Monday, April 30, 2012

shipping of electronic parts from USA to europe: UPS vs DHL/FEDEX

When buying electronic parts it sometimes is cheaper to buy in the USA. There are some caveats concerning shipping though.


While sometimes a bit cheaper (but I usually end up with free shipping because I cluster my buys), there is one very big drawback, and that is import tax.
With UPS you have to pay the import tax in cash to the driver. Because you don't know the exact amount at order time you have to guess how much money you need to have in house and then some more because the driver usually can't give change back.


With DHL & FEDEX you don't pay the import tax to the driver, you get a separate bill via snail mail, which you can pay via a normal wire transfer. Much better!


That being said, this starts to influence my buying choices. For example digikey usually ships with UPS, while mouser allows me to choose FEDEX, which makes mouser my preferred choice for buying parts from the USA.

When buying in Europe it doesn't matter so for farnell and rsonline I don't mind either. If I can buy at either of those I still prefer that but both digikey and mouser have a somewhat larger and different selection.


I basically buy most parts at those 4, and sometimes sparkfun or one of sparkfun's resellers of course. Are there any other shops you recommend ?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

3D printing a LED diffuser directly on PCB

"3D printing a LED diffuser directly on PCB"

Yes, it is possible. Hence this quick blog post.

This lamp is a simple proto PCB with a whole lot (>30) of high brightness 0603 white LEDs soldered on them with a few layers of 3D printed yellow PLA on top of them.

I had to add some DRAM heat-sinks to the back to deal with the massive heat production, especially given that PLA gets liquid at relatively low temperatures. Light production is quite poor, but it is cool for mood lighting.

To be continued.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

3D printing and openSCAD

Yesterday, March 2012, I gave a short talk about 3D printing and openSCAD at Newline^2, the conference at 0x20.

The slides and embedded pictures are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

Click here to get them as PDF.