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Building out the T388 Walkie Mobile

I've been working on the walkie mobiles all week and over the weekend. Once I assembled the second walkie mobile, I was able to test communication between the two, and it worked!

The first step was to take apart the walkies, and then I had to figure out how to extend the button. In an earlier post I wrote about the carbon-impregnated silicon, and once I realized the carbon is just connecting two traces, I thought that I could extend this with wires touching each other.

With great difficulty, I hand-soldered two wires to the talk button and secured it with a healthy dollop of hot glue to secure it in place. My first iteration was not secured and the wires fell off and ripped off the trace :)

When you touch the wires together, the talk feature is activated!

I tested the comms between the walkies and everything works, but the audio is very hard to make out. I wondered if this was because the mic input is two vias and now that they're exposed with no enclosure, the air going through the mic is not registering enough vibration to send a message. I debugged this by adding a dollop of hot glue to the back surface of the PCB at the mic vias, which worked better. But now you still have to get really close to the mic vias and speak really loudly and clearly, which is kinda awkward.

I'll be showing this for demo day/alumni feedback tomorrow, and really looking forward to getting some UI feedback on how to give the fewest instructions to make this work properly.

Then I finished up the weekend by finishing up the stool that I made! I milled the legs on the ShopBot with Phil on Thursday which also served as a test and documentation for the ShopBot tutorial setup (kaching!). I cut the rectangles by hand with the panel saw and the bandsaw, and then got some hardware from Bruno's to secure the bottom bracket and secure the top to the legs.

Each stool has two tops so that stepping on the stool closes the circuit. Martha donated her spring assortment to me, and I found two sets of springs that were perfect for the stepping action. Attaching these to the top two boards was a little janky, I wish there was a cleaner way to make a little divot in the plywood; I used a 1/2" drill bit and smooched the surface of the plywood just to allow the spring to sit in place. (A smooch is a heavy kiss)

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