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

Author Archive

Final Project: Avengers Tower

For my final project, I decided to make an architectural model of the Avengers Tower from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Reflection:

Question 1: After rereading your studio assignment write-ups, what is the most significant thing you have learned over the course of these assignments? This is not a question about tool learning, but rather a question about yourself as a learner.

Some questions to help your thinking: Have you become more comfortable with certain kinds of tasks? Have you surprised yourself with what you enjoyed doing? Do you feel you’ve developed your confidence as a maker and what does that look like?

Over the course of the semester I learned how to use traditional skills. I had never done sewing before and that had always hated it. The machine was intimidating and figuring out how to put fabrics together was tough. After the textile assignment, I was more confident and was able to figure out how to use the machine. I realize that what really cemented what I learned was when I was able to trouble shoot problems. I do not think it is enough to just learn the baseline skills and complete a project. Learning to troubleshoot on your own is where the learning really takes place. That sewing project allowed to learn something new and intimidating while allowing me to figure out problems on my own.

 

Question 2: What did you make for your final project? This is less a question and more where I would like to see at least 2 in-process photos and 2 final photos / videos of your final project. You can include a couple sentences about what challenges you faced and what you are most proud of but do not write a full step-by-step report of what you did.

I made a strip down architectural model of the Avengers Tower from Avengers: Age of Ultron. I was inspired by the aesthetic of the movie and I was interested in learning to build a scaled model of a building. This project allowed me to explore space and understand the technicalities of building something. This required building draft models and figuring out measurements and preciously how much material I needed.

Question 3: What were your learning goals for your final project? Write at least one paragraph per learning goal about what you hoped to learn as you worked on this final project and what you actually learned.

Some questions to help your thinking: What did you learn that surprised you? Did you meet your goal? If you failed to meet your goal, how did you iterate your plan and what did you learn in that process? Are you happy with your final project? Is your final project meaningful to you? Why?

  1. I am hoping to better my craftsmanship. I feel like I haven’t provided the best craftsmanship for my projects whether it be a poorly sewed bag or the card that didn’t align well with the buttons. I want to create a project that is clean and neatly done.

I wanted to be better at crafting my work. This project gave me ample amount of time to figure out what I want to make and how to make it as well as making multiple iteration of it. Having the ability to iterate is what contributed to the craftsmanship as well as organization and planning. This was a goal I met because I felt my project was neatly cut and mistakes were minimal enough that it did not distract from the rest of the model.

  1. Learning to mix different materials together is something I want to explore. I never used a hybrid of materials before and this is an opportunity to create something that incorporates different materials that have different properties. I can learn to understand the limitations of materials as well as aesthetic exploration.

I was somewhat successful in this aspect. I did combine three different materials: chip board, foam core and acrylic. They were materials I had originally worked with before but I wanted to try something different. I originally wanted to make pieces out of wood but it did not fit with the Avengers Tower’s aesthetic so I opt that out.

  1. Practice learning to model in 3D. The 3D printing section was one area that I really enjoyed doing for this class. 3D printing process is simple enough but learning to model is hard. I want to incorporate 3D modeling into this to help solidify my skills in 3D Modeling software.

I failed in this goal because I did not keep track of time. I did 3D print objects to scale but they were in brown filament which was not part of the plan. I was in a rush to 3D print because the Business Instructional Facility’s Makerlab was closing that day. I did not check the filament color and just ran it through. This was an example of poor time management and overlooking details. I had wanted to populate the model with furniture to make it feel more like how it looked in the movie but I failed. I had left it to last minute and did not consider the time it would take to print and how many people were also going to be printing.

  1. Practice working with copper tape. This one was fun, and I enjoyed it. I liked how it brought out another dimension to something as seamless as paper. I want to explore this more and see how to incorporate into my project.

I ended up switching this goal to learning to use a new 3D modeling program: Rhino. This was something new I had to learn and thought would be perfect in helping me plan the model and see how I can build this in real life. I enlisted a friend who was in architecture to help and he advised me in learning the build the software. This is an in progress screenshot of the staircase curve we were struggling to build.

  1. I want to practice organization. I have been winging my projects recently and found that I don’t produce the best product because I will always encounter problems that forces me to compromise in a bad way. I believe better planning will enable me to expect problems and thus I compromise in a smart way. Better planning will also help me save money since I will know what I want my final product to look like and understand the materials needed to get there.

I mostly succeed with this goal. I was able to plan out how to build the model by using a series of screenshots and drawing everything out. I made lots of scaled models to understand what will be built and how to build it and used 3D modeling software to understand the form better. I also measured every piece to make sure I had enough material as well as buying the right kind of material for this project. I failed in the 3D printing area where I did not account for the time it would take to print and when I would be able to print. I did end up printing furniture but they did not fit with my model.

Question 4: Do you consider yourself a maker and what does that mean to you now that it didn’t at the beginning of the semester?

Some questions to help your thinking: What does it mean to you to call yourself a maker (or not)? Who do you think should call themselves a maker? Early on you read a quotation from Seymour Papert who suggested the most significant learning is a) hands-on and b) personally meaningful. Does that quotation mean more to you now than it did at the beginning of the semester? What does it mean to you? Did you experience any learning this semester that fit this definition? Did the hands-on nature of the class make your learning more significant? Why and how?

Being a maker is all about learning and applying those learnings to create projects. Makerspaces are open and chaotic spaces that aims to throw ideas at you. And that is what it did for me. I was inspired and encouraged to play with ideas that I originally did not dedicate time to. I got out of my comfort zone when I learned to use the sewing machine and the sticker maker. Playing with the Arduino allowed me to rediscover what I liked to do. Having the freedom to decide my own project enabled me to be personally fulfilled and allow me time to iterate and develop my idea. Seymour Papert was right to say that learning is about being hands-on and personally meaningful. These skills that I learned this semester are now skills I can use because I was able to make with my own hands and decide what I want to make. Dedicating a block of time to learn was something that many of us originally did not have so this class was a good enabler. I have always considered myself a maker. This class just enabled me to learn more skills and motivated me to do more. I find a lot of joy in making things with my hands and this has enabled me to try things outside my comfort zone.

Continue Reading

Project #8 : Iteration

I remade the watch I tried making the first time. It did not fit my wrist, nor did it feel like a watch. I was inspired by a bangle bracelet and made a watch device like that.

This iteration, I decided to go back into the original watch face. I based my watch size on a women’s watch and used SolidWorks to model that. I thought about how I could make the ban of the watch and decided to use something similar to how the Apple Watch does it.

I made multiple iterations by fixing the shape. 

My second iteration actually let me slide the plate through. But it does not bend well, so I can wear it comfortably on my wrist. I made a third iteration that curved the flaps so it fits better on my wrist.

I also remade the chain joint because it did not fit together properly before. The chain works but the slot in the watch did not print well, so the chains could not fit through it.

I modeled it a fourth time and will update with photos! But it has that curved band on the watch and the chains will link the watch together. This iteration was better than my original one because: it fits my wrist, it has a flexible ban, and not bulky. I was aiming to make this a smart device where our phones can be on our wrist. The classic watch face is familiar and feels comfortable on just about anyone’s hands which is why I went with this face instead of a curved screen bangle.

 

Continue Reading

Project #7: Arduino Pom Pom

I saw the videos on the Compass page of the moving robots and I was attracted to the third one of a monster looking toy moving forward. I used that as a basis of my inspiration and tried to make the walking motion similar to that. 

 

I made paired up two of those arms and alternated it so that it moved in a way that counteracted each other so it would move forward. This was tricky and took a lot of time figuring out the angle and time to move it across.

  

(Video of first iteration in action)

I also aimed to make a monster looking design too, so I decided to include googley eyes. I found pipe cleaners were the easiest to work with and allowed me to wrap around the motors so that it seem seamless.

(Sorry no photo of this but this is the video)

My next iteration was adding legs in the back of the motors. The monster didn’t stand up straight so I added additional pipe cleaners on the back to prop it forward. Changing the angle of that triangular stand in the back allowed it to move in different speeds. This design allowed it to move without falling on its back and help the propellers to move easier. 

Final Design:

The final design incorporated a longer legs which allowed it to move forward (very very slowly though). The legs were too short so I added popsicle to make it move better. I wanted this monster to be kind of funny. It has different sized eyes to make it look adorable and childlike and adding these extra long wooden sticks to emphasize on the awkwardness. It accomplishes the goal of moving from point a to point b but it does it awkwardly; like a monster learning to be a monster! Link to Moving Robot

This was a fun project to learn adruino. I thought this would be hard to accomplish but this turned out easier than I thought. Although I made a very simple monster that incorporated the shape of the motors as the final design, I think creating a pompom that had a shape that is significantly different would be harder to do (like the third video on compass). But learning the code and making the mechanism would make this process easier. Adding sensors would make this monster even better. Maybe adding sound where once something is at a certain distant it would make loud growling noise and would rapidly start moving!

Continue Reading

Project #6 : Arduino

Playing with the Arduino was fun! I have had prior experience with this (I have two of them!) But this was the first I touched it since almost a year. It was fun playing with the code and figuring out how to do things. What I struggled with while doing this was how to program. It was nice that they give you example projects but if you wanted to expand further and try something different its hard to know what to type. You have to google to find the proper way to type the code. 

I tried to program the sensor to read when my hand was 1 ft away to light up the light but I did not get far with that idea. I had no idea how to write the code to make that happen. I started writing the if statement but there would be syntax errors. I consulted google to find an answer. Fortunately Arudino programs are very popular and there are tutorials. I think I can get the hang of it after more practice with it.

I made my storyboard about how technology can help someone meal prep. It would be a connected kitchen where users can upload a recipe and every kitchen appliance will work to make that recipe possible. There will be a projection displaying the instructions, the fridge would display items in the fridge and the stove will automatically turn on and know when to stop. My story follows the user as they mix together ingredients, go to the fridge to get more ingredients and the stove to cook when it needs to and turns off when its done. There is a display on the counter top which details the temperature of the food (so user can know when to put food into the refrigerator). The end is when the user stores the food in the fridge and it automatically updates the contents in the fridge and displays the expiration dates. 

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-28,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

 

 

Continue Reading

Project #5: E-Textiles

 

This is my final product (but the lights do not work; potentially a battery problem!)

Embroidery took the longest because of problems with the thread and bottom plate. The problem I kept having was that the threads would get trapped at the bottom. Turns out that the plate at the bottom was placed incorrectly where the scissors would trapping the thread and won’t let it loop through like normal. Once that was fixed, everything ran smoothly.

 

Sewing the conductor thread into the circuits. Which did not work, but it can be a battery problem. I was using the batteries from project #1.

Sewing zippers on. This was tricky because it was difficult to make everything align correctly.

I messed up on sewing the inside parts. I showed both ends shut so I had no way of turning it inside out so I had to cut off what I sewed off and resew everything together. My pouch ended up being a lot smaller than I thought.

Threads keep bunching up as I tried to sew the pouch closed but changing the tension helped.

Closing the hold at the bottom was hard.

 

Reflection:

I actually enjoyed this project. This is definitely a project that allows for limitless possibilities but the troubleshooting was the hard part. Not knowing your way around the sewing machine and learning to use the proper foots and threads and tensions was a learning curve. Figuring out the problems with everything was the frustrating part but when everything works, it feels amazing. I definitely learned how to sew from this project and am no longer afraid of the sewing machine but it was definitely time consuming!

Continue Reading

Project #4: 3D Design

 
I made a watch that is like a cellphone. I was inspired by the Apple Watch and Fitbit. I thought about how if we could have our phones on our arms; that it would be more convenient and more comfortable. Phones are big squares that require large pockets and are prone to people dropping and leaving it behind. Having a wearable device that is placed on a person where their hands are closest and attach to the person they will not have a problem with dropping it or leaving it behind. I drew designs inspired by traditional watches, Fitbits and the Apple Watch. I ended up going with a slimmer design where it does not take up too much arm real estate and works well aesthetically. 

I 3D printed out different shapes and sizes to see how this would fit on a person’s arms (well my arms). I leaned toward the second from the left and adjusted the size. 

Refined model, with mock magnetic attachments where the band will attach to the watch.

I tried to use TinkCAD to make this product but it did not do things I wanted to do like curves. I used SolidWorks to build various versions of the cellphone watch. This software was something I was familiar with and had the capabilities that I needed to make the final model. I don’t like how 3D printing is so static and since this is a small object it was not able to get tiny details. 3D printing is able to make various prototypes and see they can feel but it does not (at least the inexpensive ones) make final products.

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-28,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

My 3D Print came out really well; it was really smooth and just peeled right off the mat! But design-wise it did not fit my wrist at all! It was definitely too big and did not curve the way I wanted to. Future iteration is making it smaller and making sure the curve matches the wrist (or smaller than the wrist). I would also want to be inspired by sci-fi movies and see how this design can be more different and innovative! 

 

This was my first time using Sculpturis and I made a puffer fish. It was definitely a tough program to learn; the tools require getting used to and it made it difficult to quickly sculpture things. While working this program, I thought a lot about how I would make something if I was holding physical clay in my hands (though making a model in clay would be easier!). For this puffer fish, I worked with the default sphere and used the pinch tool to add the spikes on the fish and the eyes. Flatting tool was used to make the mouth and the tail. I was pleased that this turned out better than I thought!

3D Scanning was something I had never done before. I felt weird sitting in a chair and spinning around super slowly to make a scan of myself. I can see how this can apply to different fields like medicine. Using netfabb was also a new program for me. I liked how we can adjust the model and add and take away materials but its not as advance (or at least I didn’t figure it out). My hand got chopped off while scanning so I would have definitely like to have the option to model my fingers to fix up the scan and add a patch to my head. 

Continue Reading

Project #3 : Circuit Project

This project was very fun! I didn’t know copper tape existed (I assumed if we wanted to play with circuits we used wires)!

My first circuit with a switch was of a quote from Lord of The Rings and I placed the light as the star leading Gandalf and the dwarfs up a mountain.

Quote with switch circuit.

 

For the 2nd project, I used both a parallel circuit and a series circuit to make two lights work. It was tricky because I had to remember which way the current runs and make sure everything is taped well together.

A parallel circuit (ignore the original sketch of the circuit)

My 3D project was of a cat playing with a laser. This one was tricky because I had to play around with how to organize the circuit. Initially, it did not work. But I replaced the battery and re-tape the tape and it worked….occasionally. I drew the cats first then I tried to figure out the circuitry. It didn’t work the first time but I replaced the tape and got a new battery.

First attempt at circuit for 3D Project.

2nd Attempt with replaced battery, worked!

Final product with new battery test; worked!

Draft of final product

Final product

This was a very fun project! Being creative is so easy with this project and I will actually buy some of my own copper tape and make more creations! Things I will do in the future: plan EVERYTHING and secure pieces. I had a card behind the image of the cats that had the circuit on it so it didn’t line up with my original draft of the card. I just assumed the circuits will be on the back of the card but it would be backwards (lights up be facing the other side). I ran into the problem of keeping everything from moving. The batteries shifted a lot but I used copper tape to secure it. I would definitely consider making a pouch of some sort to store the batteries and make it less noticeable or be more integrated with my piece.

 
 
Continue Reading

Project #2 : Vinyl Stickers

This was a very fun assignment! I really enjoyed learning more on Inkscape and using Silhouette! I made stickers that I thought were a reflection of who I was. My first sticker was a combination of pterodactyl and a Mew (Pokemon) though the silhouette looks like it serpent.

My second set of stickers were of Pusheen, the cat. This one was multilayered. I used the semi-sticky wrap to help transfer the vinyls but it ended up being misaligned. This continued to happen with the cat on the couch one too although that one is less noticeable. I had some extra pieces from the cut outs so I made an additional inverted version of the cat on the couch.

My last sticker is of Agent of SHIELD logo. This is one of my favorite shows and I wanted to have a sticker that I can show off. This one was very straight forward. Bitmapping was easiest with this one and pasting it on anywhere is easy with the semi-sticky piece of paper’s help.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Project #1 : Laser Name Tag

The goal of this project was to make a name tag. I wanted to make a simple name tag that showcases my personality. I searched for a lot of images related to TV shows, movies and animations at first. But I felt those things are already made and I can always bring them up as I get to talk to people. So my final design, I opt for simply making my name in sans-serif type, with two adorable cats and a city skyline with stars sprinkling the rest of the tag. These were simple elements that I felt was a good representation of me since I am from Chicago, and I love cats. I am a designer so I like my san-serif fonts and minimal style. Stars are symbols for my hopes and dreams. They are endless! I chose wood because it had a very friendly and inviting aesthetics.

I found that Inkscape was scary because it was so unintuitive! I am coming from Illustrator so I wasn’t expecting the learning curve and realized I had to take my time in figuring out what each icon did and learn the shortcuts. I followed the step-by-step instructions in making my name tag and completed it. My tip for new users is to take your time. Inkscape is pretty powerful (but not as user friendly as Illustrator) and capable of creating amazing designs. My favorite feature in Inkscape was the bitmap tracing function. I was going to manually trace the image of the cat I liked but bitmap tracing made my life so much easier! I also really like the line weight it made which gave my image a very sketch-y feel!

I really liked how my tag turned out! Next time I do this project I would draw my own cats rather than copying someone else’s cats. I would play around with layout again and I would definitely try other materials for cutting rather than wood.

 

 

Continue Reading