Cart 0

Awkward Engineer Blog

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...

Read more →


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...

Read more →


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...

Read more →


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...

Read more →


Introducing the AWK-106

Introducing the AWK-106

I promised that I'd have something new this week and here it is... the AWK-106 Flying Fun Plane! For now, it is a set of 100% free and open source plans for making a small, lasercut toy plane. So, what's this project about? Well, there were a couple motivations: I wanted to create an example project that shows the level of detail needed to fully define a project for a small batch manufacturing process. I've used a mix of Github, Dropbox, and Google Docs in the past (and also shared drives and SVN) and wanted to test some ideas around...

Read more →