Tiny product update: A new version of the pen holder for AxiDraw, with slots for quick adjustment between the vertical and 45 degree angle positions.
Earlier this year, I wrote about my then-forthcoming book, Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components, co-written with our regular collaborator Eric Schlaepfer.
Open Circuits is a coffee table book full of close-up and cross-section photographs of everyday electronic components. And, it’s now shipping! As of today, it’s available in hardcover from your local bookstore, as well as to purchase online and in electronic versions.
We also just launched a new website for the book, with links of where you can purchase it as well as lengthy galleries of images from the book and of outake photos.
Today we are introducing a major refresh of the smallest member of the AxiDraw family of pen plotters: the new AxiDraw MiniKit 2. The AxiDraw MiniKit 2 is our special compact DIY-kit version of the AxiDraw lineup.
Versus the original AxiDraw MiniKit, the MiniKit 2 has been redesigned for easier assembly, better precision, and higher performance. The key change is that the long linear rail that forms the base of the machine — a custom aluminum extrusion in the original — has been replaced with a solid bar of 6061-T6 aluminum, machined in the same precision process as our top-of-the-line AxiDraw SE/A3, and then anodized to a satin-silver finish. This change simplifies a number of the assembly steps, but more importantly has a cleaner overall look and tighter manufacturing tolerances for improved precision.
We’ve taken great care in designing a kit that is rewarding to build, own, and use.
The new version is also heavier than the old one, which helps it to stay stable on your desk at higher speeds and gives it a small boost in effective speed, in addition to the upgrades in precision. Small but sturdy, The MiniKit 2 is built with machined parts, just one custom aluminum extrusion now, attention to detail, and care.
A couple of months ago, we wrote about our status under our county’s shelter in place order and it’s time for an update! The situation has been gradually changing locally and the newest guidelines allow for us to bring our employees back to work. With their help, we’re starting to ramp production back up and that feels great.
Our Sunnyvale retail location will remain closed to walk-in business for the time being, but we are offering no-contact local pickup for orders placed online.
We have been excited to be able to help out on a few COVID-19 research projects during this time. We want to reiterate that if your order is related to health care or related to COVID-19 research, please let us know so that we can prioritize and expedite your order.
We’re grateful to all of our customers and community for being so understanding and helpful during this time.
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!
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.
We’ve taken great care in designing a kit that is rewarding to build and to own.
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.
It’s our Thanksgiving Weekend Sale! use checkout coupon code TURKEY to save 10% storewide at Evil Mad Scientist.
Sale runs through Monday, December 2.
Both of these new kits are surface mount soldering kits — our first surface mount soldering kits — and we think that you’re going to love them.
You might be familiar with our Three Fives discrete 555 timer and XL741 discrete op-amp kits. Both are easy soldering kits that let you build working transistor-scale replicas of the classic 555 timer chip and the famous µA741 op-amp. Those two are constructed with traditional through-hole soldering techniques and are styled to like “DIP” packaged (through-hole) integrated circuits.
Our new 555SE and 741SE kits implement the same circuits, now with surface mount components, and are styled to look like smaller “SOIC” packaged (surface mount) integrated circuits, complete with a heavy-gauge aluminum leadframe stand. Side by side with their through-hole siblings, the new kits are exactly to scale, with half the lead pitch and a lower profile.
The 555SE and 741SE kits each come with eight (tiny) color-coded thumbscrew binding posts that you can use to hook up wires and other connections.
You can also probe anywhere that you like in these circuits — something that you generally can’t do with the integrated circuit versions.
The new 555SE and 741SE circuit boards are black in color, with a gold finish and clear solder mask so that you can see the wiring traces between individual components. There are a few other neat details here and there, such as countersunk holes for mounting the board to the leadframe.
The surface mount components are relatively large, with 1206-sized resistors and SOT-23 sized transistors, and assembly is straightforward with our clear and comprehensive instructions. These kits are designed to be a joy to build, whether you’re an old hand at surface mount soldering, want some practice before tackling a project, or are introducing someone to it for the first time.
You can find the datasheets and assembly instructions for these kits, as well as links to additional documentation, on their respective product pages.
You’re invited to our annual open house!
When: Saturday, November 10, 4 pm to 8 pm
Where: Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
1285 Forgewood Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089
You can see the MOnSter 6502 in action, check out an AxiDraw demonstration, maybe meet Zener the cat (she’s not fond of parties), do some shopping if the mood strikes, and share in food and conversation.