Friday, July 17, 2009

Simple Resistive Load

Two days ago, a couple of fellow students (David Alvarado and David Munday) and I built a simple resistive load bank. We took a cue from Jennifer Elaan's "Old World Light Bulb Load" and used incandescent bulbs as the load. The last porcelain fixture on the end has a plug on it, so that we can daisy chain more interesting (reactive) load modules later on.

The enclosure was designed in Solidworks and cut out of 1/4" MDF by our local laser cutter. It was fitted and glued together using the standard tab-in-slot method.

The total cost of this project was about $60, but would have ended up costing <$30 if we had chosen to buy our parts from a different hardware store. (Soon, I shall post a 3D PDF of the assembly showing our wire stress-relief mount.)

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Control Panel

I've wanted to design a control panel using a laser cutter for quite awhile now; This automated scanner project has finally given me the chance. I cut the parts using professor Gabriel Elkaim's 25 watt LaserProII. The material is 1/8" opaque black acrylic, purchased from a local plastics supplier. I estimate that the materials for this control panel cost me approximately $15; This cost, and the fact that the panel is completely custom justify the time I wasted (about 5 hours) designing it.

I made a mistake during the construction of the panel by gluing the faceplate down. I had meant to leave it loose so that I could actually put everything inside (Things are pretty cramped in the enclosure). The next revision of the panel will likely be twice as large, feature matte acrylic instead of glossy, and a faceplate which is screwed on rather than just slotted. By then, I should have the software for the unit mostly worked out and thus will also know how many buttons are required.

The unit was designed in solidworks. When I finish the second revision, I will post the solidworks and corel draw files to thingiverse.

Note: Better picture to come

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