This past week was spent gathering the last of the loose ends before assembly. I purchased all the required fasteners, pipe clamps, fans, tubes, and the remaining electronic components. I was nervous about some components that were shipping from China, but luckily those arrived over the weekend. One of the items I was waiting on was the power supply needed to run the fans and LEDs. Since large current power supplies can be expensive, I was skeptical if the cheapo one that I purchased would be able to cut it. After some initial load testing, it looks like it can produce a fairly constant and correct voltage, while not getting too hot over time. The cheap voltage regulators also seem to be performing surprisingly well, so I will definitely use them in future projects. I also successfully used the HC4051 multiplexer IC to successively read the 7 range finders.
My main challenge this week was with using the laser utter, which was completely unexpected. I had issues with the laser cutter not cutting through in some sections, and cutting through too much in other sections. It seems to be related to the levelness of the bed, which is a calibration issue. Since I do not have more acrylic, I will attempt to salvage the pieces that I have by carefully breaking them out, and filing the edges down. This is a total hassle that I didn’t expect, and I want to avoid the enclosure looking unprofessional as a result.
This week I plan to finish the laser cutting so I can glue up the enclosure and assemble all of the hardware. The circuits still need to be transferred and soldered onto a protoboard, so I can run the wiring. This will be a little time consuming, so I am hoping to get started on that before the weekend. I am continuing to work on the code. I am slowly getting a better understanding of the PID implementation, but this will definitely need a large amount of attention between now and the design expo.