class

Persistence brings shiny stick things to life

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What-seems-like-an-eternity ago (it was the beginning of October), we kicked off a light sabre(1) big shiny stick thing making class, using a new circuit board design engineered by ylab member Richard. It’s designed to handle the latest 5V, 144  LED per meter, multi-color light strips for lowest power and maximum brightness. It features great power management, accelerometer to detect motion and vibration, dual channel sound,  capacitive discharge contacts (so buttons don’t wear out) and an SD card slot for loading your own sounds.

It was supposed to be a two-evening class.

It’s been a learning and ongoing experience.

We started with the  circuit boards,  adding epoxy to stiffen the battery holders to increase reliability. Drilling the aluminum hilt. Soldering – a new skill for many. Re-drilling later because the capacitance discharge contacts were too close to the hilt and unreliable.

Learning how to tap and thread holes in the metal hilt.

Then the 3D printer we were using to make the speaker caps for the end of the hilt went squirrely… and back to the manufacturer… for weeks.

Being the kind of people we are (insert something complimentary or derogatory here), we’ve allowed all class participants to keep coming in for updates as we’ve improved the design. Software updates are ongoing.

They’re working, they’re bright, they have colours.

Look! They work! Really! Cool noises when you whack them together!

But we’ll be doing a bit more work on the software before we kick off another class.

And we’ll keep contacting the makers to come in as we keep improving the design.

(1) We can’t call it that.