Final Project Presentation

19 December 2017 | By Casey Evans

“You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Google Search for "first step quote"

Final Project


  • Group Assignment: None.
  • Individual Assignment: Document a final project that integrates the range of units covered, answering: What does it do? Who's done what beforehand? What did you design? What materials and components were used? Where did they come from? How much did they cost? What parts and systems were made? What processes were used? What questions were answered? How was it evaluated? What are the implications? Your project should incorporate 2D and 3D design, additive and subtractive fabrication processes, electronics design and production, microcontroller interfacing and programming, system integration and packaging. Where possible, you should make rather than buy the parts of your project. Projects can be separate or joint, but need to show individual mastery of the skills, and be independently operable. Present your final project, weekly assignments, and documentation.
  • Final Project Presentation Information

    To learn more about this project I recommend you check out the final project tracking page. This page is more just for checking that I've met requirements and all that jazz. It leaves a bit out of context without having read the tracking page. This is the presentation schedule: 9:00-1:30: prep, 2:15.0: Casey Evans, 4:15.0-4:30 discussion, 4:30-5:00: prep, 5:00-6:30: open house, 6:30: clean-up.


    What does it do? It lights up when you ring the doorbell.

    Who's done what beforehand? Lamps have been around for ages. I've looked into some people who made programmable lamps with Bluetooth and LEDs. They could control color and brightness too. I can't really do that with a fluorescent bulb. There's more on the research I did in the project tracking page.

    What did you design? A lamp.

    What materials and components were used? Where did they come from? How much did they cost? Scrap cardboard from the lab-free. Masking tape from the lab - $6.58. Gorilla glue from the lab - $4.47. Fabric from the lab - ~$11. Batting from the lab - $8.07. Bleeder and plastic wrap from the lab - $16.25. Foam from the lab - $33.92. PCB stock from the lab - $1.40. Resistor from the lab - $0.01. Capacitor from the lab - $0.07. RN4871 module from the lab - $7.24. Other headers and small wires from the lab - ~$0.50. Garland of leaves from Michael's - $8.99. Paint from an art store - $2.27. Foam sheet from an art store - $0.67. Scrap plywood from the lab - free. Resin from the lab - $254.95. Spare electrical cable to chop to pieces from the lab - free or ~$8. Lightbulb from Grace - $5.99. Socket from Grace - $10.88 for a 6 pack. The problem with a lot of these is I only used a bit of each but would need to buy an entire roll/sheet/whatever in order to do a project. Reason why fablabs are a great idea rather than everyone trying to just do everything themselves. Plus to get the mills and lasercutter would be +$4000. Yikes.

    What parts and systems were made? What processes were used? The lamp stand, lamp base, electronics housing/lamp shade/castle, controller boards, lightbulb electronics. I used Roland milling, laser cutting, CNC Shark milling, composite production with no compression and with vacuum compression, hot gluing, soldering, and painting.

    What questions were answered? So many. See the tracking page for a full discussion on that topic.

    How was it evaluated? If the light turned on in a fairly seemless fashion and didn't look like a kindergardener made it, I was happy.

    What are the implications? I can do something with my electrical engineering degree! Way more than just this if given the time. Everything is so open ended it's really cool. I think I'm going to design some curriculum for my old university to have a class like this (but just the electronics side). I'll do that during J-term. I feel empowered. My apartment will have slightly more light from the 23W bulb. Our apartment will have an interesting piece of furniture.

    Meeting Project Requirements

    2D Design: Castle and pole mold dxf files. Circuits.

    3D Design: Designing the mold for the base. 3D design with 2D design for the pole mold and the castle.

    Additive fabrication: Composite pole and stand.

    Subtractive fabrication: Molding the mold for the base. Cutting out cardboard and plywood pieces. Milling circuit boards.

    Electronics design: I am great at adding pins to places and incorporating peripherals on pins. Here I mostly just messed around with buttons. I did some design work for real when I was trying to change the FTDI header to accept a 5V cable instead of a 3.3V cable for a 3.3V device but I didn't get to use that (see week 13). Also, I hadn't read the spec sheet and I'm pretty sure I made an extra voltage divider in that circuit.

    Electronics production: I fabricated my microcontroller board and the programmer I used to program it. I also fabricated the BLE board.

    Microcontroller interfacing: I used Atmel Studio to talk to my board. In the BLE development phase I made an app that I could send information with but the way I got the BLE to control the lamp was with a serial interface with my computer (PuTTY). There's also the immersive interface of the user with the doorbell to the giant's castle which talks to the microcontroller.

    Microcontroller programming: the microcontroller program controls the light. I also programmed the programmer I used to program my microcontroller.

    System integration and packaging: the lamp has a theme and cool ways of integrating each part.