Tag Archives: Week 11

Prototype Progress & Feedback Session

This week we made significant progress on building the prototype. I went to the FabLab last week to discuss options for the water sensor to detect the level of water in the bucket. Instead of buying a sensor for around $7 and an LCD screen we figured out that it is not very complicated to create our own. The homemade water level sensor would essentially be 2 wires put into the bucket at 3 different points (6 wires in total) and connected to the Arduino.  The way it works is that a current is sent between the two wires and each of the 3 points and when  a change in frequency is noted (the current going through water versus air is noticeably different), a message will be sent to notify user that the water level is high, medium or low and to refill the water or shut off the water pump if it is too low. They also have LCD screens at the Fablab that they do not mind us borrowing for this prototype so we are minimizing our costs of the project as well.

On Tuesday, I went back to the FabLab with the bucket to create the sensor. The process involved a lot of new activities for me as there were several tools I got to use that I had not previously had experience with. We first needed to drill holes in the bucket so I got to use an electric drill and then screw a few screws in with nuts and washers in order to hold the wire on the outside of the bucket (out of the water). The wires will then be able to conduct current through the screws even though they are not in the water. I put caulk on the inside of the bucket around the screws in order to prevent water leaking out through the screw holes. I had never used a caulking gun before so that was also pretty fun to use. We then were able to cut some wires and attach one to each of the screws. I am going back this week to finish attaching the wires to the bucket and soldering them to a couple other parts in order to have a functioning sensor. I will then be finishing writing the code for the Arduino to be able to interpret and send a message to the LED screen of the water level. I am really excited about the progress on our project this week and look forward to finishing the sensor programing this week!

In class we continued working on our hydroponic garden, ensuring that we will have each of the parts ready to construct throughout the week. The second half of the class we split up into small groups and met with another team to pitch our idea/ progress on the project and any current challenge areas in order to receive feedback. The 2 different teams provided a few valuable comments and questions from the perspective of an outside potential user of the product that we had not previously considered. It was definitely an interesting and useful activity. Additionally, we heard updates on all of the other projects and I am excited to see how each of the teams’ work comes together within the next couple of weeks!

Week 11 – The scanning revolution

This week in BADM 395, we explored the emerging world of 3D scanning, modeling, and printing. First, we watched a video from Jay Leno’s garage featuring a 3D scan and model of an antique auto part. The 3D modeler was able to scan the part, render it in a 3D workspace, alter key aspects of the piece to reinforce structural stability, and print the piece in a few hours. This was very encouraging to see 3D printing technology used for such a good use by Jay Leno, whose late-night show I thoroughly enjoyed. Professor Sachdev showed us his 3D scanning apps on the iPad, its capabilities, and current uses. Although the first few programs did not properly add our models to the cloud, we were eventually able to access the necessary files. Over the course of an hour and a half, I worked with Vishal to fix the holes in the model and add a base to the bust. Problems with the base and holes prevented me from printing until the last minutes of class. Despite the Cura and the printer estimating a five-and-a-half-hour duration, I revisited the MakerLab three hours after the print to find the printer displaying the “Print Finished” screen without the model. I checked the bin of abandoned finished projects but did not find my print. The models in the bin did not look like me and I did not find one with a base. Either the printer severely distorted my likeness, there was an unforeseen issue with printing, or my model is being kept somewhere else. I will post an update next week with a resolution to this mystery, so for now, here’s my model in Autodesk:


This week, we attempted to further our work on the final project but have ultimately decided to change the course of our final project. Our original idea to have a hot plate powered by a solar panel is not currently feasible with the given technology. Solar technology is still very inefficient and is not viable to quickly heat up a hot plate. Although we were happy with the direction of our project, we cannot worry about the sunk cost time spent on the old idea. Instead, we will be creating custom fit headphones using the technology used in this week’s class session. The 3D scanning technology will allow us to get an accurate model of someone’s ear and create fitted headphones. Runners, hikers, rock climbers, and the hard of hearing could all benefit from our custom-fit headphones.

3D Scanning & Project Tinkering

3D Scanning My Head

Hi everyone! This week was one that I have been looking forward to since the beginning of the semester–we learned about 3D scanning! I have always been intrigued by the capabilities and implications of 3D scanning; it is so cool that we can use cameras/sensors to scan a physical object and create a digital representation of it. We learned about some different consumer-level 3D scanning products and were able to test one out that we have in the lab (we have an iPad attachment). Each of the class members scanned a bust of their head. We were then able to load these files on TinkerCad and fill-in/smooth-out any imperfections in our scans. We then put the edited files into Cura so we could obtain .stl files to then send to the 3D printers! Check out my Cura model and final print below:

Cura Model

Final Print

A fun fact that I learned was that the Xbox Kinect sensor has the same scanning capabilities as the 3D scanners that we talked about in class. This was exciting for me because I have an Xbox Kinect sensor at home! The way it works is the Kinect sensor gets connected to a computer and we can then 3D scan an object with the proper software installed! Check out a video on this topic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cKb3oEM47E.


Project Tinkering

My group is waiting on one of our parts (the 7-Segment display) to come in so we can dive into the building of our prototype. However, this did not deter us from making progress on our project this week. We each performed different parts of our research needed, and I also started tinkering with our perfboard and wires (see picture below).

Perfboard/wire tinkering

The picture may look overwhelming with the wires, but this exercise was actually very beneficial in helping me understand the use of perfboards. Physically maneuvering the wires along the board allowed me to see where the different ports connect and which positive/negative currents would be affected by certain connections. I feel much more confident moving forward in the coming weeks when it comes to connecting our 7-Segment display and sensors.

One additional update that we have for our project is that we are going to utilize a push button counter instead of a sensor for our first prototype. This is because we want to be sure that our 7-Segment display is going to work with our creation before we dive into the depths of coding. Utilizing the push button will allow us to ensure that our prototype is properly created because we will be able to see our number on the display go up and down as we knowingly push the button. Alternatively, it would be more difficult to see where our prototype is correct/incorrect if we use the sensors right away because it would be harder to narrow down if an issue is with the sensor, coding, or wiring of our prototype.


Extra Note

While my group’s project most likely will not require soldering, I found a useful video on YouTube that gives further insight on this topic incase we any group does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N3ApzmyjzE. This video was beneficial because it allowed me to see how another individual used a perfboard and made his own creation. The more that my group learns about these boards and their different functionality, the better off we will be in using our creativity to make the best possible prototype!


Thank you!

Thank you for tuning in this week. More project updates are to come next week once we have all of our parts!


-Scott Provenzano