• Biding Time

    Abigale07/27/2019 at 05:04 0 comments

    The projects not dead.  It's just been put on hold for a little while (I have the patience of a saint, unfortunately).

    I've been waiting around for quite awhile to get access to our local Makerspace laser cutter. At the time (many moons ago) it seemed like the best option and even today it still is (no thanks to my compound health issues) but they've been having a few issues in getting open. While I'm privy to the exact details of what's going on (volunteering there an such) It's still going to be a [few/couple of] weeks (hopefully) till it's open (for those curious about the issues, here's the official Facebook post about it.)

    Parts all layed out

    Until then I'll be waiting; but in the mean time I came across my original model I made of the project. I always think its a good idea to test out ideas in a cheap, easy to use material. Spare cardboard moving boxes were my choice at the time. (I just looked back my previous posts and I'm surprised that I've made no mention of making it.) This was made much before any of the digital models and electric designs were build. It was building during the days after my eye surgery. I couldn't sit in front of a screen without an immediate pain and sun light was horrible. (like what else would you expect?) So I spent my time cutting out some part by hand in a dimly lit room. The result of which is evident with the unevenness and inconsistency of the cuts. It probably didn't help that it was corrugated cardboard.

    The slots have worn down a minor amount since it's been displayed a few times at events (Don't be afraid of showing off prototypes, it's there to convey the idea. Not everything has to be flash). So some of the gaps are not quite as even, but the principle behind it is the same and it shows people a different way of looking at things. The images below outline the layers and parts require to build the device. Everything except the frame, each plate can only more in one axis, any more and the machine jams up. So i had guiding "pins" to keep it all aligned. It's one of the piece that was damaged every time it was used and transported (the masking tape wasn't up to the challenge) (It's also sitting in the recycling bin right now, where some of these other parts might go since I don't have a reason to keep them around any more).

    Bottom LayerMid LayerTop Layer

    Anyhow, I'm just counting down the days till some imaginary date where I can get access to all the tools and materials I need to finish this device off. But in current time I'll just be playing with small things (nothing Hackaday project worthy yet) to pass the time. I've already got ideas for other major projects and of course extensions of this device... Just one thing at a time.

  • Poke and Chatter

    Abigale02/18/2019 at 01:29 1 comment

    Still been a little apprehensive recently with jumping back into the fray and finalising the 3d model for laser cutting.  Admittedly I'm a little unsure about it all, since I love to get this right first time (Chance of that happening, Low.... very low). But It's what I'll be working on again in the coming weeks, especial since the weather has cooled down locally and I've got more energy to get things done. But the strip board is finally complete, as well as a fully laid out version of the board (which will be going up soon after the post is live.)

    The underside of the board
    Not the prettiest solder job, but it all works.

    So the last changes to the board was eventual just the reset line and "isolating" the servo noise from the clocks. Nothing else need to be done, but I also had to track down some of the loose connections on the board, which was a nightmare. Right side up, on of the signal clocks would fail. Flip the board over to probe and it would all start working. Took me a little while to realise that that largest part of the board had probably been knocked a few times in my bag (since I haven't wanted to keeping it in an annoying to carry box to Hackerspace). Re-flowing the solder did the job.

    Then thinking that was it. I hit a issue with my power supply. For some reason the volt/amp meter I was using to monitor the power coming into the device was causing minor power drops, enough for the eeprom to cut out and for everything to chatter and for the system never to stabilise. Solution, not to use the meter, A bit of a shame as It's nice to know when a part shorts on your project, before the magic smoke is released. >.>

    My next steps will be

    • Looking into the tolerances that the laser cutters that I can get access to have.
    • Keeping poking at the model till it looks like it'll work.
    • laser cut and assembly. Oh. I should think about doing a stand of some sort.
      //todo make stand <.<
    Read more »

  • Initial Position

    Abigale01/16/2019 at 09:32 0 comments

    Since this project started quite awhile before I created this page, I though it would be best to document the early days and mark the current point.

    I have a strong interest in computers and I adore the reading up the various methods use in computers to achieve, well computing! Period designs and the interface also drew me in. But the more I read up on things the more I wanted to do something more (naturally). I decided to replicate part of computer, but which one. I'd list some of the computers I looked at here but I seem to have lost the list. But more or less it was a toss up between artistic vs functional. In the end it was a functional that won. The choice of design came down to the topic at the time, which should be clear of what I was looking into. The Z1 computer.

    The next step was to identify which part to replicate, so looking at the documents available online I came across a curious document which was a clear example of "propositional logic" (seen below). (on a side note I'm an English speaker, and German while my preference of choice for langue to learn both now and when I was at school, was not the language I learnt, it was both Chinese and Japanese. So I'm grateful to Google translate for bridging the language gap.)

    The though came to me that this document (unmodified) would be a great companion with a working model, if I ever get a chance to present this at a Maker Faire or similar. From there the design process began.

    I modeled the main mechanism both in FreeCAD and Solve Space. FreeCAD lost my files, broke constrains and generally gave me headaches while trying to align the pieces, which lead me to switch to Solve Space. It was much better in single part modeling but in the end I got suck on the assembly mode and if I recall correctly something todo with the plane alignment. Once again after considerable time, I went back to FreeCAD and finished it there, though I'm not convinced that it's stable to model against. Guess I'll find that out in the future.

    Tired of fiddling with the model I shifted my attention to the electronics side of the project. I decided against using a micro-controller (which meant that It could be done in 5mins (software is what I know best)) of any sort but allowed use of ICs. The result of this lead to using 3 clocks, discreet transistorized gates, an eeprom and a binary counter. This resulted in the board below.

    But I'm not too willing to show the bottom side thanks to the monstrosity of an iron that I used for most of the project. Needless to say that the the smallest tip I had was the size of of nearly two traces (on a strip board) which made it hard to keep everything where it belonged. I was using another iron that I bought during the project, but that ended up dying halfway through the project and the fix (replacing the heating element cause it to go pop and release the smoke). I ended up spending more money near the end of this part of the project to get a better iron that so far hasn't died on me; yet.

    So that gets you up to scratch with where I am in the project. The next steps that need to be taken are...

    • fix the reset line on the counter
    • work out the mounting position for the servos
    • finish the outside case to keep it all together
    • modify the design to better work with the tolerances of the laser cutter that I can use.
    • get it all cut
    • and finally assembly it all, then repeating half of the steps again because I've made a mistake somewhere in the design.

    It's going to be an interesting journey given half of this I've never done before, but when it's done I'll be quite happy and probably ready to move onto a smaller project, or one that doesn't involve me prodding and poking software to get everything to work as expected.