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

Author Archive

Copper Tape Project

For my copper tape project I created a mothers day card. I wanted to include a silhouette of our family so I spent most of my time creating and editing my pictures on Inkscape.

Using the silhouette as my inspiration as to wear to place my LED, I could tell that it was difficult to see that my mom was the second from the left so I made the LED light her up from the background and used word “mom” to be the switch for the circuit. 

I hope she likes her card, I had a lot of fun using the silhouette cutter and editing the pictures on Inkscape. 

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Final Project

For the final project I chose to make a skirt for my mom. I chose to use linen for skirt so it was breathable in the summer, and I chose linen over cotton just so I wouldn’t have to add a slip layer if because most of the cotton fabrics were see through. 

I found a tutorial for a half circle skirt and followed it accordingly so I wouldn’t buy too much fabric as I had done for my iteration project and wouldn’t be “winging it”. 

I first started with cutting out my fabric. Since the measurements were very exact (math and radii were involved) and the skirt was very long I used measuring tape and chalk in a way I never thought I would.

strategy to make a circle (tape chalk to the edge of the measuring tape so I could keep track of the radius)

Afterwards I started the sewing process. This was a bad idea because when it came time to print the design on my fabric, I had to wait for the paint to dry before flipping my skirt around and print on the backside rather than just print on the separate pieces and then sew them together. 

My original plan was to have embroidered flowers on the bottom of the skirt but the spacing of the prints was so close together that I decided that big embroidery would just crowd the skirt and make it too busy. My original idea was also to include buttons but I also didn’t end up doing this because of the same reason. The skirt looked very incomplete without anything so I wanted to do a border along the edge because I knew it wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the skirt or make it look too busy and unwearable. 

Chose to do a satin stitch without the embroidery machine

In this project I learned how to do a hidden hem with the blind stitch foot but because I was dumb I didn’t realized that my white bobbin thread was showing on the front of the skirt so I tried to cover it with the satin stitch I used for the border but I couldn’t make the width of the stitch smaller to cover the hidden stitch as the fabric kept getting caught in the machine. 

By the end of this project I learned so many new skills and learned to make a clean finished product without and compromises to quality. I first started out this semester with a jean skirt that I will never wear because I’m too afraid it’ll rip every time I sit down. Now I’ve made a skirt I’m confident my mom can do whatever she wants in. 


By following the tutorial and applying all the skills I learned from my iteration project and the new techniques I learned from my TA, Duncan, I was able to create a something I would proudly say I made and give my mom. Working with a plan and a design in my head and on a schedule, I made something that I think is very high quality. 

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Iteration Project – Overalls

For my iteration assignment I chose to make linen overalls with laser cut buttons. After reflecting on my previous sewing project, I wanted to start this one with measurement and pre-made patterns so there would be less guess work and alterations but I didn’t find any patterns that I could buy that I liked.

So I made to plan to cut the front and the back piece and sew them together. I used clothes that I had to measure out the relative shape, but then I got scared that it would be tight so I cut the pieces pretty big. To make the pieces wearable I had to close the stitches properly and make sure the edges didn’t fray. Because I cut the pieces so big I had to sew one leg, check if it fit, cut the pieces to the right size, and then seam rip to copy the sizes onto the other leg. 

It took really long to make it when I didn’t cut corners. I’d like to fix the crotch but overall, I’m really happy with the way the final turned out. After I made the body piece, I made the straps (without much accuracy). 

And then I made the buttons. I knew I wanted a cloud design on the buttons (Mulan clouds from the opening credits was the image I used for my buttons). I chose wood because it went with the linen cloth I chose for the overalls but I painted to make the buttons more polished. 

first iteration: I liked the color but didn’t like that you couldn’t see the raster

second iteration: used a water colors for a gradient look, didn’t like it because it was too messy and bright against the overalls.

third iteration: checking if water colors would look better with the raster on top

Final iteration of the button: not too flashy, very clean raster, very happy with the results

This is the final product:

The straps turned out a bit long but its a vibe.

detail on the back of the straps


I’m really glad I did the project because I learned how to do a lot of new things. I learned how to sew on buttons, and properly close the edges of fabric. Next time I really hope I have a pattern, it would really help make things easier. 

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PomBot – Renuka Nannapaneni

In lab section this week we learned how to control the servo motor with the Arduino board. 

My idea was to get something moving and then create the creature around the movement. I wanted to have something along the lines of wheels so I created this. Originally, I had the connections to the motor in the 

middle of the spokes but the creature would only move back and forth, and then when I off-centered the connection and started the legs in different positions (one with long side down, and other with short side down) the bot moved forward. 

The code, was moving both “wheels” at the same time, but when most variations of the code kept moving the bot back and forth rather than overall forward, I switched it up so the wheels were moving at different speeds. 

This link: 

has the final movement captured. If I were to do the project over I would’ve tried to make the motion more deliberate rather than just doing it by trial and error, and I would’ve embellished my creature more, as of now he is a single eyes spider mutant with stripes on his legs. 

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Arduino – Renuka Nannapaneni

This week in class we learned to use Arduino boards. During lab we made an LED blink and hold light for different amounts of time and in different patterns. 

For my project, I wanted to do a Ultrasonic sensor to sense someones distance from the board, and read simple signals from the sensor describing the distance. To do this I wrote conditional statements to show a certain combination of lights depending on the distance given from the sensor. 


conditional statements used to set LEDS

Code to make sure the sensors sometimes erratic behavior (randomly jumping to 100+ inches distance) wouldn’t be reflected in the lights behavior



To improve this, I would also add in blinking and other signal to give more of a detailed description of the distance being sensed. 

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Sewing and Embroidery – Renuka Nannapaneni

In lab we made pouches and made a small embroidered design. From these projects I was introduced to how to set up the sewing machine for both embroidery and sewing purposes and how to change stitch pattern and order.

I really liked the colors from this and decided I would use similar ones for the final project

I didn’t realize what fabric would be on the outside when I first started sewing so in the end I had to flip the bag inside out to show the fabric I wanted

When I went to start the final project I new I wanted to make something I would use for sure so I decided to make a jeans skirt from material I had. When I first started, my idea was to do a vine design along the from of the skirt by the corner but soon I realized I would have to know the dimensions of the skirt before I started embroidery to accomplish that. This lead me to change my embroidery design to something that could be scattered all along the front side of the skirt. I planned to embroider the 4″x 4″ design multiple times on to the skirt. I ran into spacing issues when the embroidering hoop wasn’t exactly like the design space on the computer so I couldn’t envision when the flower placement would be. I also had issues with my bobbin tension, and the fabric moving in the sewing hoop during the embroidery so the centers of the flowers weren’t in the right positions. 

Off center flowers, not completely covering the top flap of the skirt

Once I finished embroidering, I started to sew. The plan was to sew a waistband-less skirt with a zipper in the back, which was accomplished, but the fit wasn’t all too great. First I sewed on the zipper (not realizing that the back flap of the skirt had to be a bit longer, so I had a too small zipper). I used a skirt that I already had for measurements but I wasn’t too precise about marking them onto the fabric I was using so at first I had a very loose skirt that had no shape. This was easier to fix then an already tight skirt so I wasn’t too worried. I added darts (pinched triangle on to the back flap of the skirt) to bring in the waist and that gave the skirt some shape. On the first try the darts were too big and there wasn’t any room for my butt. On the second try, I made the triangles smaller and my waist “fit” but there were weird protrusions from them in the back. 


The circle shows the darts and the “weird protrusion”, the square shows the too short zipper

If I were to do the project again, I would draw out my clothing pieces on paper with proper measurements so I wouldn’t have to do so much adjusting by the end of the project. I learned how to change needles, move back and forth on my stitches during embroidery, change the feet of the machines and so much more. I feel much more confident going into any other sewing projects I will attempt in the future, thank you to all the course staff that helped me with all my questions!

This is the final product. 

front, slightly loose on the waist

back, darts stick out a bit, and zipper is a bit short, I’ll try and add a clasp to it

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3D printing – Renuka Nannapaneni

I chose to model the bit of plastic used to turn a lamp on and off. I lost the knob to turn on the lamp that was given with my apartment furniture. To not loose my security deposit, I decided to print the knob.

I needed to see precise measurements of how big the barrel around the existing metal knob would be and I found that a bit difficult to do in TinkerCad (bc of the ruler tool) so I used the online software Onshape, which I’ve had some experience with, so it was much easier to see the sizes.

I ran into a problem when I was using Onshape when I tried to sketch on a rounded edge (to create the turn handles on the barrel). So then I imported my object from Onshape to TinkerCad where it was easy to drag the two rectangular pieces into the barrel. I didn’t need precise measurements for the handles so it worked very well.

These are my trial models I created during lab section in class.

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Vinyl Sticker

The two layers from the dog picture.
To edit the layers of the picture, I had to convert the picture to an outline format in bitmap so I could trace the left foot because it blended in with the background.
After turning it to greyscale I could get the picture to look like this with the trace bitmap.
This is the original picture I used to make the sticker.

For the final sticker, I chose to make a sticker of my friends dog, to get the layers of the image I had to change the original picture to a greyscale version so Inkscape could find the color layers. Once Inkscape separated the layers, I had to edit the layers so I could bring back the leg and parts of the face that the Inkscape grouped together when it did the split. I added another layer to the sticker with my friend’s dogs name.

My griffin sticker was a seamoose. It was originally a seadeer but I had to turn the head to the side because I had the profile view of a seahorse, so I made the head of the dear into the profile view of a horse.

the blade I used wasn’t thick enough so I couldn’t peel the sticker of the griffin sticker well.

The logo sticker I chose to make was the SpaceX logo. I chose to keep a white background because the letters would be cut individually.

the grey is its own layer.
final logo sticker
final sticker

If I were to do it again, I would definitely change the font of “Pooper”, the spacing of the letters, and the background (its so awkward) and refine the edges.

Overall it was really fun to edit the images and play with the colors of the images.

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Name tag – Renuka Nannapaneni

This is the name tag I made during the lab section, I really liked the shape and the spacing of the letters.

After making the name tag during section and learning about the tools Inkscape offered, I started thinking about my design for the final piece.

I liked the idea of using a light source in the name tag so I started with the concept of a lightbulb and from there it grew into a space ship and my name flying into it. Once I started to create this in Inkscape, the idea began to change and form into something I thought was a bit more cohesive.

I started with the idea of using the filaments in a light bulb to write my name but I then decided there wasn’t enough space.

I struggled a bit with molding the filament to say what I wanted, and then I eventually ended up leaving the filament the way it was and changed the position of my name. This ended up better than I had imagined because I originally wanted to draw attention to the light/beam from the space ship.

This was the (somewhat) final version of the svg file. I wanted to have the option of being able to hang it if I wanted to, so I included a hole at the top.
This was the result of the original svg file. The letters weren’t thick enough so they didn’t get rastered properly.

Final version: After editing the letters to be thicker.

I really liked the lines from the raster from the Epilog machine (the Universal’s raster looked much more different – you can see in the previous version). I learned a lot about the tools in Inkscape and I look forward to learning more. If I were to do the project over, I would try to invert the image, so it would look like the sky was dark and the letters were actually the light.

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