Conrad R. Hoffman

Canandaigua NY

Introduction

Most of my career has been spent designing instrumentation for small high-tech companies. Though my specialty is analog electronic design, I have worked on a variety of complex projects that required a detailed knowledge of lasers, optics, digital systems, programming, and mechanics. I'm an experienced fabricator in both common and exotic materials.

I offer reasonably priced consulting and other services on a short or long term basis.

Areas of Expertise

Lab and Shop Facilities

I maintain metal, wood, electronic, and graphic facilities for the production of prototypes and short production runs. Available equipment includes an 11" lathe with a long bed, bench mill, rotary table, dividing heads, drill press, measuring microscopes and other measurement equipment. Recently added is a small surface grinder and a Sunnen honing machine for making and reconditioning precision bearings. The electronics lab has oscilloscopes, curve tracer w/ high voltage capability, calibration standards, various THD analyzers, and the usual assortment of small tools, power supplies, test equipment and parts. Standards lab bridges for capacitance and inductance are maintained, along with ppm or better voltage dividers. Circuitry from DC to 350 Mhz is no problem, with some capabilities extending to 1 Ghz. Ultrasonic cleaning, a baking oven and vacuum systems for epoxy degassing and rough vacuum work, are available. I maintain an extensive inventory of electronic components, fasteners, mechanical components and raw material stock. Virtually anything can be fabricated here in small quantities, usually on short notice. Note that the shop facilities are only used to support design projects and that I'm not in the job shop business. I do have a close relationship with several local CNC shops for high volume needs, and for physically larger parts.

Capabilities

I'm familiar with most machining processes, the tolerances they can hold, and the stock requirements. I can show you how to design for minimum cost, while still maintaining the necessary precision. Can't find a process or machine to do what you want? If I can't find it, I can probably design it.

My first love is analog design. My lab grew out of an interest in audio, but quickly moved beyond that into precision measurement and circuits related to piezoelectrics and for researchers. It's a digital world and though I work on the periphery of all manner of digital circuits, and do quite a bit of interface and PC programming, I usually leave detailed digital design to others.

Originally trained as a photographer, I maintain a dedicated area for product photography, with high magnification macro work a specialty. For more magnification, several photo microscope systems are available. If point 'n shoot snapshots aren't getting you the sales results you're looking for, I can help. I'm skilled with image enhancement, restoration and post processing. Though my workflow is normally 100% digital, film services, including traditional large format, are also available.

Many projects require vacuum systems and I've built and maintained ultra high vacuum laser systems. Leak checking is an constant need in vacuum work and I'm experienced at maintaining both early Veeco diffusion backed helium leak checkers and more modern quadrupole gas analyzers. I'm no stranger to cleaning, pump rebuilding and hard silver brazing.

One has to be a rabid reader to work across so many fields. Thus, I maintain an extensive library covering most of the sciences. The depth of information and period covered generally exceeds what can be obtained surfing the 'net because so many classic texts are still under copyright and can't be posted, and because few websites can go into the detail of a good text. I have volumes ranging from astronomy texts written in the late 1800s, to amplifier design texts published just a few months ago. Math, physics, optics, mechanics, chemistry, industrial processes and far more are well represented. These references are useful not only for design work, but for discovering prior art in pursuit of patents. Or possibly challenging them.

Why Conrad?

It's impossible to describe all the projects and technologies I've been involved in over the years, but if you're having a temporary manpower shortage, or are stumped by some design, fabrication or measurement problem, there's a very good chance I can help.

Call me!

I'm interested in almost everything and am happy to discuss any technical topic, even if it doesn't turn into a project or contract. If it does, you'll find my rates are very competitive. Please don't hesitate to email. (I limit some personal information on the 'net so a phone number will be supplied by email.)

I work with a very small number of select clients who have difficult design challenges, open minded management styles and want to get things done quickly and efficiently. If this describes you, please feel free to send an email describing your needs to choffman@conradhoffman.com

Full Disclosure

I am not a degreed engineer, nor a licensed P.E. I don't design suspension bridges or anything affecting public safety. I do not offer "engineering" services as defined by NYS. If this is a problem, I fully understand and can probably refer you to a suitable specialist.