The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast

Chris Gammell and Dave Jones' voices span the chasm of thousands of miles each and every week to speak to each other and industry experts about where the field of electronics is moving. Whether it be a late breaking story about a large semiconductor manufacturer, a new piece of must-have test equipment or just talking through recent issues with their circuit designs, Chris and Dave try to make electronics more accessible for the listeners. Most importantly, they try and make the field of electronics more fun. Guests range from advanced hobbyists working on exciting new projects up through C-level executives at a variety of relevant and innovative companies. Tune in to learn more about electronics and then join the conversation! Visit The Amp Hour website for our back catalog of 150+ episodes.



#438 – An Interview with Bart Dring

Welcome, Bart Dring!

  • Hobby of motion contollers and CNC
  • Got started at Williams pinball (who also make games like Joust and Space shuttle)
  • A lot of wear in pinball cabinets.
  • Got the itch to move onto a “real engineering” job.
  • Microwave for deep space networks
  • Multi kilowatt units with high power dissipation
  • Waveguide switches
  • Getting heat out of the potting
  • Used on things like news trucks and DSN satellites.
  • Military specs for harsh environment
  • CNC machines were discussed by past guests:
    • John Saunders
    • Nadya Peek
  • Sending steps to machines was easier with a parallel port. Now need something like a USB to parallel.
  • Started doing tutorials on Instructables, wanted to win a contest with a human powered Segway to win Epilog laser.
  • Started to document along the way on
  • First comprehensive laser cutter kit out there, the 2.x laser sold 400 kits
  • Maker Slide was a system for building machines. The Kickstarter raised $25K
  • Since it was open source, others re-started KS campaigns 5 times around the world
  • Factory for extrusion is like 300m long
  • Wrote a yield optimizer to spit out a better way to cut material in his garage.
  • Laen (OSH Park) also talked about optimizers when he was on the show.
  • Approached Inventables to fulfill Maker Slide orders.
  • Worked out a deal for a royalty, they still pay it on orders.
  • Inventables makes Easel, which is a web based program for working with their routers.
  • Inventables also took on the Shapeko, designed by Edward Ford. That machine is made out of Maker Slide.
  • GRBL is the motion controller behind all of Bart’s CNC machines.
  • It started with the creator interested in optimizing the code to put on an Arduino.
  • RAMPS controllers
  • Plug in stepper drivers
  • G-code
  • Bart ported GRBL onto PSoC5
  • Why PSoC5? Bart likes the graphical interface and uses it a lot for prototyping.
  • Motion planner
  • Started looking at ESP32 for Bluetooth/WiFi
  • Robots run off the phones
  • Angus doing Arduino stuff for Espressif helped to move things along.
  • API has public functions for RTOS, so it was harder in a real time control sense.
  • Plan was to use primary core for GRBL, other core for communication.
  • Bart put the project down for a while, but Jeroen Domburg (Sprite_tm) convinced him to try again.
  • The processor had a lot more RAM than other boards, especially Arduino.
  • Finished September 2018
  • Tindie sales
  • Complete web UI for sender
  • Web page has jogging controls and configuration
  • Hoping to put an Easel-like program on there
  • Nickelbot
  • Square coasters with traction feed (Coasty the Coaster Toaster)
  • Exotic kinematics
  • Polar coaster
  • Converting polar to Cartesian coordinates
  • Drawbot badge
  • Hobby servos
  • “Adorably wiggly lines“
  • Workshop at Supercon
  • Scripting in python
  • Polar Platform String Art Machine
  • Open loop vs closed loop
  • Twang
  • Follow Bart on twitter as @buildlog


 2019-04-15  1h32m