These are the alien and castle it lives in, as result of the class activity. I haven’t used Tinkercad before, but I have created/ moved stuff in 3d spaces before in games. It was a little tricky to get the hang of the navigation and things took a little longer than I would like but I still had fun looking though the interface and creating my model.
Here is the sketches of the prompts, depicted on the left.
For flatware I to focus on compact and portableness, so I made a swiss army/ multi-tool type design with foldable and removable elements. It was difficult to manifest my idea through the 3d software since there were some complex mechanisms I wasn’t sure how to create from scratch, so I used the shapes provided from the software. I don’t think realistically it would be as feasible though since it is not very collapsible.
For my identity prompt I wanted to highlight my place of origin, living in Chicago Chinatown with the Chinatown gate with my personal branding. The gate has elements of traditional Chinese architecture but was designed for the American / Western context, so I thought it was fitting. I added the stars of the Chicago flag because I really like the design, made the column of one a block I as homage to UIUC while the other one would have an imprint of a bike wheel since my favorite hobby is biking.
For reproducing of an art piece, I wanted to highlight my favorite contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami, specifically one of his character Kiki. I wanted to make a figurine of Kiki without the other elements, as a cheaper alternative to buying a designer toy, and reconstructing her would be an interesting challenge I want to take on.
Lastly, for the part/thing I need, I wanted to make a pineapple shaped planter for a succulent since I would like to incorporate more greenery in my house.
I decided to 3d print Kiki. The left image was the reference I was working for, but I intentionally left out the ball and stick since it was more complex than my skillset at the moment. My mockup of Kiki on Tinkercad on the right. The eyes were the trickiest part, since I wanted to incorporate the pupils. After 30 minutes of printing, I had the figure though I had to remove the supports manually.
This assignment was quite difficult for me and took me over 7 hours at fab lab and two tries to complete it. I ended up with 2 out of 3 LEDs lit up, and the battery pack was working occasionally. Overall I learned a lot about circuits and LEDS, there was a bit of a learning curve.
The original attempt at the in-class project was a serial connection and unsuccessful so I had to change it to parallel by rerouting the copper tape. The yellow paint marker was a little smudged while it was drying, but I think overall it turned out nice. If I could do it again I would work with card-stock instead of construction paper since the paper was flimsy.
Here are some work in progress shots. My first prototype was on the white card but it was difficult for me to incorporate the paper elements
later since they were layered and I would have to poke through the LEDs through all of them. I decided to do it again but this time I focused on building the paper elements in the front first, and the circuits after. I doubled checked with a fab lab staff to make sure it would work. My circuits structures are solid, but the physical execution of laying the tape was not as solid.
I had an idea to utilize negative space for the multi-layered vinyl sticker, so I went hunting for potential designs. I ended up getting inspired by a cute design with melting cat shaped ice cream and started designing. I wanted to print them all in one go, even though I needed four colors, so I broke up the image into three blocks of color and arranged them so they can be printed at the same time. I made a couple copies on the same piece of vinyl in case I messed up on the first one, I had a back up and saved vinyl and time. It ended up very handy since I used two back-ups on my final.
I scavenged through the scraps of vinyl, and found my background, but since it was smaller than I would like (7×4″), the elements would be quite small to fit everything. I didn’t realize how small the details were going to be, and taking them out with tweezers was very time consuming. Also, I was using various types of vinyl, through I didn’t realize the subtle differences (matte, glossy), but it made a big difference since I didn’t change the cut settings on the machine. The machine was set to cut matte, but glossy required a larger setting, so they didn’t cut through the shiny vinyl completely. I ended up having to fix the incomplete cuts with an exact-o knife to salvage it.
If I could redo this project, I would have made the strokes of the design thicker or the overall size bigger. I would also make sure the strength of the cutter matches the material, so I know that it will completely cut and removing the leftovers would be hassle-free. Also, I would have treated the cone a little different, where I would cut out the intricate details of the lighter color and layer on the top one. Instead, I ended up picking out thin strokes of the cone texture with tweezers and ended up breaking one of the lines on the first try. Another nitpick is that the leftovers from the eye cut out ended up sticking to the back of the adhesive, and it is somewhat visible on the end result since it makes an indent on the flat surface. Next time I will try to remove any things on the back that might make an indent. Overall, I think I had a decent result for the limited time I had to work on it, and I’m happy with my design!
Name tag in-class demo
Key chain charm inspiration
I was excited about working with a laser cutter since I haven’t created anything with it yet. The demo name tag of the Great Wave I made during class was smaller than I’d like, with complex details and the burnt edges of the cut out name was hard to read. At first, I wanted to redo it for my project but then I wanted to do cut out more interesting shapes, which reminded me of lapel pins so I went straight to Pinterest and started a new board looking for inspiration.
I am a graphic designer and wanted my name tag to reflect that part of me in a fun way, especially since the Fab Lab is a hub for creation, I am sure there would be audience that would appreciate it. I was inspired by a key charm my friend gave me last year that was a sparkly .psd file hastily named asdasds.psd because it was #relatable. Also, I am a sucker for seeing online motifs and tools manifested physically, blurring the lines of digital and reality so this was right up my alley.
I decided to remix the Photoshop file icon, by changing it to my initials (HS), and INFO instead of the original ‘PSD’, incorporating the class into my design. I wanted a transparent back so it can incorporate the file name text, allowing the shirt to mimic a desktop background. The holographic vinyl in the scrap bin caught my eye and I definitely wanted to incorporate it into my name tag. The design is fairly simple, only three colors, and only having to match up and layer the color once. I am proud of my arrangement of color and placement, as the sticker cutting process had three colors cut in only one try and I had extras prepared in case I messed up.
Vinyl going through cutter
The tricky part was making sure the acrylic shape was proportional to the sticker dimension. I forgot to resize it the first time, since Fab Lab has different software and machines on separate computers in different rooms hooked up to different machines so it was not as seamless as I would like to hope. I was also worried that the name tag might be too small to be readable; it was difficult to translate a digital design on a screen to a physical and wearable object.
At the end, I was quite happy with the results. The thing I should have kept in mind was the technique of putting the vinyl sticker on the acrylic, since I have a noticeable air bubble trapped in the middle of the sticker. I also liked how resourceful and efficient I was with the material, as I only used scrap materials and didn’t spend money on laser cutting time. If I could do this again, I would like to try having clear acrylic with glitter as the base instead of plain clear acrylic. I also like other spin offs of Adobe Creative Suite file icons if given more time and motivation.
Name tag result