Review of projects

In a recent Ben Heck episode Ben revisits an old project and discusses what went wrong with it and how to do it better. I think this is a great idea and will have a look through some of my older projects and see how I might do those better now.

Ben makes some good points about how the mechanical aspects of the project were quite challenging, clamping the connectors requires a lot of force and that the size was a lot bigger that he envisaged.

The project took a lot longer than planned and following the build the servo burnt out.

Ben’s conclusion was to focus on projects with more electronics and leave out the pointless mechanisms.

For an electronics show this makes a lot of sense, there’s only a limited duration to each show and if you add to one part of the project then you have to take away from another part.

However if you take this to extreme you could up with everything on a computer screen. David Rose sums this up in his book, “Enchanted Objects” with his nightmare about the “black slab”

Having completed a couple of projects that had mechanical, electronics and software components I understand Ben’s problem. A multi-aspect project is really hard. But I also agree with David in that we should not reduce everything to a black box.

My solution is a little different from Ben’s. I’m going to try keep my projects simple and focused on one or two areas. So an involved mechanical project is fine as long as it does not have an associated complex electronic part. My existing project the magnifier lamp is a good example of that, both electronics and mechanical but this time needing no software. It should also be possible to split bigger projects up so that there is a stand-alone subproject that does not require work across 3 different skillsets.

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