Our first year groups continued working on their Light Boxes this week. Since last weekend I’d spent time CNC’ing the kids designs onto their spray-painted Perspex and cutting the plastic roughly to shape. The first step this week was to do a quick sanding pass to get everything lined up for the next round of glueing. For this we learnt about a new tool - the belt sander - a machine definitely for grown ups only:
Then we headed back to the studio to tackle the other key skill this project relies on - Soldering! Some people had already done a bit of soldering before but for most this was a new and challenging skill to learn. We started by talking about the safety aspects and how to handle the irons, very important when the tip can be over 400 degrees! Then we got to work ‘tinning’ the wires that we were going to need to connect our boards together.
Soon it was time for the other main design choice for this project - what colour LED’s to use. Blue proved very popular.
There is actually an interesting bit of history behind the Blue LED as this long sought after device was only invented in the early 1990’s. For years scientists had been trying to find the materials that would generate blue light as without it there was no way to make all 3 primary colours. Once it finally arrived companies could combine it with the standard Red and Green LEDs to build things like LED Televisions which were much lighter and thinner than what was on offer at the time. Closely following the Blue LED was the Blue Laser - which suddenly made the next generation of DVD players possible (many of us probably still have a collection of Blu-Ray Discs). This discovery was so significant that in 2014 the people behind the discovery were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Anyway, back to the soldering. By the end of the session everyone had successfully attached their 8 LED’s onto their circuit boards and wired everything together ready for final assembly. We’ll definitely be sending this project home with everyone next week!
The Guinea Pigs and Mega-bots
Our second year groups are also working on a take home project. This involves building an Arduino prototype board (and more soldering). The Mega-bots are needing theirs for the “Franko-Bots” they are building and we made great progress on these this week. They worked on connecting speakers, generating tones and wiring up relays.
The Guinea Pigs are also going to be creating sounds with their Arduino boards but they are doing this mechanically, with strikers on tuned tubes. We started their session learning about resonance, incorporating ropes, weighted strings, sine waves and shouting at the piano (as you do). Then they too were onto the soldering irons to begin putting things together. Stripping the insulation off wires seemed to be proving problematic for some people so after a quick dash during Wednesday's lunch break MakeRoom is now the proud owner of a set of wire-strippers.
Easter is just around the corner! See you next week.