Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Iteration Assignment

For this assignment, we were tasked with taking an assignment we completed earlier in the semester, and either making improvements to it, incorporating skills from other previous assignments, or creating something entirely new from the original concept, incorporating new skills as well.  It was also recommended to incorporate tools/skills that we have not used yet.  I decided to improve my laser name tag from the beginning of the semester.  In the laser name tag assignment, I created a Pokémon card of myself, as shown below.

My idea for my iteration assignment was to create a name tag that belongs on a desk that normally lies flat.  However, when the name tag is exposed to a certain amount of light, the plates flip up in order to reveal two panels: one that is a simple Pokémon themed name tag, and the other a removable Pokémon card of myself.

I made the design for the name tag, and was planning to use the original name tag as part of the iteration.  Unfortunately, the original file was lost, so I redesigned it.  I initially kept the boxes red in order to see where each piece would be in relation to the edges.  I created a semicircle shaped indent in order to make the card removable, two extra plates as a second layer beneath the designed plates, and an indent in the layer beneath the card in order to place a piece of velcro.

I then printed the design, glued the layers together, and added a piece of velcro for the card to stay in place:

I then proceeded to write the code necessary to use two servos to lift the plates.  I also made the circuit, incorporating a photoresistor to detect light.  My code appeared to be functioning properly, but the photoresistor would input a specific range of values that would not change, regardless of the amount of light in the room.

I brought my project into the lab to ask for advice, where I was told that I made a novice mistake; I placed the wires in the wrong direction with regards to the bread board.  After fixing this error, my project finally began to work properly.  Unfortunately, I then discovered that the servos were too weak to lift the plates without support.  Due to this, I decided to make a board and glue the servos to it for more stability.

After gluing the servos to the board, this was the final result (the video is sped up to meet the size requirement):

As shown in the video, the name tag does what it was meant to do.  It lays flat when the photoresistor does not detect light, and rises when light is detected.  In order to not have it move too often, I have it set to scan approximately every 1.5 seconds for light.  The shaking when the name tag reaches its peak was not intended, but I actually find it amusing.  In my opinion, it gives the name tag an even better way to grab peoples attention.

I enjoyed going back and improving one of my former projects.  It was also quite fun to incorporate something that I hadn’t learned yet into the assignment.  There certainly are aspects that I could improve with this project, such as making the plates smaller in order for the servos to have an easier time lifting them, or simply buying stronger servos.  I had fun learning how to use a photoresistor and incorporating it into the circuit.  I can’t say that I wasn’t a little upset with myself when I made a basic error with the wiring, but overall, I had a pleasant experience remaking my name tag.

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