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David Ashton
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Re: You lucky @#$#
David Ashton   2/20/2014 4:19:59 PM
@Max - yes they are fascinating to watch.  As coincidence would have it I had to move a stationery cupboard yesterday to make room for an equipment cabinet and inside the cupboard I found a bottle of Rotring drawing ink.   Now if I can find my pens I can get the machine working properly (previously tried it with a small felt tip pen).

I thought of mounting a small laser in the holder to mark text on things, but it would have to be a very light, very powerful laser.  Or get a very small motor and a milling tip and modify the innards, to mill small PCBs.  Neither is very practical though.  ANyone else got any ideas on what you can do with these cute dinosaurs?

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Re: Thanks for the memories
antedeluvian   2/20/2014 3:29:23 PM
One of the secrets of more reliable operation was to soak the pen in a special Rotring Solution inside a special Rotring container (still have it) when not in use.

Sorry missed it on the first pass. There it is in slide 4 in the lower picture and mentioned in the caption.

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Thanks for the memories
antedeluvian   2/20/2014 1:31:42 PM
Hi David

I used to do my schematics and PCBs on a Roland A3 size plotter. For the schematics I used HP fibre tipped pens, but the PCBs were plotted with Rotring pens on tracing paper using Indian ink(?). I still have the kit at home, I must check if it was called that. The CAD software was Autocad. Really- I used to do my boards using a package that was an overlay of AutoCAD. I could write AutoCAD scripts in my head, but that is another story.

Plotting a Eurocard size board would take ~2-4hours a layer because the pens had to move slowly to allow the ink to flow. Often the pen would stop working. I developed a technique to allow a continuation of the plot rather than starting from scratch (pun intended, if you ever had any experience with those pens). The probablity of a pen failing increased in direct proportion to the time taken to plot. It was not possible to start the Autocad plot from a particular point, but it was possible to pause it. Pausing was needed to refill the ink and sometimes you could also get a feel if the pen needed a clean.

So I would restart the plot and allow it to plot without a pen until it got close to the point where it stopped. I would then pause, insert the pen and allowed the plot to continue. Re-registration of the plotter was excellent.

One of the secrets of more reliable operation was to soak the pen in a special Rotring Solution inside a special Rotring container (still have it) when not in use. Never let the pen dry out! Getting a pen started was also an issue, shaking it up and down and listening for the click-click of the internal pen tip stopper. When you didn't hear it, you shook harder and.... splat! Spit was also a technique to start the flow.

You could also get a larger reservoir for those longer plots, if you were optimistic enough that it wouldn't stop.

Max The Magnificent
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You lucky @#$#
Max The Magnificent   2/20/2014 1:28:56 PM
@David: Re Slide 10: ...Lettering machine -- a small rectangular case with a keyboard and an arm holding a drawing pen. I was lucky enough to get two of these in my pickings from our drawing office chuck-outs and they both work

Wow! I loved the videos in your blog -- I would love to see your machines in action!

Max The Magnificent
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Compasses aren't what they used to be
Max The Magnificent   2/20/2014 1:27:39 PM
Re Slide 5 -- Compasses to draw circles or arcs with lead or pens. These look to be really good quality -- I've been amazed by the poor quality of a couple of different compasses I've purchased recently from places like Staples.


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NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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