Linkdump: March 2020

Dial Indicator Clock

Sheltering in place

Picture of shop door with closure sign on it.

We started Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories in 2006 as a “personal project blog”, to capture, organize, and share some of the things we do for fun. It has evolved over time to become a resource for our customers as well as a way for us to share interesting and educational information from a variety of sources. It also gradually become our livelihood, as the hobby projects started to take over more and more of our lives.

Right now, we want to let you know where we’re at. Here in Santa Clara County (the south end of the San Francisco Bay Area), we are under a Shelter in Place order due to COVID-19. Windell and I are working from home, and checking in on Zener at the shop regularly. We’re bringing work home with us, and have even been able to start shipping some orders again. Our employees cannot come in, which means that assembly, kitting, packing and shipping have slowed to what the two of us can do.

We’ll be doing our best to communicate with our customers about their orders and we’re doing tech support and customer service as usual. Orders will likely be going out every few days instead of every day. Some items will not be restocked as quickly.

As we work through these details, there are a lot of resources here on the blog that may be useful to all of you doing your part by staying at home.

We have many tutorials for projects that can be made from things you can find around the house. We have lots of cooking projects, some of which are also math or science projects. We have a series of basics articles you may enjoy for people getting started in electronics. And our linkdumps have lots interesting links to occupy your time.

We want you all to stay safe and healthy! Please reach out to us if you have questions, concerns, blog post ideas, or pictures of projects that we may have helped you instigate!

Thank you all for being such a great community, such amazing customers, and sharing with and helping each other so generously!

Open Hardware Summit 2020

Alicia Gibb, Ayah Bdeir, Kate Hartmann, Lenore Edman at OHS 2011
Photo from OHS 2011 by Jacob Gibb

The tenth annual Open Hardware Summit will be in New York held online on March 13. I’ll be participating in a panel looking back at the past ten years of open source hardware and looking forward to the next decade as well. The schedule is filled with great speakers and I’m looking forward to seeing so many friends, old and new.

Note: the session has been turned into a podcast so you can listen at your leisure!

Edited March 11 to reflect the change to online.
Edited March 18 to add podcast link.

Linkdump: January 2020

PCBs swung out on wiring harness acting as hinge or book spine

Windell and Lenore on the Embedded.fm podcast

Hilton's Aeolid

Elecia and Chris of Embedded.fm invited us to come back on the show for episode 317: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY DISINTEGRATED?. We also had the added enticement of a low tide adventure after recording.

Lenore had been on the show back in 2014 for episode 40: MWAHAHA SESSION, and Windell was on the following year when The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory was published for episode 124: PLEASE DON’T LIGHT YOURSELF ON FIRE.

We enjoyed the conversation immensely. We wandered from talking about our kits, to plotter art, to PCB art, even to seaweed. The tide pooling afterwards was wonderful as well!

Linkdump: December 2019

Touch Screen UI for navigation system for the USS John S. McCain

Four Favorite Tools

Cover of Four Favorite Tools

The kind folks at Cool Tools sent us a copy of Four Favorite Tools, which is a compilation of recommendations from the Cool Tools Podcast, including from the episodes we were on. I’ve had it sitting on my desk since it arrived, and I’ve been flipping through it pretty regularly. It’s been fun to look up the people I know and see what they recommended. It’s also fun to learn about people I don’t know from their browsing their recommendations.

Lenore's section in Four Favorite Tools

All of the information in the book is also included in each person’s podcast episode on the Cool Tool’s site (here are ours: Lenore and Windell), but I’m much more likely to flip through the book and happen upon something new than I am to go explore online. This book would be a great gift for the tool-users in your life.

Thank you Kevin, Claudia & Mark!

Linkdump: November 2019

Screenshot of Enigma machine simulator encoding Hello World

The AxiDraw MiniKit

AxiDraw MiniKit

Today we are introducing a brand new member of the AxiDraw family of pen plotters: the AxiDraw MiniKit.

AxiDraw MiniKit
The AxiDraw MiniKit is a special compact addition to the AxiDraw lineup.

Designed for lighter-duty applications, It takes up less desk space and less storage space. With a plotting area of just 6 × 4 inches (150 × 100 mm), it’s small enough to take with you, or to fit into places where bigger machines can’t.

AxiDraw MiniKit
In addition to be being “Mini”, it is also a kit.

Unlike other models of the AxiDraw family like AxiDraw V3 and AxiDraw SE/A3 (which come assembled, tested, and ready to use), the AxiDraw MiniKit is a machine that you assemble yourself.

We’ve taken great care in designing a kit that is rewarding to build and to own.

AxiDraw MiniKit

And of course, it’s an AxiDraw, and performs like one. Small but sturdy, it’s built with custom aluminum extrusions, machined parts, attention to detail, and care.

Our Thanksgiving Weekend Sale


It’s our Thanksgiving Weekend Sale! use checkout coupon code TURKEY to save 10% storewide at Evil Mad Scientist.

Save on popular items like the brand new AxiDraw MiniKit, surface-mount 555SE and 741SE soldering kits, and everything else too.

Our biggest sale of the year, it’s a great time to get that AxiDraw SE/A3, EggBot, or through hole 555 kit too.

Sale runs through Monday, December 2.