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

Author Archive

3D Printing & Scanning Project – Nicholas Agate

     The first experience that I had with CAD for 3D printing was the in-class Tinkercad activity. I created a castle with an alien on the inside. The alien was then moved into Meshmixer, where I made edits such as adding horns. A scan was then made of myself sitting on a stool with one of the Kinects. Unfortunately I do not have images of these. Please see the castle and alien below.

     For the piece that I fully printed, I decided to create an Italian horn which is also known as a Cornicello. I am Sicilian and I grew up around family members who would wear these necklaces or hang one in their car, which is why I wanted to 3D print and adapt one. I did not always know the significance of the horn, but its Wikipedia page states that it is based off of an eland’s (antelope) horn and that it is meant to ward off evil (“Cornicello”). So, I thought that it would be interesting to create one of these horns and adapt it to reflect myself. The first change that I made was to add the horn to a ring. That way I would be able to add other objects onto this ring. These objects ended up being a camera, because I like photography, and a pair of headphones, because I love music. I scanned both my DSLR and my headphones using one of the Ipads from the lab and then uploaded them to Tinkercad. I also went through the process of making the horn in Meshmixer, before moving it into Tinkercad, where I grouped all of the objects together. Please see the in-progress screenshots below.

     Now that I have completed this print, I feel that I have properly learned how to use each of the programs and tools. I am generally happy with the way that the final product turned out, but there were a couple of hiccups along the way. I was attempting to use one of the FlashForges, but it was having an issue with its leveling function, so I had to get staff assistance to help correct this. I also initially overestimated the size of this amulet, and the first print was too small. However, once the FlashForge was working and I scaled up the size, I created a decent end product. Please see the final, adapted horn below.

     Next, I decided to work on the flatware prompt. I wanted to create an idea that solved an issue that people commonly run into, so I went with the idea of a plate and utensils that are designed to help diners get every last bit of food on their plate. My inspiration came from trying to eat rice with just a fork, which becomes quite annoying once there is not a lot of rice left. To create the utensils, I simply used the cylinder, box, and round roof shapes in Tinkercad. I then used the cylinder shape for the plate, on which I attached holders for the utensils with the torus shapes. Please see the in-progress screenshots below.


     Once I had the two utensils seen above, I could not figure out a good way to tie them into the plate, but I eventually came up with the idea of holders for the utensils. The idea is that the utensils sit in their holders on the side furthest away from you while you use a traditional knife and fork. This way the utensils are not in the way while you are eating. Once there are only small bits of food left on the plate, you sweep the food with one utensil into the other much like a dustpan and broom. Once I overcame the hurdle of tying everything together, I was satisfied with the outcome of the design. Please see the final product below.

     Finally, I set out to design a functional piece of equipment for myself. The problem that I chose to address was the fact that my keyboard and mouse chords dangle lazily over the edge of my sliding desk. I wanted to have them a bit more organized, so I set out to design an organizing unit that I could mount underneath the sliding desk. I wanted the print to fit snugly, so I took measurements of the desk. The height of the sliding desk was three-fourths of an inch, so I made sure that the back of the organizing unit was the same height. The pillars that would hold the chords in place were two inches in height because there are three inches that make up the gap between the sliding desk and the top of the desk. Finally, I added two quarter inch holes for screws on the bottom of the organizing unit. Please see the below images of the sliding desk, measurements, and first design. 

     I liked the idea behind my design, but I was also worried that the two posts would not be stable enough. In order to remedy this, I created a different design that featured much of the same components. The difference was that I got rid of the posts and added a rectangular shape with a hole and gap in the top. I am very pleased with the resulting product, and I hope to actually print it in the lab so that I can put it to use. Please see the final design and link below.

     Link to final chord organizer:



Works Cited

     “Cornicello.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Feb. 2019,

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Paper Circuits Assignment- Nicholas Agate

The first item to cover is the basic paper circuit that I created in class. This was the first time I had ever used copper tape, and I think that it is a great way to introduce someone to the basics of circuitry. This simple circuit had a 3-volt battery, copper tape, a switch, and an LED. Please see my basic paper circuit below.

Next, I picked out a quote for the picture with two LEDs. Because my quote spoke of light, I decided to have the two LEDs shining through a candle. I also ended up creating a circuit in-parallel. When the match is pushed, the positive strip of copper tape touches the battery which completes the circuit and lights up the two LEDs. Please see my picture with two LEDs below.

Finally we have the 3-dimensional paper object. When I was brainstorming for this project I knew that I wanted to somehow incorporate my Italian heritage. So, I decided to create a pop-up card that featured the Italian flag, the Tower of Pisa and the Statue of David. I started by sketching the flag, and then I brainstormed circuit designs that could be used on the back of the card. Please see the sketches below.

I ultimately wanted to have a colored flag with matching LEDs poking through each of the flag stripes. to do this, I used an in-parallel circuit that ran behind the flag. Because of the resistances of the LEDs that I selected, green, white, and red, the current was able to power each of the LEDs without a resistor. I also included a switch by gluing a piece of elevated paper with copper tape on it over a split in the negative copper strip. Please see the circuit and LEDs below.

The largest issue that I encountered while making this project was getting the battery to be seated correctly. Because the material that I used is relatively lightweight, the connection between the battery and copper strips is not the best. I did not end up finding a better way to solve this issue besides pushing the battery down in unison with the switch. If I were to do the project again, I would spend more time looking for a fix to this issue.

Overall, I enjoyed making this project and really like how the final piece turned out. The final project has the Italian flag, the Tower of Pisa and the Statue of David. It also has a green, white, and red theme with an Italian coin which serves as the switch. Please see the final outcome below.

Image Sources


Statue of David:

Leaning Tower of Pisa:

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Vinyl Sticker – Nicholas Agate

For my griffin sticker, I decided to make a cross between a lion and a deer. I joined the two at the middle (like Catdog) and cut the griffin out of orange vinyl. Please see the griffin sticker below.

Following the griffin sticker, I created a logo sticker from a brewing company. This sticker was more difficult to pull off because it had very narrow cuts that were flimsy and hard to work with. I used a base layer of white vinyl, a layer of blue vinyl, and then a red layer that was placed on top of the blue layer. Please see the logo sticker below.

Now I will explain my process of making the complex multi-layered sticker. I first thought of making a design on a guitar pick, but after a while I decided to make a sticker that would remind me of the trips that my family takes to Canada. Please see my brainstorm sketches below.

Once I had my design planned, I began to layer all of the images that I wanted to include in Inkscape. The mountain, chair, and table were all images that I cropped and brought into Inkscape, and the rest were shapes that I generated. In total, there are six layers and seven objects. Please see an Inkscape screenshot of all of the objects below.

Cutting each piece of vinyl was straightforward enough, and I applied transfer tape to each piece in order to assemble my sticker at home. One issue that I encountered was the formation of bubbles under my blue sky layer. I fixed this by pushing each bubble out with my debit card. Once that was fixed, I did not encounter any other issues while piecing together my sticker.

I had a lot of fun making this sticker, and the only thing that I would change for another one is the size. I would take my instructor’s advice and create a larger sticker. However, I am happy with the way my sticker looks on my laptop. Please see a picture with the bubbles and my final sticker below.

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Laser Name Tag – Nicholas Agate

I would like to start off by apologizing for the late assignment, as I got mixed up with the actual due date.

I began this assignment by trying to come up with an idea for the name tag. I have many interests, so I jotted several down and ended up deciding to create an album sleeve and record. I play guitar and love music, which made this an appropriate choice for me. Please see my notes below.

I was originally going to use the guitar shown above, but once I started working with the guitar image in Inkscape, I decided that I wanted to create something a little more involved. Please see the Inkscape guitar below.

The name tag that I actually ended up creating is an album sleeve with a record coming out of it. I used plywood and included the album sleeve, my name, the record, and a vectored hole in the middle of the record. Please see my final name tag below.

The main issue that I encountered was that I originally planned to vector the three sides of the album sleeve and leave the side with the record rastered. Unfortunately I could not find a good way to do this in Inkscape’s “Stroke paint” panel because the whole shape had to have one stroke color. So instead, I surrounded the sleeve and record with a shape that would be vectored.

Although I felt rushed while finishing up this assignment, I am pleased with the way the name tag turned out. I think that the sleeve and record are instantly recognizable. However, if I were to make this name tag again, I would space the outside vector shape a little further away from the sleeve and record. I would also try out a different material such as acrylic. Thank you for reading!

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