Notes on Circuit Board Construction and Anatomy

This is a set of notes that I will soon be using in a workshop on printed circuit board design. I cover various aspects such as; Layer by layer breakdowns, how traces are made, electoplating, board stackups, how vias work and what solder resist is for. 

A magnified look of what makes a trace
A magnified look of what makes a trace

Review: My Printrbot Simple 3D Printer

Owning a 3D Printer is great. It is hands down the best tool I own (right next to my handy dandy Dremel). I purchased the Printrbot Simple back in December of 2013, it was a Christmas gift to myself. They no longer sell the exact model that I bought, so don't go looking for it, but I highly recommend getting a PrintrBot printer brand printer. I bought the "Assemble-it-yourself" kit, because it was 100 bucks cheaper. I also recommend doing that, regardless of your experience level (I'll touch more on that later). I put it together over the course of 2 days, and it printed well right off the bat. The one issue with it is its print volume is 4x4x4, so I am sort of limited with what I can do with it. But with a little bit of design work and thinking, you can make parts interlockable and forgo the limited volume issue (For example in my Custom Linear Actuator Project). All things considered I'd say the printer is a 9 out of 10.

An image of the PrintrBot Simple after my very first print.
An image of the PrintrBot Simple after my very first print.

A Novel Design of a McCulloch-Pitts Neuron in CMOS VLSI

Due to the advancement in recent hardware technology and vast information availability, a growing need for efficient and adaptable processing has become a necessity. Artificial neural network (ANN) mimics the functionality of human brain and can be applied to solve many complex engineering problems such as pattern recognition, control, time series modeling, and optimization. The capability of ANN is limited due to current microprocessing systems, and thus need specialized digital logic. In this paper, a neuron for a multilayer perceptron (MLP) using back-propagation is applied using digital logic methods, which is implemented using CMOS very large system integration (VLSI) for high speed and energy efficiency is proposed. The key feature, massive parallel processing is made possible using the proposed ANN approach and as proof-of-concept.

Figure 1: The McCulloch-Pitts neuron
Figure 1: The McCulloch-Pitts neuron

Custom Created Journal Straight out of Trinor!

Every Friday night, I get immersed in a totally different world. And that world is called Trinor. Trinor is a creation of my good friend and high school biology teacher, Jason Hitsman. He puts a lot of work into planning our DnD campaign, designing maps, characters and even music. So for this 2015 Christmas, the player characters decided that Jason's world should give back to him. We thought it would be cool to somehow share some of our favorite memories from the campaign. So what follows is the construction of my character's journal. Ander Thorngage is a halfling bard, who's more interested in following the story of his adventurer counterparts than anything else. I wanted to put some work into making the journal look as believable as possible.

The finished journal with spread out pages


Learning VLSI: First Steps

For my senior project, Programmable Artificial Neural Chip Acquires Knowledge by Experience (PANCAKE), I need to learn VLSI. There are no classes at SVSU that teach VLSI, so it's up to me to learn how to do it. You may be asking, why did I choose a project that I do not know how to do? Well... I am in school, and believe in learning as many new things in school as possible, even if it means teaching yourself these things. Some of the most valuable lessons you can learn are things you teach yourself.

A 3D View of an NMOS Transistor in Electric VLSI


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