Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Author Archive

Daniel Shin – Assignment 8: Iteration

For the iteration project, I decided to iterate upon the sculpture I made on the 3d printing session. Some difficulties I had with the 3d printing project was that it was difficult to salvage all the small details from a complicated object. Therefore, I decided to simplify the 3d printed object and combine it with other techniques such as laser cutting and LED lighting to improve the visuals of the final product.

The planning process included the basic idea of how each part was going to be put together to function as one. Also, I had to put effort into getting the sizes of the parts right since the 3d printed objects had to fit perfectly with the laser cut objects.

While I was still in the workshop, I made the template for the box according to the planned sizes within Inkscape and laser cut them.


Once I got home, I focused on getting all the digital works done so I can finish all the works once I get back to the workshop. I used the 3d model I created on my previous project and made it much more simple. For the front design of the box, I found an image of a horn from the internet and combined that with a design of a helmet and patterns that I drew it myself on photoshop. Once I was done with the design, I imported into Inkscape so it was ready for laser cutting.

The first thing I did when I got back to the workshop was to start running the 3d printing and the laser cutting process. All processes went smoothly without an issue, so I was able to focus on the LED building right away.

While I was scavenging the workshop to find a battery, I found this battery holder that comes with a switch and cables. I was wondering how I was going to make the switch, copper tape circuit, and a battery holder before I found this. Discovering this solved everything, and all I had to do was connect the cables with the LED, and it worked perfectly.

Once the 3D printing was done, I sanded the outcome and glued the parts together. I didn’t have to color the sculpture because the sculpture was going to function as a silhouette. Then I placed the sculpture within the box and glued the box together.

I made three more patterns of the horn design to add more visual aspects to the box. Once I glued them to the box, I was done with the project.

This is how it looks in the dark.




Overall, I didn’t face many difficulties throughout this project. I was comfortable using all the tools I used in the process, and the thorough planning made the process easy. The only problem I was worried about was getting the electric circuit working for the LED, but it was resolved easier than I expected, thanks to finding the battery holder I used. If I were to do this project again, I would probably make the whole thing slightly larger.

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Daniel Shin – Assignment 7: Pom Bots

This week, I learned how to use a servo motor with Arduino to create objects moving in loops. In class, I made a paper bunny with waving ears to practice the use of the servo motor.

The main issue to the design was that the moving ear had to be on a different layer than the head of the bunny, so the ear doesn’t collide with the head when waving. I came up with the following design to prevent the ear from colliding and still be connected with the head.

Overall, it functioned as I intended.

For this week’s final assignment, I did not know I was supposed to improve upon the in-class activity because the assignment prompt was uploaded after I finished my product. Therefore, I came up with an entirely new design based on a game I played before.



In a game called Metal Gear Solid, the main character walks around in a cardboard box as a sneaking device. Although it sounds like a joke, it is considered a famous meme in the gaming community. When figuring up with a design, I did not want to make an ordinary animal, so I decided to create a walking cardboard box as a fan of Metal Gear Solid.



This is the sketch of my initial design. The two motors are going to be glued together side by side to resemble the human feet. Also, they were going to be hidden inside the box so they can not be seen. The motors would be connected with the top of the box so the motors can move around the entire box.

The first step to the production of the bot was to make the motors to walk. After gluing the motors together and tweaking the initial example code, I was able to make the bot advance forward.

I looked up the template for an amazon box since that was the standard box design I was looking for. I cut out the template on a standard cardboard to create a mini version of an Amazon box.

The first problem I encountered was that the box was too small for the two motors to fit in. I had to build a bridge that can hold the motors together with the box so it would have enough space to move the legs.

After gluing all the parts together, the bot was walking forward as I intended.


Once I was done with the functioning part of the box, I had to design the box to make it look similar to what it looks like in the game. I used the image on the top as a reference and looked for patterns and symbols I can use to create the design.

I found these three images that are used in the game.

I created the above image in photoshop so I can simply print out the image, and it would fit nicely with the box.

I glued the printed image to the box and created a hole that is usually used as a handle of the box, so there is space for the cords to leave the box instead of having them dangling under the box. 



There were two main parts to this week’s project: making the bot move and designing the visual appearance. Both parts were equally difficult and consumed a lot of time. If I were to do this project again, I would use a thinner material for the box instead of using cardboard to make a sharper-looking box. Overall, it was a great opportunity to create moveable fan art.

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Daniel Shin – Assignment 6: Arduino Introduction

This week, we learned how to use Arduino and programming to produce the desired output, depending on the input.



Within the default kit, there was an ultrasonic device that calculates the distance to an obstacle. When I saw this device, I remembered how these devices were used in cars to let the driver know how far they are from an obstacle. My mother used to drive a vehicle without a device like this. She used to tell me that installing such a device was too expensive. I realized that I should be able to develop a device similar to that using Arduino.


Device setup

I used a total of 3 devices. One input device (ultrasonic) and two output devices (buzzer, LED). The ultrasonic device would detect the distance from the obstacle, LED would be a visual indicator of the distance, and the buzzer would be a sound indicator of the distance. For the ultrasonic device, I had to connect to 4 ports: power, ground, trigger, and echo. For the output devices, I just had to connect one port to a designated number and ground. 



I have found a tutorial online that shares a code on how to setup using the ultrasonic device. Once I followed the code, the serial monitor would display the distance from the ultrasonic device in such manner: 50 if nothing is nearby, jumps to 5 if something comes within the detection range, decreases to 1 based on the distance within the range. To trigger the output devices when an obstacle is within range, I had to write code as such:

if (distance <= 5)


digitalWrite(buzzer, HIGH);

digitalWrite(led, HIGH);




digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);

digitalWrite(led, LOW);


The problem with this code is that it only turns the buzzer and led on whenever the obstacle gets in range without telling how far the obstacle is within the range. To solve this problem, I had to write a code to make the buzzer/LED blink/beep based on the distance from the ultrasonic device. I needed to use the “delay” code. Since the distance within range is indicated between 5 to 1, the following code will set the delay longer or shorter depending on the distance:


The following line will delay for 0.5 seconds if the obstacle is “5” away from the ultrasonic and 0.1 seconds if the obstacle is “1” away from the ultrasonic. In other words, the beep/buzz will be faster when the obstacle is closer to the device. Since the beep/buzz includes a turning off condition, I won’t need the else statement anymore. Here is the final code:

if (distance <= 5)


  digitalWrite(buzzer, HIGH);

  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);


  digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);

  digitalWrite(led, LOW);






Overall, the device and the code functioned as expected. I had some trouble setting up specific devices since that was not covered in class, but I was able to figure it out by using tutorials online. The coding part was entertaining and was not too difficult because I had some previous experience with coding. Only having to use if/else statements were simple enough not to trigger the nightmares I had while taking a CS course in this school.


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Daniel Shin – Assignment 5: Textiles

The above images are the images of the drawstring pouch and the embroidery I made during class. This was my first time learning any textile related skills, so it was great practice for my upcoming project.



I decided to make an otter plushie out of the pre-approved patterns. I planned to place it on my nightstand to use it as a smartphone holder while charging. I added embroidery of a charging sign on its clam to emphasize that the otter is a smartphone charging dock. I made a brief mock-up using photoshop.


Building Process

I printed out the template of the plushie on the pdf file as actual size.

I cut out the pieces of fabric following the template. I had to keep in mind in which orientation I was cutting so the stretchy part of the fabric is facing the right way.

Completed the head mostly using the sewing machine. The studio was out of fills for the plushie, so I had to use cotton balls instead. Once the head was full, I hand sewed the back of the head to close the opening.

I went through the same process for the body. Once both the body and the head was complete, I hand sewed them together to complete the otter part of the project. I was ready to move on to the clam and the embroidery. 

I found a charging sign online and imported it into Inkscape. I had to do some cleanups, so all the parts were individual parts and not overlapping and had to add some colors too. When I imported the vertex file into PE Design, everything was clean and ready to print. I just had to change the order of the printing since the order was in the black-green-black process. I changed it to black-black-green, so I only needed to change the thread once.

The building process of the clam was similar to the head or the body. I embroidered the charging sign on the fabric first, then cut out the fabric using the template. Used the sewing machine to sew the fabrics together, filled it up, and hand sewed to close the opening. Once the clam was done, I just had to hand sew the clam to the otter’s hands.


The entire process took about 6 hours. Using the sewing machine made the process much faster and easier. However, I encountered many limitations from using it. First, I wasn’t able to sew the parts completely accurate. Due to my lack of experience using the machine, the fabric tended to shift around while I was sewing, resulting in some inaccurate sewing. Second, there were several unwanted openings around the edges that the machine sewing did not close it up. I had to hand sew these parts to close them. Finally, I wasn’t able to machine sew near the end of the process as the parts got fat and thick duo to multiple layers and fill. I thought sewing was mostly done by machine, but I learned that hand sewing is more reliable and useful in some cases.


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Daniel Shin – Assignment 4: 3D Printing

In class, I learned how to use ThinkerCAD and Meshmixer to create models and edit them. Here are the models I created using these tools:

On the following week, I learned how to use an iPad app and Kinect to 3d scan objects/people.

With these newly acquired skills, I was ready to move on to create my final prompt.

I came up with an idea for each prompt.

  1. Utensil – A utensil you can equip on your fingers so you can use one or more utensils with one hand
  2. Cultural idea – A military name tag is a significant object in the culture of Korea since all men are required to serve in the military. I combined this object with my educational and artistic background to come up with this design,
  3. I decided to come up with a design influenced by a famous concept artist, Nivanh Chanthara. Combined two factors commonly found in his works: futuristic helmet and horns
  4. Something I needed in my daily life was a bag sealer.

I made a simple model for the utensil and the artist’s work as a rough draft.

I had some background experience using Blender, so I’ve done most of my work on blender.

Started from a basic cylinder, I emptied the center faces to make a ring. Extruding faces from that point, I made a rough shape of a fork. Then I used the solidify and subdivision surface modifiers to complete the design.

The rough draft of the artist’s work is in the building process of my final product.


Nivanh Chanthara is a freelancer concept artist that worked on various films, including “The Walking Dead Spin-Off,” “Terminator: Dark Fate,” “Kin,” “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” and “Ghost in the Shell.” You can find his works here:

I was looking for concept arts that featured both hard surface and soft surface objects so I can practice on both hard surface modeling and sculpting. Nivanh Chanthara focuses on a combination of bio-mechanical designs, which was precisely what I was looking for. I decided to combine these two artworks to come up with my 3d design.

I planned to include the hard surface helmet on the right image with the soft surface mask and combining it with the horns on the left image for more advanced design


I started the building process with a basic cube. From there, I extruded edges and faces, moved vertices around to continue building up to the desired helmet shape. For the mask, I created the base mesh with a cube and used the sculpting tool to sculpt the cube into a mask. I followed the same process with the horns: used an ico sphere as a base mesh and built upon there using the sculpting tools. The final image is the rough draft of the prompt.

I spent lots of time on improving the model. Since the process includes multiple steps and images, I will number the steps in the order of the images.

  1. Added a stand for the helmet using two cylinders
  2. To improve the shape of the mask, I imported the model into Zbrush (tool specialized in sculpting) to sculpt the mask into a more realistic natural shape.
  3. Added some pipes on the back of the helmet to fill up the emptiness on the rear.
  4. To add some rocks on the base of the stand, I made some low polygon rocks.
  5. Used particle system within blender to randomly place rocks I made on step 4. I randomized the size and rotation and limited the placement in certain areas, so the rocks don’t get placed right beneath the helmet or the edge of the stand.
  6. Placed some large rocks on the back and side of the helmet to give some background.
  7. To cut off the rocks so that nothing sticks out, I duplicated the stand and extruded up so that I can use the boolean modifier that lets me cut off objects in certain areas.
  8. I created a large cube, used the boolean modifier to cut out the cylinder I made in step 7. Then I used the boolean modifier on the large cube so that everything inside the cube cuts off. This way, the parts of the rock that are in the cube gets cut off.
  9. The completed 3d design

Part of the prompt was to include a 3D scan of an object, so I decided to 3d scan a rock to replace the low polygon rocks I made previously. The methods using the iPad and the Kinect wasn’t sufficient for scanning small objects like a rock, so I had to come up with a different approach. I decided to take multiple pictures of the rock from different angles and import those images to a computer program that creates a 3d model based on the images. Below is the following setup for the photographing.

This method didn’t work out as planned because the program wasn’t able to properly process the images. I assume the problem might be due to using a smartphone camera without a steady stand to take pictures from the same spot. Also, the object being too small might have caused the problem.
I figured it was best to use the method I learned in class, so I tried to figure out how I can use the iPad 3d scanning to scan a rock. Since it was difficult to find a large rock around campus, I decided to make something that looks similar to rock: a crumpled paper.

I crumpled a piece of paper to mimic the shape of a rock. The crumpled paper was large enough for the iPad scanner to detect. I 3d scanned a total of 3 variations of the crumpled paper, so I will have enough samples once I made small adjustments to them with 3d programs.


Once I imported the 3d scanned crumpled papers, I removed the laptop and the table that was scanned along with the paper. Then I imported the model in the Meshmixer to use the auto cleanup function. In this process, one of the scans had an error, so I ended up with two scans. Back in Blender, I duplicated both models and made slight changes for variations. Then I replaced the low polygon rocks with the new rocks and applied the particle system to place the rocks on the stand.

3D Printing

My first try with 3D printing was a failure. I wasn’t sure what the exact cause of the failure was, but it was an expected outcome since my model had a complicated shape.

I separated each part of the model and scanned the base and the parts separately to decrease the chance of printing failures.

This time, the printing was successful. I removed all the supports and sanded out the surfaces to smooth them out. Sanding and smoothing the small parts was difficult since they were small, weak, and curvy.

I added some color to the parts by using spray paints and nail polishes.

At first, I used super glue to glue each part together. but gluing small, weak parts together with superglue did not work so well. I needed something that would support the parts and glue them instantly. I used hot glue to glue each part together since the bulk of glues functioned as great supports to hold parts together.



This project was one of the most extended projects I ever worked in 3D. I think the designing took over 10 hours, and printing took 8 hours in total. I encountered multiple problems throughout the process, and I had to come up with ways to overcome or bypass those problems. There are still many limitations to 3d printing, such as low-resolution printing, rough surfaces due to supports, and long printing time. If I were to do this project again, I’m most likely to choose a design that is more simple and made of hard surfaces.






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Daniel Shin – Assignment 3: Copper Tape Circuits


Since I have no talent for making stuff with my hands, I figured it is best to have a simple design so I can focus on developing my skills in circuit building. Using 3 LED lights in a parallel circuit with a pop up for each one was an ideal design for me. I have no prior knowledge or experience with pop up arts, so I planned to use simple geometric shapes to pop up. In the end, traffic lights were the best fit for my design. 



I’ve come up with two separate designs; one representing the visual aspects of the final product and one specialized in the circuit. My main goal was to make the circuit function properly so I designed the circuit first and then came up with the visual design that would fit the circuit. The LEDs would be in the center of the card to represent the traffic lights with three pop-ups. Each LED needed their resistors since they are all different colors using a different amount of voltages. The battery won’t be attached to any part of the card so we can replace the used battery without breaking the card apart.


Circuit Building

My initial plan was to place the LED right on the center. I had to change this plan when I realized that it is impossible to fold the card in have if there’s LED on the center. Also, I did not have to use a resistor for the green LED since the input needed for the green LED, and the output of the battery was identical. Once these changes were made, the circuit worked adequately, and I was ready to move on to the visual design of the card.


Visual Building

First thing I did in this process was to glue the pop-up paper on the circuit to check how it looks and whether the circuit is going to work appropriately or not. Although it worked as planned, this was a terrible decision. Due to the bumpy surface because of the circuit, it was challenging to draw on the card. What I should have done was complete the drawings first and then glue the paper on the card.

Due to the combination of a lousy workflow and poor handcrafting skills, I ended up with a well functioning circuit with poor looking design. 



I think I earned some decent understanding of how to build a simple circuit from this project. I’ve learned the importance of prior planning on workflows. Although I am not quite sure if I will be able to design a decent pop-up card, I think I am capable of developing a suitable circuit design. Also, this project was a good reminder that I might be good at digital arts, but not so much with physical arts.


Edit (09-23-2019 8:54 PM)

I realized that I had to include images of the in-class works, so here they are:
Unfortunately, I threw away the basic circuit we made in class because I did not know we needed it for the reflection. The least I could do was to recreate the circuit I made online.

This is an image of the 2 LED circuit I made in class. There used to be a resistor where the red circle is at, but I removed and reused it on my final project. I roughly reconnected the circuit to demonstrate that it still functions properly. The block of copper on the left of the card functions as the switch. When the left part of the card folds, the electricity starts flowing and the LED lights up.



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Daniel Shin – Assignment 2: Vinyl Stickers


Since I am a fan of the recent movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I decided to make a sticker of the main character from that movie. To further complicate my design, I added the arch reactor of iron man on his chest.


Design process

I took a screenshot of spider-man directly from the movie myself and found a template of the arch reactor on the internet. I had to trace out the colors by hand since the image did not have clear borders around the colors. Since I am more comfortable using photoshop compared to Inkscape, I used photoshop to do the trick.

I traced out the primary colors by hand, do some cleanups on the edges, and filled the shapes with solid colors.

I went through a similar process to paste the arc reactor on the chest. Added the missing color and cut off the edge a little to make it seem like it is behind the jacket.

Once the image was imported in Inkscape, it was ready to be printed. However, I noticed that the layers of the colors were all messed up in there order and shapes. To challenge my skills with Inkscape, I reshaped each color the way I wanted them to be as a sticker.

Left is what it looked like when I imported the image. Right is when I edited each color parts.

After a short session of printing and assembling the stickers, I was done with my project.



During the activity, the majority of the time was spent constructing the design in photoshop. The physical works were quick, unlike the name tag project. However, the most challenging part was assembling the stickers. As you can see on my final product, there are air bubbles, and the arch reactor is slightly misplaced. Even though I was using transfer tape and was extremely cautious, it was challenging to make it perfect. 

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Daniel Shin – Assignment 1: Laser Name Tags

Motive & Initial Design

At first, I thought the name tag is a boring topic to work with. I wondered how I would be able to make a name tag to be something interesting and useful at the same time. During the lab section, I heard one of the instructors mentioning the word “maze,” and I immediately came up with an idea for my name tag. I wanted to include a mini-game where a ball would navigate within the maze made of my name. Having a mini-game within the name tag would make my name tag interesting and useful.

The initial design included four layers: base, a maze of my name, solid lid, and the transparent lid.

Construction 1

I encountered two problems during my first construction. First, I had difficulty finding a ball small enough to fit the maze. The smallest ball I was able to find was the head of a pin that I had to cut off the pin, but it wasn’t entirely round and still wasn’t small enough to freely roam around the maze. The second problem was that there wasn’t any glue that would work well with wood and transparent acrylic plastic because it would leave glue marks visible. Also, the glue would spread to the maze itself, causing the ball to stick to the ground preventing it from rolling.

Construction 2


On my second design, I added an extra layer that would prevent the transparent lid from falling apart. This way, the lid would stay in place without needing to glue it, which solves one of the problems. I also increased the overall size of the name tag, which allowed the ball to move around freely without needing to find a smaller size ball. I changed the body material of the name tag from acrylic plastic to wood and added extra space on the size, which allowed me to use wood glue and preventing the glue from spreading into the maze. To fill up space on the side, I added some rasters on the side with the shape of a Gameboy which fits the theme. After sanding the edges, I ended up with a clean, functioning name tag with a mini-game function.



There were two critical things that I learned from this process. First, no matter how good you think the design is, there are going to be flaws and factors that need to be changed. Second, the final product is going to be so much better if it went through the improvement process after the rough draft. I encountered multiple problems during the first construction that I did not expect, such as finding a ball and gluing issues. Once I spent the time to fix the problems I noticed during the first construction, I was able to improve my final product significantly.

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