Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Author Archive

3D Printing and Scanning

For this two-week assignment, we were assigned to design three of the following four projects: a set of flatware with a specific purpose, an art piece relating to our culture combined with ourselves in some way, a famous painting turned into a 3D model, including either ourselves or an object, and making a specific part that we need. After designing three of the four projects, we would then print one of them.

Before working on the projects, we were given a tutorial on how to use Tinkercad and Meshmixer by making a castle and alien (pictured below this paragraph).  It took a few minutes to get used to, but I found Tinkercad relatively intuitive for combining structures for a print.

                                        Castle and Alien

The first project that I will talk about is the part that we need.  I created a simple case for an aux cord case (pictured below) due to the fact that I constantly just shove my chord into my backpack, likely damaging it.  In order to keep the cord contained properly, I decided ahead of time to use a spiral within the case.  To add more versatility, I added a second spiral.  The case is 12in. x 6in. and can hold either two small aux cables or one large one.  I decided not to print this part because there was a project that I wanted to print more.  The project file is not public yet on Thingiverse, but will be by 12 p.m. on Friday March 8th at

                                Simple AUX Cord Case

For my second project, I designed a set of flatware for my worst enemy, including useless utensils with plates and glasses with holes in them (pictured below).  The spoon has a hole in it to prevent it from holding anything.  The fork has no points to pick food up with, and the knife has no sharp edge to cut with.

                         Flatware for My Worst Enemy

For my final project, I decided to recreate the famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch.  A portion of its fame likely comes from how universal its meaning is.  I chose this painting because I relate to it.  To incorporate myself into the model, I decided to scan myself in the scream pose.  I started by making a 3in. x 3in. plane, used a block-shaped hole to create a path in the plane, and made a fence out of 7 blocks.

I wanted to make it look more realistic, so I found a “terrain” shape in Tinkercad to make it look like a plain.

By far, the most difficult part of this project was scanning myself.  In order to get my full body into the print, I had to scan my torso and my lower body separately, run them through Meshmixer to fix any errors and plane cut them, then attempt to stitch them together in Tinkercad.  I did the best that I could with them, but there is a small seam in the back.

The print came out nicely.  I thoroughly enjoyed making it.

                                 Final Product

Overall, I enjoyed the entirety of this assignment.  It was fun thinking of ideas for a terrible flatware set and aux case.  Although, I had the most fun with designing my Scream model.  There were probably ways to add even more details into the model.  It was difficult trying to get all of the pieces to work together to form one object to print, but it was definitely worth it.  I am proud of my print and the effort I put into it.

Continue Reading

Copper Tape Circuits

Final Products

For this assignment, we were required to complete three projects: a simple paper circuit, a circuit involving an inspirational quote, and a circuit incorporated into either a pop-up card or piece of origami.

For the simple circuit, we were provided the design in our lab section, and simply applied copper tape and the LED in order to create a circuit with a switch. I had a bit of trouble applying the copper tape due to inexperience with it, but improvised a solution to allow the current to flow.

For the second project, I received the quote “those who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, usually do.” For the image, I decided to draw a brain with a light bulb, and proceeded to draw a design for the circuit (dots representing yellow LEDs).

The goal was to make the brain the switch, causing the light bulb to glow. However, when I applied the two LEDs, battery and copper tape, the LEDs did not glow when the circuit was completed. In order to fix this, the design was changed to have the LEDs be in parallel rather than in series (I forgot to take a picture). This, fortunately, worked. The drawing was then colored in, and the project was assembled using a stapler.

For the final project, we were required to make a 3D paper object using three or more LEDs while using at least two colors. Rather than a pop-up card, I decided to use origami. I took four sheets of construction paper, cut them into squares, and taped them together. I then proceeded to fold the paper into a T-Rex design.

Origami T-Rex

I decided to incorporate the LEDs as eyes and a heart using two white LEDs and a red LED. I used a sewing needle to poke holes in the paper to place the LEDs. I knew how I would implement a circuit into the T-Rex, but did not sketch it because I did not want to put a lot of marks on the paper. I decided to have three paths leave the battery to run the LEDs in parallel. What was difficult with this project was testing which resistor would be needed in order to allow all three lights to glow in parallel, since the red LED would take practically all of the current as the path of least resistance. I eventually decided to use a 120 ohm resistor for the path that contained the red LED.

T-Rex Circuit

There certainly are ways that I could have improved my projects, such as adding more design to the quote project, but I feel that I still made quality projects. I feel that I learned a decent amount about basic circuitry thanks to this project. Overall, this was a very fun project with circuitry.

Continue Reading

Layered Stickers Assignment

Finished Products

For this assignment, we were tasked with creating three vinyl stickers: a “griffin” sticker combining two creatures (real or fake), a logo sticker, and an original sticker.

For my griffin sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite Pokémon: Pikachu and Shinx. In lab section, just as we were about to print the sticker, the file crashed, with me not having saved yet. In order to catch up to the rest of the section, I quickly redid the sticker, but simply replacing Shinx’s tail with a Pikachu’s.

Griffin Sticker

For my logo sticker, I decided to go with the Superman logo. It was surprisingly difficult to line up the layers perfectly. I went with a yellow square for the base, followed by the blue and red layers.

Logo Sticker

As for my original sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite games: Pokémon and Overwatch. I wasn’t entirely sure how I would combine them. I initially wanted to combine a pokéball and the Overwatch logo, and after receiving some advice, I decided to make an Overwatch themed pokéball instead. I started by taking an image of a pokéball and changed the red to the orange of the Overwatch logo. I then replaced the button with the Overwatch logo itself. In order to make the pokéball a little more complicated than a simple color swap, I made it so the white would encroach to the top of the pokéball up to a boundary level to the boundary found on the logo. In order to make it look more visually appealing, I added black lines to the boundary.

There was a problem though. I had put the design together without really thinking, so I had to fix all of the models in order to cut the correct shapes into the vinyl. After several attempts of using grouping and ungrouping, unioning and differencing various shapes, I was able to create the shapes that I actually needed to print out. Placing the layers was difficult due to small shapes, but the end result was definitely worth the effort.

Original Sticker
Continue Reading

Laser Name Tag

Final Product above

In the first lab section, we were told that we were to make a name tag that captures our personalities. We were then told to make a basic name tag in order to get used to the Inkscape software. Since the name tags were supposed to resonate with our personalities, I decided to make my name tag based around a hobby that I’ve had for as long as I can remember: video games. In this case, I decided to use my favorite video game franchise: Pokémon. For my basic name tag, I went with a pokéball with my name on it.

Basic Name Tag

For the pokéball, I used the Trace Bitmap function of Inkscape on an image of a pokéball and simply added my name to it. I liked the idea of the pokéball for a name tag, but I felt that I needed something a bit more complex for the final submission. After getting some advice, I decided to make myself into a Pokémon card for my name tag.

I initially attempted to use an image of a blank Pokémon card and use the Trace Bitmap function, but the varying colors and edges would not allow the image to work. The next best option was to draw it myself. For the boxes of the card, I simply used the rectangle tool. For the more complex shape surrounding the boxes, I used the free hand tool. I then used the Trace Bitmap function on my Facebook profile picture and placed it in the box in the top half of the card, and added the text using various fonts for the rest of the card.

Final Name Tag

I enjoyed every minute of designing this project, along with printing it using the Epilog laser. I feel that the name tag came out quite well. It demonstrates one of my interests while displaying information such as my full name, school, major and graduation date. It can always be improved, however. I could have added more detail to the background of the card itself, and possible even printed the Pokémon Trading Card Game logo on the back, etc. Overall, I had a positive experience with making these name tags, and look forward to the projects we do in the future with this class.

Continue Reading