Saturday, September 17, 2011

Construction Photos for Serial Cable kit - Mk3/4

The serial cable kit was formally released at work last week - the usage instruction manual was completed, and the construction manual as well. Confirmed cost came in at $48.87 per kit if 20 were made, $97 to make a single using company approved vendors and their MOQs for certain parts - If Ebay was used, the price per single kit still sits around $40. Either way you look at it, it is a dramatic reduction in price compared to the Mk2 kits I made back in 2008 - they came in at $400 per kit for the same functionality as the Mk3/4 Kits.

In the meanwhile here are a few photos taken during construction, and a couple of snapshots of the finished kit, and construction manual.
Photo 1 - breadboard cut to form baseboard
The baseboard is a small segment of breadboard anchored to a baseboard which incorporates the breadboard, the serial cable terminations, cable anchors, and module "ejection mechanism"

Photo 2 - Baseboard and anchor plates - under construction
Everything in this kit was designed to minimise costs, and as such salvaged materials were used wherever possible - including salvaged screen-door extrusion for the anchor plates -the construction manual has drawings of all parts to be constructed, and alternate dimensions/ drawings if the extrusion was substituted with pieces made from simple sheet metal.

The "modules" are simply modified IC sockets, which are later labelled and "potted" for protection and resilience.
Photo 3 - "Modules" under construction
The serial cable is modified to suit the cable kits requirements. All construction for the prototype kits was made using tooling and equipment in my field desk - including the third-hand, modified pliers, solder pens, etc
Photo 4 - Serial cables being modified to suit kit
Compact/ resilient storage of the kit and components was one of the deliverables I placed in the kit design. I accomplished this by modifying a commercially available storage box, and then constructing stack-able compartments which slid inside the outer case.

Photo 5 - Completed modules in stacked storage compartment
The user manual was deliberately formatted so when printed it could be trimmed to fit in a designated space in the the container - the finished manual measures 245 x 185mm (9 5/8 x 7 1/4") and is around 25 pages thick (printed in duplex, but with 6 pages of blank paper for notepaper)

I will have to "de-crest" the manual/s if they were published here since they reference work, and the department I work in - since they were the target audience of the design.

I've blanked out the company/ section details, and my address information on the thumb-drive label - hence the white blotches

Photo 6 - Completed kit with instruction manual in lid
The construction manual contains a number of progress photos, drawings, tips and  alternate materials discussions. I wrote the manual with second year electrical apprentices in mind - some familiarity with basic hand-skills, interpretation of drawings, and the sense to know what holes get changed if you change a countersunk screw from 3/16"-24 to 4mm. The manual printed out to 29 pages of duplex A4.

Photo 7 - Sample page from construction manual
As mentioned, I'll have to de-crest the manuals before publishing them here - not a huge amount of work, but still anything which adds to my "TTD (Things to Do) list" is not overly welcome right now. If I get some time spare, I'll do it in the next week or so, and add them here: (links will reference google docs)
User Manual
Construction Manual

I'll post again when something is completed, progressing, or worth discussing.

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