Alexa for Home Automation
Area of Interest
At BlueStamp, I learned a lot from hands-on projects and documentation. Even with the highly trained faculty leading me through problems and issues in my modifications and milestones, there was a lot of room for me to decide the next step and fix my own issues. I learned subjects from Arduino programming to circuitry and using components on my breadboards. Learning to apply my own struggles to the world of engineering meant that my milestones came out more meaningful and exciting. I enjoyed connecting with my peers and listening to what they had to offer in terms of helping me advance my engineering career.
Main Project: Final Modification
Since all of my previous milestones ended up being less hardware oriented, I decided to shift my project and take a more physical approach to my next modification. Using others’ opinions, I went for automated blinds. I wanted Alexa to be able to open the blinds to a certain degree and also tilt them from side to side with no user interference. To achieve this, I mounted a stepper motor onto the blinds and also created a spool for the blinds to wind around. I also had a servo motor to angle the blinds precisely. However, there were a lot of issues I unexpectedly ran into.
The stepper motor is flat headed, which means that there is a way to screw on mounts. However, the motor never actually came with any mountable pieces. This difficulty led me to try and create my own spool which could be easily mounted with glue onto the stepper motor. I had to learn to drill and saw for this part, and with a lot of filing I came out with a slightly cylindrical spool that seemed to spin along with the motor with enough glue.
However, the mount still came out with issues. The hot glue was not enough to keep the weight of the blinds from tearing the spool off. Even worse, the filing meant that the spool became thin and brittle. This led to cracking and hot glue spilling out. Finally, my spool also had an issue regarding the string. The string would wind between the motor and spool, stopping any motion from actually happening. All these problems added up and came together, meaning that this wooden attempt was a bust.