Tek Circuit Computer: Water Test

So the question came up: “Exactly what happens when one of those things gets wet?”

Which obviously requires an experiment:

Laminated Tek CC vs Water - start
Laminated Tek CC vs Water – start

That’s the mis-cut top deck revealing why GRBL really needs four digits after the decimal point, but, other than that, it’s perfectly representative of the genre: heavy paper, good ink, nicely laminated in plastic.

Prediction: water should seep into the paper, dissolve the ink, maybe delaminate the plastic, and generally make a mess.

Which is exactly what happens:

Laminated Tek CC vs Water - finish
Laminated Tek CC vs Water – finish

User Advisory: your shiny new Homage Tektronix Circuit Computer is not waterproof, so don’t use it in the sauna!

Pickett 110-ES Circular Slide Rule Manual: Scanning Thereof

Having mostly finished futzing with the Homage Tektronix Circuit Computer, my Pickett 110-ES Circular Slide Rule once again came to mind:

Homage Tek CC vs Pickett 110ES colors
Homage Tek CC vs Pickett 110ES colors

Casual searching didn’t reveal an online copy of its manual, so here ya go:

After a cluestick whack, here’s a better-looking version made with ScanTailor, as installed from the normal Ubuntu repo:

There’s some backstory, of course …

I gimmicked a scanner fixture to align a pair of pages:

Pickett 110-ES Scanning Fixture
Pickett 110-ES Scanning Fixture

Yes, I destroyed the collectible value of my manual by removing two slightly rusted staples.

The black paper taped to the scanner lid prevents the type on the upper surface of the paper from producing dark blurs.

Set up XSane for batch scanning (one selection over each two-page spread), get a pipeline going (disassembly → face up → face down → reassembly), and eventually create 34 images named Scan-??.jpg. They’re in color, although it matters only for the rust stains around the staple holes, with the contrast stretched enough to make them mostly B&W.

Somehow, Pickett printed / cut half the sheets slightly off-kilter, so I rotated them -1° rotation to re-align the text. To simplify plucking the rotated pages out of the image, composite the spread atop a blank white background:

for i in $(seq -w 3 2 33) ; do composite -compose atop Scan-$i.jpg -size 2200x1400 -geometry +100+100 canvas:white -rotate -1 Comp-$i.jpg ; done

Rather than thinking too hard, do exactly the same thing to the other pages without rotation:

for i in $(seq -w 2 2 34) ; do composite -compose atop Scan-$i.jpg -size 2200x1400 -geometry +100+100 canvas:white -rotate 0 Comp-$i.jpg ; done

Each scanned image has two pages, so crop it into two files with names corresponding to the actual page numbers:

for i in $(seq 2 2 34) ; do convert -crop 960x1240+1050+110 Comp-$i.jpg Crop-$(( $i - 1 )).jpg ; done
for i in $(seq 3 2 34) ; do convert -crop 960x1240+130+110 Comp-$i.jpg Crop-$(( $i - 1 )).jpg ; done
for i in $(seq 3 2 33) ; do convert -crop 960x1240+1050+110 Comp-$i.jpg Crop-$(( 66 - $i )).jpg ; done
for i in $(seq 2 2 32) ; do convert -crop 960x1240+110+110 Comp-$i.jpg Crop-$(( 66 - $i )).jpg ; done

Fix the single-digit pages to simplify globbing later on:

rename 's/-/-0/' Crop-[1-9].jpg

A bit of tedious fixup for some truly misaligned sheets produced images with slightly different sizes, so composite all of them onto slightly larger backgrounds to avoid screwing up the PDF conversion:

mkdir Final
for f in Crop* ; do composite -compose atop $f -size 1000x1300 -geometry +10+10 canvas:white -Final/$f ; done

Then jam them into a PDF for convenience:

cd Final
convert Crop-C[12].jpg Crop-[0-6]*.jpg Crop-C[34].jpg "Pickett 110-ES Circular Slide Rule Manual.pdf"

You can print it six-up to a sheet to produce text just about the same size as the original manual. If you omit (blank) cover pages 2, 67, and 68, the whole thing fits neatly on 11 sheets of paper.

Someone with better facilities and more attention to detail can surely produce a better-looking result, but this will be better than nothing.

Tek Circuit Computer: Cursor Hairline Filling

Some cleanup and a fresh layer of double-sided tape gives the cursor milling fixture plenty of adhesion:

Tek CC - Cursor blank on fixture
Tek CC – Cursor blank on fixture

This time, I diamond-scribed three PETG cursors through the transparent protective film, with two / four / six passes:

Tek CC - Cursor hairline filling
Tek CC – Cursor hairline filling

It’s not a Purple Crayon, but it suffices for my simple needs.

Scribbling a (soft!) lacquer crayon over transparent plastic still scuffs the pristine surface around the engraved line, so I tried scribbling the six-pass cursor before peeling the film, as shown above. Unfortunately, the film shreds left around the line either prevent a clean fill or pull the paint out of the ditch as the film peels back:

Tek CC - Cursor lacquer fill
Tek CC – Cursor lacquer fill

Peeling the film and scribbling ever-so-gently left a more complete line, but, if you look very closely (perhaps opening the image in a new tab for more dots), you can see the scuffs left by the scribbles on either side of the line:

Tek CC - Cursor 2 4 6 scribes
Tek CC – Cursor 2 4 6 scribes

When seen from the other side against laminated decks, though, the scuffs pretty much vanish:

Tek CC - Classic Tek Logo vectorized - red hairline
Tek CC – Classic Tek Logo vectorized – red hairline

The red hairline isn’t historically accurate, but I like the way it looks.

Give me some (heavyweight matte) paper and a (lacquer) crayon, put me in a basement (shop), and I’ll be happy for days

Vectorized Classic Tektronix Logo

The Tektronix Circuit Computer sports the most ancient of many Tektronix logos:

Tek CC Logo - scanned
Tek CC Logo – scanned

It’s a bitty thing, with the CRT about 0.7 inch long, scanned directly from my original Tek CC.

Import the PNG image into FreeCAD at 0.2 mm below the XY plane, resize it upward a smidge so the CRT is maybe 0.8 inch long, then trace “wires” all over it:

Tek Logo - FreeCAD tracing - overlay
Tek Logo – FreeCAD tracing – overlay

Given FreeCAD’s default gradient background, the wires definitely don’t stand out by themselves:

Tek Logo - FreeCAD tracing - vectors
Tek Logo – FreeCAD tracing – vectors

Several iterations later, the vectorized logo sits at the correct angle and distance from the origin at the center:

Tek Logo - FreeCAD tracing - rotated
Tek Logo – FreeCAD tracing – rotated

The cheerful colors correspond to various “groups” and make it easier to find errant vectors.

Rather than figure out how to coerce FreeCAD into converting wires into proper G-Code, export the vectors into a DXF file and slam it into DXF2GCODE:

Tek Logo - DXF2GCODE vectors
Tek Logo – DXF2GCODE vectors

Export as G-Code, iterate around the whole loop a few times to wring out the obvious mistakes, indulge in vigorous yak shaving, eventually decide it’s Good Enough™ for the moment.

Protip: set DFX2GCODE to put “0” digits before the decimal point to eliminate spaces between the coordinate axes and the numeric values which should not matter in the least, but which confuse NCViewer into ignoring the entire file.

Tinker the script running the GCMC source code to prepend the logo G-Code to the main file and it all comes out in one run:

Tek CC - with vectorized logo - cutting
Tek CC – with vectorized logo – cutting

That’s the top deck, laminated in plastic, affixed to a Cricut sticky mat on the MPCNC platform, ready for drag-knife cutting.

Assembled with a snappy red hairline:

Tek CC - Classic Tek Logo vectorized - red hairline
Tek CC – Classic Tek Logo vectorized – red hairline

Isn’t it just the cutest thing you’ve seen in a while?

It needs more work, but it’s pretty close to right.

Tek Circuit Computer: Formula Layout

Although Inkscape can lay out simple text in many intricate ways, there seems no way to typeset mathematical equations, even the simple ones involved in the Tektronix Circuit Computer.

So I entered the equations in LibreOffice’s math editor, zoomed in on each equation to the maximum 600%, whacked the little-used PrntScr key, cropped out everything except the equation, and saved it as a PNG file:

Tek CC - Bottom Deck Back - FR formula
Tek CC – Bottom Deck Back – FR formula

Import the PNG files into Inkscape, fiddle with the line spacing to get enough room, and jockey everything into position:

Tek CC - Bottom Deck Back - formula detail
Tek CC – Bottom Deck Back – formula detail

Bit of a kludge, but it looks Good Enough™.

Homage Tektronix Circuit Computer: Minimally Viable Product, Pickett Variation

This one came out just about perfect:

Tek Circuit Computer - MVP - Pickett Edition - front
Tek Circuit Computer – MVP – Pickett Edition – front

The yellow decks may not be authentic, but they definitely look nice; think of it as an homage to Pickett’s Eye-Saver Yellow slipsticks.

The rear has my how-to-operate hints:

Tek Circuit Computer - MVP - Pickett Edition - back
Tek Circuit Computer – MVP – Pickett Edition – back

Laser-printing on “inkjet” paper worked fine, although this isn’t fancy Gloss-coated Brochure paper, and the text looks like it should.

The cursor sports a two-pass hairline scribed at 330 g and filled with Lacquer-Stick paint:

Tek CC - Milled PETG cursor - Lacquer-Stik hairline
Tek CC – Milled PETG cursor – Lacquer-Stik hairline

This time, I had the clear film on top!

Although the picture doesn’t do it justice, the scales are in blue ink, which looks better against the yellow background. I suppose I could do custom colors:

Pilot V5RT cartridge - ink levels
Pilot V5RT cartridge – ink levels

The line width has decreased as the ink level drops: 0.3 mm on yellow card stock and 0.2 mm on glossy white brochure paper. I don’t know if they’re supposed to work like that, but, for this application, narrower lines are definitely better.

Tek Circuit Computer: Paper Matters, Redux

The back of a Tektronix Circuit Computer’s bottom deck carries instructions and information:

Tektronix Circuit Computer - rear
Tektronix Circuit Computer – rear

A separate instruction manual told you how to use the thing, under the reasonable assumption you’d be intimately familiar with slide rules.

In this day and age, the back should carry how-to-use instructions, so I summarized the manual into half a dozen lists:

Tek CC - instructions - first pass
Tek CC – instructions – first pass

Which looked fine & dandy & ready to print, thereby exposing various typos / inconsistencies / misalignments:

Tek CC - test print - HP Brochure vs ordinary copy paper
Tek CC – test print – HP Brochure vs ordinary copy paper

Whereupon I (re)discovered just how much paper matters.

The HP Brochure Glossy inkjet paper on the left produces wonderful results with a 0.5 mm Pilot V5RT ball point pen and has coating on both sides. It’s intended for handouts, brochures, and suchlike; the Pilot pens produce identical results on either side.

The same text, printed on plain old 22 pound “multipurpose” paper on the right, looks much better and makes the HP paper looks like something done with crayon on paper towel.

I could try a font with finer strokes, but … ick.

It’s unclear whether Brochure Matte paper would make any difference, nor whether running coated “inkjet” paper through a laser printer would have an … infelicitous … outcome.

Past experience shows the unsteady ziggurat of Linux printing doesn’t respond well to tweakage: when the default settings don’t work, there’s no easy / predictable way to change any particular setting.

For future reference, print the instruction on what will become the back of the bottom deck, mark the center point, tape it to the CNC 3018 platform, touch off XY = 0 at the center, and draw the front scales: everything lines up perfectly without extra fuss & bother.