Continuing my post from last time:

There has been quite some progress made in the last 5 months since I posted about "This technical Project" I was working on. Well, actually, we are done. Here's how it happened:

First of, we gave it a name, we called it: peæk
It combines the words peek and peak. A reference to the extending pins.

Then we proceeded to coil the coils. A local company sponsored the material and access to the coiling machine. Still it took many man days for us to coil all 144 we needed.

And burn them:

After that I got onto programming the whole Infrastructure in C for the Arduino Mega 2560. I'm quite proud of the result as it is a quite complex system with many interlockig parts, and yet stayed modular and overseeable

I'll share the whole thing here. The whole thing is 140kB precompiled. Take a look. Again, most comments are in german.

I got onto programming some programms for it. But came to the conclusion, that I won't be able to properly do it without being able to see if it's working properly (not only compiling correctly) I needed to see what comes out at the end. And as the hardware wasn't done yet. I build an interface with Autohotkey.
Here it is:
It got a little bit refined since then. The ability to send inputs for the 4 buttons and a redone console visualisation.

While this was going on the other guys worked on the mechanical part of the project.

Applying neoPixels to one such part:

After that I prepared the coil ends, all 288 of them. Put shrinking tube on them and inserting them into self cutting clamps that would eventually go onto the driver boards

By then I've already done and let someone check the layout for the printed circuit board. There were some problems with the manufacturer, then with my layout ... it's cheesy, but all good things are 3 :stuck_out_tongue:. Sadly that burned a lot of the reserve time we had until then. (also sneak peæk for further down):

Soldering the boards:

Configuring potentiometer and some testing:

Nasty interference, turned out I shouldn't have powered the power and logic from two sources:

All wired up:

I know ... it's nasty :weary:

Last three weeks have been a tremendous amount of work with loads of interferences making my life miserable:
But I pulled trough and their gone ... mostly ... like 90%.
Our 1500W power supply had to go though, induced all kinds of stuff. And now we are stuck with only a fifth of the needed power coming in from outside. So sadly not all patterns will be enjoyable in their full glory, certainly not a "all pins up".

Conway's Game of Life ... now tested physically ... well only the LEDs:
After finishing all programming. It even has snake :smile: :smile:
And finally assembled:
That was this tuesday (25.08.2015). And this is me, this weekend (28-29.08.2015) at the educational fair the "Ostschweizer Bildungs Austellung", where people come to inform themselves what apprenticeship to start after school, what secondary school to join or what courses to take:

Some kids playing snake:

Interface working:

A great project, people were motivated, it was technically challenging and the initiators didn't push us in any direction and left us find our own.

In the end it didn't work 100%, but most other project weren't either, all prototypes after all.

Number one thing, besides all the skills, I learned from this: Build things robust, even if they are prototypes. One false kick and the whole big white plate would have come tumbling down, destroying all the electronics, ripping out wires, breaking off the coils ... happy that didn't happen.