Monthly Archives: March 2015

In the News: KWQC profiles Quad Cities ham James Mayfield W9WRL

I dug this up early this morning, an NBC affiliate in the Quad Cities profiled a ham last week from Moline IL.  Fran Riley of WWQC-TV6 in Davenport, Iowa spent some time with James Mayfield W9WRL and put together this story, which is one of the best news stories I’ve seen about ham radio in a long time (with the distinctive exception of this piece which is one of my favorites).  Mr. Riley obviously took his time in learning about the hobby and really put together a story that made all of ham radio look good.  The video features a lot of vintage gear, including the radio set that Paul Tibbets K4KVZ (SK) used on the Enola Gay when it bombed Hiroshima.

I would have embedded the video here but wasn’t able to so you’re going to have to go to the WWQC site and check it out for yourself.


Published from Chicago, IL

Crosstown Traffic: Collin Cunningham at Adafruit demonstrates PC Board milling

Collin Cunningham at Adafruit put up another Collin’s Lab video yesterday on the Adafruit Blog, this time demonstrating an alternate method of making printed circuit boards using a small CNC mill instead of etching.  If you don’t want to go to that site I embedded the video below.

No, the mill ain’t cheap.  Adafruit sells it for just under $2200.  But it would look great next to a 3D Printer… and as much as I want a PolyPrinter ($2400), I can’t justify that either.

Collin used to publish these videos and other posts over on the Make: magazine website but defected to Adafruit a few years ago.


Published from DFW, Texas


3D Printing: Make your childhood building sets “Interoperable”

I randomly ran into this today and I thought it interesting enough to invoke a post.  When I first saw it, my mind was flooded with childhood memories of all of the building toys I have ever played with (Legos, Lincoln Logs, TinkerToys….).  The folks over at Free Art and Technology have published .STL files of building set adapters that you can print out on your 3D printer.  That’s right, attach Legos to your Lincoln Logs.  Connect TinkerToys to your Bristle Blocks (Remember those?  My dad does.  Specifically he remembers stepping on Bristle Blocks that I left on the floor in a dark room).  This set of adapters is designed to adapt between ten (count ’em-10!) different styles of building sets, a few I haven’t even heard of, and a couple I couldn’t even find on Wikipedia (links in the list):

A childhood Maker’s dream come true! Connect all of your building toys together!

* Zoob and ZomeTool related files will be published in 2016 and 2022, respectively, to avoid patent infringement issues.  However, I’m certain that someone will fill in the gap and make their own instead of waiting….

I suppose the only glaring omission in the above list could be 80/20.  Wouldn’t an 80/20 to Lego adapter be wonderful?

Want the files?  Download the Free Universal Construction Kit here!


Published from DFW, Texas

In the News: Euless Ham Radio Club featured in Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Jason KC5HWB over at Grapevine Amateur Radio shared this today on their Facebook page.  Always good to see a reasonably well-written article about Amateur Radio, and it’s even better when it’s about a local group of guys.  The Euless Amateur Radio Club (W5EUL) was featured on Tuesday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From the article:

“We promote public service as back-ups to the police department and communication support for the Community Emergency Response Team,” which is a national organization under the Department of Homeland Security, said James Knighton, president of Amateur Radio Euless. “CERTS can do basic first aid, assess situations to tell the city’s responders where and whether help is needed.”

Some club members are also Skywarn storm spotters with the Tarrant County branch of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), among hundreds of North Texas operators trained by the National Weather Service, Knighton said.

“We have eight or 10 members in RACES,” Knightson said. “We’re called up by the county during bad weather. But we’re storm spotters, not chasers. We looking for wind speeds above 50 mph, water coming up over curbs, and hail bigger than three-quarter inch.”

Euless Police Lt. Joe Kraft recognized how vital amateur radio operators can be in crises, so when he became the department’s emergency management coordinator, he sought out and joined Amateur Radio Euless.

Published from DFW, Texas