My first serious microscopic soldering project took place over the weekend!

An Intel NUC had been prised open during a baggage inspection. Thanks TSA!

As a result the fan connector had been torn from the PCB.

I’m not saying it was a nicely executed repair, but the NUC does now work… Identified areas for improvement:

  • an improved solder flux situation: my 0.2mm solder didn’t want to flow onto anything, the thicker solder dumped a pool of flux eveywhere.
  • an improved glueing mechanism: again, I ended up with a pool of super glue…
  • improved software settings for the microscope’s USB camera: the photos don’t do justice to the stunning clarity I had through the eye pieces.
  • a PCB cleaning mechanism.

Presented here is a somewhat terse step-by-step guide to building FreeCAD from source using Conda and the Conda Forge feedstock for FreeCAD.

I need to do this to ensure I can run the latest FreeCAD code AND use a 3DConnexion SpaceMouse on a MacBook Pro.

I finished the DIY fit-out of my lab/office/study late last year.

A lot of planning and design was done before I started cutting into flat-pack furniture with the circular saw.

I’m very pleased with the result. This is a good thing as I’ll be spending a significant portion of my life for the coming years here.

I’ve been developing a FreeCAD macro for a while with the following aims:

  • Get to grips with FreeCAD and parametric modelling concepts: sketches, constraints, datum planes etc.
  • Learn Python and use it for FreeCAD scripting

To really push the boundaries, I challenged myself to use Python scripting in conjunction with the PartDesign workbench: I wanted to end up with a parametric model fully based on sketches and datum planes.

There are several limitations when referencing items in FreeCAD via Python script. This includes needing to reference Part items such as edges and faces by name, whilst the names are liable (and likely) to change each time the model is modified.

There are also a number of exposed native methods in the Python scripting layer which expect (rarely documented) integer based constants. In this post I collate what I’ve learnt about these constants for future reference.

Beyond simple scripts, FreeCAD macro development really benefits from using a Python IDE. My Python IDE of choice is PyCharm.

I have been able to setup the same Python environment with FreeCAD and PyCharm using this great project

This allows the same Python syntax and semantics to be applied (especially important when switching from Python 2 to Python 3). Unfortunately however, having code completion for FreeCAD modules still eludes me…

I’ve been developing a fairly complex macro for FreeCAD and wanted to re-run it after making code changes without having to restart FreeCAD.

I found this forum posting which gave me the answer.

This post was discussing reloading code for workbenches and GUI Commands (which has some caveats) and it also works perfectly for macros.

This website is built using Hugo and deployed on Netlify. I’ve been very happy with both of these technologies since deciding to use them. I did find the Hugo documentation somewhat impenetrable: all the information and detail is there, but it’s a steep ol' curve for a newcomer. I’ve surmounted that curve and this site now features statically hosted blog comments - including moderation functionality.

This post aims to step through the required config and to point out some salient points.

Google Analytics tracking of internal links within your own website is super-simple. Tracking outbound links is slightly more involved. Google tells you how, but this requires remembering to modify each outbound link’s onclick event handler.

I’ve been developing a fairly complex macro for FreeCAD and wanted to split the code out into a module with separate files.

I’ve been writing a Python macro for FreeCAD as a learning exercise on both subjects. I thought it would be nice to display the Circled Information Source unicode character as a tooltip icon in a GUI form. It looks like this: 🛈 (if your current viewing font supports it).

After attempting this for a couple of hours, I wanted to stop learning Python and head back to Java…

Here is an image:

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I ❤️ emoji!

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