As I’ve started ordering parts and designing my project, I’ve identified the following constraints that I’ll need to work within over the rest of the project:
- Time – time is ticking, and I’m very cognizant of my limited time resources as the semester winds down. I’m planning on spending several days over spring break working on busting out some of the dirty work on this project.
- Material Fabrication Methods – my current design includes some large pieces of melamine panel, which I’m planning on cutting and shaping in the Idea Forge MakerSpace. I don’t have a bunch of woodworking experience, and I know that the MakerSpace hours are limited, so this is definitely a constraint.
- Circuits & Electronics Proficiency – while I’m not specifically focusing on the controls side of the project within the scope of this class, I still want to work with it and need to eventually integrate the controls system. I’ll use Pat in the Idea Forge electronics shop to help here.
- Selecting Components – there are a ton of folks who semi-document their builds online, but most of it is so open source that it is tough to decide which components I want to use and what I need to change to accommodate my choices. I’m currently ordering parts and will get them in and start working as much as possible early on to prototype my design. Unfortunately, the available 3D models of the printer kit that I’m working off of are terrible and thus creating a full SolidWorks assembly of my idea (which I could certainly do) isn’t likely going to happen as early as I’d like.
- Following and Interpreting Instructions – again, lots of info out there that I am needing to parse though and translate to my project. Finding good info is a constraint because it takes time, and there are some aspects that aren’t particularly well documented.
I love this project! I’m really excited to see how it comes out. Good job being aware of your own skills and time availability. That’s a great way to mitigate the unknown unknowns. Best of luck making your way through all the documentation (or lack thereof) and figuring out your design. As far as the circuits and controls stuff goes for these, it might be helpful to talk to Eric Kramer too. He did a lot of work on the Makerbots. Josh is also a great resource in the Makerspace, and I’m sure he’d be happy to work with your schedule if you need it.