Sander van Vliet

@Fablab Amsterdam

Project Development

Week 19 (8 june - 15 juni)


The lecture was about Project Development aspects like demand- vs supply-side time management, spiral development and system integration. Next to that Neil showed us many examples of projects made by Fabacademy students.
See the overview of the lecture here.


What tasks have been completed, and what tasks remain?

  • Completed tasks are: buy and test a CO2 sensor, design and make a panel, design and make a motor driver board, design and make two wifi boards, make a window model to test with and show the system with at the presentation, design and make mechanical structure between motor and window, test with different types of motors and code to control them.

  • The tasks that remain are: complete code for the communication between the boards and for the LCD, design and make a voltage regulator board, design and make a window mountable casing for the electronics and a cover for the whole window side system, design and make microcontroller board for the 'window side', design and make two parts for mounting the motor and the screw bearing, make all wiring neat and isolated with shrink tubing.

  • What has worked? What hasn't?

  • I tried if a stepper motor could move the window, but it did not have enough torque to directly move the window using an arm attached to the axle.
    Then I tested a stepper motor of similar size and power, but now one with a lead screw. This mechanical way of driving the leadscrew nut to move the window was much more efficiƫnt so this did work.

  • My first voltage regulator board didn't work because it did not have the necessary capacitors. I had forgotten to check the datasheet, but indeed it states that it need two capacitors. I changed the design, adding the two capacitors and this made it work.

  • The CO2 sensor did not function with some power adapters that I tried, even when I set them to supply 5V. The sensor only functions properly when powered with 5V +-0.2V so when a power source is outside this range it doesn't function

  • These are just a few excerpts from the design, testing and fabrication processes as described in detail on my final project development page.

    What questions need to be resolved?

  • What code will I exactly need to make the communication work between the boards locally.
  • From what material will I make a window mountable casing and the cover.
  • Will I have enough time to design and make two parts for mounting the motor and the screw bearing. And if not, are there alternatives to my initial ideas which cost less time?

  • What will happen when?

    With one week to go I have to stay productive and finish these tasks in the following order:
  • I will first focus on the code for the communication between the boards, because I am least confident about how to do that, and then the code for the LCD.
  • Then I will design and make the window mountable casing, the microcontroller board and the voltage regulator board, shouldn't be a problem.
  • Then the motor- and bearing mount parts, probably with a 3D printer and then I want to make the wiring neat and tidy using shrink tubing.
  • If I have time left I still want to design and make a cover for the window side system.

  • What have you learned?

    Over the last few weeks, I have learnt many things as I went through the process of developing all the components needed. I designed and fabricated things in ways I was not able to before I started Fabacademy.
    I also ran in to several problems and experienced failures ofcourse, trying to make things (work).
    Successes and failures: all as described on my final project development page, but I must say that an important thing I have learned is to see potential failure as an oportunity to learn and build upon, giving you feedback so you can improve.

    "When reframed as a good, constructive, and essential part of learning, failure is a master teacher" (source)