This blog aims to solve two problems for me.
I Want To Do More Projects
When I started university in 2013 I envisioned myself working on countless engineering projects – for both personal interest and coursework, and, to be fair, I have managed to get a number done over the last few years. However, I’ve done less engineering in my free time than I wanted to do and Cambridge’s engineering course itself was a lot less project driven than I’d hoped. I thought it would get easier once I was out of uni and working – at the start working 9-5 and having actual weekends was glorious – but, in the end, work grew quickly as I took on greater responsibilities and my energy for projects outside of work shrunk. I’ve got an ever-growing list of project ideas, half of which I’ve left so long that I’ve lost interest in them entirely.
Sometimes it can be hard to have good ideas, but having one and not working towards it somehow feels much worse to me.
I Want To Do Projects Better
In the past I’ve left projects wanting further development, partially completed, or honestly just unfinished. Consider the 3D printer resuscitated from the scrap heap. It has now printed a few useful items for the home and parts to improve its own performance, but (without other projects demanding 3D printed parts) the painstaking troubleshooting to get beautiful prints is left by the wayside and the ugly little printer sits on a small shelf by my desk unused except to show off to guests. Also, the internet doorbell I put together when our regular one broke – a simple Arduino program on a Wemos D1 mini and IFTTT for phone notifications. It’s lying in a drawer unused, when all it needs is a simple power solution that doesn’t involve buying new batteries (my first attempt to use a mobile phone portable charger didn’t quite work).
It’s tempting to leave a project in such a state once the fun bit’s over, or once I’ve used it to meet its initial calling – but I know (from experience at work of not having the option to drop a project once the fun’s over) that it’s worth putting in the effort to complete something properly.
So, self-indulgent complaints aside, posting my projects here is going to be my attempt to keep myself honest. I’ll start projects with a plan, document progress, and finish them off with lessons learned and next steps. On larger projects I’ll do regular posts as they go on, or maybe I’ll just write up stuff as milestones are reached, we’ll see. Smaller and ‘mini’- projects I’ll probably just write up retrospectively and I’ll start with some of these to get the ball rolling.
This blog will also, eventually, be a repository for the projects I complete. It will document my growth as I attempt to gain new skills, meet harder challenges, and advance from my current state (somewhere in the realm between naivety and low level intermediacy as a jack of all trades).
Wish me luck.