From Slack to Spaces

This post is part announcement and part analysis; the announcement first - The Garage Lab now has its own Google Space. The goal is to have a place to share works in progress, interesting projects from around the internet and a way to float ideas or pose questions. Most of…

Bread Heads - AVR Breadboard Programmers

I recently found myself needing to reuse some older prototypes for a newer project, as part of the repurposing I needed to flash an Arduino compatible bootloader on the AVR processors in them. The design didn't include an ICSP header so I wanted to find an easier way to flash…

How To Get The Most Out Of a Cheap Laptop

Recently I found myself in need of a small laptop that I could comfortably sit on the couch with but that had enough power to run Visual Studio at a reasonable speed. This post describes how I managed to get what I wanted for less than $AU 350 without going…

PCB Milling Updates

My PCB milling work flow is working well for single sided boards with through hole components. I am still working on support for surface mount devices and double side boards but the capability I have now is enough to speed up the progress on my queue of projects. This post…

Seven PCB Milling Tips

After a lot of weekends of trial and error I finally have my PCB milling process working. In this post I share some things I have learned along the way - hopefully it will make it easier for anyone else trying to develop the same process. 1. Be Consistent This…

Automating PCB Layout for Milling

This post describes pcbpack, a Python script that automates the process of laying out multiple PCBs on a single panel for CNC milling. The tool is part of my gctools package, a Python framework and set of tools for manipulating gcode available on GitHub. When I started learning how to…

Massage Your Gcode With Python

Since I first acquired my CNC machine I started building a set of tools in Python to let me generate and manipulate gcode files. I have now released this code on GitHub under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license in the hope it will be useful to others as well. Disclaimer:…

Notifications With Pushbullet

This post looks at notification systems on Android, Chrome and Android Wear and provides a simple way to insert your own notifications in to the stream with Pushbullet. I presented this at the Google Developers Group in Brisbane this week, the post is a longer form of the presentation. The…

PCBWeb - Schematic and PCB Layout Software

This is my review of PCBweb, a relatively new schematic capture and PCB layout tool for Windows. I used it to design a simple ATtiny based project so I could test it's features in a real application. There seems to be a trend for component suppliers to provide a free…