Now in our second year of this project, we have learned some of the pain points our students encounter in the building of their creatures. In particular, they run into issues when attaching the electronic components securely and as damage-free as possible. Given that we work in a maker lab, it seems logical that we should be inventing and fabricating the solutions to these design challenges.
I previously wrote about the small 3D printed LED covers students use in a variety of projects to diffuse the often overly bright light emitted from an LED. While these LED caps work well with the Trash Creatures, students also need to mount items such as distance sensors, servo motors, and the Hummingbird board.
Using a 2D vector design program like Adobe Illustrator, or the web-based Gravit Designer, it's a fairly straight-forward task to mock up a quick idea using measurements from our Hummingbird parts. After a few test runs on the laser cutter, and slight modifications here and there, we developed a wooden plate upon which students now mount their boards. Below you can see the mount getting attached to a creature frame, and the Hummingbird board then attached to the mount.
A similar method and materials were used to create the supports seen at the right for our servo motors. I suspect there will be a number of design changes in the years ahead as we encounter new situations and design obstacles.