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Awkward Engineer Blog

Bus Sign Progress 2

Bus Sign Progress 2

Things have been moving steadily along at AwkwardEngineer, which means lots of pictures of the Bus Sign project. Mechanical On the mechanical front, I used the graphics mockup from the last update to start work on a CAD model for how this will go together. All the work is in OnShape (free, in browser CAD!) and is publicly available here.My approach is to mount and wire the electronics to a sub plate (it has extra access cutouts to accommodate second thoughts on my wiring plan), then the front face will mount to standoffs and cover everything. I'm still thinking about...

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Bus Sign Progress

Bus Sign Progress

I made great progress on the bus stop sign this week. In short, I have a fully functioning prototype. It now "works like" what a finished product would be, but hasn't quite reached the level of "looks like" yet. Under the hood, a Python script is connecting to the NextBus API and requesting bus information for the stops by my house, then sending commands over I2C to a display driver chip on my custom circuit board, which in turn lights up the 7-segment displays to show the time until the next bus arrives. The physical prototype is literally a piece...

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New Project: Single Purpose Hardware Bus Stop Sign

New Project: Single Purpose Hardware Bus Stop Sign

Hi all! I'm working on a new project right now, an installation piece for my living room that I'm calling the Bus Stop Sign. The plan is to use the public data feed from Boston's MBTA to create a permanent, wall mounted version of what's essentially the NextBus App, displaying the time until the next bus arrives at the two stops outside my house. It's a piece of what I call "Single Purpose Dedicated Hardware." Of course, you could do the same thing with an app, and there already is one, but I like dedicated hardware for a number of...

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The Mini Newspaper Project

The Mini Newspaper Project

Many of you know I'm a big proponent of "S.T.E.A.M.", namely Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. The "Art" is often the most important letter in the STEAM acronym, as it provides the motivation for learning all that other stuff. To quote one of my friends, "Nobody wants to learn how to code, people just want to solve problems. If you could you solve problems without writing code, nobody would do it." In this case, I wanted to stumble down the basics of "wanting to learn more about linux" through a mini newspaper project. The goal: Use the label maker...

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The How and Why of Organizing Your Hardware Design Project's Digital Files

This blog post is based on by own experiences organizing and managing a hardware design project for small teams with the goal of reaching small batch manufacture. It serves as a sort of homegrown "ERP/MRP/PLM/BOM" system for staying on top of your design, manufacturing, and other files, with the goal of a smooth transition to production. Along with this post, we've also set up a completely open source example project, the AWK-106 Flying Fun Plane. Besides the product page,  we've open sourced the Bill of Materials / Full Product DefinitionManufacturing FilesOnshape Design FilesGithub full project folder  The Tools for Hardware Projects...

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