G Code, CNC and Steppers

The two previous articles on how we have changed our way of thinking when it comes to project building in the electronics field is relevant here. We now find it easier to purchase a completed product, for instance a controller and a switched mode power supply because it is cheaper and neater than a home manufactured product. Even audio amplifiers nowadays is cheaper to buy than put on your list of projects – Chinese products are dirt cheap and mostly good quality stuff. (for the price).  Students and engineers are gravitating towards the manufacturing processes, milling machines and lathes where a home builder can now build up almost anything he wants from a table leg to a working internal combustion engine. This is not pie in the sky stuff – this is really happening. 3D printers are making their mark so rapid prototype building  has become more accessible and cheaper than before. In many industries we use automation – this has been around since the early 1900’s but with modern technology automation has become even more abundant, we are starting to use skills which our forefathers used, to simplify our daily existence.  Circuit building has become more around adding blocks together – embedded systems, input and output devices and the relevant power controllers. We are in fact moving back to the industrial revolution but on a grander scale.


Twenty years ago an A3 plotter would cost you the same as an entry level 3D printer nowadays.  A milling machine for a hobbyist can be purchased second hand for about U$2 000 and for a further U$2 000 can be modified to CNC. Hobbyists are doing this even more cheaply. From your automated milling machine hobbyists are now building components for their home built robots.  This even includes the servo or stepper motors but with cheap Chinese supply this becomes unnecessary. An entire software package to generate code is available from Mach 3 at about U$100.00.  

Going into New-Style Electronics – the Evolution of Electronics

Electronic Kits - Arduino

The Evolution of Electronics


If you read my previous article “Bringing Old-Style Electronics Back” you will note the reflection on old style values we place on modern electronics – gone are the days of just using a soldering iron and general sucker to remove components or conduct a repair using a few simple components. We no longer see tags or wire wrapping – we look on in awe at surface mount and the immense sophistication of modern ICs and microcontrollers and data processing chips. Yet the end result is the same – a working slab of solder, components and electron flow until we get to how fast things happen! We focus on the end user in this article and not industry. Continue reading “Going into New-Style Electronics – the Evolution of Electronics”

Bringing Old-Style Electronics Back

This is one subject which is oft brought up when speaking to any of the over 40s club. Does it really have merit – we live in the digital age and so what? What do you mean anyway? Can we mate old styled electronics to our newer brethren?

Hobbyist's Milling Machine - Wiki Commons
Hobbyist’s Milling Machine – Wiki Commons


Modern is to Trash

Well, anyone with a passion for electronics or has been in the field for more than two decades will have noticed the trend for manufacturers to build throwaway items – one no longer has to repair, the life-cycle is such that the general population trash rather than destroy. Continue reading “Bringing Old-Style Electronics Back”

Build yourself a Turbo Charged Jet Engine

The title is a bit ambiguous but I suppose you came here looking for the plans to build a modified turbocharger jet propulsion engine. Me, I haven’t built one myself but I’m pretty much sure that over the next year this is going to be a project – it has to be, like all hopefully technical people I’m a fan of loud noise, rockets and the healthy whine of a jet engine.  I won’t post project files in this post for liability reasons but I will give you links that I found rather interesting. Lots of thanks go to the kind people that posted their projects on the web – many of whom like to remain humble but in my mind’s eye are mostly highly technical and creative people – some of whom either have a high degree of engineering acumen or God given talent.

Suck Squeeze Bang Blow

I’ll kick off by posting Mike Davis’s link here: Building his Turbocharger jet engine...  http://www.junkyardjet.com/ Mike is also an astronomer and telescope builder – actually he seems to be equally at home in the kitchen as well his workshop – go here to read all about him at Mike Davis Publishing.

Salvatore Aiello’s website dedicated to the workings and construction of a jet engine. Great read and for the DIYer a great place to start. Full of pdfs and lots of information.

Really fantastic work by Don Giandomenico – His RC website and his project pages. The one thing that does stand out is the quality of build – frankly I am fascinated. This is no ordinary techno geek but a highly qualified individual and I speak no ill of other endeavours that one will see on the internet.

Very well built jet engine using 1000HP rated turbo charger. I’m adding this YouTube here to show the intracies of the wiring – also an excellent job BTW.

Another video, thanks to J. Woolgar:  Jumbo Jet /RB211-22B Backyard Run – this engine was used on a TWA Lockheed L1011 Tristar.

Animations of all makes of engines, including rockets and jet propulsion – Matt Keveney. Indeed, very nice work, get your creative juices flowing and visit this website.

Print me a Jet Engine using additive technology using 3D printing.

Making jet engines more efficient is no mean feat in these penny pinching time. Interesting article at Forbes on Louis Chênevert, Chairman at UTC (United Technologies).


The fastest car in the World

It’s becoming really laughable these days – and maybe back then as well.  Go back to your youth, mine was in the 70s and 80s. I was a biker. The fastest bikes in the 70s were the Kawasaki two strokes, the 900cc four stroke, the Suzuki GS 1100, the Honda CBX etc, etc. There was never any proof and an actual visual – we read about it and tongues wagged. If you hopped onto a Katana you would die. There was a problem with the first available CBX swing arm – you would be killed on the first corner. Bikes could wheelie from 0 to 1000 mph and then you’d change to 2nd gear. Continue reading “The fastest car in the World”

The Great SR20 Vs QR25 Debate


The QR25 engine – is it really better than the SR20?


Some say no.

Some say yes. See below:

QR25 Turbo Kit
Turbo Kit – courtesy http://www.ebay.com/usr/fantasymotorparts

The link to the item above is that of an eBay item:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/NISSAN-SENTRA-ALTIMA-2-5L-QR25-QR25DE-T3-T04E-T3-T4-TURBO-KIT-350HP-38MM-WG-BOV-/300651906511

Have you had your QR25 engine replaced recently? Maybe a while back? Nice engine or a dodgy piece of design?  The forums are full of dragstrip wannabes telling us of the pitfalls of the QR motor. Having read about thirty odd pages of drivel I was encouraged after reading an article about how brilliant the QR motor is and we all have nothing to worry about.  The snag is, much of the accolades were given by Nissan themselves.  I am a firm believer that the QR motor is indeed a better motor, possibly not equal to the SR for performance gains at relatively low cost but based on the very important fact that emission control kills engine performance and the QR engine is designed around emission control and quietness. The QR engine is also designed around torque – the X-Trail is a case in point.  Thinner connecting rods, lighter parts and with 4-cylinder balancer plus a rather high sitting top compression ring I have no intention of turbo charging this engine. Or would I?
Nissan QR25DE 2.5L Straight-4 DOHC Engine on 2007 Nissan Murano – courtesy Hatsukari715

Continue reading “The Great SR20 Vs QR25 Debate”

RC and Model Kit Enthusiasts

Rather overwhelmed by the lack of model kits, spares and accessories through eTailers or shops with web presence in your country? You won’t be the only one. Recently a search for model shops in South Africa brought up surprisingly few businesses with a web presence although they are there – one just needs to hunt. Of course some of them don’t supply prices or give a solid description either which sort of defeats the object – I like to know what I am paying for and whether it’s a market related price. The USA of course has plenty, why nowhere else? Why such a tedious search? Where can one pick up plans for a container ship, a wooden ship, a freighter, a WW1 or WW2 aircraft. Scale your own, build your own.

Model aircraft JetCat engine
JetCat P200SX

Continue reading “RC and Model Kit Enthusiasts”