Using Solidworks to design Stepper Motor Assembly (1)

Have recently acquiried a nice stepper motor from Jameco Electronics.  It is a small motor, less than 2″x2″x2″, but still has substantial torque.  I will get into more Arduino + Circuits + Electro-Mechanical detail soon, but for the moment, I wished to share a couple of screen-shots of the 3D model and the actual parts that I am modeling and assembling.

In this model, I’m (quite happily) making heavy use cross-part references in the assembly.  I caught onto that concept by reading the Top Down Design Overview at the SolidWorks website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home School Software: Inventory Tracking

Ever lose track of how much flour, sugar, milk, eggs, soap, razors, spices, motor oil, filters, nails, screws, glue, paper, staples, etc… you have on hand?

Ever shop based on hunger, rather than diciplined restocking?

Ever want to have an inventory of groceries at your house, so you don’t have to run to the store for everything?

Our objective is to keep consistent inventory levels of common products around the house, so we never run out of things that we should have on hand.  To that end, I’ve been adding some basic household inventory tracking data to the Home School software.  It has (or will have) the following features:

  • Areas — places that you store products (freezer, basement shelves, kitchen, bathroom, etc…)
  • Items — each “thing” that you want to keep in a given area (flour, sugar, toothpaste, etc)
  • Units — lbs, each, bottle, roll, case, etc…
  • Min Quantity — minimum amount to have on hand
  • Max Quantity — max quantity to have on hand
  • Check every [] days — how often should this item be checked?

From that data, you will be able to pull the following information out of the system:

  • All items and current inventory levels
  • Graphs of inventory levels over time
  • Which items (sorted by area) need checked now
  • What needs refilled (eg, the container of sugar in the kitchen, from the big bags in the basement)
  • What needs purchased (40 eggs, 24 rolls of TP, 10 lbs of sugar)

You will be able to pop on, print out a list of items that need inventoried, and hand it to the kids with a pencil and clipboard to go about filling out how much there actually is.  Excellent math practice, especially if you deal in raw units like oz, lbs, quarts, etc… — the students will have to add/multiply/convert the units that are on the items they are counting.

For Example, you could specify that you want 4 bottles of dish soap around, or 96 ounces of dish soap around.  The difference is that they will need to multiply 24 oz per bottle * 3 bottles on hand = 72 ounces — time to buy another bottle.

Here are some early screen shots:

 

Home School Software now supports Images!

Today I got to a great milestone with the homeschool software I discussed here.  It now has excellent image support.

For every activity, you can attach an unlimited number of images.  They are stored in the database with all of the other data, so it’s easy to backup.  Also, I am using ImageMagick to resize them into various preview sizes for quick speeds while working with them.

I used uploadify to power the image uploader and ImageMagick to resize them into preview sizes.

Here is a screen shot of the list page:

And a screen shot of the details page:

Home School Software, Anyone?

2010-2011 was the first year that we were required by PA law to report our schooling activities to the Altoona Area School district.  (simply because our oldest turned 8)

Naturally, the topic of Log and portfolio came up needing solved.

Having been home educated as a child, I recall the massive effort it took to remain organized enough to be able to assemble a really good portfolio at the end of the year.  Also, the log book needed to be throughly kept to provide record of education activities.

Here is a brief list of items that need improved:

  1. Portfolios typically are assembled at the end of the year, which requires a lot of effort.
  2. There is only one copy of a portfolio.
  3. They are a bit kludgy, having a mix of all sorts of media (photos, papers, art, etc…)
  4. They are not searchable
  5. They are not sortable
  6. They are not printable
  7. They are not email-able
  8. They are not backup-able
  9. They typically show only the “best” work, by virtue of what they are (depends on the assembler)
  10. They are separate from the log of the actual activities
  11. Etc…

Well, after a lot of here and there, I decided we needed a database.  So my wife and I designed a database that would handle a number of aspects:

  1. Multiple Students
  2. Subjects as required by law
  3. Projects that are a part of schooling
  4. Activities and Events
  5. Dates
  6. Summaries
  7. Descriptions
  8. Scanned documents
  9. Photographs
  10. PDF files

The ultimate goal is to be able to send off for a printed book with the above content, and turn that into the school district.

I thought that a web interface would be appropriate.  So here is where I am at after a couple days of tinkering around…

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone expresses interest in seeing more of this, post a comment.

Thanks!