I’m back in action, but slower than ever

I have a lot to talk about in a small space. I probably won’t get to it all. I’d like to start by embedding some explosions:

Do Your Research

Not all colleges are the same!

The next thing that I’d like to do is put out a small piece of advice: watch out where you choose to go to college. I’ve learned a hard lesson by attending a private online college to get my Engineering Degree; avoid those for-profit colleges if you must! Check to make sure that your major is ABET accredited. I knew that DeVry’s online Electronics Engineering course was not ABET accredited, but I was also lead to believe that it was about to be. Fool me once, shame on you. I won’t let that happen again, but it’s too late! The damage i$ already done. I couldn’t get a job in the engineering field (and glad I didn’t), and I can’t pursue a Master’s degree at the college of my choice (and I’m really unhappy that I can’t).

What I’ve been up to

Some may have noticed that Tech-Tut.com went completely silent for a long time. I wasn’t in college… I’ve just been busy. I recently closed my electronics and computer repair business because it was taking up too much time, and the money was not worth it.

I also celebrated one year at Beans and Strings as an Assistant Manager and music instructor. I’ve devoted most of my time to my job and my family, and I just haven’t had as many hobbies going on that I could blog about. I think I did more hobby stuff when I was in college. I also had a streak of bad luck with my projects, too. It really bums me out to blog about my failures. Perhaps I should do that, too.

There’s more to come. I have projects that I’ve been working on. I’m also a real person so life happens, and my blog is not always the forefront. Going forward I want to do a better job with organizing and arranging projects. In the past, what you see is what you get. Hopefully the future will be easier to find and easier to understand.

Peace and blessings to you in the maker community. Drop me a line.

6DG6GT Tube Amp Design Update 4-27-13

20130427-225510.jpg

This is just a quick update. I have finished drilling, painting, and installing the hardware. I installed the heater wires this afternoon. A few other random wires were also connected. One issue with reusing “iron” is the fact that almost all the wires were cut very short. I had to splice and heat shrink quite a few leads from the transformers.

20130427-225408.jpg

6DG6GT Tube Amp Design

Rewriting History Is Fun!

In 2009 I decided that I wanted to build a tube amp. Here it is 2013, and I have now decided that THIS AMP needs to be done right.

My original build worked, but it was thrown together without a lot of thought. The circuit board was an okay design, but certainly needed many improvements. The layout of the “iron” of this amp was crappy at best. Not a single transformer was mounted on the chassis! Just imagine the amount of wiring that came out of the back. The big-bottle rectifier tube was pressed against a 2×4 board that held the cabinet together! I used a drill bit to cut a notch out of the 2×4 to keep it from catching on fire. Really, what was I thinking? I’m better than that!

This new design is not exactly the same amplifier. I’m trying out some different ideas such as a master volume, parts placements, parts values, and layout. The chassis layout is based closely on AX84.com‘s P1 layout. I am using a 16″x8″x2″ aluminum chassis from Tubesandmore.com. Some of my parts come from there and others came from Hoffmanamps.com. Some I’ve purchased recently, and others I purchased back in 2009!

I am using a design based on this Instructable (Guitar Tube Amp by GMoon) and on the AX84′s P1. I took a little from each design and changed a few things to make it my own. I have also been using info from The Valve Wizard.

Stay tuned as I work on this amp. I have parts of the turret board completed, and I have the preliminary chassis laid out. I’ve been using the guides in Inkscape to draw the designs out. This takes considerable time to complete, but I believe that it will produce excellent and repeatable results. All of this information will be available for download when I complete the build. While I’m taking great pains to ensure that the build is flawless, things do arise that make changes inevitable. I am just hoping that it won’t happen this time and that everything will be perfect.

All Things Lumenlab Take Nosedives

Earlier this year I posted “Where did Lumenlab.com go?“, and someone was trying to revive the community with a new forum. Even that forum went by the wayside and now simply says, “RIP LumenLab.” I’ve been pondering my situation with the router, and I think it’s safe to say that I and others that own Lumenlab CNC routers are on the losing end of the deal.

While the original Lumenlab forum was in existence, there were a few problems that happened to users that resulted in the need for parts. The one issue that I recall clearly was the Z-axis tool holder breaking. If this happens, you’re pretty much in trouble. I’m just trying to figure out what we can do to get replacement parts in the event that something bad does happen.

I’m distressed to know that there is no way to get new parts for my CNC router. Throughout the last year I’ve found it greatly disturbing that I cannot get parts made ‘at the factory’. At one point in time I remember seeing a BOM, and that would be something useful in the event that commercially made parts wear out, but I haven’t been able to locate it on the web.

Has anyone devised a way to make the Delrin and HDPE parts to replace worn out items? It’s not like we are trying to create a commercial item, but I know some were worried about ‘patent’ infringement and the sort. What good is our machine if we can’t make or obtain replacement parts?

I’m simply griping for the sake of griping. My wife was already angry that I spent thousands of dollars and then had to wade through mediocre customer service and long lead-times to get my machine. While it has helped my hobby, it hasn’t even begun to pay for itself. Sure, a CNC can spit out a PCB in just a few minutes, but now I’ve traded lost time in etching PCBs for expensive tools, and in the long run, I’m losing more money in tools and supplies than I’ll ever make up in productivity.