Site Updates and The Boxes, Round Two

by Alex

This post will serve two purposes: it will discuss the various updates I made to my site, and it will go deeper in to the "boxes" I made for my wedding. With that, let's dive in!

Site Updates

Since my last post, I've changed some behaviors on my blog posts - moving forward, all images and files will be lazy loaded after the site renders. Additionally, I'm now properly returning the correct sized image based on your browser's actual width. This will help save on data costs for those who are on mobile (or Comcast with a data cap...), and will boost the overall site performance. In other words, this page went from around 20 megs to approximately 2 megs on a mobile device and 5 megs on a desktop. The code behind it is currently post specific; however, I'll eventually implement it site wide once I finish converting the images.

I've also taken the time to fix the various CSS bugs that would prevent the menu from loading correctly on a mobile device, and improved the overall site flow. The site now properly scales to all screen sizes and will always show the correct content on the blog and the home pages.

The boxes

This section is arguably more interesting in my opinion! Feel free to look at the carousel below (all images are loaded on demand, so they may take a moment between slides!). The boxes were a ton of fun and helped me refine basic electronic skills such as soldering!

Please note this post is still being updated with the correct images and info as of 9:54 PM (12-4).

1) This was my initial attempt at making boxes. Originally, I wanted to 3D print all of the boxes; however, this ended up not working out because the time to print a box was around 58 hours. Additionally, the boxes I designed were far too small to fit the Happ Arcade buttons, the Arduino Nano and the NRF24L01 chips.

2) Which brings us to this - a pine box from Michael's. If you look closely at the holes, you'll see that some of the holes have some chipping due to the softness of the wood. There was little we could do to prevent this; however, we figured we'd cover it with the paper mache.

3) Here's one of the boxes after it was paper-mached. Notice how the holes are barely visible at the bottom of the box.

4) In our test box, you can see that the mache painted black makes the box look like a worn book - the exact thing we were shooting for! I've inserted the buttons to the box and the chips are impossible to see. Thankfully, the happ buttons have a larger overlay as well, so they worked great!

5) At this point, I had to wire the internal electronics. The next slide contains a schematic of the overall system - and this image shows what the system looked like before it was placed in the box.

6) This is not the schematic - I have to grab a picture of it and upload it. For now, just pretend you see the schematic!

7) Here's Jalysa adding a border to the box - carefully gluing the trim on to the box to create a book feeling when the boxes were handled. She decided to do this before the mache, this way she could paint on top of the border later on.

8) The entire system needed a server to connect to, so I decided to solder the chips to a prototyping board. Technically, I could have used the same design from the earlier slide (or a box for that matter), but I decided to make a compact chip so I had a failsafe as well.

9) Here's the end result and what the boxes looked like while they were charging!

10) That's all the slides! Feel free to click next or back, or continue reading below.

more details including code for the hardware is coming very very soon...

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