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

Author Archive

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. 




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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.



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!

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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.


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. 

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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.

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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.





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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.



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