Assignment 3: Complete

Ok, been a rough week. Forgot to upload all of my completed stuff on my blog. Here goes!

The assignment is done, it doesn’t work as well as I wanted. You have to get pretty close to it to trigger it. It also basically refused to work with the 9V battery I have, which is annoying (that battery was like $8). So, first I got a single felt square to work.

Then I proceeded to make the rest of the felt swatches, then I sewed them together in a fashion where they wouldn’t fall off of the project.


I got it all to work eventually, in the video below. This was it plugged in to a 9V battery, which really didn’t work very well. It worked significantly better in class when plugged into a computer.

Below are the breadboard and schematic fritzing diagrams for the wiring.


Looking at the schematic…. it is very wrong. I am not entirely sure what the heck went wrong there. I will have to take a look at it and fix it when I have a chance.

Overall, I’m not 100% happy with this project. It didn’t look the way I wanted it to, and it didn’t work how I wanted it to. I was also correct in my concern that physics would not allow this project to work the way I wanted it to. If I have time to fix/play with this further, I may look into trying to put the motor on in such a way where it powers the wheels rather than a fan for the sail.

Assignment 3: Materials

Alright, so I have the materials for the assignment. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate the regular colored foam and felt so I had to buy easter themed stuff. I also have an unholy amount of popsicle sticks, that sure is… something. I did luck into finding copper scrubber thingies,  which should theoretically be better than the stainless steel ones. I also did manage to find a toy truck, the only issue is the only one they had had a broken wheel, so I have to fix that before I can work on the boat structure. I can start on felting copper into the felt and working on the fan though. I hope Krazy glue and possibly hot glue will be enough to hold that broken wheel in place, it broke in a really weird spot.

Assignment 3: Ideas

Alright so the theme for this one is proximity and distance. I want to try to make a little mechanised thing that will run away from you if you get too close. I have 2 ideas for this one. The first being basically a hamster ball type thing covered in felt or foam or something with embedded conductive material, and where there is something inside that will cause the little guy to propel forwards if you get too close to it. I couldn’t figure out how this would work specifically with a hamster ball, so I figured I could make a ball out of wire mesh and coat that. I also had no idea how I could pull this off with basically making it wireless, but then I thought of bumper cars and how they get their power with the long antenna in the back of the vehicle. Something like that would theoretically work. The issue with this idea is that we only have a week and a half to complete these, and I won’t even have a chance to go look for materials until Friday. I would have to find wire mesh that is strong enough to hold its shape, and a cheap RC vehicle I could take apart and modify, which due to my frankly limited knowledge of electronics would be a stretch in this limited amount of time.

The second idea uses the same theme as above, but is theoretically more achievable. Jackie is the one who suggested it based off of my original hamster ball idea. If I make like a tiny ship and use my hobby motor as a fan, I could blow the sail of the ship in response to something getting close to the ship. I will just need felt, conductive thread, possibly steel wool, and something with fairly easily movable wheels, and something I can use as a template for the ship shape. I did have a suggestion (from Jackie) to just make an actual boat that is water-tight, but due to the fact that I will be putting my Arduino and the hobby motor in the boat, I am somewhat unwilling to risk the safety of my Arduino and other things for this project.


My sketches for the ideas for this project.

In the case that this boat doesn’t work out (I have the weirdest feeling that I may have an issue with mounting the fan on the back of the boat – the physics of thrust may not work as I’m expecting them to, I vaguely remember something from high school physics that may prove my feeling correct – but that is a bridge I will have to cross when I come to it). Worst comes to worst, I can turn the sailboat into a motorboat.

I do have a backup idea that will be very simple to complete, and that is just to make a buzz wire game. It matches with the theme of proximity because it is a game where you have to get a wire loop around another wire without touching it. You lose if you complete the circuit (touching the wire loop to the wire will complete the circuit). It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to complete, as I would just need some exposed wire, tape, some wood blocks, a few screws, a pencil or a stick, and some LEDs and the speaker from the kit.

I feel a bit better having a backup plan now. I just wish we would’ve gotten the assignment (or at least were given a heads up) over the break, as I could have picked stuff up while I was back home. I even have a few things up there that I could’ve brought back with me to use had I realised I needed them. Failing that, I would’ve had more time to go out and get materials for this project(if my initial plan fails, I may not have time to do my backup or collect materials for it…). But we shall see what happens over the next week. At least on Monday we are supposed to get some class time for this.