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Now we’re going somewhere…

September 24, 2008

Report from the middle of the night – I think this is actually starting to work out ok. I’m up working on a 3d model in SolidWorks, planning to get it printed as soon as the 3d printer opens up, likely tomorrow evening. That means I have plenty of time to get this finished off, but I also need to get on top of my boards tomorrow – I don’t want to be up all night Thursday working on those.

Current plans for the model vary from optimistic to worst case scenario. Worst case scenario, I get the model printed just in time for presentation, and I have a snazzy white model that looks snazzy. One step up the rungs from that is a quick coat of primer, and then hit different parts with one coat of paint – just to differenciate materials to compliment a nice computer render on the boards. Best case, I get it printed in time to do some real priming, filling, and sanding – get the thing looking like a real injection-molded piece of plastic. However, with time slipping away as other people print stuff, I’m becoming less optimistic I’ll have time to do a good job on that, and am lowering expectations somewhat to match.

I may find a middle ground… hit the body with just a quick coat to give it a color, and then spend the real time on the buttons – prime, sand, fill, and then apply some decals to put logos on the buttons – it’d look real snazzy if I can pull it off, but we’ll just have to see how much time it’ll take.

All that talking, and no picture… How about this one?

Solidworks is fun!

Solidworks is fun!

You’ll notice a couple things: One, Blackberry image on the front – I’m using it for reference for size of buttons, trying to size up how hard it’ll be to use the thing. Its kinda small, especially if we want to take people with decreased mobility into account. To that end, I’m thinking of adding a plug to the bottom (USB or something similar) – to allow people to plug in a full sized keyboard if they need it – The thing would already need most of the functionality of a computer in it anyways, and USB isn’t all that complicated.  Another thing to notice, a square below it on another sketch plane, thats the outline for the space I’ve blocked out for batteries. I’m thinking of going built-in rechargable, with another plug to keep the USB plug company. That also keeps people from running through boxes of non-rechargable batteries over the course of a project, but it’d limit mobility if you had to have it plugged in… but I guess that is somewhat unavoidable – I’ll keep thinking on that one. Third, I’ve blocked out the screen with another sketch, ready to cut that out when I shell the part. I’ve spec’d out a basic LCD screen from some electronics supply places to figure how much space it’ll take up, and its only 8mm thick – so not bad at all.

To-do:

-Design the buttons, and make that nice array of holes.

-Create holes for camera, and label printer. not all that complicated, actually, just need time.

-Shell, open up the holes, create groove around edge to keep things fitting together nicely.

-Create button and other spare part inserts to fit in the holes as seperate parts.

/Back to work.

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