Again this one was rushed and incomplete but the next one is already shaping up much better. Again I did finish this one at the two week mark I just hadn’t had time to write anything until now.
I wanted to become familiar with the sensors in Android so I figured a marble rolling game would work well for that. I didn’t put much effort into graphics which should become apparent below. The takeaway from this game was that hooking up the accelerometer in android is ridiculously easy. I may well try and include it in some of the future games. Either way enjoy the screenshots and stay tuned for something more interesting next week.
Just to keep things open this is about a product made by friends of mine. I have no equity of their company, I just think their product is awesome and want to see them succeed. If you want to skip the below or have read it before just to their Kickstarter page
3D printing is awesome. Plain and simple. You can make things now that would have either needed some pretty expensive hardware 5 years ago or would have required you to ship your designs away and wait for your product to be returned to you. Assuming you didn’t have an industrial CNC at your disposal this process could be painful. If you made a mistake you had to either modify what you were sent or send it off again. This process was slow, and could become really expensive. Then in comes the home 3D printer, deign, print, refine, repeat. It’s like agile for objects. Before this gets into a 3D printer history lesson I should draw this back to the parallel I was trying to make. This slow design cycle is still there, it isn’t for physical parts any more but getting a quality PCB made is as slow as ever. Now that’s changing.
Cartesian Co. is a startup from Brisbane working on one of the coolest products I’ve seen in some time. The PCB printer. They print conductive material directly onto a number of substrates, no etching required. If that’s not enough to catch your interest have a look at the results. (More details below).
So for some more details on the machine. The machine uses two modified ink cartridges to mix chemicals that when combined form a silver precipitate. If you purchase a kit you get pre filled cartridges, assembled electronics, and one excellent looking piece of hardware. Pick your substrate. So far it has been tested with paper, kapton, acrylic, and microfiber. Get your layout as an image file (e.g. png, almost all PCB CAD packages will let you do this). Open the packaged software, click print and you’re on your way. Once printing has completed you can attach your components using traditional soldering, hot air reflow or conductive paste. Which method works best is dependant on what you print on obviously. As you see in the video above this method has been shown to work well for components as small as SOIC so don’t think you are stuck with through hole components.
So now some of the nitty gritty details. First, if you are one of the super early birds you can get one of these for just $900 (Kickstarter Page again just in case you need it, and sorry I took one of the 5). For those worried about ink levels I’ve been told that they have yet to empty an entire set of cartridges and I’ve seen them print dozens of things. Now this is likely to be put into some defined units at some point nut for now thats the best I can offer. Print time is a combination of size, substrate and desired conductivity in much the same way as 3D printing time depends on size, layer size and your machine. I’m sure that once these are out there we will have some examples of prints and the time needed (I know I’ll be posting about mine when it comes).
As I hinted at before the conductivity can be increased by printing more layers onto the design, again when mine arrives I intend to do some current and signal frequency tests but we are going to have to wait for that too. Apparently some substrates and be post processed to increase this capacity further but I haven’t as yet got the details of that. The flexible substrates open the doors to some pretty cool ideas, depending on how well I can design it I was thinking headphone wires built into exercise gear with plugs at either end. Again what you put on a flexible PCB is going to define how well it works, a 28 pin through hole AVR isn’t very flexible by nature so I can Imagine trying to flex it is going to cause some trouble but small surface mount components (like the LEDs above) should work well.
Hopefully by this stage you are convinced by, or at least curious about this project. I strongly encourage everyone to get behind it on Kickstarter and help start the home PCB printing revolution.
So I did stop working on this one when I said I would I just haven’t had time to write anything until today. Again the game worked pretty well, you could move, turn, eat things, grow, and die. Only thing missing was the score in this case. This showed me a lot about sprite sheets and having a mapping between elements in the game and sprites on a sheet (I’ll try implement something a little cleaner one day…maybe). Either way the images of various stages of development and the time I spent of things is below. (Again the time is really short, I don’t have a lot of free time these days but I’m determined to get this done).
15 Min - Art work
11:08 - 12:05 - project setup
8:57 - 10:04 code + art
8:23 - 9:20 code and art