Project Development

This week's assignment is to complete the Final Project and track the progress by answering some key questions.

* This assignment will only update what I had until the end of the August break.

* To check how the Final Project is going on, please refer to my Final Project page.

Tracking progress

Completed tasks

This assignment supposed to be done as a milestone to track progress during the last weeks of the Fab Academy, but I was late for the presentation in July, and I had to finish everything at once during August and September. At the end of August, all electronics and CAD tasks were completed. I couldn't make it to fabricate the casing for my Final Project, hence, there were still many things to make, to debug and to improve. Let's go through all the completed tasks.

Electronics design

Electronics was the first thing I did for my Final Project. My idea was that if I could make all parts work well together, I could get rid of many potential issues regarding electrical connectivity as well as dimensions of boards and components. All boards were designed as weekly assignments, and I had a chance to test them all.

ESP32 main control board

ESP32 sensor shield

ESP32 motor shield

ESP8266 boards

Electronics production

I spent almost 1.5 weeks milling and soldering all the PCBs. I made only 1 ESP32 main board, 1 sensor shield, 1 motor shield, and 1 ESP8266 board. I could test all the functions and debug all issues with these boards first.

At the end, it was super satisfied to see this BIG MAC of PCBs:

I made small extra boards with the footprints of the connectors, and the design was quickly done in Illustrator. The connectors will be soldered onto these boards, and there are also holes connected to the I2C headers of the ESP8266 boards.

Computer-aided design

Everything was designed in Fusion 360. I intended to design the head and the tail in Blender, but then I changed my mind since I didn't want to exchange files between CAD programs. The final design looks a bit "robotic", but I indeed think it looks better and is easier to fabricate.

Press-fit laser-cut blocks

3D-printed head and tail

Embedded programming

I was also able to write programs for the boards, except for the networking parts. Everything worked totally fine, which means the original concept was proved. The programs were long but simple though!

Remaining tasks

There were still so many things left to do for September, namely:

Successes and failures


Generally, I am quite OK with what I had until this moment. Some successes I can see:


Some failures I can see and points to be solved:

Learning outcomes

The 6 months of Fab Academy could be considered as the best 6 months of my long-life learning journey. I've learned more than ever, and now I can consider myself as a real tech-maker! It's really not easy to conclude everything I've learned within a few lines, but here we go: