programmers_desk_ref_3

Designed by Brian, manufactured by lasers: part 2, The Programmer’s Desk Reference

This is a followup to my previous post, Designed by Brian, Manufactured by Lasers.  That was my “Hello, World” introduction project to laser cutting: simple coasters with etched designs and a coaster-holder.

This second laser-cut project was designed to have a bit more 3D, using a couple of interlocking pieces.  I do quite a bit with 3×5 cards (see also: my Hipster PDA posts), so I thought I might try for a 3×5 card-sized easel with a “card” etched with information useful to programmers.  I thought this “card” could also be used as a mini clipboard, with the addition of a binder clip.

After playing around with the design, I found that what I wanted on the card—an ASCII chart—needed a bit more space than 3×5, so that piece grew a bit.

I did not go with the binder clip idea. I thought the etching would be much deeper and I worry that the clip might mar the reference a bit too much.  I made the holes a little small, but fortunately this design is wood and could be easily filed down.

Seven internets to anyone who can guess (and wasn’t already told by me) what that third column is — the one with the alternative hex.

The easel itself has a little extra reference that I couldn’t fit on the main reference block, namely a hex-to-binary chart. I’m good with doing 0..9 in my head, but I always have problems with the range from B to E — I have to convert to decimal in my head and/or on my fingers, then to binary.

The next big project will require some MakerBot prototyping and at least one metal piece in the final build, so I’m going to have to compare prices and materials between Ponoko and Shapeways.

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

3 thoughts on “Designed by Brian, manufactured by lasers: part 2, The Programmer’s Desk Reference”

  1. I don’t know what the third column is. All I can guess is some alternate ascii set. It’s still a hex number, but it sometimes doesn’t equal the numbers before it in decimal and hex (because it’s +128d (+80h)), but other times it does. And the way it doesn’t or does follows a recursive pattern.

    I have no idea why though.

      1. Yeah, that high bit (0x80) gets set or not set so that there’s always an odd number of bits in the number. It’s the crappiest form of error-detection out there, but I guess it (mostly) works in simple cases where you only expect on bit in >8 to accidentally toggle, like broadcast caption streams. With digital television, transmissions are wrappered with much better error handling, so it’s kind of moot (and awkward) these days to use the parity bits.

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