IoT AR Smart Manufacturing

This year I wanted to do something similar to 2018 with a mini factory that produced personalized give aways. With some new objectives: Making it much more portable, easy to take to events, simple to setup and operate by anyone with a few minutes learning. Extend the story and show the new Asset Monitoring feature: Augmented Reality Digital Twin.

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Marketing Image

One of the first jobs of these projects is to create a 3D render mockup that can be used for internal promotion and later in adverts, press and articles. The demo was modeled in Sketchup 3D and then rendering produced in Cheetah 3D. I started this project moving the design of some parts over to Fusion 360 but I still find Sketchup much faster for simple parts.

Making Of

The main structure I built out of 20x20mm aluminum extrusion, with mostly 3D printed parts after that. The whole demo was designed around an off the shelf conveyer belt and designed to fit exactly into a Pelican 1730 case.

Milled Custom Metal Parts

This demo had my first machined aluminum part, I hand milled a heatsink mount for the laser which also housed a temperature probe to provide IoT data feed on laser heat.

Dozens of Custom 3D Printed Parts

I had four 3D printers running 24 hours a days for over a month making all the parts for the two copies of the demo. They were printed in a mixture of Standard PLA and Tough PLA, a few parts were complicated and used PVA desolvable support.

Laser Cut Parts

I made the initial prototype luggage tags out of 1/8 plywood on the laser. Also the main equipment case was laser cut and engraved from acrylic. The most important laser cut parts were the orange translucent acrylic which was certified to block the demo laser so that people could watch without the need for safety glasses. For a nice finish I laser engraved stickers for all labeling on the connections and for serial number plaques out of a very cool material which was a very thin layer of brushed aluminum with a black plastic backing and adhesive back.

AR iPad Holders

I designed a custom 3D printed holder for the AR iPad. This allowed me to hide a Power Over Ethernet converter inside that both provided the iPad with power and wired network. One of the things you learn when doing lots of conferences is to never depend on WIFI if you can at all avoid it as its is usually unreliable because the radio spectrum is so saturated. The case I designed in Fuison 360 and was a cool learning project.


The electronics were all mounted on a DIN rail which was a first for me, I was really pelased with the outcome. All the items that were not DIN mountable I 3D printed custom mounts and used metal DIN clips for.

One of the aims of improving things this year was to reduce the bootable computers to just one. Last year I had a windows PC and 3 Raspberry Pis. As much as I love Raspberry Pis, having 4 devices to boot and shutdown properly made the demo much more complicated to run and incresed the risk of damage if the demo was just turned off at the power switch. Some event venues turn all the power off at night so its a risk if you leave the demo running and don’t shut it down each night. I ended up with a TinyG CNC controller, Ardino and Smart USB Signal Light, all connected via USB to a single mini Windows PC. The PC did everything, it ran the server, did all the controls and ran the TV UI.

Luggage Tags

After trying many materials I ended up back with wood for the luggage tags. The small 4W diode laser we are using struggles to engrave on many materials also a lot of materials have nasty smells when burning, like leather. The nice thing of wood is when it burns the smell is quite plesent and most people just associate it with a BBQ or a log fire. I designed the tags and produced the initial prototypes but the plan was always to have them manufactured by an approved supplier so we were limited to what woods they could provide.

Tag Cords

To attach the luggage tags I wanted to have a range of choices so people could match thier own style and feel like they got a more personal product. I settled on 4 colors of faux leather along with clear plastic and metal ball chain.


I was working on an exploded part diagram and thought that could make a really cool T-Shirt. So I designed a T-Shirt I could wear for presenting the demo at the conference. I had the fun Idea of making it like an old fashioned patent application.


The demo was designed to fit into a Pelican 1730 case with a second one for the air filter unit and accesories.