The Creation Process

Step 1: Design Idea

First a project needs to start with an idea. For this project, the idea was getting students interested in this process by showing how it’s possible to come up with an idea and turn it into a working product.  LCDS does a great job of instilling that concept in our students, this was an attempt …

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Step 2: Prototyping

The next step is to prototype the concept.  Gather the basic parts needed to produce the end product, and see if it works!

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Step 3: Technical Design

After it works, it needs to be translated into something that can be produced.  We used the Eagle CAD program to build our circuit and lay out our board.  It’s free for personal and educational use, so long as you don’t sell your work product.  There’s a bit of a learning curve, but there are …

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Step 4: Fabrication

Once the design is finalized we send that design off to be fabricated.  We use OSH Park for our board fabrication.  It takes a few weeks to produce the boards, and then you’ll get them in the mail.  At the same time we went and ordered all of the other components from Mouser, an electronics supplier.  Then the …

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Step 5: Testing

After the boards are made and programmed and any rework happens to fix any bugs, we’re good to go!  Testing along all points of the process is essential.  This last point came back to bite us, as explained next.

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Step 6: Problems

Occasionally problems creep up.  A big problem popped up in this project when the first board was made.  No matter what was tried, the original design of having the board powered by button cell batteries with an on/off switch couldn’t work properly when finally assembled.  One of the problems wound up being an unacceptable voltage …

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