Pitfalls and things I'd do better next time...

A project log for Linear RGB LED Clock

A unique way to display time. Designed to be easily readable. Just count the colored dots!

Jan 02/17/2017 at 16:430 Comments

Today I'd like to talk about what really annoyed me while building the clock. There were a few occasions I'd rather throw everything into the next corner than continue working. It's always worth looking at those mistakes to not make them again, right?

Case and front plate

  1. Using the smallest possible profile because design
    This one got frustrating really quickly. I chose this particular profile to be pretty against the wall. This led to a "everything has to be cramped into the case"-situation. With the front plate pressed in there's as little as 0,5mm space left at some spots. I had to open and close it often to check for proper fit of this and that.

    Solution: Don't be too selective next time regarding looks but think more about assembly!
  2. Screws are bad, like really bad?
    Deciding to not use screws in any visible part of a design does need a lot of thinking to get it straight. It worked for me but was a PITA to get right.
    Find the proper dimensions for the interference fit between front plate/spacer and profile. Working as an mechanical engineer helped a lot to get it right first time but anyway: Things have to fit properly and be easy to (dis)assemble. You have to guess the profiles springiness and hope that the laser-cutting company complies with the theoretical dimensions you sent them.

    Solution: Regarding clean look there's not much to do here except maybe using different techniques (like clips or magnets) or really pretty, hard to get screws.
  3. Start building stuff without thinking everything trough
    This is a general problem I have with most of my personal projects. I think like "ah, this is a detail I can wrap my head around later". Noooope, doesn't work that way. Just finish your whiteboard or CAD session like you're supposed to and get to work when everything is sorted out.

That's about it. Won't make these mistakes again. I hope.