Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Backlogging: Old CAD renders

One activity that I've particularly enjoyed is CADding - sometimes for practical purposes, usually just for fun. Here are some of my old renders from assemblies I've built in the past. (The software used is SolidWorks 2012.)

One of my very first CADs, as practice: just a bell I found lying around.
The underside of that same bell. It's slightly more interesting than the top.
My old Gameboy Color (special Pikachu edition, of course).This one was also just for fun, and probably my proudest CAD.
The actual Gameboy has since been retired after sustaining significant injuries.

An actually useful CAD: Antoine the Ant, my Design Nature transporter project from first semester. This was built by me and three teammates; I was responsible for the legs. The final product was a remote-controlled ant which could walk around and pick up objects with its jaw, in a game targeted toward nine-year-olds. And yes, we got real nine-year-olds.
Back to the just-for-fun designs: My laptop charger. I believe this one was over winter break after my first semester.
A proposed idea for a loft for my sophomore dorm. This was built for the first ASME/Olin CAD-A-Thon in spring 2012. (I'm not sure of the proper name.) In retrospect, this it was an awfully inefficient loft, but it had some fun ideas in it. I liked the idea of jungle gym-style rungs to climb up, and I am remiss that our current loft doesn't have a fireman pole.

Unfortunately, I haven't been CADding as much lately as I'd like to, so hopefully I'll find an excuse to get back into it.

Starting with Arduino: Potentiometer-Controlled LED Dimmer

So actually, the event that catalyzed the starting of this blog was that I've started tinkering with an Arduino. I received an Arduino last week, and then the other day I went to RadioShack to pick up a couple components: some resistors, LEDs, switches, wire, a photosensor, a crummy little speaker, and a pot, so nothing fancy.

Today, I began messing around with my new toy. I've connected a 10kΩ potentiometer to the analog input, and a red LED (with a small resistor) to the digital output. The code is incredibly simple: it reads the value of the potentiometer, on a scale of 0 to 1023, and maps that to a more usable scale of 0 to 20. (Let's call that mapped value "x.") Then there's a simple pulse-width modulation, where the LED is turned on for x milliseconds, and then turned off for 20-x milliseconds. That way, the illusion of dimming is created, so that the LED's brightness appears to vary as the potentiometer is turned.

The LED lit brightly...

...and more dimly.

Unfortunately, my potentiometer kind of sucks, since I was buying on a budget. The bottom 10% or so reads to 0, which is unfortunate, because that means the LED turns off way too fast at the end. C'est la vie - all the parts are in place, and I've learned a little about interfacing with an Arduino, which is pretty neat. Now I just need to figure out more things to make.

The Obligatory "About This Blog" Post

This blog is really for me more than it is for anyone else. It should be reasonably self-explanatory: When I make things, I'll post them here. This will allow me to go back later down the line and check out stuff I've done. This may be used for inspiration for new projects, for a portfolio, or just for reminiscing - I don't really have a long-term plan. So, let's see where this adventure takes us!