Thread: A2 Project
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Old 23rd July, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by aghastpumpkin
If any of you have fabrication, furniture, or computer hardware as your profession I would love you to help me and offer advice and feedback. This is also great coming from everybody else, but I need to pay particular heed if any of this is your profession.
I don't think throwing up monstrous chemical plant really counts, but I rather like your idea. It's fairly similar to one I had some time ago but never really developed. Some things that spring to mind from your post (numbered for reference).

1) As BobRoss has pointed out, drop into your local pub and take a look at one of those cokctail tables with video games or embedded TV screens in them. They'll give you a lot of pointers about construction of these things. Bar SW4 on Clapham High Street has several.

2) If you are planning to use it as both a coffee table and a media centre then you need to give some thought to keeping things that don't like to mix from mixing. Most especially, beer or cola from electronics. The cokctail table I examined was to all intents and purposes sealed, but had a blower into and out of the unit that was ducted vertically from almost floor level. This meant that in the event of beer spillage, you'd frag the fan but not the rest of the computer.

In the media centre environment, where you're offering jacking points for mp3 players, you will have exposed terminals at risk of getting a soaking. You'll need to think carefully of where to put them and how to shield them.

3) Subwoofers in the middle of rooms don't tend to sound very good. They work better when they're bouncing the sound off a solid wall. If you opted to build a drinks cabinet in place of a coffee table, it would solve your power routing problem as well

4) Wireless LAN cards are cheap now. There is no such thing as wireless power transmission -- at least not such that you'd want in a home environment.

5) Input to the system. Are you going to make an automatic system that plays whatever's stuck into it? Or make it more PC-like? If the latter, give some thought to how to get input into it - wireless keyboard? Or waterproof membrane keyboard on a shelf?

6) Getting heat out of the system.

7) Display. TFT screen under perspex? CRT under glass? 2.4GHz media transmitter to a TV? Remote login/VNC?

8) Transport and maintenance. What will it take to move this thing? Or are you going to design it so that it can be slung on the back of a truck?

9) Price. Schools will sponsor A level projects to some level, but I doubt they'd stretch to this. Suggest you cost out all the options well before you do the detailed design. Consider using salvage parts.

10) Time. A level projects take a hellishly long time. Some of my school friends were putting in 60 hour weeks to get their tech projects in on time. You get better marks for turning out a less ambitious project that is fully completed, documented and on time than for turning in half a project that'll be Earth-shattering when it's done. As such, it's a good reflection of real life A good free time and resources manager is GanttProject

11) Yes I know that cokctail is misspelled. I preferred the spelling mistake to the stars.
It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion...
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