To be honest this was a very hard project compare to first two project in the semester. It felt like it was two different projects: creating 3-d object and creating copper tape circuit.
Challenge 1: pop up card
I never made pop up card nor 3-d object before (although I have some experience on 3-d modeling in computer), so it required me to do some additional research and practices. Good initial planning was crucial for this project since I have to consider other part of project; adding copper tape circuit to pop up card.
Challenge 2: copper tape
Although it was nice that using copper tape did not require any soldering and wiring was fairly clean, only able to use one side of tape was a huge caveat. In addition, reliable connection was not always guaranteed when it comes to copper tape. A lot of people including myself were having battery connection issue where people have to press on the switch with some force.
So copper tape was not a magical tool that I thought it would be. I was versatile in some sense but there are certainly a limitation.
For my 2d in-class card, I used the quote “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” which was attributed to Winston Churchill. On the front of the card, you see a person surrounded by flames, and the card opens to reveal them walking out into a nice meadow. When you press the fire extinguisher to put out the last of flames, the person’s eyes light up to symbolize them making it out of hell.
The execution of my in-class card left much to be desired. The connection of the LEDs to the copper tape was finicky, so you had to press them down to make the eyes light. I also didn’t plan my design around the necessity of wiring the LEDs, so the circuit wasn’t integrated into the drawing very well. It was hard to wire the two eyes so close together without letting the wires tough, so I put in a little slip of paper to separate the two ends of each LED. I kept these issues in mind as I started my 3d project.
For my 3d project, I made a fire-breathing origami dragon. First, I found an online video tutorial of an origami dragon and followed it using a 8.5” square cut out of a piece of white printer paper to make my first prototype. I named him Ruth after the white dragon in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series.
After finishing Ruth, I experimented with different origami shapes for his fire. I tried to make a longer, spikier version of the classic origami balloon. My first attempt looked interesting, but was rather prone to falling apart.
My second attempt made a nice diamond shape. Inspired by the Pokemon Charmander, I decided to give Ruth a flame at the end of his tail as well as one coming from his mouth.
Now that I had my paper bases, it was time to plan the circuit. Ruth took a pretty long time to fold, so I wanted to make a relatively simple circuit. I picked red and yellow lights to be flame-like, while also not needing any resistors. Originally, I wanted to have yellow lights at Ruth’s mouth and the tip of the tail, and then red lights for his eyes, but after thinking about my 2d card, I knew that would be too complicated to wire in the head area. Instead, I decided to give Ruth spines like a stegosaurus, which would allow the circuit to be a nice, clean line down both sides of his body, with all of the lights in parallel to each other. The battery and switch are hidden between his legs. The switch closes by pressing the two halves of his body together, so that the copper tape touches the battery as illustrated below. I created a very simple circuit prototype on Ruth and tested the yellow LED inside my flame prototype.
Next, it was time to choose my materials for the final version. I wanted to make a bigger version of Ruth, so I used 12” square paper. I considered several different reddish patterns, settling on a subtle flower pattern which wouldn’t too busy on a moderately complicated folded dragon. I also really liked a certain green polka dot pattern, but I thought it would clash too much with the copper tape.
With this paper, I folded my second dragon, nicknamed Baby Ruth. As you can see, Baby Ruth is quite a bit larger than Ruth.
I picked a yellow tissue paper for the flame. I picked the tissue paper because it was thinner so I figured it would be more see-through than normal paper. However, when I tried to fold it, it didn’t hold its shape very well, especially at the ends. So instead, I used the tissue paper to make amorphous blobs for the fire.
I started wiring Baby Ruth with his flames. I originally wanted to wrap all the wires in copper tape to strengthen the connections, but when testing the spines I found that the connection worked perfectly fine without wrapping them, so the spine wires are not wrapped in tape like the flame wires are. After wiring Baby Ruth, I discovered that his lights were very dim, so I added a second battery in series with the first and he lit up much better. Here are pictures of Baby Ruth, both lit and unlit.
Overall, I was happy with how Ruth and Baby Ruth turned out. The paper I used for Baby Ruth was a little thicker than would be ideal, but he turned out okay. I were to redo it, the only glaring thing I would change is Baby Ruth’s mouth flame. If you look closely at his mouth, you can see that I hid the wires of the LED inside his mouth. This made the LED a bit too short to properly light up the flame, so the very tip of the flame wouldn’t light up much. I’m also a little disappointed I didn’t get to use the original flame prototype, since I really liked how the yellow LED lit up the white paper like a lantern, and I liked how Ruth looked with his white paper tail flame, but I prefer the tissue paper on Baby Ruth, especially when unlit. With the yellow tissue paper, it might actually be possible to use a white LED instead, since the tissue paper would make the light look yellow from the outside, but it probably wouldn’t make a big difference.
I also think it would be cool to experiment with hiding the copper tape inside the folds instead of putting it superficially on the outside of the body. In order to do this, you would have to put the copper tape on the paper before doing some of the folds, which would be interesting. I don’t think the copper tape would remain intact through Baby Ruth’s folding process, especially with such thick paper, but it could work for a simpler origami.
This week’s assignment allowed me to access my inner engineer (and failed miserably on the first try). In my opinion, making the circuit is easier said than done. We were given a template and just had to follow the instruction to make a circuit. Although the directions were quite clear, I had trouble in setting up the LED lights and also making turns using the copper tape.
After getting to know the basics of how circuits work, we were to pick a quote and make an artwork out of it. Moreover, we were to incorporate 2 or more light bulbs in the said artwork. I struggled with finding the right quote and design the artwork. After scrolling through Pinterest and Google for 30 minutes (yes, I wasted 30 minutes of lab time just to look for ideas), I came up with a simple artwork.
The quote I chose was “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” This quote spoke to me as it reminds me to go above expectations in everything I do as not much people would do it. I decided to incorporate three light bulbs of red, yellow and green respectively to make a traffic light. I incorporated this element to remind me that even though not many take the extra mile, there would still be some rules that we still have to adhere to.
At first my I used one battery (as shown in the paper circuit template) to light it up, but it did not. So I figured that it needs more power to light the bulbs, hence I added another battery and it worked really well as pictured in the pictures below.
For the next task, I used three LED light bulbs to be incorporated in the pop up card. The night before doing the assignment, I looked for ideas in YouTube and Pinterest for the project. Then I found one popup card of a snake’s head whose mouth opens up when the card is opened. So I decided to make a dragon, and make the lights to be inside the mouth so it mimics a dragon about to spit out fire.
The idea was fairly simple and I decided to use a series circuit as it is the simpler choice. I struggled on designing the circuit and calculating how much batteries were needed. After some trials and errors I finished the circuit and I was quite happy with it.
After getting the lights in the circuits to work, I moved on to making the features of the dragon and assembling it to look like one. After spending 1-2 hours cutting out parts and sticking them on to the card, I finished the popup card pictured below.
Overall I am very happy with the design I came up with and the end product. Although it was quite a hassle making the circuit and cutting these individual pieces, the end product really gave me joy.
If I were to make improvements to this product, I would: 1. Make the switch in a place that makes more sense (like maybe on the right bottom corner and maybe give a sign to notify people where the switch is) 2. Use the silhouette app to cut the individual items so it would be more uniformed and precise. Moreover, it would be less time consuming.
This week, we were tasked to make a copper tape circuit and I think that this is the most tedious assignment so far. First, we were tasked to create a basic circuit following the template that was already provided to us. This task is relatively easy as the template is already given to us and we were only using one battery and one LED light.
Next, we were supposed to pick quotes and incorporate lights into the design. While there were given some quotes to choose from, I decided to use a phrase that has been popular from the arising Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, a series that teaches and encourages people to clean up. The phrase is “Does it Spark Joy?’ In the series, if an item does not ‘spark joy’ to the owner, they should remove the item in order to declutter
For this task, I used 3 LED lights for this design. I arranged the lights in series and used 2 batteries at first. However, my lights did not light up. After seeking help from Emilie, we figured out that we needed to add another battery in order for the lights to light up. However, with the 3 batteries, we realised that the LED was too bright. As a result, with the online calculator, I found out that I needed to add a 150 ohm resistor. While the first task was fairly easy and quick to do, the second task took so much time as we had to figure out the calculation.
For the third task, we were tasked to make a 3D paper objects with LED in it. For this, I decided to fold a jumping frog! I used to fold these origami jumping frogs a lot when I was younger and I thought that it will be a fun object to make for this project. Here, you would have to press the body of the frog in order to ‘push’ the frog to jump. Thus, my plan was to create eyes and tongue for the frog that would light up when the body is pressed.
I started by folding the paper into the desired shape first. After each fold, I try to press the paper down so that it creates a crease that can become an outline of where my circuit should be. Once I made the frog, I opened up the model and draw a template on how my circuit would look like. I initially thought that the circuit that I drew was great and would immediately work, I was wrong.
After several tries, I could not make my initial circuit to work. I think there are too many breaks in the circuit, and although the paper is folded on top of each other, I think that they are not close enough to create a closed circuit. With that, I decided to make a simple circuit where the switch is only at the batteries. Luckily, for this circuit, I did not have to add a resistor to it, and the lights still lit up perfectly.
One the circuit worked, I folded the paper back again and added a strip of paper for the tongue. One the model is done, I was so relieved that it worked as it took me a couple of hours to figure out the circuit earlier.
While my model looks really cute, if I had the chance to improve on this model, I would add the red LED light on the tongue (red strip) of the frog instead of on the tip of the frog’s snout. This might be difficult though, since the circuit is actually beneath the folded part of the frog.
Being a business student, it’s been a long time since I have learned and played around with circuit. Though I struggled with the calculation at first, I am glad that there is an online calculator that I can use for this project! Nevertheless, I think that my project went great and I think that it’s cool that my jumping frog has shiny eyes!
For my Griffin part of the lab, I decided to start with a silhouette of a bear and a fish, to try to combine them. I was first thinking of just putting a fish back fin/tail on the bear, but I thought it would be nice to combine more of the fish with the bear, so I added the top fin as well. Then I had some extra time in the lab, so I thought it would be cool to add a third animal in my design, so I found a nice set of reindeer antlers on a silhouette of a reindeer and combined that with the rest. It ended up like this: (and is now on the door in the main area of the fab lab near the bigger sticker cutters)
For my logo, I wanted something that I would like to put on my laptop, and the UIUC logo works well for that purpose. I found a version of the logo that would be fairly simple to create, since this is mostly practice for the main design. I thought about how to create this for a little bit and decided that the best way to do it would be to have two layers. There would be a bottom layer of white and a top layer with the blue and the orange. I thought this would be better than blue on bottom, then white, then orange, since that would really have a layered feel when put together. I wanted to avoid that, so I thought of my two layered method.
From the start of this part of the sticker lab, I knew I wanted another sticker besides my logo to put on my laptop. So for this, I wanted something with a design that I thought would be cool to look at all the time and not too large.
One problem I encountered with the logo design was some bubbles that occurred due to the way I placed the layers on top of one another. I was able to squeegee out some of them, but not all. This became something to improve on for the final design. Duncan was helpful in telling me how to avoid this issue in the final design, by placing the layers down on top of each other more carefully and not all at once.
I have always liked designs with shapes, so one of the first things I thought of was a design with a main feature of some kind of circle with a star inside. When trying this out in Inkscape, I tried manipulating the star shape in different ways until I found a cool design from it. This came when I began changing the roundedness of the star, which after a little bit starts inverting the star in really cool ways. I did this, added a circles above and below it, and eventually got this:
I thought it looked sort of like a sun, so the next thing I thought of was to add solar flares around it, from this photo:
I knew I couldn’t directly use this, as I had to trace the bitmap first. I first tried this though brightness tracing, but it was a mess, so I decided to do it with color tracing. After some adjustments, I realized the best way to accomplish this and be able to easily add it to my design would be if I traced it with very few scans, 3 or 4, so it would only have a few color layers in it for me to deal with. It turned out like this:
From there I wanted to get rid of mostly everything inside of the outer layer, as I only really wanted that to frame my current sun image that I created. To do this, I made a circle that covered most of the inner mess and took the difference of this and the above.
There were still some parts of the black layer in the brown layer, so I wanted to get rid of those to make it a bit smoother. I accomplished this by creating some lines to cut off the parts that stuck out and took the difference of that. Then I deleted those parts that stuck out.
I combined that with my previous layers and got this (then cut it ):
I realized that this would be way too complicated to cut out and combine, so I started peeling back the layers a bit.
I wanted to middle part to be less complicated to start, so I changed it to this:
It was still a bit complicated here, so I decided to peel off one more layer from this:
I felt like the above would be much more manageable to actually create and put together into the final sticker, so I stuck with it. It would be four layers. A yellow layer on bottom with the black on top of it. The the other two would be a blue circle with the red circle and cut-outs above that. Then I would combine those top two layers with the bottom two for the final sticker.
After trying this I found out I should have done it a bit differently. The yellow and blue layer were very simple, as they were just a square and circle. The black layer was also pretty simple because of the square outline and just a part cut out of the middle. The problems I encountered were all with the red layer. It was a huge pain to take off with the transfer tape, as when I tried getting the blue outer cut-outs all off, the whole outer part of the red circle came with it and I had to try really hard to get it back on the original sticker paper in a circle again, which it really didn’t want to do. Then the tiny cut-outs of the inner part of the circle were too small to easily come out, which just made it take a while to very carefully get them out.
All in all, it turned out fairly well even through all the complications with the red layer and I was able to put it on my laptop.
If I were to try it again, I would definitely make the red and blue layers a different design. It would still be sun-like, but I would make it something combined for the red layer, so it would peel off into separate parts. I would also avoid tiny parts like the inner cut-outs in the red layer. I might change the blue slightly to add ridges or something to add to the design, since I’d be taking away a bit from the red part of the design. Also the red part is already having slight problems with peeling off when taking my laptop in and out of my backpack, so I would try to avoid the pointed triangles or other shapes in an outer layer. Those would have to be hidden below a top layer if they were to be incorporated and meant to last.
For this assignment, we were tasked with creating three vinyl stickers: a “griffin” sticker combining two creatures (real or fake), a logo sticker, and an original sticker.
For my griffin sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite Pokémon: Pikachu and Shinx. In lab section, just as we were about to print the sticker, the file crashed, with me not having saved yet. In order to catch up to the rest of the section, I quickly redid the sticker, but simply replacing Shinx’s tail with a Pikachu’s.
For my logo sticker, I decided to go with the Superman logo. It was surprisingly difficult to line up the layers perfectly. I went with a yellow square for the base, followed by the blue and red layers.
As for my original sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite games: Pokémon and Overwatch. I wasn’t entirely sure how I would combine them. I initially wanted to combine a pokéball and the Overwatch logo, and after receiving some advice, I decided to make an Overwatch themed pokéball instead. I started by taking an image of a pokéball and changed the red to the orange of the Overwatch logo. I then replaced the button with the Overwatch logo itself. In order to make the pokéball a little more complicated than a simple color swap, I made it so the white would encroach to the top of the pokéball up to a boundary level to the boundary found on the logo. In order to make it look more visually appealing, I added black lines to the boundary.
There was a problem though. I had put the design together without really thinking, so I had to fix all of the models in order to cut the correct shapes into the vinyl. After several attempts of using grouping and ungrouping, unioning and differencing various shapes, I was able to create the shapes that I actually needed to print out. Placing the layers was difficult due to small shapes, but the end result was definitely worth the effort.
Originally, I wanted to replace an old sticker that I’d had on my bike years ago, but with some creative license taken (obviously). In short, the end product was not what I was looking for, and I’ll be making edits and trying again sometime in the near future. I messed up the sticker by mistaking the layout, with some layers being only virtually overlapping, which caused problems when I went to cut them out. Essentially, there should have been a white portion on top of everything, and, rushing myself through this, I overlooked that.
This was more what I was looking for. Essentially, I inverted the colors of an image, did a *lot* of node editing, make some other minor adjustments. I might try this design again, or I might do something different, since the shapes are very difficult to line up well enough.
I really enjoyed the Griffin assignment – the result of my combination of shapes turned out more perfectly than I could’ve imagined. I wanted to combine two distinctive animal shapes together, I went with a dolphin and a giraffe.
I had a couple of errors – The positioning of my image in SilhouetteStudio was off, and a little portion of the top of my sticker couldn’t get printed on to the vinyl itself. Also, instead of removing the surrounding vinyl, I removed my shape itself 😛 As you can see however, the dolphin/giraffe combination looks hilarious and also very clean.
The process of using transfer tape, and using it to work with the three stickers was SO COOL. I felt like I was doing very complex stuff by putting down a transfer tape with sticker 1 and picking up sticker 2. the results were great, and I cant wait to work on my self-designed layered sticker.
For my name tag, I was very interested in testing out how precise a laser cutter could be. I initially wanted to incorporate a very intricate silhouette – like the one below.
However, I began thinking about vectoring such a design – just to kick it up a notch and work with negative spaces in the design. However, I was worried that a very thin vectored pattern could be susceptible to breakage.
So I wanted to make a simpler, thicker pattern that I’d want vectored and cut out.
I have been playing basketball for 10 years and I’ve watched basketball religiously for 4 – so I wanted to incorporate this into my name tag.
I began drawing my basketball shape, since I couldn’t figure out how to do this with ellipses alone.
I then realized that I could work with 2 layers – first layer contains the silhouette of basketball lines, and I could paste this onto a second layer that contained text, which fit within the silhouette lines!
I made the basketball lines in the second layer GREEN with Raster/Vector, so that the lines would be Rastered, but using the vector path algorithm. It was very cool seeing the laser do Raster/Vector.
I then used superglue to glue them together to get my finished product
Jeremy was the volunteer who helped me out with my design process and implementation. I was talking through my ideas with him. I originally wanted a singular layer, with the basketball-holes-silhouette, and my info on the rest of the name tag. It was Jeremy’s idea to use 2 layers, and write my info on the second layer. Hats off to him.
He also recommended setting a slower speed while Rastering my wood, so that I would get a deeper etch. I felt like this was important since my name tag already has depth from using 2 layers.
I’m beyond satisfied with how my project came out, and thinking through my ideas and implementation with Jeremy BEFORE I started any printing was vital to the success of this on the very first try.
This week we made layered vinyl stickers. I made this butterfly sticker. As you see, some cars are top of others because I had many small parts to assemble, which caused this trouble. I had to take a choice whether I want to show the black lines and the pink, light but and green colorful parts. If I did not want to show those lack (or dark) color, I would make the sticker with big and complete multiple layers having necessary holes that will show the bottom layers.
I really liked this activity and I have different ideas to make sticker in future.
While I initially decided to use the design I had set aside from last week (seen below), I quickly realized that converting it to a vinyl sticker would take 7 layers, all of which had to be different shade of the same color since I intended for it to be monochromatic. Since the lab did not have access to 7 layers of monochromatic vinyl, I decided to shelve the idea again.
Instead, I decided to use another patch I had previously designed for one of my engineering teams a year prior – a parody of the famous Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks experimental team, modified with the UIUC mascot of a squirrel:
By simplifying the brown parts to dark orange, and dark brown/black parts to dark blue, I could reduce the required layers to 4, allowing for a simplified vinyl sticker.
Build Process and Modification
The build started off relatively normal, with me placing four vinyl patches in 2×2 pattern consisting of dark blue, dark orange, white, and salmon.
After the cutting began, however, I realized that a 4″x4″ was a rather small surface to cut on, especially given the details of my logo. However, instead of stopping the cut and moving to a bigger canvass, I decided to continue and use whatever practice I could. The result was a relatively small logo, although the details turned out better than I expected.
When peeling off the excess, I noticed that small details and patches – particularly around the letters, would sometimes stick to the excess as it was lifted up. I decided to proceed by peeling the excess off first, and then cut off the necessary bits stuck to it using an X-ACTO knife and a flathead screwdriver to nudge and modify the pieces back into place:
This process of reattaching and modifying the small details extended my work time by approximately two hours, yet once I was done the sticker looked relatively whole: