Weekly update for the 12th of October

During this week I have focused on completing the shadow birds. Earlier in the week, I soldered and tested all the parts to make sure they work,  before I connected them to the acrylic.  All of the parts worked and I finished soldering all of the connections together. I was quite happy with this, as it meant later in the week; I could just focus on assembling it together. The one issue I ran into was with the coding. It took many iterations to split the neopixels into different strands, as the previous code I had created did not have this change. I also encountered a problem with one of the sensors and how they were interacting with the code. This resulted in the removing of a delay from the code.

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The next step I took focused on attaching the neopixels to the Acrylic along with the sensors. After re-soldering a couple of wires, I cut out some cardboard and made sure that the sensor was able to fit into the acrylic circle. I placed the sensor into the cardboard and used tape to secure it and darken the area around the sensor.

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I then glued the neopixels to the acrylic and placed the two frosted pieces together. To create a fully working test, I placed the sensor into the circle and connected the arduino. While everything worked, it did not create the effect I was hoping for. The laser cutting proved to be too superficial to actually be seen even with the neopixel light. I am disappointed as while I was happy that everything worked and looked okay, it did not meet my expectation. After thinking about how to solve this issue, I tried to draw on one of my test pieces to make the etching more obvious. This looked much better and was a closer result to what I was hoping for. I also tried moving the neopixels around and for them to be further back but this had little to no effect. The other method I tried was using a saw to create a deeper cut into the Acrylic. I discovered this is possible but I have no idea where to attain the necessary tools or machinery to do such a thing. In the end, I think I will use a black marker to outline the birds and to highlight them when the neopixels change color.

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I also sent my shadow birds off to be laser cut and will hopefully have the results to show you soon.

I also spent a day focusing on trying to create a deeper outline. I experimented with laser cutting and making the laser out of focus, spray painting and various markers. These techniques and moving the neopixels lead me to discover a way to solve some of the previous problems which I had encountered earlier in the week. I also have made decision to move the placing of the neopixels, along with adding more to create a slightly different effect for the second panel. This effect can be seen in the photos below. I have also taken the white screen off the acrylic and spray painted it silver. This has created a larger distinction between the neopixels and laser cutting. I have also added multiple lines of laser cutting to this panel to create much deeper cuts. I will keep the design for the first panel the same as I think it will be nice to have a slightly different design but I wanted to try and improve for the second panel.

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Towards the end of the week, I tried to glue the neopixels to the acrylic sheet but sadly this did not work. This led me to try and think of a different way to apply them. I did not get to pursue this much as I had other commitments to complete before the week ended. I also was waiting on the laser cutting and I did not receive the other birds until the end of Friday. This has meant that this weekly goal of fully completing the shadows birds has been delayed. This has meant next week, I have to sandblast both birds then attach the acrylic to the Neopixels and position them in the room. This should be done fairly early in the week and I should have it completed by Tuesday. This leaves the rest of the week to complete the Owl.

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