As part of Maker Camp last week, we ran a workshop building an electronic steady hand game.We thought it might be fun this time to try building the circuit using wood, hammer and nails instead of using breadboards or printed circuit boards. We designed a circuit template which could be placed on top of the wooden block to help the young people build their circuit.
We began the workshop by exploring the circuit diagram, identifying the circuit components and investigating its operation. Even though we were building a steady hand game, the young people identified other games you could make with the circuit such as the classic operation game.
Next each young person was given a block of soft wood, a hammer, nails and circuit template. It didn’t take long to hammer in the nails to make the connection points. They then wired up the circuit using the template as a guide. When they were all satisfied with their work, we moved onto the soldering.
The soldering of the wiring and the components took a little longer to complete, and after a little bit of fault finding we finally got there. Now we reached the point where they designed the wire track that the loop would travel along. We got some very interesting and crazy designs!!
Of course, when you design and build a game, you have to play it!!
As part of Maker Camp, last week we had a workshop designing and building Solar Cars.
Firstly, the young people sat around in a group and discussed solar energy. What are the pros and cons of using the sun to provide energy? How do solar cells work and where are they used in everyday life? We talked about using them at home, in cars, boats and airplanes.
The young people then experimented with a 2v solar cell and LEDs, to see solar energy in action. Then they tried out the solar motors with the solar cells and boy did they spin! Lights and spinning motors for free!! Can we charge our phones and tablets from solar energy they asked…..Yes you can with the right solar cells.
Time to start building and designing the cars. Lots of materials, such as bottle tops, CDs, cardboard and straws were used to build the body of the car. They had great fun thinking up some crazy and whacky designs.
They also got a chance to practice using the soldering iron to connect the DC motor to the solar cell. Very tricky work as the wires were very thin and delicate and it was very easy to lose wire using the wire stripper!! No expense was spared with the glue gun either….. some people like using lots and lots of glue….just to be sure!!
The young people also learnt a little about gears, motors and axles. So much has to be considered when building a car.
After a lot of creative thinking, sweat and not to many burnt fingers…the finished cars were ready for action. Now where was the sun gone….it’s a nice Irish summer’s rainy day.
Today in Break it! Make it! we made ‘sew it bright’ bracelets. First, we drew a picture of a design and then we cut it out in felt. Then we glued the design onto a felt bracelet. After this, we sewed conductive thread from the lily pad to an LED light on our design. Because we worked in pairs, one of us sewed the positive to positive and one of us sewed the negative to negative. We then put a battery in the lily pad holder and it lit up! We liked this project because we like to sew and we like to make things light up. Next time we would like to try making our clothes light up!
Over the past two weeks, the team have made loads of progress on the modular synthesizer project. They have nearly soldered every piece that needed to be soldered and they have been populating the circuit boards so that everything will be ready for assembly and as of right now, there are only a few more pieces that need to be completed before the assembly can start. Ryan has been working on connecting both halves of the sequencer with smaller wires so that they are able to get power. It’s all coming together quite nicely and I cannot wait to see how it works when it is finished. Some minor kinks are to be expected with a complex project like this one, but so far they haven’t run across anything too troubling.
Last Thursday evening, the Make It! Break It! group researched what E-Textiles are about and explored different examples on the internet. They were then introduced to some sewable electronic components; the Lilytiny microcontroller and LEDs. They built some simple circuits using crocodile leads.
When they were finished experimenting with their circuits, they were introduced to some basic sewing techniques. This will prepare them for next week when they will use conductive thread to create some interesting pieces of E-Fabric designs.
Kiara has begun designing and prototyping her Steady Hand Game. She brainstormed different ideas for making the game very challenging:
- Could I make it a 2 player game?
- Add a counter to count the number of times the circuit is activated
- Add a timer to time how long it takes to complete the challenge
- Make it 3 dimensional!
Kiara is keeping all her ideas and designs in her Inventor’s notebook.
She learnt about basic circuit design and built a simple prototype of the Steady hand game without the Arduino using crocodile clips, a resistor, LED and battery. Next Week Kiara will program the Arduino and breadboard the first stage of the circuit.