** Note ** Ben Light, if you’re reading this, I made this project for PCom but there are a lot of parallels to this week’s Fab assignment so I’ve shared it to my Fab blog as well. This was originally for Tom Igoe to read. Hopefully my other Fab enclosure project comes together tonight!
Moving to New York from Toronto was WAY harder than I thought it was going to be. Even with all the grim forewarnings that I got from people who had done it before, I really thought that the transition would be smoother. All signs pointed to a positive move; I had been to New York, sometimes up to a month at a time, more than 20 times, I came from a major city, the language is the same, the currency is similar. However, New York sits in this strange world of similar but not congruent. Sometimes I completely forget that I’m not in Toronto until something odd or unfamiliar happens and I’m pulled back into the realization that this isn’t home anymore.
There were so many (like an unbelievable, unprecedented amount) of bumps in the road within my first month here. In order to avoid feeling frustrated or annoyed, I had to force myself to get into the habit of celebrating the small victories. Sure, none of my American bank accounts work but hey, I finally found the grocery store! Yikes, my apartment is about 3ft by 3ft but wow, today I successfully used a laundromat for the first time! Okay, so my luggage is still lost at the airport but wow, look at me finally navigating the C line on the subway without getting completely lost! Yay!
Some of the things I began to celebrate were so small that they even became comical, but it truly helped ease a very unpleasant start to an international experience that I was really looking forward too. This staunch shift in attitude really got me thinking about how infrequently I celebrate the small victories in life. I thought it would be fun to consider creating a device that helped you intentionally celebrate these little moments. A small victories box, if you will!
the small victories box
I really wanted this to be goofy and a little over the top in the same vein as its purpose so I decided to make this box adorned with iridescent acrylic. I wanted a big tacky button that caused streamers that blow around and super bright LEDs to glow. All the things that would make, perhaps, a seven year old version of myself very happy.
I started off by choosing my parts and designing around their dimensions. I chose a 5v fan, a simple red pushbutton and 16 3v blue super brights. Thank goodness for digital callipers!
Once I screwed all the parts together, I tied streamers to the grill of the fan cover.
Then I laser cut a cap for the button to make it bigger, shiny and more dramatic.
I wired it up which took a lot longer than I expected because I hand to ensure that all the components and wires could fit inside the box. I was particularly worried about pressure on the LED line but after a couple instances of rewiring and re-soldering, I was able to get it all stuffed inside.
At the last minute I had to create a plate cover for the fan when I realized that the wires were worming their way into the grills. I used some scrap offcuts to create this barrier.
Here’s a look at my code. It’s pretty simple! It’s based off of the blink example. I added a pushbutton. You won’t see any code for the fan because the button simply interrupts the ground line of the fan, only bridging the circuit when it is pressed.
Here are a bunch of videos and photos of the final product!
There are a couple of things that I would do differently! For one, I would definitely use a more powerful fan. Sometimes, depending on the position of the streamers, it works really well and blows them around, and sometimes it doesn’t. I would also add a speaker to play a sound when the button is pressed.
Overall, I’m pleased with how it came out! Newly ready to celebrate the small victories in life!