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

Final Project: Avengers Tower

For my final project, I decided to make an architectural model of the Avengers Tower from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Reflection:

Question 1: After rereading your studio assignment write-ups, what is the most significant thing you have learned over the course of these assignments? This is not a question about tool learning, but rather a question about yourself as a learner.

Some questions to help your thinking: Have you become more comfortable with certain kinds of tasks? Have you surprised yourself with what you enjoyed doing? Do you feel you’ve developed your confidence as a maker and what does that look like?

Over the course of the semester I learned how to use traditional skills. I had never done sewing before and that had always hated it. The machine was intimidating and figuring out how to put fabrics together was tough. After the textile assignment, I was more confident and was able to figure out how to use the machine. I realize that what really cemented what I learned was when I was able to trouble shoot problems. I do not think it is enough to just learn the baseline skills and complete a project. Learning to troubleshoot on your own is where the learning really takes place. That sewing project allowed to learn something new and intimidating while allowing me to figure out problems on my own.

 

Question 2: What did you make for your final project? This is less a question and more where I would like to see at least 2 in-process photos and 2 final photos / videos of your final project. You can include a couple sentences about what challenges you faced and what you are most proud of but do not write a full step-by-step report of what you did.

I made a strip down architectural model of the Avengers Tower from Avengers: Age of Ultron. I was inspired by the aesthetic of the movie and I was interested in learning to build a scaled model of a building. This project allowed me to explore space and understand the technicalities of building something. This required building draft models and figuring out measurements and preciously how much material I needed.

Question 3: What were your learning goals for your final project? Write at least one paragraph per learning goal about what you hoped to learn as you worked on this final project and what you actually learned.

Some questions to help your thinking: What did you learn that surprised you? Did you meet your goal? If you failed to meet your goal, how did you iterate your plan and what did you learn in that process? Are you happy with your final project? Is your final project meaningful to you? Why?

  1. I am hoping to better my craftsmanship. I feel like I haven’t provided the best craftsmanship for my projects whether it be a poorly sewed bag or the card that didn’t align well with the buttons. I want to create a project that is clean and neatly done.

I wanted to be better at crafting my work. This project gave me ample amount of time to figure out what I want to make and how to make it as well as making multiple iteration of it. Having the ability to iterate is what contributed to the craftsmanship as well as organization and planning. This was a goal I met because I felt my project was neatly cut and mistakes were minimal enough that it did not distract from the rest of the model.

  1. Learning to mix different materials together is something I want to explore. I never used a hybrid of materials before and this is an opportunity to create something that incorporates different materials that have different properties. I can learn to understand the limitations of materials as well as aesthetic exploration.

I was somewhat successful in this aspect. I did combine three different materials: chip board, foam core and acrylic. They were materials I had originally worked with before but I wanted to try something different. I originally wanted to make pieces out of wood but it did not fit with the Avengers Tower’s aesthetic so I opt that out.

  1. Practice learning to model in 3D. The 3D printing section was one area that I really enjoyed doing for this class. 3D printing process is simple enough but learning to model is hard. I want to incorporate 3D modeling into this to help solidify my skills in 3D Modeling software.

I failed in this goal because I did not keep track of time. I did 3D print objects to scale but they were in brown filament which was not part of the plan. I was in a rush to 3D print because the Business Instructional Facility’s Makerlab was closing that day. I did not check the filament color and just ran it through. This was an example of poor time management and overlooking details. I had wanted to populate the model with furniture to make it feel more like how it looked in the movie but I failed. I had left it to last minute and did not consider the time it would take to print and how many people were also going to be printing.

  1. Practice working with copper tape. This one was fun, and I enjoyed it. I liked how it brought out another dimension to something as seamless as paper. I want to explore this more and see how to incorporate into my project.

I ended up switching this goal to learning to use a new 3D modeling program: Rhino. This was something new I had to learn and thought would be perfect in helping me plan the model and see how I can build this in real life. I enlisted a friend who was in architecture to help and he advised me in learning the build the software. This is an in progress screenshot of the staircase curve we were struggling to build.

  1. I want to practice organization. I have been winging my projects recently and found that I don’t produce the best product because I will always encounter problems that forces me to compromise in a bad way. I believe better planning will enable me to expect problems and thus I compromise in a smart way. Better planning will also help me save money since I will know what I want my final product to look like and understand the materials needed to get there.

I mostly succeed with this goal. I was able to plan out how to build the model by using a series of screenshots and drawing everything out. I made lots of scaled models to understand what will be built and how to build it and used 3D modeling software to understand the form better. I also measured every piece to make sure I had enough material as well as buying the right kind of material for this project. I failed in the 3D printing area where I did not account for the time it would take to print and when I would be able to print. I did end up printing furniture but they did not fit with my model.

Question 4: Do you consider yourself a maker and what does that mean to you now that it didn’t at the beginning of the semester?

Some questions to help your thinking: What does it mean to you to call yourself a maker (or not)? Who do you think should call themselves a maker? Early on you read a quotation from Seymour Papert who suggested the most significant learning is a) hands-on and b) personally meaningful. Does that quotation mean more to you now than it did at the beginning of the semester? What does it mean to you? Did you experience any learning this semester that fit this definition? Did the hands-on nature of the class make your learning more significant? Why and how?

Being a maker is all about learning and applying those learnings to create projects. Makerspaces are open and chaotic spaces that aims to throw ideas at you. And that is what it did for me. I was inspired and encouraged to play with ideas that I originally did not dedicate time to. I got out of my comfort zone when I learned to use the sewing machine and the sticker maker. Playing with the Arduino allowed me to rediscover what I liked to do. Having the freedom to decide my own project enabled me to be personally fulfilled and allow me time to iterate and develop my idea. Seymour Papert was right to say that learning is about being hands-on and personally meaningful. These skills that I learned this semester are now skills I can use because I was able to make with my own hands and decide what I want to make. Dedicating a block of time to learn was something that many of us originally did not have so this class was a good enabler. I have always considered myself a maker. This class just enabled me to learn more skills and motivated me to do more. I find a lot of joy in making things with my hands and this has enabled me to try things outside my comfort zone.