Introduction: Proximity Box

This project builds a small depth sensing box. A phidget is used to drive a depth sensor and two LEDs provide a low resolution, 'within range' display. If an object comes within 20cm of the box, one LED turns on. If an object comes within 10cm of the box, two LEDs turn on. The project involves 3D printing, drilling, soldering, basic wiring and using a glue gun and some hand tools. It is specifically designed as an introductory project to a range of different devices and skills.

(Disclaimer: This project forms part of a scientific study, where participants are given all requisite parts and files. In order for this project to be available to a wider audience, I will upload all required files as soon as the study is complete.)

Participant Study Details: This study is a think-aloud observation study. Please vocalize your thought processes and articulate what you are doing as you complete the task. Your task is to construct the proximity sensing box. The box consists of a Phidget micro-controller, a proximity sensor and 2 LEDs. All of the tools and components that are required to complete the build can be found on the workbench or in the toolboxes. You are free to use any tools that you wish. This Instructable includes the instructions needed to complete the box, should you want them. You are also free to browse the internet for any additional support that you require. You are free to diverge from the specific instructions if you would like to create the box in a different manner.

Please attempt to complete every step of the study. If in doubt, just try. If you find yourself completely stuck or are worried about safety, please inform the observer.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire both before and after the study. During the study an observer will take notes on both what you are saying and what you are doing. You will also be video recorded.

Step 1: Initialize the 3D Printing

Turn on the 3D printer by flicking the switch on the back of the machine (where the power cable enters). Make sure that the SD card is fully inserted into the MakerBot and that the print bed is clear. Follow the instructions above to start the print.

Step 2: Mark Drill Location on Bottom Plate

Follow the instructions in the images above.

Note: If drill marks are not sufficiently clear, then remove Phidget and redraw over the top of them.

Step 3: Attach Appropriate Drill Bit to Dremel

Follow the instructions in the images above. Once completed, fasten the drill bit with small wrench.

Note: Choose a bolt that fits through the holes in the Phidget. Once chosen, ensure drill bit closely matches width of the bolt. Recommend circa 2.1mm bolt and 2.3mm drill bit.

Step 4: Drill Marked Holes Into Bottom Plate

Follow the instructions in the image above. When drilling, use the large wooden board to protect the table's surface. Stop drilling when you feel the drill go through the bottom plate.

Warning: Be careful with your fingers as the Dremel spins very quickly. Wear safety goggles.

Step 5: Secure Phidget to Bottom Plate With Nuts and Bolts

Follow the instructions detailed in the image above.

Step 6: Prepare 2 Sets of Wires for LEDs

Follow the instructions in the image above.

Step 7: Turn on Soldering Iron

Follow the instructions above. The soldering iron's temperature is variable. Use the dial to set the temperature to your desired level. If unsure of your desired level, leave the soldering iron at its current level.

Step 8: Solder LEDs Onto Prepared Wires

Follow the steps above. If you are struggling to secure the wires and hold the soldering iron and solder, then the helping hands (small silver stand with 2 crocodile clips and a magnifying glass) can be used to hold / support any components. Simply position materials and clip them to hold them in place.

Warning: The soldering iron gets extremely hot, so be careful not to touch the exposed metal end nor any materials that have recently come into contact with the soldering tip. Exhale while soldering to prevent breathing in soldering fumes. WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES.

Step 9: Attach LEDs and Depth Sensor to Phidget

Follow instructions above.

Step 10: Hot Glue Sensor and LED Into Distance Plate

Follow instructions above.

Warning: Glue gun tip and molten glue are extremely hot so avoid contact with skin.

Step 11: Add All Sides to Box

Follow instructions above.

Step 12: Retrieve 3D Print, Clean and Attach to Box

Follow instructions above. Unload the filament from the 3D printer. Press 'M' to complete build, then navigate through the main menu to 'Utilities' and 'Change Filament', select 'Load/Unload' and follow the onscreen instructions. Once unloaded from the machine, re-wind the filament onto the spool and remove the SD card from the printer.

Once complete, you are all done. Plug the box into the computer using the USB cable, change program to Visual Studio, press 'F5' and see your box in action! (If you have successfully completed the tutorial, the LEDs will light up as objects approach your box.)

Step 13: Done!