Ever wanted to add a nice, crisp logo, a barcode or graphic to your prints? Colorfabb

Ever wanted to add a nice, crisp logo, a barcode or graphic to your prints? Colorfabb Laser Marking PLA has you covered. Let’s take a look! Colorfabb Laser Marking PLA has just been released, adding new possibilities to FDM 3D printing around the globe. At first glance, the material looks like any other PLA. For the most part, print settings and material qualities should be the same. However, Colorfabb has mixed in a laser-sensitive additive that will work with a range of laser wavelengths. This additive allows the material to be laser marked after printing. This means that a printed part can be transferred to a laser etching/marking machine, and have a 2D image, text or graphic printed directly on its surface. While it is possible to cut or etch 3D printed parts in a variety of materials, it was not previously possible to mark in the same way as on wood (except perhaps with a “wood” PLA — but this has not yet been reliably documented). The difference is that instead of melting or removing material, marking will only discolor the surface. For all owning both a 3D printer and a laser engraver, this material provides a new option for more professional parts and products. Pri...

No Caffeine, No Problem: A Hand-Soldered Chip-Scale Package

It’s said that the electronic devices we use on a daily basis, particularly cell phones, could be so much smaller than they are if only the humans they’re designed for weren’t so darn big and clumsy. That’s only part of the story — battery technology has a lot to do with overall device size — but it’s true that chips can be made a whole lot smaller than they are currently, and are starting to bump into the limit of being able to handle them without mechanical assistance. Or perhaps not, if [mitxela]’s hand-soldering of a tiny ball-grid array chip is any guide. While soldering wires directly to a chip is certainly a practical skill and an impressive one at that, this at least dips its toe into the “just showing off” category. And we heartily endorse that. The chip is an ATtiny20 in a WLCSP (wafer-level chip-scale package) that’s a mere 1.5 mm by 1.4 mm. The underside of the chip has twelve tiny solder balls in a staggered 4×6 array with 0.4 mm pitch. [mitxela] tackled the job of soldering this chip to a 2.54-mm pitch breakout board using individual strands from #30 AWG stranded wire and a regular soldering iron, with a little Kapton tape to hold the chip down. Through the microsc...