PhysComp midterm project, week 2: Rough prototype, sexed up

Our project is now all dressed up, NYC-style:

The black box: closed

Diego and/or Filippo cut all the squares out of black foamcore and set two of the infrared sensors into the sides. Then, when I rolled in after dinner, I taped the pieces together into a flat pattern and made velcro hinges to pull it together into a box:

The black box: interior

And then—my crowning achievement of the day—I devised a neat little latch for it.

The black box: closed latch

While Diego and Filippo were figuring out more deluxe ways to use Minim than what I had hashed together the day before, I set about making my breadboard setup a little more robust, so that it could stand being sloshed around a bit in the box. Because the wires that came with the IR sensors are multistranded and very fine, they’re difficult to poke into the holes in a breadboard, and then they don’t want to stay in once they’re there. So it seemed to me that they ought to be soldered to header pins, as shown in the soldering lab.

This is, of course, much more difficult than it looks—for me, at least. I present to you what I believe to be my ugliest soldering job yet:

Another bang-up soldering job

Hideous. Pathetic. Heartbreaking.

But soldered they were, and they were, in fact, slightly easier to plug into the breadboard. Once I, you know, straightened the pins out with pliers.

How are you supposed to do this? Is there some trick to soldering multistrand wire to a header pin? Was I just doing it all wrong, wrong, wrong? Is it a mess because (a) I can’t see in the shitty light of the lab, and (b) I can’t hold my hands steady? I hate this. Help!

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