Friday, February 7, 2014

First TechShop Project

I've been taking classes over there, and yesterday I finally reserved a tool.

Sorta. The tool I'd reserved broke down the night before, so I lurked for five hours until I was able to jump on one for a few minutes between reserved users.

Still, worked out I managed to accomplish all four tasks I'd planned for that trip. So not bad at all.

These are lasered out of 1/8" colored acrylic from Tap Plastics. The light blue is engraved with some lettering and other details, and the dark blue is, obviously, cut out. The intent is to glue six of these together, plus the existing outer pieces, to make a cube, and light that from within.

I taught myself Inkscape just well enough to work up the artwork at home. Then at TechShop I went to one of the workstations and transferred to Illustrator (which is preferred format for the Epilog laser cutters). So I had to learn yet another piece of software, on the fly, on PC (which I don't know). And do so in time to get it to the laser.

And, well, they don't stack up quite like I hoped so I need to rework the artwork and run another set off. When I can get a slot on the laser again (the four machines at TechShop are in almost constant use, and reserved out to a couple weeks!)

The other thing there is a replacement rack adaptor plate for my Sennheisers (one of the people I rented to lost the part and all the screws that go with it, too). I refreshed my memory of the cut-off saw by successfully chucking the work, lowering the blade, then hitting emergency stop when it didn't want to play nice with 1/16" steel. Hammered the piece flat again with a ball-peen and did the cuts on the bandsaw instead. Marked the holes there, but did the drilling at home in my underpowered-but-cute Central Machinery drill press (a Harbor Freight special -- and you know what that means.)

Oh; this is the current electronics package for the Holocron (the light that will be behind the acrylic pieces):

Adafruit neo-pixel being driven by a Trinket (Arduino-compatible ATtiny board), 500 ma/h LiPo and USB charger. The current circuit was a test of whether you could charge the battery in-circuit, and run the lights while charging. You can.

The next test is whether you can put a thumb drive in parallel with all this and charge the batteries, run the lights, and still access the thumb drive. Last step is using the old capsense code once again to allow the end-user to switch the light without opening up the box.

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