projects

Star Wars Armada Correllian Conflict campaign improvements

In December, Fantasy Flight Games released one of the best miniature game expansions that I have ever seen. The Corellian Conflict allows up to six Star Wars Armada players to battle for control of the Corellian sector, Han Solo's home system. Over the course of several campaign turns, the players build and destroy bases and outposts throughout the sector. In order to track who controls what planet, the designers gave you a folded map and a whole bunch of stickers.

Since we have multiple people at the local game store that want to play, I thought it would be frustrating at best to use stickers. Along came my idea to make a smart map that loads map data from the web and then changes LED colors to convey information. The map will be mounted at the store very soon.

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On the left is a close up from the front of the map where you can see the Neopixels I used for the colors. I'll be adding some 3D-printed items to diffuse the light a little better. The right photo shows the control button, the display, and the ESP8266. The ESP8266 is the brain of the whole thing. The button is used to switch between games that are displayed. It is also used to refresh the data with a long press. If there are no button presses for 30 minutes, it starts rotating through all the maps every 15 seconds.

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Each Neopixel is soldered to the next. To help me when it came time for programming, I labelled every Neopixel from behind. The photo on the right shows the whole 25-LED strip. Painters tape was great for holding everything in place.

Parts
ESP8266 Thing from Spark Fun ($15.95, https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13231)
OLED yellow/blue display ($9.99, https://www.amazon.com/Diymall-Yellow-Serial-Arduino-Display/dp/B00O2LLT30/)
Neopixel RGBW strip ($17.95, https://www.adafruit.com/products/2832)
Micro USB wall charger ($12.90, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009STIJWA/)

Supplies
1000 uF capacitor
560 and 10K Ohm resistors
Jumper wires
Push button
22 AWG bulk wire
Solder

Tools
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
Soldering iron
Hobby exacto knife
3D printed plastic disc, 15mm across
Computer (for programming and uploading to the ESP8266)

Services
Laminate and dry-mount map on foam core (unknown price because Fed Ex did it for free after they botched the first attempt)

Skills
Soldering
Cutting with the exacto knife

Time
I estimate that I spent a total of 20 hours on this project. The bulk of that was on cutting the holes and soldering the Neopixels, probably about 8 hours.

Getting back to it!

It has been way too long since I was making new stuff. Grades get turned in tomorrow, and I have some time off in the coming weeks.  

Radio and intercom holder update

Radio mounting system

Radio mounting system

The intercom holder works well, and I was trying to come up with a good holder for the radio. Instead of trying to make a separate part, I'm going to try combining them into a single model.


More Pathfinder RPG accessories  

Giant leech...ewww  

Giant leech...ewww  

These little cardboard tokens are much easier to organize than boxes and boxes of actual miniatures. It would be nice to be able to tell them apart though. I'm going to make a small arch that essentially slides over the top and has a small number on it. I can hopefully get this design printed and confirmed functional by Friday when I game master at Heroicon. Yay for rapid prototyping!

Too sick to fly the Cub, not too sick to design

The Cub is ready to fly today, but I'm still having coughing fits from the fourth day of a cold. That makes for an unsafe flight, so I'm sadly staying indoors. If I can't fly, I can still do design work for flying.  

 

Three different accessories to improve the radio experience in a Cub.  

Three different accessories to improve the radio experience in a Cub.  

Each accessory slides a piece between the outer and inner skin of the fuselage. On the far left is an intercom holder. The intercom allows you to plug in two headsets so the pilot and passenger can talk to each other. This accessory gives you access to the volume and squelch controls. I might change the orientation to put the back of the intercom against the fuselage. The center piece is for cable management. There are two cables per headset, one for the push-to-talk button, and two more for connecting the intercom to the radio. The cable manager holds cables in place and out of the way. Multiple can be used to help in different places. The accessory on the right is for the radio. It lets you clamp the radio to it and keeps it at a convenient viewing angle. 

My only concern is that these could potential break, leaving a piece of plastic inside e fuselage. I think I can address that with the right thickness though, possibly making rounded edges, too.  

Projects I've got stewing right now

While I haven't made an update here in a week or so, I have multiple projects sitting and ready for more work.

Robot control via voice recognition

This project is related to the BB-8 clone being made by a group of people at Makerspace Urbana. I volunteered to take on some voice activated controls using an EasyVR shield from VeeaR. When I first soldered it all together, I was able to test it successfully. I have written some pseudocode for how I want to do voice commands, but I need to make some time to do the work.

Star Wars Armada accessories

The damage tracker is done with some very minor tweaks that I need to print to be sure. My next effort will be an add-on for upgrade cards with the ship tray. I have a few designs that I'm kicking around, but nothing that makes me completely happy aesthetically. After that is complete, my next idea is to create some alternate ship stands for the bases. The default ship stands all have the ships flying straight and level. Space ships should be maneuvering!

Workbench lighting

I really, really like my workbench lighting. Besides dance party mode, I have now added a mode for a slowly changing color wheel. It is very relaxing as the lights transition across my bench.

Maaaaybe a drone from scratch

I am still undecided, but I think I want to build a drone this spring and summer from scratch. It needs to happen after the BB-217 project is complete, but I think it is something I can finish in time for a big family reunion this summer.