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

Author Archive

Foxy Copper Tape Assignment

This week in Makerspace, we worked with copper tape circuits and created three items.

  1. Basic paper switch (picture 1) – I think this might be my first time (maybe second) creating a paper switch. I don’t think I’ve ever used copper tape before. Albeit simple, I was really happy when my LED light lit up.
  2. Picture with two LEDs (picture 2) – It took me a bit longer to understand how parallel circuits work but I eventually got it.
  3. 3-d paper object with 2 LEDs – This project took way longer than necessary because I made a lot of mistakes…

We had a choice between a pop-up card or origami for this project. I wasn’t sure what I would do with a card so I thought I’d do origami. My idea was to have red LED lights for an animal’s eyes, and upon squeezing its tail, the eyes would light up because it is mad at the person. I looked on Youtube and saw a cute fox origami project. I’ve not worked in origami in many years and my inexperience really showed. I spent a long time trying to create a complicated fox piece but gave up after 20 minutes. I found an easier fox to make but that still took me a while (picture 3). After I completed the piece, I penciled in (while it was still 3-dimensional) where the LED lights would go, where the break in the circuit would be, and where the battery would be placed. After unfolding it, I planned out the copper tape circuit and piece placement.

The parallel circuit path proved really easy to plan (picture 4). I taped down the entire circuit and tried connecting the break. It didn’t work and I started panicking. One of my friends told me that the adhesive side of the copper tape was not very conductive. I peeled off the copper tape very carefully and twisted it so that the non-adhesive side would touch the LED stickers. It worked! Great. I folded the fox back up and tested it. The lights worked but it appeared that the LED stickers were not facing towards the sheet of paper but away from it. I had totally forgotten about that important factor. I think I was starting to lose it at this point. I undid the fox and tried peeling all the tape and stickers again. This time, the origami paper started coming off with the tape. It became a mess and I restarted. After another 30 minutes of folding and laying out the circuit path, I finally finished (picture 5 and 6). Next time I do a project, I need to plan more carefully.


[1] Series circuit                                                 [2] Parallel circuit                                                     [3] Easy-peasy fox



[4] Path drawn and laid out                                 [5] Finished project – unlit                                  [6] Pinch the tail and it lights up

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Stickers in FabLab

This week, we used Silhouette Studio (software) and a Silhouette machine to help us create stickers with vector images. For the first section of the assignment (Picture 1), we created a silhouette chimera. I melded huge butterfly wings to a pig. I think it looks pretty cute and whimsical. For the second section of the assignment (Picture 2), we were asked to create a decal. I found a picture of a donut and put little people in it (if you look closely, some of the “sprinkles” are actually people in disarray) and added some words on top of the donut. I like the colors I used for this sticker. For the third section, I made my friend (Picture 3) into a cartoon zombie. I wanted to make the sticker pretty intricate at first (Picture 4) but I didn’t want to end up using five colors for the sticker (seems excessive) so I opted for three colors. I’ve always been bad at pairing colors together and this sticker was no exception. If I had to do the sticker again, I would opt for two different background colors or maybe I wouldn’t have the outer circle frame. Also, I would try to find some way to prevent the air bubbles from popping up.



                                                    Picture 1: Chimera                               Picture 2. “Donut Worry”



                        Picture 3: Friend                      Picture 4: Inkscape — too many colors                  Picture 5: Third sticker



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Project 1 – Laser Cut Name Tag

This week, we used the laser cutter to create personal name tags.

I’ve never used a laser cutting machine before so the lab and assignment were really fun, educational processes. First, I started with the design. I wasn’t sure about the theme or sentiment I wanted my name tag to give off (funny, professional, dorky, cool??) so I started doing some sketches. As you can see in the first picture below, they’re all pretty basic. In the end, I went for the city silhouette border as I really dug the non-conventional borders on the name tags some of us did during the lab session. 

I used inkscape to create the design. Shoutout to Clinton Gandy (an inkscape pro) for helping me with the software! As I was making the design (second picture below), I thought the tag was looking sparse and I should add something else. Since it was a city themed name tag and I am from Chicago, I put the Chicago flag stars in there. I don’t like to put the Chicago stars/flag on any thing I create because I think they’re quite overdone but I thought they looked neat in this project.

I chose a two tone acrylic (red) and realized I would have to inverse the color I had set in my original design (picture two). Since I was not using wood, the raster from the laser cutter would not make the raster parts (black) darker, but lighter/white. If I wanted the red to pop out the way I intended it to, I needed to inverse the colors. A friend and a couple other people working in the lab helped me set the machine up to cut the name tag. I’m really satisfied with the final product — it came out a lot better than I thought it would.

               Sketch Ideas

         Creating on Inkscape

              Laser Cutting….

                          Awesome! End product.




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