Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Team 5 – “In-Your-Face”

Published on: | Author: Franziska Haaf | Categories: 2018b, Best Projects, Projects

UPDATE: Our machine got shown in “Kiki’s Beautychannel”! A great beautyshow on youtube 🙂 see the video here:

 Day 1

Monday morning. We’re all tired. We have holidays but decided to visit a block lecture anyways. In front there is a veeery happy and energetic man standing. He’s welcoming us, on the wall behind him a funny gif projected. Welcome to Sketching with Hardware!

A the beginning the funny guy called Bernhard, tries to teach us (electronic) basics. He got a helper, called Boris. Most of the people visiting the lecture never worked with electronics before. We learn what a multimeter is, and how to use it. That you can use it for debugging your Hardware (because it’s already so much fun with software, huh?).

I also finally understood (so I thought) what this white plastic thingie called “Breadboard” is, I already saw some friends during my bachelor program using. Bernhard also teaches us, that an LED always needs a resistor, and that even the cheapest crap toys got resistors!
Bernhard and Boris also dismantled, and explained the insides of a keyboard in front of us. Mainly for showing off, I guess 😉
But it’s a hands-on-lesson, so we get to grab the soldering iron and solder something.
We all have to build a game-controller using an old keyboard-controller.  My project partner and I had some problems, we (ok I…) destroyed the first solder joint, we did not find the right button on the controller, we had to improvise, change our game we wanted to build the controller for lastminute. ON THE SECOND Boris said “times up” my team shouted “hopefully that holds!” and gladly – it did.
Very limited time, but all teams (including us) succeeded anyway and can show something at the end.

Making our own game controller

Day 2

“Oooooh god, I want to know our theme!” they shouted all the way from the Tram to the project room.”

Day two started with Arduino basics. Each team got an Arduino, a Breadboard, some cables, an LED, and some other small things. I personally already worked with Arduino in the past, but even when you think you already know everything (which I definitely do not), you can learn a lot. My project partner and I finished all the little Arduino-Basic-Tasks very fast, we’ve been doing our own thing, not really listening carefully, and working with Bernhards presentation (including the tasks) on our own. Until we got on the point, where our stuff was not working… After some help we found out, we did not understand the Breadboard correctly.
Some reconnecting, and this task was working, too.
Our first “serial” attempt worked straightaway, and we had a lot of fun with two LEDs and a potentiometer. Christmas spiiiiiriiiit!

We also had our first practical attempts with servos, which did not work in the beginning because of a defect cable. We also learned what steppers are, what’s the difference to motors, and when to choose which one of the three different kinds.

After all the hands-on, another theory lecture followed, teaching us newbies some more important facts! We learned what “PWM” is: “Pulse-width modulation”. I also learned that it’s the reason the Austrian Railjet Train does this great “du-du-DUUUU” sound when it’s drives off. I already knew it’s a mechanic trick by the engineers, but now I know more. Great “did-you-know-story” for bar evenings, hm? 😉
Bernhard also explained to us what a capacitor is, and how it works. From now on I’ll always think of it as a funny balloon full of energy!

And FINALLY Bernhard and Boris told us the theme we have to build something cool for: “Naughty-o-mation”! My project partner and I sat down and tried to find cool ideas. After a defined time, all teams got back together and told each other’s their ideas.
I and my partner had these ideas:

  • An automatic food dispenser for catowners with a fat and a slim cat! Each cat has an maximum amount of food per day, and if the fat cat tries to eat more, it get’s chased away. Team 9 actually did this, so check their project out! They did a great job!
  • A postbox that spams, something arrived. Thats FULL of LEDs and makes horrible sounds helping you to realize some post arrived!
  • A towel-canon. For when you forgot to get a towel before showering.
  • A make-up-machine!

Before the discussion with all the teams we already told Bernhard our ideas, and we all thought, the make-up-machine is our winner! So let’s go home, thinking some more and resting for the next day.

Day 3

Our day 3 started with some brainstorming about how we build our make-up-machine, and what materials we need for it. We started with buying some make-up and a cheap styrofoam head (now called Frida) to test some basic mechanisms we could build for applying make-up.
We decided to apply make-up on the lips, the eyes and the cheeks.
Ideas got scribbled, decisions made. Servos it is!

Christian is so happy about all the cool make-up we can buy!

We met Frida!

This is, how we imagine our finished make-up to look! 🙂 Awesome!


We try to find out, how big the whole for the face has to be. This is the very first prototype of our box!

Day 4

On day 4 in the morning, me and my project partner met at a local construction market and shopped some materials. We want to build a wooden box, where the magic is happening inside! So we got some wood and some small parts.

Back at the project room we downloaded some lasercutting-plans for our box and started using the lasercutter! We sadly had some problems, we had to cut two times, the cuts had not been the best, but we made it work. We glued the bottom, the front and a side together, and put aside the other 3 wooden plates. In the front we created a whole for the face. So, the user of our machine has to put his face into the box, and gets his make-up done in the box.

Ready for woodwork

We have to split our plate, to get it into the laser cutter….

Yessss! Finally some solid ground to work on 🙂

In the next step I started to build the eye-make-up-mechanism and my project-partner Christian started with the cheeks-make-up-mechanism. We build some basic mechanics with the servos and the make-up-appliers and tried out some code.

The eye mechanism works!

Day 5

I started to work on the lip-make-up-mechanism, Christian worked on his cheek-mechanism again. Later on, I added the lip-mechanism to the eye-mechanism-construct and merged the code of both. I stumbled upon the problem, that my three servos got not enough energy from the 5V-Port. Bernhard explained me, that I need to use a capacitor. I googled, what kind of capacitor I need and how to use it. After checking with Bernhard, if I chose the right capacitor and mounted it right on the breadboard, I gave it a try, aaaaaaand…… It worked!

Now, that everything seemed to work, my project partner and I screwed the mechanics together, mounted them on two wooden plates, and put them in the box.

Christian looking cool while removing the ends of the (to long) nails we used.

But we realized that the cheek-mechanism (two catapults) cannot be stretched because the lipstick-applier is in the way when in standby-position! I coded the lip-mechanism to end its run on one side of its radius, so that when the user puts its head in the machine, the lipstick-applier would not touch the users mouth. When turned on, the lip-mechanism would move the lipstick-applier in the middle and there move it a bit from left to right.

We fixed the problem, by coding the lip-mechanism to wait for 60 seconds in the middle before moving the applier to the side. So, during this 60 seconds, we can stretch the catapults without the lipstick-applier in the way.

It’s been Friday, so my project partner and I got some tasks for the weekend! No rest for the wicked. I will work on some cool code for an LED-Strip, that’s going to make some kind of a “Paparazzi”-Effect when the make-up-treatment is done. I took some RGB-Leds, a Breadboard, the Arduino and wires with me. My project partner Christian will create a cool button to start our make-up-machine. We found a cool plastic LED-pyramide-thing in Bernhards box-of-wonders (a big box full of stuff from the participants of the last years), which will be the main part of the button.

Christians button

Learning how to use the NeoPixel-Library by Arduino:

It’s working:

Day 6

We come back with some cool LED-Code and a nice looking-button (which I suggested to pimp with some reflective foil)!

Our first task was soldering! We got an Arduino shield from Bernhard and I start soldering all the ground-wires and input-wires of our Servos and on it.

Bernhard helped us soldering some wires on the LED-Strip-end (it’s been very vulnerable), and we soldered them and the plus-wires on the Arduino shield as well. During the whole soldering process, I had the problem, that our soldering irons were really crap. Also, we had thick lead-free soldering tin, that did not make it easier. Bernhard used some other tin, and a better soldering iron in one of the workshop rooms, which made it a lot easier (and prettier).

Our circuit diagram

Afterwards we put everything in the box, mounted the plates in the box, and glued the rest of the box. Oooor did we not? We realized we did something wrong during putting the box together in the first place… So the other two sides, and the top did not match… Luckily we found enough spare wood in the workshop, so we just lasercutted the three miss matching plates again – now matching. Now we really glued everything together!

I decided, the box should get a really cool trashy teeny design 😉 We bought two celebrity magazines, where I cutted out a loooot of celebrites from! My project partner went shopping for some fabric (because we want a classy curtain in front of the face-whole), and I started glueing all the celebrities on the box! What a task…  But it looked (kind of) great afterwards! Added the curtain, looking even more fabulous!

Which such an great looking machine, the finale testing can begin! The last days, we always tested our mechanisms on our fake-user Frida. Now its our turn.

Selfie time!

Selfie from another direction…

And we realized, Frida seems to have a more…. petite face…. The applied make-up looked more like a spooky clown, than a fabulous celebrity! The lipstick got applied on the nose.

First try to fix the lip-stick-mechanism….

But nothing we cant fix! We reworked the lip-applier, put it back in the box, and voila! A true celebrity-make-up was created! Bernhard was our first user, and doesn’t he look great? Oh yes he does. With such great outcome, we decided to go home and get some beauty-sleep.

Day 7

We decided to add nothing new anymore in our machine, frightened to destroy it in the last hours before presentation at 12am. So with an already finished machine, we did some product shots and set it up nice on the table, ready for presentation.

And this is our advertisement!

More people than expected arrived at 12 am, and every team presented their project. Our presentation went well, everything worked like intended, my make-up looked very celebrity-like. AND WE WON THE BEST PROJECT AWARD! It’s been hard with such competition, all projects where so much fun! We had a great week, met awesome people, learned a lot. Special thanks to Bernhard and Boris, who spend a lot of their time with us, had a lot of patience, and always been in a good mood 🙂

Btw, you find our source-code here.

linked categories 2018b, Best Projects, Projects


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