Who are you?
My name is Michael Ciuffo (pronouced "Choof-oh"; thus "ch00f"), and I'm an Electrical Engineer working for a product development firm in Seattle. I got my BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT as part of the class of 2011.
Why did you make this blog?
The target audience for this blog is myself about 10 years ago. I had a lot of ideas and ambition, but none of the skills necessary to make any of my ideas into a reality. Since obtaining those skills, I've learned how rewarding and amazing an experience it can be to create a useful electronic circuit from scratch and I hope that this blog will serve to entertain, educate, and motivate aspiring inventors to do the same.
It also works as a great personal notebook for me and it forces me to catalog all of the design decision I've made in the past so that I can refer to them in the future. Also, trying to explain my work on the blog forces me to have a better understanding of exactly what I'm doing. As Einstein (supposedly) said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Why did you waste your time making a _______?
That's a great question! A lot of the stuff I've made on this blog is pretty silly. I really enjoy the engineering process, and I like the challenge of finding solutions to difficult problems that nobody else has tried to tackle before. Most of the useful stuff has already been invented, so the interesting problems remain unsolved in the realm of the useless.
Just because something isn't marketable, doesn't mean it isn't worth making.
Can I email you?
Please do! I really don't get that much email traffic, so if you have any comments or questions about the site or you need help with a personal project, please send an email my way. I'm always looking for more content for my reader mail section.
Will you make me a _______? I'll pay you!
If I needed money, I would probably have some advertisements or a donate button on the side of this page. While I have done some commissioned pieces in the past, I was only paid enough to cover the cost of materials. In fact, if you look into it, I probably give half of the things I make away to friends and family for free.
Yes I will make you something, but it has to be something that presents an interesting problem that I haven't solved before (or that nobody else has solved before). My primary goal will always be to make interesting and educational content for my readers. No I won't make you a Chris Jericho jacket.
I also don't work with tight deadlines. If it takes me a few tries to make your commissioned piece function, I will take the time to do it right (and document what I did wrong).
If you want something that I've already made, I invite you to try to make it yourself (or find a local nerd who will make it for you).
Besides, if I charged a fair rate for my time, you probably couldn't afford me 😛
I want to make something you made! Will you write a tutorial?
The process of designing any circuit is a very complicated one, and by simply following directions, you will miss out on all of the critical design decisions that need to be made to make a circuit of your own especially the ones that aren't obvious (most of them). Most EE tutorials just turn into a guide on what to solder to what and leave the reader with questions like "It asks for a 5% resistor, but I only have 1%. Will that work?"
Instead, I try to provide enough information such that a significantly motivated individual can duplicate my work while still having to do a lot of the leg work and troubleshooting on his or her own. Most of my projects even have a zip file containing source code, schematics, and PCB files. More on that here.
If you are one of these individuals and you're stuck on a problem. Feel free to shoot me an email.
Why are you giving your ideas away? You should patent them!
Patents are incredibly expensive, and I'm sure that few of the items on my site would even qualify.