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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
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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.

 

Max The Magnificent
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You lucky @#$#
Max The Magnificent   2/20/2014 1:28:56 PM
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@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!

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

antedeluvian
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Re: Thanks for the memories
antedeluvian   2/20/2014 3:29:23 PM
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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.

David Ashton
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Re: You lucky @#$#
David Ashton   2/20/2014 4:19:59 PM
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@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?

David Ashton
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Re: Thanks for the memories
David Ashton   2/20/2014 4:26:37 PM
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@Antedeluvian - an A3 plotter - that would have been a beast!   That would have been pushing the pens to the maximum.  Agree about the need to keep the pens clean - if you left them even overnight with ink in they would dry out and take you a LOT more time to clean out.  I used to leave the ink in the reservoir, clean the nib and store them upside down so the ink didn't get back in to the nib.  How many board layers did you do - a multilayer board would ahve taken days to plot?

TonyTib
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Oh, no, more pen addiction
TonyTib   2/20/2014 4:46:47 PM
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I believe rOtring is now part of Newell Rubbermaid, which owns a bunch of pen companies including Sanford, Sharpie, and Parker.  Sanford distributes Uniball in the US, but Uniball is really the Mitsubishi Pencil Company (not related to the conglomorate).  IMHO Parker hasn't made an innovative pen in about 30 years, although Sharpie continues to innovate (e.g. Sharpie Pen, although I'd take the Staedtler triplus fineliner over it).

Most pen addicts seem to feel that after the acquisition, many of the best rOtring products were dropped.  I don't know, since rOtring is too pricey for my pocket.

And, yes, technical pens have migrated to the artistic set, but are still available, with the disposable models (such as the widely available Sakura Pigma Micron) probably being the most popular.

David Ashton
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Re: Oh, no, more pen addiction
David Ashton   2/20/2014 6:13:01 PM
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@TonyTib.... Thanks for that info...

"Most pen addicts seem to feel that after the acquisition, many of the best rOtring products were dropped. "

Certainly most of the stencils and tech drawing stuff has been dropped but I guess that is more due to lack of demand than anything else.  They still seem to do most of the pens, but I only ever used a very small sample of their products.  As you say, they are pretty expensive now.

David Ashton
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Re: You lucky @#$#
David Ashton   2/20/2014 6:18:25 PM
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Just did a bit of thinking.  Combine these two ideas.  Get a UV LED with a finely focussed spot.  Use it to expose photosensitive PCB.  You'd have to get into the innards to drive the stepper motors directly from a PC or suchlike, then you'd have to write a driver for it......I think that one is going to stay in the "too hard" basket.....

antedeluvian
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Re: Thanks for the memories
antedeluvian   2/20/2014 6:57:40 PM
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David

How many board layers did you do

Only 2 layers.

I just looked into my drawer- the ink (Rotring NC 600 FP) (waterfproof india ink) still seems fine. I see I also have MArs-Staedler drawing ink and some other no-name brand. I don't rememebr but maybe some inks gave better results than others.

I just found another tool that I forgot about to get the ink flowing. Essentially it is a suction ball- a hollow red rubber ball with a plastic nozzle that fits over the pen tip. Squeeze it, apply to tip and release and hopefully the ink would start flowing.

 

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