as visible as we had intended.



The paint was applied in several layers. First we applied a gray primer coat over the whole chip. We then painted the top and bottom of the main body black.

To get the markings on the top, we use a laser engraver to ablate the top layer of black paint, revealing the gray primer below. We then masked off the 'black' areas of the body very carefully before painting the legs silver. Once that was all dry, we finished off with a layer of 'frosty' matte clear spray paint over the entire surface, giving a better appearance to both the silver and black areas, as well as protecting the engraved area on the top.


Here, an actual 555 timer chip is shown for scale.


A bit closer in, all you can see is the leg of our chip.


Either our 555 is standing on the shoulders of giants (giant 555s, that is), or perhaps our giant chip just has a chip on its shoulder.


'Measuring 0.9 inches from whiskers to tail, lab-cat Zener is one of the worlds smallest cats.'


It's remarkably sturdy and heavy due to the hardwood plywood and laminated construction.


And yet, surprisingly cuddly-- almost like it wants to hug you.


All in a day's work.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In My Kitchen Garden

I truly love this blog. It has some of everything I like (except cute guys; at least, I haven't found any in it yet).

In My Kitchen Garden

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

General Tapped To Take Over For Petraeus Says Obama Ignored Military’s Advice On Afghanistan…

General Tapped To Take Over For Petraeus Says Obama Ignored Military’s Advice On Afghanistan…: "

(Fox News) — Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, nominated to replace Gen. David Petraeus as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged Tuesday that President Obama’s decision to draw down 10,000 troops by the end of this year and the rest of the surge forces by September 2012 was not one of the options proposed to the president by Gen. Petraeus.

The admission came during questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., during Allen’s nomination hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services committee.

GRAHAM: The option that the country has chosen through President Obama is to withdraw 10,000 this year, all surge forces gone by September. Is it fair to say, General Allen, that was not one of the options presented to the president by General Petraeus?

ALLEN: It is a more aggressive option than that which was presented.

GRAHAM: My question is, was that a option?

ALLEN: It was not.

GRAHAM: So I just want the country to understand that this is not the Petraeus strategy any longer. The commander in chief has the perfect right to do what he did. I just hope that it hasn’t undercut what I think could be a very successful outcome.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sonya Winner :: Modern Rugs

Sonya Winner :: Modern Rugs: "

I let out an audible gasp when I saw Sonya’s rugs on Plastolux today and, because they are so utterly, completely AMAZING, I had to share them here too!

Are you ready? All aboard the color train!


[via Plastolux]

More pics after the jump.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Walker’s Spending Reform Law

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Walker’s Spending Reform Law: "

Public school officials throughout Wisconsin can move ahead with plans to minimize the impact of pending cuts in state aid, now that the state Supreme Court has dismissed a lower court’s restraining order preventing Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill from becoming law.

Walker’s law severely limits the scope of teachers union collective bargaining in public schools. That was necessary because labor costs, largely tied to collective bargaining agreements, had been dominating school budgets for several years. And union officials around the state had displayed little willingness to accept contract concessions to help school districts save money.

Under the new law, the unions will have no power to interfere with school boards as they unilaterally eliminate labor costs and dedicate the savings to student needs. School boards will be able to dump many labor perks, like automatic annual salary increases for teachers, without laying off as many teachers or cancelling student programs.

Labor officials are accusing Gov. Walker and the legislature of attacking public education by cutting state aid to schools. But by limiting collective bargaining, the Republicans gave local school boards the tools they need to blunt the impact of state budget cuts and meet their basic responsibilities to students.

The only losers in the equation are the teachers unions, and they deserve whatever they get. For years the unions have used their collective bargaining muscle to overwhelm school districts with expensive perks and contract provisions. In most public school districts, labor costs consume between 75-85 percent of the total budget.

Over the past few years, as the economy has weakened and schools have been forced to tighten their budgets, the unions have displayed little interest in sharing in the sacrifice to help schools save money. Most of their expensive perks were protected by collective bargaining agreements, so school boards had no power to eliminate them.

That obstruction to necessary cost-cutting was hurting students, and Gov. Walker and the legislature acted to remove the obstruction.

Suddenly the loss of a percentage of state aid is no longer a severe threat to schools. They once again control their own budgets and are free to spend more money on students and less on labor expenses.

The Supreme Court decision is a huge victory for public schools and students in Wisconsin. Local school boards will now be able to dedicate their resources to student needs instead of labor union costs. Education will become more student-based rather than labor-based.

The teachers unions abused their collective bargaining privileges for years, and their demands became a huge drain on public school budgets. But now school boards finally have control of their own budgets, and can act in a manner appropriate to the needs of their students and taxpayers.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Christians - "Forget Your Daughters"

Christians - "Forget Your Daughters": "

How long will decent folks continue to pretend this is not happening or worse, sanctioning such savagry in the advancement of multi-culturalism. The West may be to loathe to engage or call it a holy war, or a religious war, but Islamic supremaicts revel in it.

"Forget Your Daughters" Zilla Blog

Two Christian girls were kidnapped, forced to convert to islam and marry their captor. When the girls' father tried to get help from the police, he was told by the cops to "forget his daughters. Via Pakistan Christian Post:

Rebbecca Masih and Saima Masih were kidnapped in Jhung the district of Faisalabad.

As explained by the two sisters` father, Rehmat Masih, a few days ago a wealthy local businessman, Muhammad Waseem, had previously warned that he wanted to marry the two girls, then threatened to kidnap them and convert them by force. Rehmat went to the police to file a complaint, but they did not take action. On Tuesday, May 24 the two girls were stopped while returning from the market, and some men kidnapped and threw them in a car owned by Waseem.

Rehmat rushed back to the police. The officers, after completing the investigation, said that "there are false accusations against Waseem," and that Rehmat, often gets drunk and starts assaulting his daughters, so they might have ran away unable to bear the torture. Other witnesses and neighbors instead swear that Rehmat is a respectable man and has never harmed his daughters.

On May 25, Muhammad Waseem forcefully married Saima Masih, in the presence of the leader Muhammad Zubair Qasim, an active member of the banned extremist group "Sip-e-Sahaba", often known for organizing kidnappings and forced conversions of Christian girls and Hindus. During the final interview, the police said to Rehmat to "forget his daughters."

Haroon Barkat Masih, Director of the Masihi Foundation, who is dealing with the case of Asia Bibi, condemns the incident and says to Fides: "Kidnapping Christian girls, conversion and forced marriages have become common practice in Punjab. The police have been bought, instead of serving the Punjab government they are servants of extremist groups. Punjab is becoming heaven for these groups: Muslim leaders openly call for violence in their sermons, without shame. Hundreds of cases like that of the Masih sisters do not come into existence. We have repeatedly appealed to the Punjab government, without receiving an answer: the government supports these groups. "

A Catholic nun in Faisalabad - who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons - is responsible to regain and hide the Christian girls who manage to flee the violence. The nun explains to Fides: "There are countless similar cases every year, that the Church of Pakistan has denounced many times, asking for respect for basic rights. The Masih sisters is a common fate of many girls and young Christian women in a society that tolerates discrimination on religious minorities, especially on women. "

Sadly, this is not unusual ANYWHERE that has a strong muslim presence, in fact it is quite common and it is even happening in the West now.

Read the rest at Zilla's.