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

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Copper Tape Circuit Origami – Eric Hallstrom

I was inspired by the quotes we got in at the lecture, it was actually helpful in order to start designing. I started of with the quote for the first project. For the second part I was developing the idea that Facebook owns and got ton of data about us. I wanted to make 3D origami for the last part. I was thinking, how hard can it really be with origami (never done it before) but gosh I was wrong, It’s really hard! It was fun to play with circuits and copper teip really brings electronic down to the most basic thing ever, just flow in current.


The best way to explain this to a peer is to just try it out and play with it, eventually one will figure out how it works even if the lights are a bit sketchy and not 100 % perfect. The biggest failure during this project was that I underestimated origami. You need to be very patient and put a lot of time into details. Both time and patient was something that I lacked for this project. I think the knowledge of paper circuits is extremely good to explain how electronic actually work for people who don’t know. So in a broader sense this project was really important and I will hopefully get to use this to show how most of our society works in terms of technology. I’ve never done this kind of paper circuits. The only circuits I’ve done is with Aurdino. This project really removes the magic of currency flow that arduino kinda hides. It would be cool to have more components to the paper circuit and like measure currency in the circuit or something.

To do origami. I mean, I wanted to do a chest at first and I found a tutorial on how to do it. But it quite fast turned out that this was not a good thing for a first time origami project. If I had more time I would put more time into origami and the details of it. I would also get decent paper because when I was trying to do the chest I think my paper ripped aparat like 4 times so I had to start over each time. The most insirpiring thing was the origami community. The stuff that you can make out of paper is awesome to see and most of the stuff was really mind blowing, like the 3D origami where they put tons of small modules into one.


I got really great help from the assistances at the fablab and also Youtube was a big help.

To point that made this project completed was when my origami chest ripped apart for the 4th time and I had to decide that this was way over my head and I had to go for something simpler. The biggest mistake was to underestimate origami and how hard it actually could be. My goals for this project kinda failed because of the difficulties and limitations of time I had for the last part. Initially I wanted to make a treasure chest that had LEDs inside so when you opened the chest, it would glove but that didn’t really happen.


The only thing that went fine in this project was the technical part of the circuits, it was no problem to make serial- or parallel circuits but the funny thing is that this doesn’t matter because the end product turned out really bad. The three unexpected things that happened during this project was that origami is really hard, or at least I suck at it. Copper teip actually is cool and works really well. And utilizing the given reflection questions is also actually good.


The big moment in this project was that when I realized my origami skills is not going to make it for now so I had to switch to a simpler design. I had to give up for the initial design idea I had in mind. This made me switch to a less complicated idea. The most frustrating part was that the paper I used, was way to thin because it ripped apart several times.

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Vinyl Sticker Project -Eric Hallstrom

I started this project off without knowing exactly what I wanted to do for the two first projects, Griffin and the Logo. The multi layer sticker idea however was decided a couple of days before lecture. The idea was to take a screenshot of google maps and make divide the different map into different layers. So the ground, water, roads and houses was on different layers. 

After some research on different logos I wanted to make a twist on a very popular brand that I’ve seen a lot around campus, they are most famous for their super expensive second market value on different clothing’s. The logo consists of two layers, one white background and then a red layer where the letters are cut out. The tricky part was to merge the two layers as this had to be done by hand. This was a overall problem for this project. I think you could make some sort of frame where you could put the different layers and then squeeze them together so the wobbly manual hand labor is minimized, as you can see in the picture below, I failed a few times. eventually the sticker turned out fine and landed on my laptop.

I was however surprised by how efficient the silhuett cutter was, it was almost like a regular printer. For the last sticker, the most tricky one. The biggest problem with this one was the manual transfer of the different layers, which sucked and the work in Inkscape. I spend quite a lot of time fiddling around with paths and Inkscape crashed several times during the project because there were around 20k dots for all the paths. 

Inkscape curve problems, see all the dots.

After X hours I managed to separate the image into 4 different layers but the orange one in the picture above turned out to be way to small and would have been impossible to transfer them to another layer.


Yet again, transferering the layers was super hard. I used tape to help with the transfer but it was still hard. Because of all details this project turned out quite bad and I’m not that happy with the end result. 

To conclude this project, some kind of frame or assistance would be needed to merge the layers. 

Here is the Griffin:

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Laser tag by Eric Hallström


Initial nametag

First nametag in Inkscape

I wanted my name tag to reflect my primary hobbies and interests. I didn’t had a clear idea in the beginning and I kinda went with it. Before the lecture with Duncan I had read through the tutorial on Inkscape and finished an initial design for my name tag. The two things that really inspires me is two kinda odd things, Arch Linux the operating system which I reflect through the ‘A’ Logo, the second is computer science in general which I expressed through the binary (can you read the binary? U OF I)

As class begin Duncan started going through how to use Inkscape which was really good since I got some concept correct that I picked up from the tutorial and rep

etition is the mother of mother of learning right? 

We later moved on to print this simple name tag which I was super excited about, to start learning how to use the tools. And daem! I was surprised how good and precise the laser cutter was. My first name tag was in wood and the binary numbers were to small which ended up half burnt. 

First printed name tag

My 3D name tag in Inkscape

So now I had to step up my game with the name tag and decided to make it 3D. I kept the ideas from the 2D design and found this really cool plugin to Inkscape called LasercutBox which made dovetail joints. It was a easy plugin to use, just clone the github folder and place it into your Inkscape/extensions folder and it works. It had all kind of features where you could live preview the changes like how many joints there should be and all measurement that you needed. 

I wanted all the 6 sides to be in different materials so I had to copy paste each of the sides into different Inkscape projects since Inkscape apparently don’t support multiple pages. This process kinda sucked and would suck even more if you have more pieces you need to print. I also forgot to fix the boarder width before I started to separate all the pieces, so a strong recommendation if you are about to print multiple pieces is to first finish everything as it should be then just start to separate the pieces.

Lasercutter in progress

Yellow acrylic material in the printer

After this was done, the printing was about to begin. I found some really nice acrylic material that I wanted to use for the name tag.  The process after design in Inkscape was kinda straight forward mostly I got lots of help with the printing by Emilie which was awesome and she could answer all my questions. 







Assembling the pieces with failures

It fits!

All the pieces

2x fronts

When I was about to start to assembly the pieces I noticed a failure on the front piece, I forgot to cut a hole there so the pieces didn’t fit together. After a second print, I still forgot a detail which made them not fit together. I couldn’t be arsed to print yet another so I just took a small pen knife and carved away some of the pieces that didn’t fit.





The whole piece, I kept the binary text on the back. As the material is acrylic, the engraving wasn’t really that clear. I could have changed the settings on the printer but I didn’t do that with the back side. With the engraving on the front panel I changed the settings so the printer went a bit slower, around 50 % and the strength was about 65 % and I did several passes as well which was really easy to do, just don’t move the original piece and you could just run the print again. Just remember to remove the cutting setting on the printer!

Backside with binary text

Whole name tag

Clintons original copper circuit

As this assembly went quite fast, a few hours. I decided to add more features to the name tag. Clinton helped me a ton which was super nice (Thanks Clinton!). I started to experiment with copper tape and made a paper circuit.

However the copper tape was a bit fragile to put on the name tag so I soldered together two resistors to a LED and a clock battery, all the material including this was given to me by the Fab lab (Love!)



Blue LED with 2x resistors

Glue, Led, Resistors.

The complete name tag is glued together and the battery was glued to the outside (if you need to change it).  Last step was to glue the whole piece together. The two holes drilled in the bottom plate lets me connect with the battery outside, so we have one resistor glued together with the battery and then the other resistor is lose so if you press it, you close the circuit and the LED lights up.

The last step was to fill in the rasters, this was first done with nail polish which worked kinda bad, I switched to some more serious painting after a while.






Paint, waiting to wipe it off

Paint is now wiped off and stuck inside the raster parts













Finished name tag above. I didn’t really have a clear goal with this project other than fulfilling the assignment which made it quite fun and I got inspired as the project went on. The thing I’m most shocked about is how precise the laser cutter was all the way down to the millimeter. I think the preparation in Inkscape was the most time consuming and the efficiency will increase a lot when the skills there improve.  Overall this project was really fun. To work with the laser printer, learn Inkscape and tinker with some electronics, clearly 5/5. The only bad thing is this blog tool which was kinda frustrating to align and place images together with text. 



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