Week 10:  Machine Design

Assignment: Plan and make a machine

You can check out the class page here.

The Goal

This week was a group project: start with Jake’s design and build our own multi-axis machine. Our Harvard section decided to make a machine that will draw glow-in-the-dark art using a flashlight. At our sign-ups and planning Wednesday evening, I ended up on the programming portion of the project (gotta make use of my CS PhD skills).

The Reality

For me, this was a terrible week to have a group project. It’s due by our 9:00 AM class on Wednesday. My conference manuscript is due at 7:00 AM on Wednesday. Great timing.

So I did not contribute nearly as much as I should have (or wanted to) this week. I started by helping to get us organized at the beginning of the week, then resurfaced again the day before things were due to pitch in where I could.

That turned out to be by building the class page for the week. Thankfully, people were good at taking pictures along the way, but as of Tuesday afternoon, no one had put anything together for the class page yet. (We were definitely behind the other sections on that front.)

The simplest thing to do was create a single CSS file and an HTML file that people could start editing to add their content. This wasn’t the time to try to throw in Jekyll or some other preprocessor to build multiple shiny pages using only Markdown; this is quick and dirty.

Everyone threw their pictures into a Google Drive folder, all uncompressed. Luckily, I’d already created a handy script to batch compress and resize images and a matching script for videos.

From there, I kept a regular eye on the files as people filled things in, to make sure everything was covered, and that the HTML was still formatted reasonably.

Did I get a lot out of this week? Nope, because I didn’t do anywhere near as much as I should have for the group. However, I’m pretty sure that my advisor happier that I’m getting this manuscript submitted.