[Tommy] is a one-man-shop making electronic musical things, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the outstanding prototyping post-mortem he wrote up about his attempt to turn his Four-Step Octaved Sequencer into a viable product. [Tommy] had originally made a hand-soldered one-off whose performance belied its simple innards, and decided to try to turn it into a product. Short version: he says that someday there will be some kind of sequencer product like it available from him, “[B]ut it won’t be this one. This one will go on my shelf as a reminder of how far I’ve come.”
The unit works, looks great, has a simple parts list, and the bill of materials is low in cost. So what’s the problem? What happened is that through prototyping, [Tommy] learned that his design will need many changes before it can be used to create a product, and he wrote up everything he learned during the process. Embedded below is a demo of the prototype that shows off how it works and what it can do, and it helps give context to the lessons [Tommy] shares.
When it comes to discovering practical issues and unexpected, lurking problems, hands-on prototyping can be a great teacher. Another great teacher is experience, and that is an excellent opportunity to bring up [Dan Gelbart] sharing his 40 years of mechanical prototyping experience. In the first few minutes of the first video, [Dan] talks about choices in enclosure design and gives a good idea of what the rest of the series is like. It’s a great follow-up to [Tommy]’s write-up about his prototyping lessons.
Sjaak @ smdprutser.nl writes:
When I was in China last year I sourced a couple of small E-ink displays (GDEH0124S01) through Taobao. They were simple ones with 8 14 segment characters. After some searching on the Chinese website from the manufacturer I found the datasheet. It was by all means not complete and a lot info was missing. After a bit more searching I found the controller used is DM130120 and its datasheet tells a bit more…
I made a PCB quite some time ago, but due to personal matters, I hadn’t the time to solder them up and write some code for it. A couple of days ago I soldered the PCB and fired up the compiler. After struggling through both of the chinglish manuals I converted their pseudo code into something the compiler and the micro understands.
More details at smdprutser.nl blog.
Sjaak has published a new build, the STM32/GD32F103 QFN32 breakout board:
Uptill now I used 0603 sized resistors and capacitors but for this project I switched to 0402 to save a few mm on the board. I have soldered many challenging chip packages so I felt confident. The technique is the same as for bigger sized devices: flux the area generous, hold the device with tweezers, solder one pad with fresh soldered iron and move the device into the molten solder puddle, retract the soldering iron and watch the solder joint cool down. If the solder joint is solid solder the other side too. I suggest using a fine (curved) tweezer and lots of lighting on your workarea. If you are a bit older as I am using a loupe or magnifying glass. Still use flux as much as possible. Never expected but the micro USB connector gave me (several) headaches to get it soldered properly.
Project info at smdprutser.nl
Like the fictitious invention of the Hula Hoop in Hudsucker Proxy, [David Spinden]’s big idea is small and obvious once you’ve seen it. And we’re not saying that’s a bad thing at all. What he’s done is to make a new kind of prototyping connector; one that hooks into a through-plated hole like a pogo pin, but in the horizontal direction.
This means that your test-points can do double duty as header connectors, when you need to make something more permanent, or vice-versa. That’s a lot of flexibility for a little wire, and it takes one more (mildly annoying) step out of prototyping — populating headers.
[David] makes them out of readily available header pins that already have the desired spring-like profile, and simply cuts them out and connects them to a standard Dupont-style hookup wire. Great stuff.
When we opened up the “Anything Goes” category for the Hackaday Prize, we meant it. We’re excited to see people entering large and small ideas that improve the world, even if it’s just the world of hackers.
Filed under: hardware
, The Hackaday Prize
Sjaak has posted an update on his uC controlled dummy load project we covered previously:
I finally found some time to check out the UCload project. A couple of weeks ago I quickly soldered the PCB and wrote a quick’n’dirty firmware for it. The basic functionality was working, but it wouldn’t do good for the shiny display.
Today I locked myself in my mancave and shut myself off from the world. Turned the light down, pulled loud music from the speakers and started coding like hell!! Not exactly but I found some time to write some more decent firmware for this load. In a previous revision of the PCB I forget the pull up resistors and swapped the SDA and SCL signals. I corrected that and made some small other changes (still ****ed up the silkscreen) in revision 2. The hardware is quite OK and rock solid (prolly more due to the robust FET then my analogue skills :)). However I managed to use a 1n4148 diode to measure the temperature. Connect it to the heat sink and if that one gets to hot turn on a fan. It accuracy is terrible but capable of detecting over temperature :)
More details at smdprutser.nl project page.
Sound Blocks is a tool to teach children and adults what sound is made of. The project was shortlisted in the Expression category of the IXDA Interaction Awards and it was developed by John Ferreira, Alejandra Molina, Andreas Refsgaard at the CIID using Arduino.
The device allows people to learn how, with a few parameters, it’s possible to create new sounds and, also, imitate real world sounds. Users can control waveform, sound decay or wave length and volume of three channels, all mixed together:
Sound blocks first and foremost was created as a tool to experiment with sound, it is playful and engaging.
Watch the video interview to discover more about the project and hear some noise: