The Calm Before The Storm

This time in four weeks we will be reflecting on our performance in our third trip to PiWars. Will it be our last? Harry will be off to university in September learning all about Automatic Systems and Control Engineering or some similar gobbledegook and taking the first steps towards a career doing what he loves - a mix of computers and electronics. I sincerely hope we can find the time to take on KEITH 4, even if it is a long-distance collaboration!

Enough of what might be. We’ve had a couple of good sessions bringing everything together on KEITH 3 and, despite the size of the list of things still to do, I think we are getting there. A marathon session on AutoCad last night let me finish (at 1am…) what I hope is the final set of parts for laser cutting. I just hope our tame tech teacher at Harry’s school doesn’t have a fit. The parts fill nearly three A3 sheets! That said, I keep offering to pay for stuff and get a negative response (and we did use second-hand mdf for the prototype chassis).

CAD Plan CAD Plan

A Few Chassis Parts A Few Chassis Parts

All circuit boards have been constructed with LEDs on stripboard and the motor controller/ switching circuits all on a re-purposed Protocam board, minus a camera. There are a few bits and bobs to put together, but we need the final chassis with the Pi mounted so we can fix wire lengths to (try to) keep things tidy.

Control Board Control Board

LED Boards LED Boards LED Boards

Harry has also produced a few bits and pieces for KEITH3 on his 3D printer. It’s a Tevo Tarantula and considering the kit ‘only’ cost around £200 he has nurtured and coaxed it to produce some very acceptable components. It continues to amuse me that he uses it to print upgrade parts for itself…

We’ve got a few hours work to put everything together. Doubtless some bits will not fit in real life and will need adjusting/recutting. However, once done we will be on with proper testing. Harry’s code is working and hopefully will need minimal adjustments to get everything working together. I think he’s been most tasked by getting some of the ‘extra bits’ to work, but I think we’re getting there. Last year at this stage we hit a wall where nothing seemed to go right. It was incredibly frustrating until we pushed through it and suddenly everything came together. On the day we knew how things worked and, despite knowing that things can and do go wrong, we held it all together. Let’s see how 2017 goes…


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