Stavros' Stuff

Angry rants of programming and other things.

Make your own PCBs with a 3D printer

More PCBs, less hassle.

Listen, anyone can make a PCB at home, it’s easy. PCBs (printed circuit boards) are those flat things with all the components that are inside all electronic devices, you’ve seen them. All you need is a laser printer, some glossy magazine pages, print your circuit onto the page, use a clothes iron to transfer the toner onto your copper clad, if that doesn’t work use some water and some lacquer or something, I don’t know, I stopped reading at that point because the last time I saw a laser printer, a magazine and a clothes iron was in the nineties.

Until recently, the only ways I knew to make PCBs was to practice the dark art above, to pay $10 and wait three weeks to get professional-looking PCBs from China, or to pay $60 and wait three days to get professional-looking PCBs from Europe. It was “cheap, fast, actually doable by a human person, choose two”.

That always bugged me, it shouldn’t be like that, I have always been of the opinion that there shouldn’t be things you can’t make when you have a 3D printer, but PCBs have consistently eluded me. I yearned for them, I wanted to be able to make them at home, but it seemed impossible.

One day, everything changed.

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Making a garage remote motorcycle mount

Spending twelve hours to make something that saves two

I recently got a motorcycle, and with it came a problem. My motorcycle jacket has very little pocket space, and I was told that I shouldn’t put any weight (i.e. extra keys) on the keyring. However, I still need to carry my house key and my bulky and heavy garage remote, which means that I need a second keyring just for these two, which is the problem.

Another issue is that using the remote is a hassle, as I have to always be removing my gloves, unzipping my jacket pocket, fishing for the remote in it, pressing the button, zipping the jacket pocket back up, and wearing the gloves again, it’s a nightmare, almost something out of a Lovecraft novel.

However, a thought occurs: Since I have a 3D printer and CAD software and I’m not afraid to use them, I can design an enclosure and mount for the remote so that I can permanently have it mounted on the handlebars, which both frees my pocket and is easily reachable, even with gloves. This thought is so exciting that I can hardly contain myself, and don’t.

In this post, I will take you through the process of designing and 3D printing the mount,

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3D-printed breakthrough gives blind cat eyes

Meanwhile, cure for clickbait titles remains elusive

I have a cat! I’ve had her for a while. She kind of imposed herself on me when I saw her on the street one day when she was a one-month-old stray kitten (we have a lot of those here), and her eyes were closed, so I figured I’d take her home for a few minutes, wipe her eyes open and release her again, sight restored and able to fend for herself.

When I wiped the gunk away, it turned out she had no eyes! She had tricked me, and I couldn’t leave her on the street to die, so now I’m responsible for a damn cat. Apparently, cats can get chlamydia (did you know that? I didn’t), which can cause macular degeneration (did you know that means the eye literally melts? I didn’t), which she had.

She also had epilepsy, because of course no good deed goes unpunished. This is her:

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