■ Nic Graner learning to solder
at age nine. One of the first things
he was taught was to always wear
only get one body per lifetime.
On a side note, I checked with my
original manufacturer and it seems
there's no warranty on hair follicles,
Though we may preach it to
others, sometimes we don't always
pay attention to safety precautions.
For example, do you wear safety
glasses while soldering, cutting, or
doing any work that can create flying
debris? Do you have an exhaust fan
to take fumes from solvents and
soldering out of your breathing area?
Do you eat at your workbench and, if
so, do you handle solder or tools that
have come in contact with industrial
cleaners and the like? Do you wear
gloves when using cleaning agents,
lead based solder and other known
hazardous substances? Many solvents
are trans-dermal and act as a vehicle
to take some toxins right through
your skin and into your blood
stream. I learned this the hard way
when I noticed a strange taste in
the back of my throat after using a
■ The Robot Group
■ PROBOTIX FireBall v90 CNC
router — www.probotix.com
■ André LaMothe NURVE software
■ FIRST Robotics
trichloroethane-soaked rag to clean
up a couple of copper clad circuit
SHARE YOUR WORK
Document your projects. Take
pictures of your work and then take
a moment or two to write up
descriptions and schematics. If you
write software, spend a few moments
going through and adding comments.
This makes it easier for others to "get"
what you're doing and gives you aids
to use for talking about it.
Having documentation allows
you to engage with other folks that
have similar interests. Also, having to
explain a project to someone can
help to solidify the concepts in your
mind as articulating what it is you're
doing is an excellent way to reinforce
and clarify project ideas. I've found
that when I run into a problem on a
build, sometimes just going over the
problem verbally with someone else
can help you see a possible solution
that eluded you.
Consider writing about your
project for a magazine. For those of
you not otherwise aware, Nuts &
Volts and their sister publication,
SERVO Magazine, will pay you for
well written articles! This is a great
way to help finance your hobby.
The articles you read in these
pages are (for the most part) written
by amateur writers and fellow
hobbyists that have taken a few
moments to get their thoughts down
on paper (well, on disk). If you've
already created a blog or if you have
■ RoboMagellan — www.robo
■ Maker Faire
■ THE PONGINATOR MK3
■ Nuts & Volts Writers Guidelines
■ The upgraded "PONGINATOR MK3"
control system incorporating ideas
from MK1 and 2.
a nice collection of photos on one of
the many picture-sharing websites,
you may already have everything you
need to write up an article, share it
with your fellow readers, have a nice
bullet point for your resume (i.e.,
"Internationally published technology
magazine article author"), and get
PAID for doing it! Check the
resources for a link to the Nuts &
Volts writers guidelines page.
LETS GET STARTED!
I figure seven is a lucky number
so I guess I'll stop the resolutions
here. I'm really looking forward to
writing about some of the fun stuff
I have planned in the coming
months. I also want to invite you to
let me know if there are topics or
items you'd like to see reviewed,
built, or covered in an article.
Suggestions, comments, and
observations are quite welcome. As
always, you can reach me via email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. NV
■ Vern Graner (seated) discusses a
problem in the firing sequence of the
Ponginator Software with André
LaMothe at Maker Faire Austin 2007.
This discussion led directly to a rewrite of the way the guns fired which
eliminated motor positioning errors.
January 2009 17