Saturday, April 12, 2014

Final Project - A Maker Name Badge

In the early planning stages of my final project, I wanted something that was "a walking" billboard promoting the maker spirit.  My original thoughts was that it would be some type of e-textile project that would become part of my book bag which I have with me most places. I spent a lot of time playing with this idea as I  picked up supplies at Michael's and Walmart. When my  Lilypad e-textiles components that I ordered from Sparkfun arrived,  I was able to easily get my computer sending schemes to the Lilypad components and  start creating circuits using craft materials, conductive thread and various Lilypad components.
The Sparkfun website is filled with tutorials that might be helpful.  For getting started with LilyPad e-textiles, I would suggest  the following series.

Eventually I decided I wanted to integrate 3D printing with the e-textile components in a way that would start conversations about making.  Although the book bag idea seemed fun,  the design wasn't jumping out at me. -Then while cleaning out the bus one day, I found some name badges from recent conferences, and it  occurred to me that conference name badges are meant to provide just enough information about you to start a conversation - so why not find a way to add some maker elements to a badge holder.  Although I had lots of different components, most of which were overkill  for this project,
 I settled on augmenting the battery powered basic circuit with a LilyPad Twinkle board.  This  board actually has an ATtiny microcontroller which is programmed to make LED's you attach blink like fireflys.  Although there was no need for programming for this project, I did find lots of advanced user tips for those who wanted to tackle programming the board.  The built in firefly effect was going to work just fine for my project (attention getting in a subtle way).

What seemed like a quick and easy project ended up taking much more time than expected due to my lack of modeling ability and unexpected challenges of working with fine wire.  I found a model  on Thingverse that would work if I could create a cutout in the middle for the LED.  After struggling to get the extrusion working with 123Design,  I resorted back to TinkerCad  and was able to get the right size hole after only 2 prints.   (The digital callipers came in very handy and I was tickled to use my newly assembled printer.)

Wire management endedup being my biggest obstacles. The fine wire I used was conductive enough but had to be pulled tight to complete the circuit and become much more tangled and harder to manage than I had expected.  But after multiple takes and some reinforcement with the glue gun,  I now have a fairly solid name badge holder than can start conversations about 3D printing, circuits, and maker empowerment. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Did you use a Lilypad Arduino board to program the Lilypad components? Might you know whether an Arduino Uno would do the same thing?