Animation12 - The Boom Box!

10-08-2012

As some people might know, I like to take part in things like Animation12. Its a good thing to do for children and it helps make for an interesting day out. This year I wasn't attending but I was asked to create a gadget, a special prop, for the keynote speaker. Simply put, this device had to explode when turned down to one! Filming took place in Jabex Clegg; one of the student drinking dens on the Manchester University campus.



Boombox

The idea was to have a thing that represented the changing of causality. The idea is to show that humans have some give in their perception of cause and effect, shown in the Michotte Experiments. With the internet, we are limited to the speed of light, so how does this gap in our perception of causality effect things like games played online? Its the science of the internet and its a great thing to show to kids.

The design is fairly standard. The trick is to contain the explosion from the pyrotechnics. The base contains a small hole and inside that, there is a tincan that somewhat shapes the blast out and down, away from the user. The lovely chaps over at justfx were quite helpful in providing a set of robotics that work simply by passing a 9V charge through it.

schematic

I use an arduino for the majority of the work, simply because it's faster and contains a decent PWM pin. Nowadays, I'd consider an ATTiny but I had a few Arduino boards lying around, so it seemed the best way. The dial is laser cut and the case comes from an old ammeter that I snaffled from the Hackspace bin.

This is the basic schematic. I had so many problems with MOSFETS, Transistors and the like; switiching a large current with a smaller one is one of the basics of electronics. It took the help of Philip Eagleton to point out the bleeding obvious - common ground. I feel so embarassed but its something that is taken for granted so you never see it in the textbooks. I went through loads of them in order to get it right. Still, I'll never make that mistake again and in the process, I did learn a few things.

The first, official, Section9 LTD project. It begins!