2015-11-06 (F) Weekly Summary

This week has been all about preparing to make an Instructable. Actually two, the keyboard and wrist rig are being published individually. The work involved is substantially less than the work needed to document the whole process which included time gambles on design dead ends and creating images for the blog, 2% of which will be used in the Instructable. If you have followed this project closely, or even read the weekly updates then you know that summing this project up in four steps will not have any room to include, “I tried W, X, and Y but Z worked.” No, these instruction will just be , “Do Z.” This should lead to a succinct set of instructions but won’t have any history of the path to get to Z. But, that’s why I write this because if two people build this keyboard I would be surprised but if showing people the path I took to build this keyboard will help them improve their project I will be happy. In order to sleep at night I assume people benefit from me sharing my failures.

File list for the keyboard package

Schematics were drawn for the keyboard and servo controller. Each set of schematics took a day to draw. Each were sketched in pencil to make sure everything lined up. Colored pens were used to line everything in thick bold lines then the pencil marks were erased. The eraser had seen better days. High contrast and ordinary photos were kept. The high contrast photos eliminated the grid lines and left a clean looking drawing but the ordinary photos showed the colors much better.

Schematic for keyboard

The necessary files were gathered into a single folder so make them easy to find. A flashy cover image is a must on Instructables. You will see toward the end that I haven’t gotten the hang of that yet. Necessary items were the isolated pictures taken to show the parts, schematics and programming files.

Schematic for servo controller

Some of the servo controller programming was not working well enough to be considered finished. A day was taken to touch up the programming. One particular issue was when the proximity detector would not function after the first movement. The first thought was that the forward-facing RGB LED was causing interference. The problem turned out to be the PWM signal which was interfering with the microsecond delays used by the infrared emitter and receiver. So, it turned out to be inside the chip, not outside.

All the text for an Instructable was written in a step-by-step format. This turned out to be an excellent way to write the directions. All the pictures were known but without having them to reference it forced me to elaborate in words what I wanted to say. The text was over 1300 words long which was a good day of non-fiction writing for me.

Text for Instructable

Instructable’s web editor was used to assemble all the images and data files. Data files can now be uploaded directly to the site but .docx files were not acceptable. Finally, the Instructable for the keyboard was published. This was my 11th Instructable. It was not well received and did not become a featured article. The technical experience necessary for this project may have been a deterrent. It was disappointing. In the future HackDay.io may be the publication medium for technical projects and Instructables for simpler projects with a broader appeal.

The rest of the weekly summaries have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2


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