Designing the Kit-Cat Clock using PanelPilotACE Design Studio

Let’s face it – everyone likes to have a play with things... especially people with an Engineering background! That’s why before I go on PanelPilotACE customer sales visit, I try and put together a basic project that I think will appeal to my audience. 

Up until now, a basic application was all I was able to do. Something that looks great and offers basic functionality. However I figured that if I really wanted to sell the PanelPilotACE to a wider market, I needed to understand some of the more complex features. 

With some time set aside, I decided to create a fresh new project, my inspiration... the Kit-Cat Clock

Rather than import all of my images, I wanted to create something from scratch – all within the Design Studio. 

Within 40 minutes and using only rectangles, ellipses and triangles, I had my image (it even had a bow tie!!), not a bad start. 

Next was the part I’d normally ask our engineers to look at for me... adding math and logic functions to control the moving eyes and tails. Instead of ducking out, I logged onto our YouTube channel and started to watch the handy tutorials that have been uploaded over the past few months. 

All clued up, I started work on adding math and logic functions to my project. While this is something I had never really done before, I found the software straight forward and easy to use. The hardest part for me was working out the X values of the moving eyes and the rotation values of the moving tail. 

First off, I needed to decide how much I wanted my eyes to move by. As the eyes and tail were both going to move at the same time as the second hand on the clock, I needed to tell the PanelPilot Design Studio how much I wanted my elements to increase or decrease by. A simple mathematics expression took care of this. 

The math expression I used was EYES.X – 1.0 to move the eyes left and EYES.X + 1.0 to move them right. This was telling my visual element (Eyes) that it’s position (X) will need to decrement or increment based on what math function is being called at that time.

 I then needed to add logic statements to tell my project the boundaries of the moving elements (I didn’t want my eyes or tail moving off the screen!) as well as what happens when the eye or tail is at the boundary. 

The logic statement used was EYES.X > 111. This told my project that if my visual element’s (eyes) position (X) was greater than 111 (screen location) then it should run my Action (Set Rule).

The final step was to set a time to tell my elements how often they should be moving. As I wanted the eyes and tails to move in time with the second hand on the clock, I would need to set the timer to run every 100ms. I didn’t want to manually start this so left the timer to run automatically. As I needed the timer to start my visual elements moving, I linked the time to my limit logic builder.

 

With all of my logic and math expressions in place, I needed to add a property trigger to enact everything. As the eyes and tails were moving with the second hand on the clock, the property trigger needed to be linked to the Clock Function and then the Second Hand element. This could have been achieved by adding various timers, but it made sense to utilise what was already in place. 

All in all, the whole project took me no longer than 2hours 30minutes to put together. I am positive that this can be done quicker, but considering I was learning the functions while implementing them, I don’t think that’s a bad first attempt. 

It really does go to show how easy the PanelPilotACE Design Studio software is to use and the infinite possibilities is present. What will you be creating