Main Project Inspiration

For my main project, I want to create something that I would keep at my desk at work or around my house as decoration. Knowing that one of the requirements for the final project is that it needs to have a dynamic element, I started brainstorming what would be appropriate to keep around in the places I described above, and still hit all the necessary points. The first thing that came to mind was to make some sort of desk-toy type contraption. Something that could move up and down, or side to side, but not be overly distracting or take up too much room.

I did a quick sketch in my notebook about what this could potentially look like, which I’ve included below. One thing that I definitely want to include is a switch or button to turn it off and on. I don’t want this to be running all the time, as that will run the battery down pretty fast and also be kind of annoying. As for what exactly the “something” will be, I think I would like to go with an item that represents an important interest in my life, which gives me a number of different ideas and possible design choices that I hope to explore in future posts.

One thing that I know I will need to stay on top of is the electronics of my project. I am not particularly good at making circuits or working with Arduinos/similar controllers, so this will be an area that I need to pay special attention to and possibly get assistance from classmates for. My general idea for how the electronics will need to be setup is included below in a very rough outline I did while working on the above sketch.

I’ve also been brainstorming the materials I will probably need, so that I can start purchasing them as soon as possible.

  • Acrylic or wood for the box
  • Acrylic, wood, or 3D printing material for the “something”
  • Switch/button
  • Battery
  • Motor
  • Circuit board/controller (Arduino? Raspberry Pi?)
  • Wires
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Mary Rahjes
    Benjamin Chang
    February 23, 2020 9:24 pm

    Hey Mary,

    I really like the simplicity of your project and I hope you find an interesting spin in direction. Like we talked in class about the cat toy box, I wonder how you decide what will be your dynamic function. Going off jack in the boxes, what would be something unexpected and fun? I would look around at old box’s or cool weird vintage things, maybe give it some character some how, steampunk? Anywho, I hope it goes great Mary!

    Reply
    • I think making something unexpected would be really cool. Not just with the “something” that will move up and down, but also with the design and decoration of the box itself. I’ll definitely have to look for inspiration in a lot of different places.

      Reply
  • Mary-

    I like the idea for your project a lot, some sort of mechanized jack-in-the-box would be a fun desk toy to have around. As for the electronics, controlling a motor and switch with a microcontroller should be relatively easy, you could do the research yourself or ask someone(myself included) with Arduino experience to help you in the work trade chat. I would definitely recommend an Arduino over a raspberry pi, you don’t need near as much computing power as a raspberry pi has.

    Reply
    • I’m glad to hear that it shouldn’t be too complicated of an electronic setup, that was one of my biggest worries! I haven’t personally setup or used an Arduino or anything like that since freshman projects, so I’ll definitely be sure to reach out to the work trade chat for help if/when I get stuck.

      Reply

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