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Circuit Break Podcast #367

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February 24, 2023, Episode #367

How do you shop for automated electronic assembly machines that cost upwards of a quarter million dollars?


  • May 4th, Bringing back the MacroFab meetup.

Question From slack: Eric Smith

  • How do you find new machines for the factory lines?
    • Google
    • Youtube
    • Vendors
    • Resellers
  • Do you guys get mailed catalogs?
    • Auctions yes. New machines no
  • Do you go to conferences?
    • I have been but never to purchase a machine
      if you find something which could be potentially good, how do you evaluate it? Is there something like a trial period with the manufacturer?
      • Research is key. Evaluation is difficult to do.
  • Do you have an examples of machines you purchased but regret? Or examples of machines that helped a lot?
    • Mimaki Printer
    • Stencil printer
    • Datron CNC
  • Direct question
    • I'd also be curious if you prefer to keep homogenous lines or do you prefer to optimize some lines to a particular task, i.e. Less precise but more throughput. I can come up with good arguments either way. It sounds like you all keep things pretty dynamic and reconfigure fairly often.

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog,, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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