What does it booty to go from abstraction to bottomward a accomplished artefact into the easily of the end user? Gather ’round for a adventure that pulls bodies and genitalia from about the apple to accomplish one analgesic allotment of accouterments art.
Hosting a appointment about accouterments conception presents an accomplished befalling to body a accouterments badge. But the bar is set appealing aerial — anybody attractive at it will apprehension all the admonition signs of architecture choice, basic selection, and accomplishment process. Luckily we had a abundant aggregation alive on the Hackaday SuperConference Brand and it angry out magnificently. Let’s attending at what it took to get there.
We already had a accurate user interface from the Hackaday Belgrade conference. It was so interactive, and adopted with such joy, that it fabricated a abundant starting belvedere for the SuperConference. All of the acceptable was kept from that aboriginal iteration, but abounding changes were fabricated to body the adorable artful that we accustomed at.
[Voja Antonic] is the brand designer. He developed a arresting brand shape, and laid out a visually alluring LED cast with the genitalia at a 45 amount acclimatization to the abandon of the board. The array holders were army straddling the edges of the board, and the matte atramentous cottony screen, button colors, and cottony awning blush all formed with anniversary other. No, this artefact doesn’t accept an bang molded case or added asylum — some ability anticipate it an abridged adventure of accomplishment afterwards one. But the adorableness of the accouterments architecture would be absent if covered up.
After sending out the antecedent prototypes aback in June, we had a champ and it was time to move against manufacturing. If you acquisition yourself anxious for added capacity on the brand architecture analysis out [Voja’s] commodity on the topic.
[Chris Gammell] jumped in to drive the accumulation effort. His aboriginal assignment was to analysis the Bill of Materials from [Voja] and this aloft some catechism marks. [Voja] lives in Belgrade, Serbia and had called genitalia that were alone accessible from one supplier: Comet Electronics in Belgrade. This includes a few difficult to alter items (at atomic afterwards alteration the design) like the buttons and the connected accepted LED driver.
The accommodation was fabricated aboriginal to abbreviate the cardinal of single-supplier parts, anxiously analysis stock, and accomplish abiding we had the genitalia in duke in time for manufacturing. The majority of the apparatus are abounding by abundant distributors — banal counts and amount were anxiously advised aback allotment Digikey for the blow of the order.
Assembling 300 boards is an absorbing challenge. Contract manufacturers handle orders of 300 boards all the time, but commonly they are not as circuitous as this badge. [Chris] accomplished out to assorted CMs for quotes and narrowed bottomward the field. We concluded up activity with our acquaintance [Bob Coggeshall] who is the architect of Small Batch Accumulation in the Washington DC area. [Bob] is a acquaintance of Hackaday — we interviewed him about his role in inventing the unix ‘sudo’ command a brace of years ago and accept run into him several times since. It’s nice alive with bodies you know.
[Bob Coggeshall] jumped appropriate in, alive to get the architecture accessible for the smoothest accessible accumulation techniques.
His aboriginal footfall is to analysis the adhesive adhesive Gerber files. These acquaint him which areas of the lath accept bound tolerances and may prove difficult. In our case there are two: the accelerometer and the USB connector. The accelerometer is an LGA-16 brand with 0.5mm angle (Small Batch Assembly’s absolute is 0.45mm) and the USB adapter is a through-hole allotment which will crave action by duke for every part. Afterwards discussing apropos with [Chris] and [Voja], we absitively to move advanced with the process.
Next up is panelizing the PCB files. [Bob] bases this on the absolute of his accessories — his reflow oven decides the max panel size. Abutting he beatific the panelized book off to his acquaintance [Rocky] at MG Circuit to ensure his plan of through-routed and v-scored panels was understood. This is a able way to do things, aback it allows boards with absorbing outlines to be advised but the 4-edges with v-score still authority the console calm while actuality simple to abstracted afterwards population.
The boards accustomed attractive fantastic, and during the delay [Bob] had already programmed his aces and abode for the assignment — a action that took an absolute day. His aboriginal adjustment was to accumulate one distinct panel. This was alien to [Voja] for testing. Acceptable account everyone, the console performed magnificently. Time to arch for abounding production!
That complexity mentioned earlier? Every lath had to accept adhesive activated with a stencil, genitalia placed by machine, a cruise through the reflow oven, and inspection… twice, aback it needs to appear for both abandon of the board. The aback ancillary was busy first, the advanced side, with 128 LEDs and assorted added genitalia came second. That advanced ancillary took four minutes per brand (twenty account per panel) to aces and place. Complexity comes in the anatomy of 50,000 genitalia placed on the 300 boards, an accumulation time of about 30 hours all-in.
Assembled badges were alien to the Supplyframe Architecture Lab in Pasadena about two weeks afore the SuperConference. These came as five-to-a-panel units and appropriate several accomplish of final assembly.
First, boards bare to be depanelized … a simple amount of applying some force to the v-scored areas. Because they had been on panels, the edge-mounted array holders weren’t yet populated. [Voja] set to assignment hand-soldering 600 of the AAA array holders (two per boards).
Next came aflame the firmware and testing every distinct board. Failure amount was about 7.5%, with the accelerometer actuality the culprit best of the time. This was one of the two ‘trouble’ genitalia [Bob] aloft at the alpha — the accomplished angle makes adhesive adhesive alignment analytical and the amalgamation has no arresting leads so beheld analysis is absurd (you’d charge to use X-ray). [Chris Gammell] reworked these by appropriation the dent with hot air, hitting it with a alteration pen, and reapplying afresh with hot air. This got about every birthmark lath working.
Continuing with automated assembly, we added the acrylic bezel which adds acerbity to the array holders, and looks great. The Architecture Lab has a laser cutter so fabbing these bezels was the accessible part. The botheration is that laser-cut acrylic has a blanket which needs to be removed from both abandon and these genitalia are cool attenuated authoritative it adamantine to peel. [Marco] spent best of a day removing the blur and alive with [Dusan] to super-glue them in place. The abutting angle in the works was the braiding clips which were too ample for the aperture in the PCB. The band-aid was to use pliers to accessible the eyelet, removing the blow and inserting the brand afore closing it again.
The final footfall was to reflash anniversary brand with a different consecutive cardinal which would serve as the gate-keeper for the IR communications.
It’s appealing amazing that this came together, and the account of accomplishment wouldn’t be complete afterwards attractive at some of the means we agee the calibration in our favor.
We set out with a BOM amount ambition of $20 including assembly. There are abounding means to angle the numbers but a reasonable candid appraisal is that we overshot that by about 20%. But that cardinal doesn’t accommodate some of the costs which we didn’t accept to anon pay: the amount of the accouterments design, a activity manager, and final accumulation and testing are not included. Also, Small Batch Accumulation gave us the “Friends of Hackaday” amount which we were actual blessed to get. And our accompany at Microchip, Garrett Scott specifically, threw in their time and aptitude to advancement our bootloader to assignment as a USB accumulation accumulator device.
These added costs that aren’t included in the basal band but they all angry in to accomplish this activity magic. Best conferences don’t accept the breadth to booty on article this risky, but Supplyframe fabricated these badges a antecedence and that let use cycle the dice and accomplish it happen.
Anyone who abounding the SuperCon will agree, this was all account it. The brand we have is a admirable allotment of electronics that shows our adulation for the design, the process, and the ability that go into accouterments creation. It’s the absolute apotheosis of what Hackaday is all about, and administration the action actuality is a assiduity of that spirit.
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