Tuesday, 9 April 2013

General update and first working prototype.

Hi everyone. I want to start by apologizing for being so quiet for the last few months, I've been stressing about this project alot more than I've been working on it and I think it's time to turn that around. Even though I've been quiet I have still been making progress on both my concept pad and on the logistics/details for the main pad.

Concept Pad
A few years ago I remember thinking that with my playstyle, and for many other players, the outer half of each arrow is rarely used, you could remove it completely and I doubt I'd even notice.
So I thought I'd give it a try and ended up with this:

Each arrow measures 280x140mm (standard arrows being 280x280mm), the central square is still the same size so you still have to move you feet the same distance. It has no corner brackets because it doesn't need them to function and I was just testing this idea.
I've found this design works really well as a compact style pad, it's a lot smaller and lighter than the large pad and it can easily go under the bed or against the wall, and you can play on it almost the same as you'd play on a full size pad.
I haven't had to change my playstyle at all to get AAA's on this pad, I can even play on my toes although that does get a little risky at points. Everyone has a different play style so this pad won't be easy to use for all, but most people should only have to alter their style a little to not fall off.
In the future I may make a better version of this but that'll have to wait until after the main pad is finished. This pad has served its purpose by showing that it's a viable design, and also showing that I can make a pad capable of AAAs.

Main Pad
So I'm still working away on the pad in my last couple of blog posts. I've now got some sheet metal, an I-PAC input board, and most of the wiring stuff, next step is ordering DDR sensors, corner brackets, and arrow panels from an online supplier and I should have all the parts I need and can't make myself.
I've decided at this point to buy corner brackets from Channelbeat for ~$3.50ea, I haven't been able to find any of the right measurement in NZ and this way is cheaper than having them custom made.
The same goes for the arrow panels, I can get plexiglass supplied and laser cut for ~$13 an arrow or order actual DDR arrows from Channelbeat for ~$15, if I can find a cheap way to print graphics onto acrylic I'll be able to make my own arrows but until then I'm going to go with actually DDR arrow panels.

One of the big problems I was having was getting the sheetmetal for the border cut and shaped, the 5 square panels are simple enough but the whole outer border is quite an undertaking and wouldn't come easy or cheap. The solution I've come up with is to cover the 5 square panels in metal and paint the outer border, with a strong coating ofcourse. The will preserve the metal/acrylic feel of the pad and keep costs down by removing the metal where it's not necessary.

So things are still ticking along, once I have the first pad finished and tested I'll be able to start taking some orders. The price is looking to be around $800 at the moment but I'm working on getting it cheaper while keeping the quality high.

Let me know if you have any input or suggestions as always :)

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