During the 6 months of Fab Academy classes, students learn how to use and apply the tools of a modern fabrication studio. This includes making and stuffing electronic boards, cutting on the CNC Shopbot, molding using a CNC milling machine, and lasercutting. The students enrolled in this maker studio utilize the tools and expertise of AS220’s lab facilities and members, becoming familiar and confident at when and how to use what for which step of the process – from prototyping to final build.
Where’s Wally is the final FabAcademy project submission from Kenzo Abiko, a student who travelled from his hometown of San Paolo, Brazil to gain from all AS220 Industries had to offer. Turned out the class gained even more from working with him!
On his final project documentation page, Kenzo writes, “My Final Project it is a system for the FabLabs, it is a Small Part Storage System called Wally (or Waldo in the US). It consist in a Matrix of drawers with LEDs and switches (a modular system that can be expanded), and a controller module with a keypad, LCD and other accessories that are connected in a network (i2C).”
His project built out two main systems. One was the main unit of 16 drawers cut in birchwood and masonite cut on the Epilog laser (pictured with some additional plastic drawers) with 16 LEDs with resistors (one for each drawer), a SPS board with the Attiny84a chip and wires and copper tape to connect everything. The second system was the control module, composed of three boards, the LCDi2C board, the 4×4 SPSKeypad board and the SPS Master board (with the Speaker, SD and Wi-fi).This second system was housed in a case, with number buttons, the LCD screen, some small parts sorting drawers and the speaker.
Each week, FabAcademy students add another tool and process to their toolbelt. If they have come into the program with an idea for a final project, these exercises can begin to build out that idea. This was the case for Kenzo. Each week, he experimented with one aspect of his design idea.
Computer Aided Design
Kenzo worked on learning parametrical design programs such as Rhinoceros+Grasshopper and SketchUp to model the small drawer unit.
Computer Controlled Cutting
Working backward, Kenzo took detailed measurements of existing small parts storage, many which could be found around the workspace! In the vector program Inkscape, Kenzo used the computer controlled cutting week to evolve his designs for the drawer units, making them modular as a structure and easy to slide in and out. His design was lasercut and pressfit, or fit together with such a tight tolerance that it was strong enough to hold together.
Determined to make his own button board, Kenzo worked with the Eagle program to create the electronic board he would need to control his drawer system. The Roland Modela was used to mill the PCB boards. Soldering and stuffing the electronic board just got better with each try!
Because he wanted the system to make sound, Kenzo worked with an 8 Ohm 25w Speaker. He used the ToneMelody example script on the Arduino IDE (1.6.1), but ultimately was able to get the speaker to make a single tone.
Molding and Casting
It wasn’t until the molding and casting week that Kenzo’s true perfectionistic traits came through and we were able to see the passion he had for craftsmanship. Kenzo prototyped dozens of different buttons in trying to create the perfect push and response feel.
For the week on input devices in which students were required to add and read information from a sensor to a self-designed micro-controller board, Kenzo modified his 3×3 button board to read a button input. Now, he was able to customize his board with the buttons he had been working on.
After confirming that buttons could talk to the microcontroller, Kenzo then set out to tackle two different types of output displays, LED lights and an LCD display. He explored copper traces for the physical connections on his drawers and continued to mill breakout boards for the output options.
Networking and Communication
How is working right now: The system right now can light up the selected drawer, ask for quantities and has a test setting. It can in be extended with other drawers modules to the limit of i2C protocol.