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New year new machine!

New year new machine!

With corvid floating about and all the problems it has caused I have been super busy at work building various boards to help fight corvid.

So I failed my plan to create projects/videos every month, over Christmas I was given a new machine by my lovely wife <3.

She got me a Chinese 3018 CNC, my main use for it will be to mill PCB *or MCP milled circuit board, I have been working in KiCad for the past year and had a few PCBs ordered from china.

Working as an engineer and building circuit boards as a full time job its really cool to see professional PCBs I designed to show up, and to my complete surprise the even work!.

I but some times I really want to be able to just design and make a simple PCB to test an idea before I order a PCB and wait 2-3 weeks, I have done the toner transfer-Iron-acid method to make PCB’s and it works fine but I find it to be such a pain to get everything set up.

I have ordered a few upgrades for the CNC and over the next few weeks, I will be installing them.

Planed upgrades

End stops.
The case for the motherboard.
New Spindle/milling upgrade
Bearing upgrades.



Astro wars retro repair

Astro wars retro repair

I came across a cheap retro 1981 Grand stand Astro wars console on ebay, I had a nice idea about reusing its shell as a new console, as the listing said the screen was cracked.

Looking at the console the front plastic lens is cracked so there was some hope for the VDF screen inside being ok, I hooked up my bench power supply and hooked some algator clips to the + and – leads on the battery connectors, i flicked the power button on the front and the unit seemed dead no noise nothing.

I removed the 7 screws holding the case closed and it reviled 2 pcbs a speaker and a VFD screen, the screen looked fine and had no cracks, I applied power and using my multiemeter I probed about on the first green power in PCB and I had no voltage, I then looked for shorts and found the 9+ and GND pins on the green board where shorted.

The board being a simple single sided board it could not have a short on this side of the PCB

Removing the black shield over the screen revels the main pcb, most of the brains are under the screen, I did some more voltage checks and I found that SO2 and NPN transistor had its Base and emitter shorted.

I have a large horde of random electrical components, looking at data sheets for SO2 and NEC N882P, I did some digging in my stash of transistors and I found a ST ED136 wiht the same specs as the old NEC part

After swapping them out and applying power the unit sprang to life, with the screen working fine, its still nice a bright.

Its pain to get a good photo of the unit working but as you can kind of see the space ships are displayed on the screen.

Not a tearribly hard repair but its another item saved from the scrap pile.

Hand held gaming Parts list

Hand held gaming Parts list

This is the list of parts I have used in the Raspberry pi Hand held gaming build Prices are only a rough guide, I will also be updating this list as I go so please don’t buy anything and think its going to be part of the final build.

I will Also try and make a build Log with more details regarding the parts used+

7 inch Capacitive Touch Screen Display Monitor HD IPS USB For Raspberry Pi


PoweA (model 1428130-01)


Raspberry PI 3 B+


18650 Lithium Battery Shield


Samsung INR18650-25R 2500 mAh


PAM8403 DC 5V 3W+3W Dual Channel Mini Audio Amplifier

Rotary dial potentiometer with switch 50K
£2.50 (for 5)

FPV HDMI to HDMI Adapter

£6 you only need the 2 ends as the cable is reversed.

20 pin 0.5mm pitch forward 15cm

£1.28 for 5

1200Mbps USB3.0 Wifi Adapter RTL8812CU IEEE802.11ac Dual Band 5GHz 2.4GHz
£10 ( not recommend)

WiFi Antenna RP-SMA Extension (note you just need the female SMA-RP end)

Hex Standoff Male/Female, 10mm, M3
£8.50 for 50 (you need 8)

Flat Ribbon Cable

5 meters & £5

DIY hand held console

DIY hand held console

My daughter is now 3 and she always want to be with me, this makes PC gaming hard as my PC is in the basement man cave, and it’s not the most child friendly place with 3D printers,laser cutters and power tools.

I like the IDEA of the Nintendo switch, but not the console its self, I find the hand held aspect of it very unconformable to hold,but a hacked switch with steamlink/moonlight looks like a good idea for basic portable pc gaming.

Early this year I started some very basic ideas to build a switch clone using a raspberry pi 3+ then alien-ware beat me to it with there prototype hand held console, obviously they have the budget and R&D team.

Alienware’s Concept UFO

Update & new project N64 Portable

Update & new project N64 Portable

So I have not posted in a long time… I find it hard to post on a site I don’t get much traffic, but I guess I need to post to get traffic.

SO with that out of the way, I have still been working on some Projects, one project I have done started is building a N64 portable, the project has just past the prototype stage and i’m pretty happy how its going so I think its time to start documenting it making a 2.0

Every Time…

Every Time…

I must be cursed when it comes to 3D printers. I have had problem after problem over the years. I got home from work, started a 3hr print on my 6 month old Duplicator I3, and all looked fine. I checked again about 1hr 30mins in and no filament was extruding…. I went to check the obvious things: The spool was free spinning, no tangles in the filliment and the hot-end was hot and clean. After a good 45 mins troubleshooting, eventually I worked out the problem. it seems the exturder motor was not spinning. Now on the duplicator I3 it’s very hard to see the motor turn, so I would heat the end up, press extrude and just assume the filament was slipping and I could push it through the hot-end easily. i swapped the exturder and X axis motor and the extuder itself was fine, so I popped the top off the dupicator i3 control box

It all looked fine. The wires were all nice and tight, but on closer inspection the PCB under the motor controller chip for the extruder looked a little black.

I just touched the black heat sink and, oh joy! the motor controller has fired! The printer was working fine and had a very light workload – maybe 2-4 hrs a week print time. this always seems to happen when I have a new project planned…

Anyway I’m not one to give up easily. I love to tinker, and I happen to have an old ramps board laying around, I’m not going to write a guide on how to mod the duplicator i3 to ramps contol as I found it to be a very easy process, it just took me a wile to cut and add dupont connects to some of the wires. it took me about an hour to sort it all out and get my printer back online.

The only annoying part was I had to rip the LCD out of my laser cutter as the original LCD did not have the pinout to fit the ramps, I probably could have bodged the old LCD in but meh, a new screen is only £12.

As I had the printer in bits, I did some other upgrades. I added a better part cooling fan, an all metal hot-end to let me go to higher temperatures and added a modified Sonoff to power on and off the printer remotely.

All in all I’m happy the crappy Melzi board died as it gives me the ability to add more upgrades in the future such as auto bed leveling and a second extruder.