Låda, a custom project box system


HALO is an EL-Wire night light. Photo by Emily Shaw

Project boxes can be a real pain. You can get a standard size box from a place like Radio Shack or you can make your own custom box. If you have access to a laser cutter, you can make yourself t-slotted boxes.  While the t-slotted boxes do the trick, the open slots leave an unfinished look to projects.

I wanted a more polished look for my latest clock, so I set out designing Låda.  The Låda (or Lada) Sytem, based on standardized 3D printed corner and edge pieces and custom laser cut face pieces, allows you to define a box of any size bigger than about an inch and a half on a side.  A program written in Python does all of the tedious calculations for you and spits out a PDF file.  Custom openings can be added with InkScape to accommodate stand-offs, buttons, cords an sensors.

The edge and corner pieces have mounting holes 0.4″ from the inside face.  They have an elevated platform to cradle your project.  Hex cutouts captivate a M3 nut so that once installed, they remain in place and the box allowing the final face to be screwed into place.  +Kevin Osborn has been keeping our 3D printing non-stop so that now I have plenty of Lada pieces to play with.


HALO consists of an AlaMode, a Grove Shield, and an EL-inverter. Photo by Emily Shaw

The Lada system works fine for small projects like the EL-Wire night light seen above.  It also works with larger projects, like the Kandinsky Klock (or Kandy) for short.


DSC_0539 DSC_0540

About the projects:

Halo is an EL-Wire night light configured to outline a doorway.  It helps to prevent falls by both providing light, and creating a frame of reference to orient you if you need to be up in the middle of the night.  I made it for my father who could use a little assistance getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  The idea comes from a story I heard on NPR.

Halo was easily assembled from: an AlaMode,the Grove Starter Kit, and a USB based EL-Wire inverter.

A special thanks to +Kevin Osborn who lined me out on what I needed to drive EL-Wire and pointed that the Grove Started Kit had everything I needed aside from the inverter.

Kandy is a two-sided mountain bike race timer that I’d promised to build for my collage roommate two years ago.  It is 4 TiM boards with c prototype LED controller called TiNA.  It is bluetooth controlled (thanks to the FTDI compatible BlueFruit module).  I think it is worth the wait.

None of these projects would be possible without Anool’s tireless work designing amazingly flexible circuit boards.

Reserve BADGEr_v4 available in our shop

Rather than pay the huge shipping costs to send the remaining 19 BADGErs back to Seeed Studio, Amy volunteered to ship them from our house.  You can pick them up in our reserve shop.  Thanks!





Open Hardware Summit 2013: Success!


We did it.  We did it just in the nick of time.  We produced and delivered the hardware and software for 500 e-paper badges which were the hit of the summit. Flooding in Shen Zhen, where our Seeed Studio partners are located, delayed parcel pickup and nearly scuttled the whole affair. Frantic calls and emails on both sides of the Pacific only managed to confuse the situation. When seven of the eight boxes arrived in Washington DC we had them held for pickup and were greatly relieved to actually get the stinking badges in hand.


We were able to distribute all of the boxed among all of our WyoLum passengers to get them from Washington to Boston without paying extra baggage.

Registration CrushWe received the final registration list after the doors were opened to the conference center.  Needless to say, there was much to be desired in cross referencing the final list to the badges, but we managed to get most of the people in there seats with a 30 minute delay.  For the most part the OHS participants were friendly and understanding.

Anool, Kevin and I presented a talk on #BADGEr directly after the keynote.  Video pending.

Several people managed to customize there BADGEr using wifit.py.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When we weren’t attending the summit, we got to hang out at an amazing home in Milton about 20 minutes South of Boston.  Every room was filled with beautiful original artwork and there were a lot of rooms and hallways, enough to get lost in and we did.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With Amy, Munmun, and Samata cooking we did not go hungry.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To top it off we had a brunch on Saturday after the summit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Saturday night, we overcame our urge to go to bed early.  Jimmie invited the OHS volunteers for beers at Artisans Gallery.  The SKUL biker gang affiliated with the Asylum was out in full force.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Wifit on MAC!


Maximka has figured out how to install and run wifit.py on a mac.  Thanks Max!!   Here are the copy/pasted instructions.

(1) Install MacPort [1] . I tried out MacPorts v.2.2.0 on both Mac OS 10.6 and 10.7.5. After the initial install, run the selfupdater to make sure your install is totally up to date:
     sudo port -v selfupdate
(2) Install the numpy and PIL libraries. MacPort takes care of the dependencies which is very sweet.
     sudo port install py27-numpy
     sudo port install py27-pil
(3) Download and unzip the wifit code [2]. Change into the directory and call the wifit program from the command line. It’ll open up an interactive window.
     python2.7 wifit.py
I didn’t want to remap my default python in order to play with my badge, so I call “python2.7” If you want to make the MacPort 2.7 the default do this:
     sudo port select python python27
     python wifit.py
(4) Follow the Wyolum instructions for using their awesome tool.[3]