Paul Gröneveld @ Fab Academy 2016 >>> Project development

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What is the deadline?

The final deadline is the 8th of July. On this day the website with all the weekly assignments and the final project should be ready.

The final project presentation was quite early for us, it was on the 8th of June, so we have a month to complete the documentation.

How much time do I have left?

After the presentation from the final project, one month to complete the documentation.

Time management techniques.

During the lets say 17 weeks many components of the Beesbot were designed, so right after the assignments it was possible to order the different components and to make dxf-files for for instance the lasercut parts. On Wednesday mornings I took the train always very early so I could do some work in the train already. During the day and in between the presentations I was working on the design of the Hive. Once a week I stayed in Amsterdam in a hotel and there I also worked on the assignments and final project. On Thursdays I had the time to go to the Waag early in the morning so there I had a full day to work on the assignments and final project. Basically it was a matter of using all the time you can find.

The week assignments I tried to manage by using Trello. Here you can find the online file. Towards the end I did not use Trello enough. It needs some discipline and in this case I started making hand-written lists of things that needed to be done.

For the final project this document was made, the latest schedule.


Because I had a lot of lasercut work, I decided to use the lasercutter from the workshop of my department for design engineering. Here I had to work late quite a few evenings to get it all done. During the day the normal students need to use the machine so then it is quite impossible to make the parts.

Basically the technique to get all things done is to make detailed lists of the work that needs to be done and try to do the best you can. Being flexible in what to make when. And try to identify when the machines are available.

Summarise the essence of the project #

The project plan that was presented in the first week was actually too ambiguous, so during the weeks it was reduced to making the drawer system (the cabinet) and if there was more time, making the H-bot structure. In week 2 and week 3 different sketches and configurations were made. The ISP that was produced in the first electronics week, was also used to program all other Fabkits that were made in the different weeks. 3D printing was used to make details from the final project like wheels and bearings. In week 7 I made the first H-bot frame. It turned out to be too big, so later I decided to deduce the size of the whole hive in order to be able to make all parts on the lasercutter (720 x 420 mm). In week 12 I made a flexible gripper for taking out frames from the hive. This part works quite nice. A stepper motor is important in this project, so in week 13 I was able to drive a stepper motor wit home made equipment. The gripper can not hold the beehiveframe stable enough, because it is holding the frame only in the middle. So in week 14 I decided to make a stabilising part out of composites. In week 15 I had my first network experience that later emerged into the shields with Fabkits modules. In week 16 it became clear how the things happening with the sensors and Arduino can become visible on the screen by using Processing. Week 17 was kind of a wake up call. Get ready to make the parts of the final project.

So the essence of the project is making four drawers move automatically and precise by using four stepper motors. They are operated by a home made Fabkit and motor driver shield with of the shelve motor drivers. When the drawer was ready I decided to make the mechanical structure from the H-bot. The motors and the electronics were not ready in time, however the design of the electronics is the same as the design for the electronics from the drawers of the hive. It is a modular system.

What tasks have been completed, and what tasks remain?


  1. The cabinet with the dynamic drawers are ready and they can run automatically by using the stepper motors
  2. Frames with the mechanical movement from the H-bot


  1. Writing software (Arduno) to operate the drawers
  2. Writing a graphical interface in Processing
  3. The bottom of the hive drawers need to be made
  4. A mechanism to push the drawers up, need to be added
  5. H-bot needs motor and possible a gear system as well
  6. Software for H-bot
  7. PCB for H-bot needs to be made. The design is ready.
  8. Frames for inside the hive
  9. Inspection camera system
  10. Router system
  11. Wireless data sending
  12. Wireless access to the machine from a distance

How will I complete the remaining tasks in time?

The remaining tasks can not be completed within the time schedule of this course. They need to be defined as new projects.

What has worked?

The drawer system works, including the electronics, hardware and software.

What hasn't?

Completing the H-bot with motors was too much within the time.

What questions still need to be resolved?

Will the system be accurate enough to operate? Will it be possible to take a frame out of the hive and place it in front of the drawer in order to mill away specific sections?

what have you learned?

In this course I learned a lot about designing and making electronics. I was new to this area and through this course I now understand quite well what is going on. In the making weeks I had the advantage that I already know how to draw in Solidworks. This made it possible to go very far in detailing the different assignments. The making techniques on the laser and the Shopbot, and all the other maker techniques are very good and I will use the the coming years in my work as a teacher in design engineering.