During the last few days, I have written several animations for the Hex Light, improved the animation library and software utilities I have going for all of my lights, and have swapped animations one after another trying to find the right sequence. I also got blended colors going. **I really need to start producing video to go with these log entries…
And, in the interim, I’ve been doing a lot of research into prices of parts, chips, and supplies to make the boards and art. Basically, I’m trying to design REV B of the board and enable part- and code-sharing among as many of them as possible. Actually, it’s pretty exciting. I like doing it. It’s like a little game. 🙂
I showed the Hex Light and other projects to friends and family this weekend and it was a hit, I think! And, plus, we talked about all kinds of possibilities for the future, such as limited editions, knotted wood, inset screws, and wall-sized art. Plus, I got advice from some business veterans about marketing and product design. That gets me excited for the future. I like this.
But, for now, I want to focus on making a good selection of the lights – large, medium, and small – all price ranges, and making the prototypes as cool as they can be 🙂 Also, I’ll be in business with the Dodecahedrons and my paintings, as well. I’ll have an album and a synth instrument, as well, upcoming. It’s thrilling to me to design these and come up with stuff that people get excited about! I get excited about them, too!
That being said, there’s only so much I can do at a time. Plus, I have a full-time engineering job. But, every night and on the weekends (if I’m not venturing out), I chip a piece of the shroud away from the form of the dream. Right now, as I said, I’m designing products. I’m implementing the ideas that inspire me. I did a Hex Light prototype all the way from an idea to done and working. This REV B board for it is going to be what I’ll try to put into production. I’ll keep working on it as I continue to get the other lights caught up to the “working prototype” stage. As I said, they’ll all share some common parts and production methods.
For instance, I’ll probably go with a 44-pin TQFP MCU, get them in bulk and flash the appropriate program on them for the application. It seems like I could save money by getting 3 or 4 different processors, specific for each application (like if I only needed 2 full ports and 2 ADC’s for one thing, instead of 4 full ports and 6 ADC’s), but really, I can’t save that much, because getting bulk means that I already save cash on the one model, in bulk. If an MCU costs $8 each for under quantity 10 and $5 each for 500 or more, I get the discount, overall. And, as for the labor, I’d like to work with a common port pinout and register layout for the common libraries I’m writing. That’s the kind of thing I’m spending the most time on now. Haha – who knows what will end up being “the right thing”, but I’ll learn as I go along.
REV B for the board will halve the size and be labeled much better with a proper soldermask, silkscreen, and two layers – plus it will use SMD parts. Mounting it on the art will be much easier, and I can use that same board in a few products. I’ll have to make other boards, say, for the Tri-Light and single hex “mini” lights, but my direction now is to get the more complex board settled and then use the techniques learned from that to create the mini ones.
Anyway… I could go on and on… It’s fun to try to get these pieces going for production. It’s not stressful, but it’s not easy, either. I want to see these pieces come alive and be in good form, so I’ll do what I have to and just see what I got after they’re done. Then, I can move on to other projects, like the synth and metal dodecahedron.