Teaching students maritime skills with 3D printed models and NeoPixels #Maritime #CoastGuard #NeoPixels #3Dprinting

A recent Adafruit Show & Tell presentation by Floyd demonstrated a very cool project using 3D printing and NeoPixel LEDs: The Seamanship Project. He explains:

There is a Federal gov program that provides career training for underprivileged young adults. If you are between the ages of 16 and 24 and have a financial need you can qualify (I don’t know what the financial ceiling is). I am told there are 120 training centers located across the US.

I have been hired by the Seamanship program to help provide training for 120 students. The training program lasts for 2 years. If the student completes the program and passes all of his final exams, they ares offered membership in the Seamans Union and a job paying a minimum of $75,000.

Most of the exams are administered by the Coast Guard and very difficult. One of these is the ability to read navigational lighting on another ocean going vessel. So my project is critical to their success. Part of the test will be for the instructor to turn on a set of lights on one of the models and ask the student to tell him what they say. Also the instructor will tell the student you are on a tugboat and this is your situation turn on the appropriate lights. He must be able to do all the above with no errors. Deliverables –

  1. 3 feet 9 inch long 3D printed model of a tugboat complete with various working parts and Neo-Pixels in the proper locations on the vessel to represent the US Coast Guard required commercial lighting. This included 19 NeoPixels programed to different colors as required by regulations. US Coast Guard Regulations also require that each light have a proper dispersion angle. I.e. certain lights must be visible for 360 degrees while others are limited to say 112 ½ degrees.
  2. 7 foot long Fueling Barge also with NeoPixels as described above. This model was made from wood with deck details 3D printed. Both models are mounted on 4 wheel carts so that they can be moved around the classroom and the students can practice the proper way to lash them together.
  3. Scale model Oil Containment booms that would be deployed in case of a spill and used when transferring oil from the barge to another vessel.
  4. So in addition to the above I needed some sort of control box for the models. So that we could turn on the correct lights for each situation. I chose to use 5 mm NeoPixels, on the models, so that I could use an Arduino Nano to control all of the above. I needed a control box for each model and both needed to be battery operated so they are portable. I also had the problem that 1 model had to be useful for 120 students. So I decided to create a control box for each model that could be used as a study tool independent from the model. This box was cut from a sheet of acrylic using a 60 watt laser. The box has an on/off switch on the side as well as a charging port to recharge the battery. The face plate was etched to give a representation of the tug or barge. And custom PC board was designed to have SMD NeoPixels as indicators and a 60 NeoPixel ring for the dispersion angle. So the student could take the box and study. And when ready plug the box into the model and see the proper lights turn on with the correct colors.

See the Show & Tell presentation below. And below that, there are some pictures that were sent along.

Watch Adafruit Show & Tell every Wednesday at 7:30 PM US Eastern time live or anytime on YouTube.


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