Rather to my surprise a couple of folk emailed me about this
project expressing concern that if I was doing that much soldering
I should have some kind of fume extraction.
I do have a simple fan. It does make quite a difference. I got it
about a week or so after the bulk soldering properly started.
Rather disconcertingly I can still see the smoke rising off the
board directly into my face but the fan is having an effect
because without it I can smell and feel the fumes and with it I
In a similar vein, a bit of kit I'd not do without now is a set of
ear defenders. Each frame requires drilling quite a lot of holes.
Hundreds. In both wood and metal. I found the process very tiring.
So for the second frame I got a pair of ear defenders and it makes
a huge difference. With the noise reduced it's all a lot more
relaxed and bearable. Well worth the £20 or whatever it was.
As it happens safety considerations have affected the design. My
very earliest thoughts of how the Megaprocessor would look
involved being able to sit actually and properly inside it. My
first name for the project was the "Walk In Computer". I thought
that to be able to sit inside a processor and see stuff happening
all around and above you would be fantastic. Thoughts on how to do
the "above" bit and what might happen if it went wrong did start
to push me in the direction I've gone. The Megaprocessor in total
weighs about half a tonne so as a box you'd have to support a 100
kilos or more as its top. Not sure I'd trust me to do that.
Also had to think for a bit about the frames I've ended up with.
2m tall and weighing 60Kg each; you'd notice if that toppled on
For the record I've burnt myself with the soldering iron about 5
or 6 times so far. Burnt the carpet 3 or 4 times. And drilled
holes in the carpet twice. And pinched my fingers in pliers/wire
cutter/aluminium bars half a dozen times. Not yet drawn blood.
The worst injury so far is a burn about half an inch across. Not
from soldering but from my watch. I was debugging a board and
rested my wrist on it. My watch has a metal strap and it shorted
the power supply and started cooking me. It took some seconds for
me to notice and then react. And to begin with I assumed it was an
insect bite or something so instead of taking off the watch I
flapped around looking for the non-existent wasp, wrist burning
more and more all the time.