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

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Final Project: MIDI Controller – Arun Abraham

Question 1:

For my final project, I sought to create a Piano MIDI controller that I could potentially use with a DAW (digital audio workstation) when producing/recording music for myself in the future. MIDI controllers are typically somewhat pricey, so I thought this would be a cool alternative.

Wooden piano board created using Inkscape and the Epilog laser.

Initial Raspberry Pi testing before I switched over to the Arduino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the challenges I faced when creating this project were with executing on the initial project conception with using a Raspberry Pi. I found a lot of difficulty with setting up the Raspberry Pi and had to continuously get more and more equipment for it to fully work, and even then, I had to scrap the idea because it wouldn’t have worked as smoothly as an Arduino would. I lost a lot of time trying to setup the Raspberry Pi before switching to an Arduino.

The Adafruit MPR121 sensor with wires and metal pins soldered to it,

Example code that combined the MPR121test file that check each of the 12 touch sensors on the board with a tutorial on sending MIDI messages. The results can be seen in the Serial. This was a prototype that had problems because of the overlap of sending data through Serial multiple times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another challenge I faced was with soldering, something I was relatively new to. I had soldered once before 7 years ago and had decided at that time that I would never do it again because it was difficult for me. Luckily, it turned out mostly fine this time, but one of the wires that was soldered didn’t have a great connection to the Adafruit MPR121 board. Another challenge I faced was with getting the touch capacitive data from the Adafruit MPR121 to be translated to MIDI messages that would be read by the computer and any MIDI software or DAW. I tried to do this originally all with the Arduino code but found that I needed a Python script to translate the Serial input from the Arduino into MIDI messages instead. In the videos below, you can see how I experimented with MIDI messages apart from the touch sensors, in order to get that working first. In the first video, I was able to get MIDI data to send from the Arduino but it wasn’t connect to the MIDI player. In the second video, it played through the MIDI player by means of a virtual MIDI port created using the LoopMIDI software and Hairless MIDI <-> Serial Bridge to send the Serial data to the port, which was then set as the MIDI input for the MIDI software I used (Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard). 

The last challenge that I faced was with getting the MIDI messages to go to the MIDI output device of choice. I was easily able to have the computer output sound when I touched the sensors, but it needed to play through the device, where I would see the piano keys on it being pressed down as I touched it. I had to use a variety of different software to get this work, including a virtual MIDI port, but it ended up connecting smoothly after trying out the different settings and figuring out what worked!

The final setup of the Arduino with the wooden board, sensors, alligator clips, and foil for touch.

The final computer setup with virtual MIDI port through LoopMIDI, the Python script running, and the MIDI player open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am most proud of the fact that I was able to use my prior programming knowledge in Python to process the data from the Arduino! I found it cool that I could use the skills I learned from this class and combine it with my prior skills to create something that was even useful for my own music projects!

Question 2:

Learning Goal 1: I want to challenge myself to incorporate a Raspberry Pi into my project because even though I am a computer science student, I do not feel comfortable dealing with circuits, wires, and microcontrollers/microcomputers (I avoided hardware and ECE classes).

Unfortunately, I was unable to meet this goal because of unexpected circumstances with the Raspberry Pi and the corresponding equipment for it. However, I was still able to use a microcontroller in the Arduino and used libraries that I had not used before in order to make this project work. Likewise, I was able to face my discomfort with using circuits and wires and even soldering as I used the Adafruit MPR121, a new sensor, with the Arduino. I learned that the Arduino is capable of doing a lot more than I originally thought! While I thought it was a very basic computer simply by the fact that it runs a continuous loop, I was surprised to see the sheer number of libraries for it. It was cool to experiment with the different MIDI libraries and learn more about the Serial library as well. It was definitely for the best that I used the Arduino rather than the Raspberry Pi because I think the Raspberry Pi would have added a complexity that wasn’t really needed for the scope of this project. As a result, I am happy with the outcome and the implementation!

Learning Goal 2: I want to personalize the design by adding my own touches to a standard design so that I can push my creativity.

I feel that I was able to personalize the design by creating the piano keys completely from scratch in Inkscape. It was very simple to design, but it was cool to have used the Epilog Laser to raster the piano keys onto plywood for the MIDI controller. Most designs online used aluminum foil or conductive ink, so they were usually constructed on paper, so it was cool to see how it would look on a piece of engraved wood. I would have liked to add color to it somehow, but likewise, the black keys were done with raster, which would have been covered up if I had included a sticker or cardstock by using the Silhouette cutter. Likewise, the foil covered up most of the wood, but it was necessary in order to have the alligator clips attach to it and have the keys be conductive. Though I had a picture of what the board would ideally look like in my head, I learned that it is near impossible to have it look exactly like a design concept simply because all of the tools and material might not be in place. I learned that there is a great need for flexibility, adaptability, and compromise when it comes to the design process!

 

Question 3:

As I already stated, I think I learned that there is a great need for flexibility and adaptability when it comes to designing and making something. As a computer science student, I’ve seen it as I’ve written code and worked on different projects, but when it has come to this class and the mostly hands-on work, I’ve come to see even more how ideas may need to be scrapped and I have to start over from the beginning when things go awry. It really takes a lot of patience and planning in order to make a good product, and it may even take multiple prototypes to get something working as you originally planned. It may even require tweaks to the original design and omission of things that just aren’t feasible with time, material, or equipment constraints.

One thing that I’ve definitely become more comfortable with is working with hands-on projects. In the past, I steered clear of these projects because I feared the attention to detail that was necessary for these sorts of projects, but I found myself enjoying the projects in these classes (especially the Arduino units) as I became more accustomed to working with my hands. I definitely feel more confident as a maker and feel like my creativity really developed this semester.

 

Question(s) 4:

I think this course definitely has caused me to think about myself and my potential differently. Apart from coding, I was very hesitant with other forms of engineering, but now, I feel more adventurous and willing to try out new things related to making. Likewise, I felt like my creative capacities were always limited to the arena of coding, but now, I see how I can be creative with other things, like when using Inkscape for laser cutting and stickers or the different sensors and outputs for the Arduino. I think I feel a lot more confident when it comes to potential independent projects in the future, and I would be more willing to do craft work in the future as well.

I think I considered myself a maker before because of my computer science background and the numerous projects and apps I worked on before, but I definitely would identify more as maker now after this class because I’ve had the opportunity to work on several different kinds of projects to expand my skill set.

I think that the term maker really can be a broad term to refer to anyone who can create or recreate an item by their own hands, starting at the design process and then progressing to construction and testing until a final product is achieved. I feel like this is definitely in line with Seymour Papert’s quotation as well because being a maker requires a person to do a lot of hands-on work and requires them to be original in their ideas, which usually makes it personally meaningful. This quotation definitely means more to me now in the context of making because having to design my own projects and think about how they would benefit me or be interesting to me was directly correlated with how driven I would be to complete the project. Unlike with required projects in past classes, I found myself much more interested in these projects once I had come up with an idea. The drive to complete the project that came with the idea would prompt me to learn new things in order to complete these projects and do them well, so I feel like I definitely learned a lot as a result of that. The hands-on nature definitely played a big part because it somewhat forced me out of my comfort zone and forced me to experiment with different ideas so that there would be a learning by trial and error.

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Iteration Assignment

Inspiration

For this assignment, I wanted to recreate the Name tag while using more tools from the lessons afterwards. Specifically, I wanted to use the silhouette cutters to add stickers to the name tag and add an LED circuit to add a light to the name tag as well. This would use tools from the second and third assignments to expand upon the design and implementation from the first assignment.

Design

As a recap, here was my original product from the original name tag assignment:

My final product for Assignment 1: Laser Name tag.

For this new iteration, I wanted to change up the design while still keeping the guitar theme. For new inspiration, I used a nickname that I have that also serves as my musician name: “Rooney Tunes”. This is also the name that I have on my Instagram account where I post my different covers. My inspiration behind singing the songs I post is based on one of my favorite Bible verses, which I include in the bio in my Instagram account and decided to include in this name tag as well. Because my Christian faith is important to me, I decided to also add a small cross in the corner of the name tag with a light above it to represent the guiding light that the cross is for me in my faith.

Below is the design for the laser cutter:

Laser cutter design for the iteration assignment. This would raster the guitar and cross and vector cut a circle above the cross.

Below is the design for the silhouette cutter:

This was the initial design for the silhouette cutter to attach on top of the laser cut/engraved wood.

Construction

For constructing the project, I began by using the laser cutter. The wood was nicely cut out into a 7.5″ x 7.0″ block on a 1/4″ piece of plywood. The guitar and cross were rastered on it and the circle for the light was cut out. I unfortunately do not have any pictures or videos of the process.

The following portion involved using the silhouette cutter to cut out the sticker than would frame the cross and the guitar. Below is what it looked like, along with the additional sticker parts for the pick guard and the bridge of the guitar:

This picture shows the finished laser cut and rastered board along with the outline and guitar accessory stickers.

Following this, the next part was to incorporate the words onto the name tag. This was difficult because the letter were small. I found it difficult to remove the excess parts of the lettering when trying to use the transfer tape. Some part were lost when transferring it, and even on the original cut, the dots for the i’s and j’s did not make it through. Below is the sticker text on the transfer tape:

The text that would be put on the top left corner of the name tag shown on the transfer tape.

After removing the unnecessary bits in letters like “a”, “o”, “e”, and other letters, I proceeded to put the sticker text on the new name tag. It took a little while as well because the small letters clung to the transfer tape, but for the most part, it transferred well.

Next, it was necessary for me to set up the circuit for the white light that would be above the cross. It was a small and basic circuit because there was only one LED. Below is a picture of the final circuit:

The final circuit for the iteration project. The switch can be found at the top right part of the circuit. There is one battery, no resistors, and one white LED.

This circuit worked well and it all came together pretty well!

Final Reflection

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the final product! If I had more time, then maybe I would have added a more complex circuit. I may have chosen a more cooperative font as well. The font was the biggest struggle for my first name tag as well. That first assignment required four iterations once I finally figured out the best size. This one only took one try but did not come out perfectly.

Even though it wasn’t perfect and that may have been a bit frustrating in terms of being patient with transferring as many of the letters as possible onto the main piece of wood, I was content and proud of the final product.I like that the gold sticker frames the guitar and the cross very nicely. The LED light, as well, is a nice touch. If I had more time, I would likely add a better switch or a more clever usage of a switch.

The final product can be seen below:

The final product for the iteration project. The light was a nice final touch. I wrote in the missing dots and quotations for the sake of completing the text on the name tag.

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Locamoting Arduino Pom Pom Robot

Initial Concept/Design

For the initial concept and design, I was inspired by the movement of how a penguin waddles. Thus, for the pom pom bot, my goal was to make a penguin robot with a movement that was as close to a waddle as possible!

For the bot to walk, I planned on using 2 servo motors as the feet of the penguin. I would use the one sided attachment to the servo motors for each foot. My bot, as stated, would look like a penguin. In order to make this bot, I planned on using felt, foam, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks tape, and glue. 

Below is a picture of my original notes and sketch for the initial concept.

My initial design for the bot. I had actually planned to use 4 servo motors. Two would be used for flapping the arms, but I would soon scrap this idea.

Initial Construction/Prototype

For the initial construction, I set up the two servo motors and used the attachment that had two sides, where one side was longer than the other. I made this change because I figured there would be more stability to the bot. I connected these servo motors by taping them both to a Popsicle stick. There was also a Popsicle stick attached to the middle of the connecting Popsicle stick. This second Popsicle stick would have the breadboard taped to it and, eventually, the penguin. 

Below is a picture of my initial code:

My initial code for the penguin bot. It was not very complex because the two servo motors always moved at the same rate.

Below is a video of the initial construction:

The movement as seen in the video is more crab-like rather than waddling. As a result, for the redesign, my approach would be to make the movement of each servo motor to be slightly different. 

The biggest challenge for this stage of the design was structuring it so that it wouldn’t fall backwards as it moved. Because the breadboard was taped to the back, the weight from it made it easy for it to fall over.

To improve it, I will mostly be focusing on improving the code so that the movement is more like waddling, and so that maybe it won’t jerk too much when it moves, which is part of what caused it to fall over. There won’t be any different materials for the 2nd prototype.

2nd Prototype

The focus for this second prototype was to correct the movement of the bot. My initial update to the code actually didn’t work as I had intended. My intention with the modified code was the have the motor for the right foot turn quickly when rotating clockwise and have the motor for the left foot turn quickly when rotating counter-clockwise. Though I correctly had the quick rotation on clockwise set for the right foot, I had the quick rotation on counter-clockwise also set on the right foot. This can be seen in the code below. There is also a video below that shows what this looked like. 

Looking at the second loop in loop(), you can see that my conditional applied to servo2 (right foot) instead of servo1.

Looking at the video, you can see that the right foot has a jerky motion in both directions, whereas the left foot rotates smoothly in both directions. This is because of the errant code. 

Below, you can see my corrected code and the video of the corrected movement.

Looking at this code, you can see that the left foot is now having its position set in the conditional in the second loop.

Looking at the video above, you can see that the right foot turns more sharply when it rotates clockwise, and the left foot turns more sharply when it rotates counter-clockwise, giving the bot more of a waddling motion. 

In terms of improvements for the final version, the bot was still having trouble staying up when it was moving. Thus, my next objective would be to stabilize the bot more and even the weight out a little more, while also adding the final touches with the felt, foam, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners for the actual penguin.

Final Pom Pom Bot

For the final bot, I improved the stability by adding several Popsicle sticks on top of the servo motors to balance out the weight of the breadboard. I also added an additional two Popsicle sticks: one that was parallel to the vertical Popsicle stick and perpendicular to the horizontal one, and one that was lodged in between the other new vertical one and the previous one. The second one was added so that the bot would be taller and would support the full penguin that I made from the felt and foam. Below is a picture of the bot without the penguin attached and a picture with the penguin attached.

The final bot without the felt+foam penguin attached. Note the four Popsicle sticks on top of the servo motors and the additional two vertical Popsicle sticks.

The final bot with the penguin attached!

Here is the Google Drive link to the final bot video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xpnezsJ8GEvwFD2q6kZvsk7Tn0o7fQAW/view?usp=sharing

In the video, the orange pipe cleaner is Point A and the brown pipe cleaner is Point B. In the video, you can see that the bot successfully moves forward from Point A to Point B!

In terms of how this final bot differs from the original concept, the only real difference is that this bot does not feature the flapping arms that I originally planned to make. This was primarily because one Arduino would not be capable of sustaining 4 servo motors at the same time without an external battery as a power source. 

Overall, there wasn’t anything too new about this design process for me because I am a computer science student. Thus, having to update code and improve a project’s design structure was something that I was relatively comfortable with! If I had to approach a similar problem in the future, something I would do differently is evaluate whether there is a need for additional power sources like a battery. I think I could have made a much cooler penguin if I had the battery and necessary connectors for it!

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Arduino Lab

For this lab, I decided to use the ultrasonic sensor as the input and a buzzer as the output. I was inspired by an motion-detection alarm system. My goal was to use the sensor to recognize the presence of an object within a certain range. If it was within that range, the buzzer would go off.

When starting out, I wasn’t quite sure of what the differences between an active buzzer and a passive buzzer were. I initially tried to use the passive buzzer. To be able to debug the setup, I included a LED in the circuit. This way, even if the buzzer wasn’t working, I could see if the sensor was reading the input based on whether the LED was lit up. When I first set it up, that is exactly what happened. The buzzer did not ring, but the LED lit up. This can be seen below.

Initial design for the buzzer that showed how the sensor was recognizing my hand hover as the LED lit up, but the buzzer was not working.

To test why this was, I had to double check the code. The sensor was clearly reading my input, so why was only the LED lighting up. The code below shows that the LED and the buzzer should have gone off at the same distance.

Code that shows the threshold distance set for the ultrasonic sensor.

To verify, I opened the console log to see if this threshold was really being met. When I hovered within range of the sensor, the console did show that I was either at a 4 or 5 in distance away from the sensor. This can be seen in the picture below.

Console showing that the sensor was indeed within the threshold range of <= 5.

I soon began to mix up the connections. From tutorials that I checked out, it never was really made clear whether I had to connect a cable to the positive end of the buzzer or the S end of the buzzer. My initial setup had a connection to the positive end (middle prong) of the buzzer. I switched it to the S end and it worked! However, the passive buzzer, I found, made a weird clicking noise. So I switched out the connections and used the active buzzer instead. Below is a video that shows the buzzer ringing when I hover over the sensor.

Overall, I definitely made a lot of mistakes with the connections and then in terms of choosing which buzzer to use. In terms of what I still need to learn, I think it will be important for me to understand all the prongs on each type of sensor, and understanding all the different ports on the Arduino. Likewise, it’ll be important for me to continuing understanding the code that is specific to Arduinos. While it definitely was confusing at point, I was satisfied with the end result!

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Assignment 5: Textiles

In Class Projects

Below you can find the two projects I made in class. The first is the drawstring bag. I struggled a bit with sewing in a straight line for this, and as a result, I had some trouble when it came to fitting a pencil/chopstick into the hole to fit the string in. After ripping the seams a little, it turned out okay! Then, there was the digital embroidery patch. For this, I used the U.S. Soccer logo. When making this, I ran into several problems with the sewing machines – uncooperative bobbins, broken needles, and faulty machines. It took me 4 tries, and I had to stay an additional hour and a half after class to finish the patch.

This is the finished drawstring bag that was made in class. I really struggled to sew in a straight line consistently at this point.

This is the design, in the software, for the embroidery patch.

Design Planning

For the project itself, I decided to make a pattern that was already approved – a collapsible fabric box. Below is a picture of the assembled cutouts for the sides & bottom and the front & back of the box. I had to cut out piece of the outer fabric and lining for each of these (2 sides and 1 bottom, 1 front and 1 back) as well as 5 pieces of the 71F Peltex (One-Sided Fusible Stabilizer) cut out in the shape of the sides & bottom. In terms of incorporating the embroidery, I was a little cut short on time, so I decided to sew in the USA patch that I had already spent extra time on. My plan was to sew this onto the front of the fabric box.

The cut-out and taped together guiding papers for the design of the fabric box. The specified seam allowances helped a lot.

Build Process

After cutting out the different pieces of fabric, it became time for me to starting sewing it all together! I started by sewing together the two pieces of fabric (outer and lining) for the bottom of the box. For that, I only had to sew little L’s at each corner of the fabric and then trim the seam allowance in those corners. Then I flipped it so the right sides faced outward. For the sides, I had to sew in a U shape, similar to the drawstring bag in class. I then flipped it to the right side out for both sides. For the front and back, I started by sewing the embroidery patch onto one of the pieces. I simply lined up the embroidery patch with the center of the fabric piece, and then cut out a whole in the shape of the patch. I then sewed the patch fabric onto the outer fabric, with the patch fabric being on the inside so that it would later be hidden by the lining. Then, I sewed the lining onto the front and back pieces. I had to sew with several different angles. Below is a picture of the final sewn together piece for the back. I used a marker to draw out the lines on which I had to sew for each of the 5 pieces. 

This is one of the front pieces of the box that has had the outer fabric and the lining sewn together. The fusible stabilizer has not yet been inserted at this point.

Once each piece was individually sewn, I had to add the stabilizer. It fit nicely into each of the 5 pieces. All I had to do to fuse it was iron it, and then it stuck nicely to the inside of each piece. After this, I had to sew all the individual pieces together. I started by sewing the sides to the bottom. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then trimmed the excess. I then flipped it over to sew on the other side so that I could create a French seam. This made it so that the excess piece of fabric at the connection point wouldn’t stand out as much. I did the same process for sewing the front and back pieces with the bottom of the box. Below is an example of one of the French seams I sewed.

This is a picture of one of the French seams I sewed on the inside of the box.

After the French seams were done, all that was left was to attach the Velcro! The Velcro that I had was a sticky back Velcro meant for fabrics, and so all I had to do was cut out 1.5 inch long pieces of Velcro (12 hook and 12 loop pieces) and stick them on the sides of the box.

Finished Project

I was pretty pleased with the final product! Though I didn’t get to embroider onto the outer fabric itself, it actually looks pretty nice with the black framing fabric. I think it definitely would have been an improvement if it was on the outer fabric, though. Likewise, I somewhat struggled to cut out the fabric to always be the same sizes. If I had been a little more careful with cutting, the box may be a bit more stable and more evenly shaped. In terms of what I learned, I definitely learned that sewing and embroidery takes a whole lot of patience. It was certainly a challenge, but I have to say that I am content with the outcome. Below are some of the pictures of the finished product!

This is the finished product! The box stands upright when the Velcro pieces are connected.

This is how the box appears once it’s been collapsed.

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3D Printing and Scanning Assignment

Design Process

For the design of this assignment, I sought to design and print a guitar strap lock for my acoustic guitar. The reason I wanted to design this was because my previous guitar broke because the guitar strap slipped off very abruptly when I was trying to adjust it’s fit around my neck. As a result, I needed an additional precaution for making sure that this mishap would not happen again. For the design, I measured the rough diameter of the strap peg on my guitar and used that accordingly for the center hole of the lock. To account for it possibly being a tight fit, I added a couple notches so that there would be a greater flexibility to the lock as I would try to slide it on. I did this by drawing a larger construction circle and then cutting it up with lines. I then drafted 2 splines to further curve the edges. Below is my completed design for the strap lock.

My completed design for the guitar strap lock created in PTC Creo Parametric.

Build Process

For the build, the settings I had were 0.3 mm layer height and 20% infill when printing it using Cura 3.2. I used Brim for the print to hold down the edges. Below is how the strap lock appeared in Cura.

This is the print screen for the finalized strap lock in Cura 3.2.

The print for the strap lock took 31 minutes. Below are some of the pictures in the middle of the print process.

Picture of the printing of the guitar strap lock in the middle of the print.

Nearing the end of the print.

Final Product Reflection

Because there are 2 strap pegs on a guitar, I actually ended up printing out 2 strap locks! Below is a picture of the before and after of the strap lock after peeling off the brim.

The bottom print is the strap lock with the brim. The top print has had the brim peeled off.

I’m very content with the final product! I was a little worried at first that it wouldn’t fit on the strap peg, but it just needed a strong push and it did its job well! Below is a picture of the lock in use.

The strap lock fits very nicely over the strap and on the peg!

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Paper Circuit Lab

Design Planning

For the design, I was inspired by a recent Bible study that I attended on the chapter Revelation 6. In the chapter, it mentions a red moon, a black sun, falling stars, four horsemen, and people fleeing to mountains. Thus, I decided to make a popup card version of this scene! In terms of circuit design, I used two batteries and a red, yellow, and white light. The design is shown below, and features one parallel circuit with the red and yellow light and then a series circuit with the white light.

The completed circuit design. There are spaces for 2 switches on the bottom right, a yellow light on the top right, and white light in the middle, and a red light in the top left.

Build Process

In terms of the build process, an initial struggle for me involved using the silhouette cutter for the cardstock vs. printer paper. Some pieces came out better than others. Below is an example of a cutout where one trial went poorly and the second one went great after using the cutter that automatically adjusts based on the material.

The stars on the top and the horseman on the bottom right didn’t cut out well originally. The second time, however, they came out a little better!

Finished Project

For the finished project, there wasn’t any need for any resistors in the circuit because I used two batteries so that the lights wouldn’t be dulled too much. I punched holes into the card stock so that the lights would fit through, and I put the circuit on a separate cardstock so that it wouldn’t be visible. The final result is seen below.

The final result for my project. The yellow light (behind the sun) can be seen a little better in person.

Reflection

Overall, I was pleased with the final product. I think I could have used one more LED in the stars. Otherwise, most of the cutouts came out great and the circuit design and card design went pretty smoothly! In terms of learning, it was a good experience to work with circuits again for the first time since high school physics! Incorporating the artistic design into it as well made it a really great experience.

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Vinyl Sticker Assignment

My Multi-layer Logo Sticker.
My original “griffin” sticker – combination of a lion and a bat.

The two stickers above are the first two stickers I made as I was getting more familiar with designing in Inkscape and with using Silhouette Studio.

For my complex multi-layered sticker, I sought to design a sticker for an RSO that I am a part of called ICF. My initial design idea was to put the text for ICF over the country of India, as well as putting the Indian flag as a pattern within the text.

My initial design for the final sticker.

Because the “ICF” was text made in Inkscape with a pattern used to put the flag in, it was not possible to separate the different parts by color within Inkscape. Instead, I had to use color tracing in Silhouette Studio. The tracing did not work well with the blue center part of the flag, so I had to modify the design. I had to isolate a picture of the Indian flag that was scaled to a large size, trace it, delete everything except the blue center part, scale it down, and then copy it into the original tracing for my design. Below is the result of the tracing.

The final tracing for the multi-layered sticker.

For the build process, there were a few small mistakes on my part. First, the sticker that was cut out for the country in the background was slightly cut off at the top. From the image above, it appears as if the tracings were definitely within the 4″ x 4″ boundaries, so I may have lined up the vinyl improperly. Below is the result.

The cut out sticker for the country. It is cut off at the top left.

The other complication in the build process was regarding the center blue part and the white background in the “C”. Because I had to replace the center part from another image, it did not connect with the original image in such a way so that the white part of the sticker would fill in the gaps in the blue center part. Also, the blue center part was much too small for the level of detail. As a result, it was very difficult to separate it from the sheet. Below is the final result of the sticker.

The final result for the multi-layered sticker.

Final reflections: This was definitely very challenging for me. I think it would have been better if I had made something that had more clearly defined lines between colors or if I had used only images to make the design. The sticker itself looks a little too animated to me, and the center part doesn’t look too good. However, despite the struggles, I definitely enjoyed the process of designing this sticker and learned quite a bit more about Inkscape and Silhouette Studio!

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Laser Name Tag – Arun Abraham

Design

For the initial design of my laser name tag, I knew that I wanted to have it be in the shape of a guitar because of my passion for playing guitar! Likewise I knew that I wanted the hole in the middle of the guitar to be cut out rather than just using raster.

My initial design for the name tag.

For my final design, I wanted the design to be more distinct than just the shape of the guitar. In order to do this, rather than just having the name etched on using raster on the inside edge of the guitar, I altered the design to have my name unionized with the path of the guitar, so that when the laser would use vector, it would cut the wood in shape of my name along the outside of the guitar. Unfortunately, I did not take a screen shot of the final design, but the design is captured in the final product.

Build Process

I ran into several problems during the build process. The problem during the first attempt was that the laser settings appeared to be powerful enough for the 1/4″ thick wood. With these settings and a small design (4″ x 3″), the end result was not even fully separated from the larger block of wood.

My failed first attempt of the name tag.

For the second attempt, I removed the tuning pegs from the design by deleting the excess nodes on the path. I also increased the size of the font for my name and added an additional space after each letter in my name. This attempt still failed, but this was only because the design was still too small (4″ x 3″).

My second attempt for the name tag. Some of the letters were cut off, but otherwise, it was close to complete!

Final Reflection

For my third and final attempt, I simply increased the size of the design by roughly doubling it. The final product still was imperfect, as the “r” in my first name was not fully formed. However, I was still satisfied with the final result! It was challenging to figure out how to put the name on the edge, and it was definitely difficult to find the right size for the name tag. I feel as if I could have used a larger font or just made the design bigger to avoid the problem with the “r”. Apart from that, I was pleased with the final product and glad that I had the opportunity to learn certain skills in Inkscape.

Comparison of second attempt to final product.
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