Control Or Sense

Supply Frame Residency project to make a no-code custom controller infrastructure for mobile devices.

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A two part controller system that will standardize connectors for digital and analog devices so that based on controller state being passed to the device can simply just be understood. I'll be building out educational material and parts in such a way that anyone can can follow along and create truly amazing interfaces without having to learn code. Accessibility is key here!

This is where all can view updates throughout the next 4 months. starting today 3/1/2017

Testing log details from this space. I no longer see log title so I think this might be the incorect place to place text... TESTCASE!!!!!


  • Quick crimp guide found

    Metalnat3 days ago 0 comments

    Something I know only from having my mentor and friend have me redo many crimp connections way early on. They also articulate better than i can all the things to be observed and considered:

    This was found at

  • Breaking bits in the pursuit of progress.

    Metalnat6 days ago 0 comments

    Let me tell you of my journey of getting to this point:

    It started off well enough with studies and following the path of Getting to Blinky with @Chris Gammell. Then after that going through KiCad Quickstart Guide. With those two sets of videos followed I was able to fumble through some board design.

    I started with a simple goal. Take a teensy 2.0 footprint and break out 4 IO pins to buttons with pullup resistors and ending on the board with a wire-to-board JST connector. Then add 4 analog (3 pin) jst connector to 4 other IO. This time adding the resistor on the vcc line, in case end used shorts the vcc and gnd wire together. This led me to this first attempt:

    In the top left you will see where power supply feeds system. Then a 5v voltage regulator but if I happen to feed a regulated 5v source I have to option to jump the two pads and bypass the regulator. Then it's my button setup. followed by my analog in setup. One thing many of you may have noticed is that my traces on the right do not connect to my SMD (Surface Mount) resistors. There is a simple reason for this..... I did not know yet how to "flip" the component to backside. Nor did i know that pressing the "B" key with the fill area tool selected would refill my ground plane.

    Being anable to fix this I deleted the file completely and started over. The second attempt went by a lit faster and I made these:

    Holy crapcakes! I found that KiCad has a 3d view tool built in. so cool right?.

    And after some playing around with the OtherPlan software I was able to generate a setup for cutting. And this began my journey into the physical world... I mean other 3d printing and that birth thing.

    My first casualty from ignorance. I had thought that since the machine knew it's width of tool, and the jig placement could only be set by the two holes at the front of the other mill, that the tool path would know an offset for placing board layout inside of the safe area for these tolerances. This is not the case.... Also since I was about to learn the first valuable lesson i was hoping for..... real world measurements and interference:

    Even though the JST connectors fit right into their places.... they don't fit right next to each other. Turns out, the footprint i used doesn't have the right spacing for the outline of the plastic parts. Also I had made a mistake with choosing my header spacing... by double. It's easy to select spacing that isn't the 2.54 spacing that I now know that i needed. On a good note, the 0805 components line up perfectly. so woot for that. At this time I had enough info to work on this board at home so I could be ready for my next day at the design lab. So to best use time at space I hop on to a more simple board concept.

    The general Button V1 board:

    • Two pin by way of JST connector
    • Allow for 6mm button
    • Allow for 12mm Button
    • Allow for SMD button
    • Not break any more bits.

    The next little board i make schematic for, draw out circuit, and have on the mill within 30 minutes. Wow I feel really good and accomplished at this moment for sneezing out a simple design. This feeling was short lived however as my next step.... break a bit. Seriously!

    My previous experience on this machine was that first thing it would do was bring bit to middle front and ask for confirmation on bit type/change opportunity. Then it would go to the right and home just off of the side of the the material. Thinking this was a beginning gcode type of thing I go ahead and change the bit and press the start milling button. What i didn't know is that i had the order different than the machine thought and since i did not specifically initialize the "change bit" opperation by top right button press, and it thinking it was still the previous bit and what it wanted, it just went in and did a plunge right into the copper board. This is when I asked what i missed and was informed of the button on the top right. So bit two down and another lesson learned.


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  • Let's Write a Novel!

    Metalnat03/17/2017 at 22:05 0 comments

    Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then we are about to write a novel.

    Those that know me know that my main form of sharing is through instagram. And as such i made a point to get better tools for documentation for this project and any tutorial here after.

    The camera kit I got was the Rebel t6: Link to item here

    Keep in mind that my only experience with this kind of camera is limited to holding one for b-roll during my stay at

    So lets look at my progress so far and compare my phone image to a camera image.
    Phone (Galaxy Note 3):

    Camera (Canon Rebel T6):

    I'm still using the auto setting on the camera. This was my first go at tripod and manual focus.

    Now i can get pictures that are very usable with both my phone and new camera. but the real reason i went for the camera was to create usable video for the tutorials. This will be the most accessible build I've done to date, but also the most "non-digital" topic to cover. We are talking about assemblies, wiring, testing, ect... Expect to see those videos soon enough.


  • Learning About Tools and Personal Limit Habits

    Metalnat03/06/2017 at 06:22 0 comments

    So begins my journey into this project and first chance I signed up for training on some machines so access during my limited time on site I can have active progress onsite, and research offsite. This is an ideal use of time. Being on site itself yields a nice environment with others eagerly awaiting training and actively diving into their own project pursuits and that is amazing. Plus we are all hopping in and out of our projects to help the other residents. It's what being a maker should always have been. In my opinion at least.

    Now that I've been trained on the othermill, I'm diving back into KiCad as well as looking up components and calling up friends that already work on their own boards. This is the bulk of what I've been squeezing time in for while still working on the VR suspension rig, and running a Makerspace. These little moments are harsh reminders of all that i don't know. Like one key component to my build is using a slotted "cartridge like" system for the main boards and the breakout docks. While talking with my friend Paul I was educated on the ways to properly dive into Digikey and given the keywords "card edge connector." This alone was a giant leap into the right direction because my searches were more along the lines of "SMD female cartridge connector" or "female nintendo slot" so on and so forth. There is a significant language barrier in the physical world for components. But not impossible at all. Hell I've only started actively diving into the electronics part of things 3 years ago, and only 1.5 years ago did i finally get ohms law. The equation by itself processes as one thing, but the active execution of the equation is a completely different part of processing. It's why i tell my students, active pursuits filled with failures yield far more than a lifetime of observation with none.

    As someone new to ordering components, this is damn intimidating. And due to my personal limiting habits, twice as hard. (will get into that later)

    A fun link for "Card Edge Connectors"

    Now that I've got a point on connectors I'm looking into spec sheets when i can find them. And still trying to narrow down form/function needs. But those are much later.

    Now to Bluetooth initial studies. I've learned that the human body is great at getting in the way of frequencies used by bluetooth and should be taken into consideration when designing any interface as well as the antenna shape matters greatly in coverage area. Plus a lot of other great other bits of info regarding circuit embedded antennas.

    A snapshot from this doc:

    Now all of the bluetooth research is a bit early but I feel it's important to let my brain process while i continue studies on other fronts. It's just how I work.

    And now for the confronting of personal limiters. Most of which are due to budget constraints and this is something I have always known, and have seen many of my friends and students deal with on their adventures. So this is not anything new. My solutions for RnD is to buy in pairs because at somepoint, something will fail. Just accept that. But on this project, with a fixed budget, flying solo I find myself looking over every component with more energy then i can physically budget but mostly because of how I don't know what i don't know. As demonstrated earlier I am so thankful for the friends i have through these maker communities for continued mentor-ship and family for their support. Without either I would surely have burned out already. Nobody can do all of this alone and I am no different.

    Hope all of this made sense. I'm a bit on the tired side and the night is still young for supporting makerspace members, and personal studies.


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