24 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2018 4:01 PM by neilk

    What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?

    rscasny

      Since I've been with element14, it's been fun to watch our members report on the projects they have accomplished. It's even more fun to read what members think or react to other members' projects. And some of the projects you dream up are really quite clever. I would hate to think that after you did a project, they just ended up on a shelf gathering dust. So, I'm curious...

       

      What happens to your project builds (prototypes) after you build them?

       

      My guess is that some of the projects actually are being used or may end up as a product on kickstarter? I have corresponded with a few members who said they are actually trying to build something they can sell.

       

      I also have a hunch that some of the projects are personal labs, that is, learning experiences because they plan on entering a certain field or industry where your project experience gives you some hands-on skills.

       

      If you don't mind me asking you directly, what happens to your projects? If you have the time, share your specific comments or stories below. Thanks

       

        • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
          peteroakes

          Most of my projects are tutorial in nature, by that I mean I design the project in a way that it shows others how to do something. I typically pick a tangible theme like a DC Load or a Power Supply, or if it using an embedded computer (PI, Arduino etc) It will be demonstrating how to create an IOT Device, or Automate the kitchen Lights etc.

           

          Some of the older projects get re-purposed to help with new projects and some are kept to expand on at a later date

           

           

           

          Hope that helps, if you need more, let me know

           

          I look forward to seeing other folks feedback

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
            shabaz

            I just spent the best part of an entire year on a personal project which ultimately went nowhere (due to non-tech reasons - it actually functioned really well, and there is demand, but it's nowhere near a complete product yet). I won't let it get me down though, in the words of Fu-Man-Chu

             

            Otherwise mostly I make test tools which I can use. I'll give stuff to friends if I have spares. But I recently built a couple of probes (and then the FPC1500 RoadTest came along so I was able to use them for the review), I'm wondering if I should sell them as an experimenters bundle. It takes time assembling them though, so it might not be worth it unless I can persuade a family member to assemble them from time to time for me. I still need to think about that. I've given some to element14 members since I had spares, so it really depends if they think they are useful.

             

            The RoadTests helped a lot by the way - I used bits of circuitry based on some dev-boards, for proof-of-concepts, and then used those exact same parts in some prototypes. This applies to several dev-boards. The new technologies definitely  provide an edge. Customers find it mind-blowing when they hear of the possibilities with the new technologies we see here on element14 all the time.

            4 of 4 people found this helpful
            • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
              balearicdynamics

              Many things depends on the kind of project. Some prototypes are just tutorial and after a video has been completed to demonstrate what I have in mind, I recycle the parts in other project. In other cases like shabaz the project should stop for some non-technical reasons but then when it is finished it was for a specific purpose, like place it somewhere etc.

               

              Some of my projects instead meet a certain unexpected success so I will make small productions (10 pcs. a time) and put them on sale on tindie.com. Or I just keep them as I plan to reuse the projects as parts of more complex ones in the future.

               

              Enrico

              4 of 4 people found this helpful
              • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                fmilburn

                I got interested in electronics after retirement from an unrelated engineering field (but of course all engineering fields use electronics these days, it is just that in my work we had project specialists and my specialty wasn't electronics).  Electronics interested me because it was an opportunity to learn new things.  Pretty soon a local educator learned I was an engineer and interested in electronics and before long I was asked if I would contribute some introductory course material.  And my grandson became interested in what I was doing, and I got more interested, and one thing led to another...

                 

                This background explains what happens to my projects which can be broken down into a couple of areas:

                • Self Education:  I am self taught so a lot of projects are done solely for learning.  If similar material / projects are already out there on the internet I will normally disassemble the parts for use later and put them back in the drawer.
                • Personal Use:  Mostly this is something I will do for the grandchildren like make blinking tiaras, Halloween costumes and accompaniments, games, toys, etc.  I once made a Sous Vide controller that I still use but none of it is really saleable.
                • Broader Education:  If I am doing something that I haven't seen published elsewhere I like to write it up in a manner I hope others will find useful. An example is the experimentation I did with the Texas Instruments MSP430FR2xxx series microcontrollers and my AIS Ship alarm published here on e14. For these projects, the hardware isn't that important at the end of the day - it is the published documentation and ideas that hopefully helps someone else out.
                • Contests and RoadTests:  I have only recently started entering these.  I do it solely for fun and they have to align with my self education or broader education goals.
                • Saleable Product:  I did one project with a friend that sold in small quantity but am not actively looking to make a profit on what I do.

                 

                I do have some stuff sitting on the shelf not doing anyone any good.  I have been looking to trade it or give it to someone who will put it to better use and recently gave some things to a neighbor kid.

                4 of 4 people found this helpful
                • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                  gam3t3ch

                  Its a toss up some stuff just gets recycled, reused or reinvented,  I do like to make things that are of use so for the most part I try to stick to that concept.   But with stuff like the Hack Like Heck - Wesley Gardner - The Port-A-Cade Project I made completely got stripped down and is now in a few different projects only thing that remains is the shell.   So I guess it all depends on what my goal is. If its for fun it gets broken down but if it has a purpose it will either get used or upgrade or find a home.  I have zero intentions of making money off things I make.  Sure it would be nice but with that comes a lot of issues so not a realm I tend to want to walk into yet.

                  3 of 3 people found this helpful
                  • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                    dougw

                    I had put this under the poll, but I guess this is where it belongs....

                    I do a lot of projects so there are multiple destinations.

                    Most of my projects are aimed at things I might find useful, or educating myself on the technology but some are just for fun.

                    Some are for family members.

                    Some are tackled just for the shear challenge of doing something unique.

                    Some completed projects don't see a lot of use since I have far more technology than I actually need, but some I use every day.

                    Sometimes (rarely) I cannibalize an old project to feed a new project.

                    Some projects are sitting in a queue to be upgraded.

                    Some projects are tools or instruments that help build more projects.

                    Some projects are ornamental and get displayed when and where appropriate.

                    Some projects are accessories that go into service and never illicit a further thought.

                    Some projects are for one time use and get re-purposed immediately.

                    Some projects I don't quite know what to do with, mostly because I don't have enough room to put them on display.

                    Some projects I have a vague idea to commercialize because I know others would like them, but I'm much more interested in creating things than spending time on business activities.

                    I like having lots of project around - they bring back good memories.

                     

                    6 of 6 people found this helpful
                    • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                      mcb1

                      A large proportion (well most) have been recycled.

                      Some did a stirling service until the item they were fitted to was recycled.

                      The odd one is waiting on another part or ready to be reused in the next project.

                       

                      I consider many of my projects as education, and helping to share the knowledge gained.

                      I've certainly learnt a lot, and been fortunate to be in the right decade for all this wonderful technology while I can still function.

                       

                      Many of mine were for publication, and I guess that falls into the 'for sale' category.

                       

                      Mark

                      4 of 4 people found this helpful
                      • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                        jw0752

                        I like to make my own simple test equipment so I have a lot of power supplies and other assorted test equipment. I like to put together special application devices like the Process duration timer or the PWM test jig. These allow me to do experiments without always having to rebuild the basic circuits. I also put together simple things to help teach the grandkids about science and electronics. Most of my serious project endeavors have failed and they are sitting on the shelves mocking me. Occasionally one of them will end up on the salvage table but most of the time I just leave them together to collect dust. Whenever my wife asks me about a project I am working on I suggest that when it is done or fixed I will be able to sell it and make a profit. Unfortunately I usually end up liking the item or project and when it comes time to sell it I would rather keep it. There are several things that are in use around the house. The water alarm in the basement is still in operation and will shut off the main water line if triggered. As with everyone else there is no one answer that fits every project. This was a great question as I enjoyed reading what the other members do with their projects and noticed there were a lot of similarities among our answers.

                        John

                        4 of 4 people found this helpful
                        • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                          14rhb

                          Like other Element14 members, I have a right mix:

                           

                          The Box of Doom

                          this is a messy box of wires and there are some stripboard projects sticking out - unless their is a requirement for them to be resurrected they will likely get components removed.

                           

                          The Box of Hope

                          this isn't much tidier than the box-of-doom and also has some stripboard or home made PCB designs - those are half finished project ideas. I just need a few clones of myself and I'd get all those finished off....one day perhaps.

                           

                          Keepers - Test Equipments

                          there are some projects that are homemade test equipment or the timer unit on my homemade UV lightbox....those are valued keepers.

                           

                          Keepers - Projects

                          some projects are integrated into household items and are also here to stay (e.g. my LED Christmas fireworks, Portal Gun)

                           

                          The Twilight Zone

                          lastly there is always the current breadboard project; a few good projects have stopped at this point, being left there for longer than they deserved before getting taken apart. These were often the learning projects and testing out smaller building blocks.

                           

                          Rod

                          2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                            Jan Cumps

                            I give away most of the things I'm finished with, or try to exchange them for something else.

                            2 of 2 people found this helpful
                            • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                              urkraft

                              - Most of the projects i do are just out of curiosity and done for the learning experience and improving my skills. I usually just breadboard these and re-purpose the  components afterwards. Many of these are undocumented, but in the future i plan on documenting them (and all of my other projects) before i dismantle them.

                              - Some of the projects that i do are to be actually used by me (examples: air quality measurement and storing of historical data, web server, motion detection surveillance system, irrigation system, GPS data logging, LED cube, oscilloscope, ...). These are more permanent with the components soldered to standard printed circuit boards. My irrigation system is still in the breadboard stage sans Arduino Uno (have moved the essential and necessary components over to a breadboard). I plan on making a customized pcb layout for it, to produce a few of them, and transfer the components over to the custom board. I also plan on making a custom enclosure for the board and all external components.

                              - Some of the projects were made for family and friends. These have also been made by soldering the components onto standard pcb boards.

                               

                              raymond

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                              • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                luislabmo

                                Some projects I plan to use further for my own use/others or to improve them in an unknown future in a parallel space/time .

                                 

                                Other projects get re-purposed/recycled/re-done

                                • When I made them just to learn about a new technology/product
                                • When I fail to impress myself with the results
                                • When I made them just to enter a contest

                                Some projects get re-done when they are not near complete

                                • When I know I won't get the results I'm expecting
                                • When I find a better approach along the way
                                • When I can't find answers to what I need to accomplish (like a good energy harvester for my projects or a diy reliable non-contact moisture sensor)

                                 

                                Luis

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                  lexbryan

                                  mine got dismantled and used on other projects.

                                  • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                    danielw

                                    Like everyone else some projects are still in use: 3d Bodge-o-matic printer, Pi temperature monitor are but two of the relatively few successes!

                                     

                                    Some of my tinkerings broke and are awaiting a repair that will probably never happen.  To be fair they stopped working for a reason, generally they were hastily and poorly cobbled together to see if it would work in the heat of the moment.

                                     

                                    Others got stripped for parts for other bodge job projects, which is probably what will happen to the things in the repair box. At least, due to their generally poor construction methods, they come apart and are re-purposed relatively easily!.

                                     

                                    I do have some parts kept for use in demonstrations when I used to do some careers stuff in school.  At the moment I can't bring myself to get rid or pass the stuff on so it's just taking up space.

                                     

                                    Dan.

                                    • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                      rsc

                                      Ahhh, yes, yes, yes, yes, and.......

                                      Yes.

                                      This prototype mbed weather station I keep on my desk to show people.

                                      Scott

                                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                        genebren

                                        Most of my projects start out as a deliverable prototype for a customer.  As I am designing these, I will usually see a potential usage for a completely different function/project.  When ordering boards and parts, I will get enough for five devices, two deliverable prototypes, one debug/test unit and two additional units for future tests/prototypes.  One of my recent customer builds turned into a handy tool for sending/receiving I2C commands for logging/viewing bus activity (not it's intended function, but still a handy device for testing).

                                         

                                        Gene

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                                        • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                          ntewinkel

                                          Most of my earlier past projects were temporary and on breadboards, intended just for a learning experience.

                                          Those were all disassembled shortly after completion.

                                           

                                          One of my first projects that actually stuck around and received regular use is my greenhouse controller - I had big plans for data logging and watering control, but ran into silly issues with wires being too long and Bluetooth range too short, so this eventually got whittled down to being just a timer to regularly water the greenhouse. I think it started with an Arduino Nano, then went down to a Pro Mini, and now it's a tiny little Digispark controlling it. I'll probably switch that over to ESP8266 soon.

                                           

                                          What I consider my turn-around project is my OpenSprinkler controller. It plays an important full-time role and runs for most of the year. I think after I built this my wife realized there was some real potential in this nerdy hobby I have   It saved us nearly $1000 over purchasing "the usual". OpenSprinkler.org deserves most of the credit of course, as the software was already built, and the schematics were all there. I modified the schematics to suit my specific setup, and to add a bit of extra safety. This was also my first custom PCB and my first intro into switching AC.

                                          It runs on a Raspberry Pi, and makes my sprinkler control so much more convenient, using my smartphone now.

                                          OpenSprinkler on Raspberry Pi with custom controller hardware.

                                           

                                          Recently I've also built a tiny WiFi temperature sensor and data logger that will likely be used for various different purposes - greenhouse in the summer, trailer, shed, and hummingbird feeders in the winter. I'll continue improving the data handling for this.

                                          In the picture it's that thing in the tic-tac container.

                                          Hummingbird Feeder with ESP-01 Temperature Sensor

                                          I might have to do something about all those wires

                                           

                                          Cheers,

                                          -Nico

                                          3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                            • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                              ntewinkel

                                              ps, to answer the other part...

                                              >My guess is that some of the projects actually are being used or may end up as a product on kickstarter?

                                               

                                              I do have one project I'm considering expanding to be Kickstarter worthy, but I'm not sure yet. It would mainly be for the purpose of fulfilling a dream of creating a project that turns into a "real" product.

                                               

                                              There are so many details to deal with though - including mass manufacturing of not just the electronics, but also the specialized hardware.

                                              And also, how does one deal with certifications? and what about liability risks associated with selling a product? It seems I would need to spend a fair bit to set up a corporation first, pay for prototypes and certifications, and start manufacturing.

                                               

                                              -Nico

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                                            • Re: What Do You Do With Your Projects When You Have Finished Them?
                                              neilk

                                              I came back to electronics & coding, after an absence of many years, when I read about the Arduino and soon after discovered and joined  Element14.

                                               

                                              All of my projects have arisen because I have read something and thought "I wonder if I could do that and if I could, maybe I could then......"

                                               

                                              I have learned a great deal by experimenting and making things work. Some of my efforts have been written up in my Blog, but many have not, usually because I have moved on to another idea and don't want to spend the time writing something up.

                                               

                                              Almost everything has been dismantled and the components recycled, although a few small modules have survived and been used in later projects.

                                               

                                              Element14 has been and is a great place to hang-out, share ideas, ask questions and help other people.

                                               

                                              Neil

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