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Kit Log #013: Operator interface assembly

Kit Log #013: Operator interface assembly

There is progress being made on the operator interface assembly right now. Currently the display is completed. In the next few hours (after posting this brief log) will be the final steps on the keypad assembly. We received the components today which was a relief, in order to be able to document this tonight.

As for the motor kit, instead of the metal pieces we are increasing the disks from 2.5mm and 1.5mm to 3.0mm. This should add some more strength to it, while keeping it accessible via 3D printing – which is one of the main points of this Bowie robot in the first place. Looking at the CAD model, there should be enough clearance for a 16mm screw to have enough space at the end for the hex nut.

What took up the most time so far tonight was the heatset inserts. The enclosures were previous versions without the proper hole dimension for the inserts. There’s also not enough clearance for the soldering iron tip tool to press the insert in without damaging the neighbouring walls. Finally, once the heatsets were in, then realised they weren’t aligned, so had to go back and attempt to manually align them with the circuit board. This will all be simpler with the updated version printed.

Now it is time to get back to assembling the operator interface keypad.

Kit Log #012: Preparation for Operator Interface Kit

Kit Log #012: Preparation for Operator Interface Kit

Some good news of the day is that the bill of materials for the Operator Interface was already quite well organised. A few components were out of stock, and it was straight forward to find updated replacements. We ordered components for three kits, and looks like we will be assembling one for photos tomorrow.

The operator interface has numerous display board revisions. These were for different additions along the way. The first one had a charging circuit on it for a possible battery. The next revision, this was removed and added a speaker. The next revision, the display changed to a less expensive one, and a serial connection was added where the Xbee is (in case you wanted to monitor it on a computer with a serial cable). There’s even a revision after that one where we went back to the original display.

The original display is an Adafruit monochrome OLED 128×64. It’s great because it was pretty easy and fast to work with. We were thinking of then moving to a different display, however, it’s tricky to source the proper sized one, and the code might be a tiny bit less ‘plug and play’. All things to be considered when trying to prototype as quickly as possible. For the instruction images tomorrow, we will use the display board with the original display. If changes are made down the road, to say, a different display, then these modifications can be documented in the written portion. Also, the operator interface boards were designed by Randy Glenn, one of our electronics volunteers. Thanks Randy!

The spare operator interface chassis need to be found in one of our boxes. Then, they will need heatset inserts added. Last kit log we mentioned about the power pack packing list. Surprise! That was already done. This means the Power Pack is also at step #3. A goal would be to get motor kit and operator interface at step #3 by Thursday morning. The motor kit depends on a few metal pieces, which is to be determined. Maybe we will substitute those for 3D printed pieces.

This was a bit more words than action for this kit log, but the proof will be tomorrow’s assembly photos (assuming we get the package A-OK).

Kit Log #011: Super bright lights done for now

Kit Log #011: Super bright lights done for now

Today we finished the remainder of the instruction assembly photos for the super bright lights kit. This meant gluing each led into their mount, which then gets attached to the front or back of Bowie. White leds are in the front, blue leds are in the back. The number of screws was figured out, and added to the other two kits. Packing list was finalised and added to the bags. Heatsets were added to the enclosures for both kits.

Had success with the flexible filament. The trick was to apply kapton tape to the smooth pei sheet. Adjust the fine tuning of the z level so the first layer is adequately stuck. The build platform temperature was increased to 85 deg C. Nozzle temperature was 220 deg C. There was enough time to make 3 sets, which is 24 disks.

We think these are the steps in this documentation process:

1) Lists of the components for bill of materials and packing list

2) Photos of step-by-step assembly process

3) Photo editing of the photos

4) Written description of each step

5) Editing review

6) Formatting for website

7) Making sure files and code are up and work

8) Publish it

9) Add the kits to our online store

10) Ship it

Presently, most kits are in step 1 & 2. Super bright lights graduated to step 3 today. The Bowie Brain Kit is in step 4.

What’s next is the motor kit and the operator interface. For both, we need to organize a list of the pieces. Speaking of list of pieces, the power pack kit does not have a packing list yet. The motor kit is partially complete, but we need metal pieces. The operator interface needs organization, then components need to be ordered. The next step will be organizing these todo list items and determining what resources are needed to take action for the next step.

Kit Log #010: Super bright lights are on

Kit Log #010: Super bright lights are on

Much progress was made on the super bright lights kit. However, we learned that the board contains an error, which is a set back from having this ready by the end of the year. The error was one trace is located too close to the pad of the power resistor. It’s off by half a millimetre. Although it’s a quick revision to make, it means that a portion of the instruction photographs will need to be redone in the new year. It also means that new boards need to be ordered.

The process of debugging was odd, because one usually assumes that the hardware should be correct. It was only when thinking “this is odd, it’s like the resistor is a short”, and then looking really closely, then the error became clear. Conductivity test with probes verified this. The fix was to cut the traces on the back of the board at two locations: before and after the resistor (forgot to take a photo of this). Then, soldering a wire from the corresponding pad on the mosfet to the led pad.

This process wasn’t quite as ironed out as the previous documentation efforts. First, there was a bit of delay while finishing the design for the enclosure then printing it. Luckily, the design worked on the first revision. The second delay was realising that this kit needs the screws to attach the lights to the base of the robot – then finding them and placing them. The third delay was of course when one of the four LEDs did not light up.

Next, the packing list needs revisions, and the two other kits need to have the additional screws and enclosures packed. The enclosures need the heatset inserts added. As well, the photos of the assembly process need to be imported and backed up. Then will be able to move onwards to the next kit.

Kit Log #009: One box of LEDs – Four hours there and back

Kit Log #009: One box of LEDs – Four hours there and back

Today we missed the delivery of the box of LEDs that we need. If we didn’t have it today, then that would mean we would miss the entire weekend to work on the assembly photos of the kit; this would be non-ideal timing. There was one possible solution: if we figured out the centre where the trucks head back to, then maybe we could pick it up. The process of figuring out the location and trying to hold the box took 4 overly complicated calls to the shipping company’s support. The location ended up being quite far away, but somewhat reasonable to reach by public transportation … less the whole walking on the side of the road alone in the dark part. The trek began at 5:00pm sharp, and ended at 9:00pm. It’s about 1.5 hours of travel each way – minus delays from waiting for buses, with no breaks. In the end, we made it back A-OK, and we have the LEDs!

We tried to print the flexible disks today, but they were not adhering properly to the build platform. In total, 6 iterations of the settings were tried. Further investigation will be needed.

On the last hour back on the bus, progress was made on the Brain Kit written instructions. Currently it sits at step 5.5 / 11 is complete as a first pass.

It was an effort to get the box LEDs, but yet there is not much progress to show for today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.