So on my nametag I wanted to include some true art that was created by Squidward Tentacles. I always wanted a nametag that would also fit on my keychain since I always carry that with me.
I also wanted to include something that was related to Electrical Engineering somewhat, so I decided on including some wire nodes at the bottom below the artwork. The gradient feature in inkscape also interested me as I was curious to see how that would look on the wood. The following is what I intended for the nametag to look after it was completed (this is without the name). At first I thought I would like to have the features of “Bold and Brash” be more defined. However, after looking at what the laser cutter produced, I am more a fan of the silhouette look of the piece.
I originally had trouble getting inkscape to only fill a certain portion of the nametag (specifically talking about the gradient arrow part). However, after messing around with a few shapes and looking at online guides, I was able to get it worked out.
This is what the final cut looks like:
Overall, I am very happy with how the nametag came out. I am interested in seeing how different materials would change the look of it. I’d be most interested in seeing if there is a material that black, but when engraved gives a white look (maybe Black Acrylic?). I think that would look really cool as well.
Design and build process
When discussing this assignment in lab, one of the instructors mentioned that we could make our nametag into whatever shape but preferably not something sharp for obvious reasons. I immediately thought of circles which led to the idea of clouds. Also, though several of the nametag examples given in class were very intricate, I knew that I wanted mine to be very simple as I consider myself as such. After looking through several Google images of cloud silhouettes I thought of layering different pieces of material on top of each other to make the nametag more interesting.
I also decided to add a still from the movie Ponyo which is one of my favorite movies and thought it would fit the almost child-like cloud design. As for my name, I decided to make it a vector on both cloud layers. For the material, I figured that the illustration would be burned into the wood best and decided on a blue acrylic for the top cloud layer.
I superglued both layers after laser cutting them and the final product is pictured below.
Considering how I wanted my final product to be very simple, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Looking back, I wish I had found a different type of wood or possibly stained it to be slightly darker. Also, though I imagined the blue acrylic to be a bit more translucent, I am glad I was at least lucky enough to find a blue material that would contrast with the wood. I’m very thankful I had to help of the staff at the Fab Lab especially when it came to set up the laser and ensuring I had the right color and width for my design. If I had to do this project again, I would reconsider the materials to make my vision come true of a playful and simple nametag.Continue Reading
What were you inspired by?
I drew inspiration from other projects as well as random google images.
What idea were you building on? How are yours different?
I built on a standard name tag design and added a cat with swirls.
Did you have all the tools and knowledge you needed?
Yes I had everything I needed right in front of me.
What were you excited about? What were you worried about?
I was excited to see the laser machine work but I was also worried I would cause a malfunction.
While working on your project:
What would help you explain this to a peer?
It’s almost self-explanatory. I would guide my peer through steps or have them watch a video.
What are some pitfalls others can avoid if they were doing this project too?
Do not have too many vectors cutting close to one another or they’ll burn.
Why do you care about this?
The freedom to create/design anything helps me relax and work out my creativity.
Do you do stuff like this at home? Why or why not?
I make, but I do not have nearly as many resources as I could.
After finishing your project:
What do you need to learn still in order to meet your goal?
How to vary the shading intensities.
If you had more time, what would you change?
I would make my tag a lot more involved and maybe handcraft some shapes.
What were you inspired by?
Other projects as well as the internet gave me the inspiration I needed to start.
Did you end up encountering someone else’s idea in the process that shaped your work?
I saw many other ideas and used them as examples, but I did not want to steal ideas.
Who/what helped you?
The professors helped me remember older tutorials for laser cutters.
At what point did you decide you were going to finish your project?
When I started working on it, I had already decided to finish it.
What mistakes did you make?
I burned the swirls because the cuts were too small and grouped close.
What was your goal? Did you meet your goal?
My goal was to make a unique piece of art with my name on it and I did that exactly
What is something that worked?
The machine worked for all its intended purposes.
When did you make a revision, and why?
I made a revision right before printing to add the box cutout that was to be the actual tag.
Name 3 unexpected things that happened
A file failed to save, I forgot to vector the actual box for the tag, and I burned my kitty ☹.
Describe a “big moment” that moved your project forward.
When I decided to stay after class to finish. I do not efficiently get work done at home nor on weekends, so I knew my best decision was to stay until I had everything mostly done.
What there a time you doubted you could finish? Why? How did you make it through?
I doubted myself at the start but fixed myself when I got the ball rolling.
Did you give up? Why? What did you do next?
No. I just kept adjusting and moving on.
What was the most frustrating part?
Learning how to physically operate the laser cutter, and it was not even bad.
What did you like?
Everything from the freedom of choice to the design work on Inkscape.
What bit are you most proud of?
I was supposed to be proud of the swirls, but they came out wrong. Instead, I like the star cutouts that I could glue back on.
Which part of this was the most fun? Why?
The most fun part was watching the laser etch and cut. After the difficult creation phase, we get to relax and enjoy the machine as it makes our designs.Continue Reading
My project for this week was to make an engraved name tag. My Career Fair is rapidly approaching, so I decided to make a variant of the name tags that are used in that setting to give me a creative edge in the battle for employment post-graduation.
I began by finding the relevant documentation for the name tag inserts:
After easing into the use of Inkscape, I got to work on making my design. I wanted to maintain the name/major/date format in the original design, but try to make the text a bit bigger. This resulted in version 1 of the design:
Version 1 of the nameplate, using basic text and a curved edge.
The post-production result for version 1.
The result for the first iteration had a few issues that came as a result of first-time experience in the Lab. The laser takes some time to warm up, so the top of my engraved name (notably the I and H) was cut a bit short. In addition, the laser cut had not fully burned through the top end of the 1/8 inch plywood, resulting in an unrefined edge along the top.
Version 2 brought new changes, the most prominent being a decorative border around the outer edge of the nameplate. In addition to the border, I learned how to align objects horizontally and vertically, allowing for a more clean layout on the design.
Version 2 of the design, featuring a border and aligned elements.
Version 2 of the resulting product, with a missing section of wood on the bottom left edge.
I didn’t realize until the near-end of the engraving process that my choice of wood did not give me enough room to carve out the entire piece. As a result, a small section on the bottom edge was missing from the final product. I’ll look to keep a closer eye on that in the future.
Onto Version 3! This one was focused on refining the design I already felt comfortable with. Changes include:
- Adjusting the curve on the edges of the inner border to feel more aligned with the outer border
- Enlarging the name and date texts to make more efficient use of the whitespace remaining withing the tag.
Design for version 3, with adjusted text and borders.
Printed result for version 3, with no major issues or concerns remaining.
Design and Planning:
For my name tag, I wanted to pick something that not only would represent me, but that I could actually use in my day-to-day life. When I’m not in classes, I am a full-time Linux Systems Administrator for the University’s College of Engineering. As such, I was thought I’d make the name tag have something to do with Linux and computers in general. So I had to start by having the Linux mascot on there, so Tux was used to represent my Linux involvement. I then also used my name converted into ASCII binary and placed it underneath my name in regular ASCII. I also wanted to show that not only was I a Linux enthusiast, but I am also an administrator, so a little command line excerpt from Linux to show that I am root also seemed appropriate. That was for the front. for the back, I figured I could try and get fancy. I added the Commodore logo which was the brand of the first computer I ever used. I also included a QR code that would correspond to a vcard with my contact information. This still seemed to simplistic for me, and I had work-provided name tags that were no real different. So I thought, what if I had it hold my business cards that was I can take it to conferences and have them at the ready! and my idea was born! Finally, I decided to use the same font that is used on most computer terminals, and I downloaded the custom font pack and chose one I liked.
To accomplish the ability to hold business cards, I decided to try a three piece construction, a front and back, with a spacer to give room for ~10 cards. The back had a cutout to allow the top edge of the cards to be seen, as well as a finger cutout to make it easier to pull out a card. Earlier ideas had the slot for the cards on the side, but without complicating the design further, it was going to be too easy for the cards to fall out, as such I opted to use gravity to my advantage.
Final set of pieces cut out of 1/8″ clear acrylic on the Universal Laser. Since gluing acrylic can be tricky and I decided to use a mechanical means of fastening the three pieces. This then would also make it such that I could print multiple backs and fronts and swap them out depending on the occasion. Since the software would be far more precise than I could be with a drill, I opted to have the laser vector out the holes for the screws.
In doing this, I did discover that sometimes (either by my hand or a bug with inkscape) my drawing has been nudged by ~1/64″ and since I was working at a precision of 1/32″ I needed to correct this. So a lot of fine detail work and use of inkscape’s snapping tools helped me make sure the three pieces were as identical as I could make them.
Overall, I am quite happy with how it turned out. things I would need to address if I could do it again would be to find a way to give the rasters more contrast since they can be a bit hard to see. Also, my QR code ended up not working, I think due to the contrast issue described. Otherwise, my meticulousness with the measurements was fruitful, everything fit together great, the slot for the cards fits like a glove, yet allows them to be pulled out easily. Furthermore, it was functional as I was able to wear it!
I did add a piece of orange paper (go Illini) to the front to help with contrast. I tried to use paint pens and sharpie to color in the rasters, but I could not get it to look right, so I wiped it all off. Furthermore, printing it in a mirrored manner so that the rasters are actually on the bottom/inside instead of the outside would eliminate the shadowing effect which might make it easier to read.Continue Reading
At first, I tried brainstorming with a friend on ideas on how to represent myself on a nametag. I tried to have him write down thoughts that come up when he thinks of me, which turned out to be disastrous.
So instead, I decided to make a nametag that shows what I like, my hobbies/passion. The most recent accomplishment/passion I have accomplished was building a PC this summer, so I decided to make a nametag that resembles the most important PC part for gaming, the graphics card. The graphic card I bought is the Sapphire 5700XT Pulse, so I wanted to replicate it into the nametag, which turned out to be design-wise extremely difficult.
So instead, I decided to take designs from two different graphics card, a NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080 TI and a Radeon RX5700XT. I took the front design of the 1080TI and the backplate design of the RX 5700XT.
First, I tired to trace the bit map of the two graphics card which turned out not ideal for lasering. Instead, I drew the outline using the “Draw Bezier curves and straight lines” tool from Inkscape to outline the most important designs of the GPU. Also, instead of having the name of the GPU, I decided to insert my name using the same font. The font is called GeForce, which I had to download online and use Notepad to type my name and copy it over to Inkscape.
The part I had the most trouble with was the several lines running along the gpu. Thankfully, Duncan showed several features of Inkscape that were very helpful in drawing the lines and tidying it up, such as the feature to line up all the lines, and etc.
I then glued up these pieces to make the name tag thicker, like a GPU.
The final product is simpler than the product I had in mind, which was a mini GPU model with an actual working fan. I quickly realized that this would make it too complicated for a simple nametag, and that I lack the knowledge and skills to make such a nametag. Even the process of putting in the vector lines and raster was quite complicated, and would have been impossible with out Duncan’s help. If I revisited the project for my final project, I would definitely try making a small GPU model with more details and complexity.
For my name tag, I wanted to do something fun and related to a fandom I like. After going through a couple of ideas, I decided make mine themed on the book/show Good Omens.
Design and Build Process
Initially, I had lots of different ideas floating around in my head, but none of them were quite complete and I couldn’t settle on one. I decided to start making some designs, thinking that maybe when I saw them for real it would help me narrow down my options. This worked fairly well to get me to settle on the Good Omens theme.. After I chose it, however, I majorly changed the design from something like this:
to my final design:
I did this mostly because I needed to have 4 pictures/text on it and I liked how it looked better when I started adding images to the book design than the wing design.
I also encountered some problems using the machine. The color of my lines had red at 253 and a few other little things were off. Once I went back and fixed that in Inkscape, it worked perfectly!
Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. I like how intricate the laser was able to make the design, especially in the drop cap letters. As far as improvements go, its a little bit singed in certain parts. Also, one of the wings ended up a bit lighter than I wanted, which could be fixed with more practice learning how the gray scale on the computer translates to the color on the real product.Continue Reading
On my name tag, I decided to showcase myself as a nature lover because that’s who I am at heart. I love taking walks in nature or even just doing my homework on the quad. I have found myself growing spiritually when in nature, therefore nature is important to me.
I had to first get a forest’s image from the internet because I wanted that to be my background as inspired by a CUC Fablab Pinterest post. Because I chose black acrylic for my material, I had to invert the contrast of my black and white image that I had converted to black and white on photoshop. This was the solution for correctly printing the image when I chose to print my name tag on black acrylic instead of wood and the people on duty at open hours helped me. I chose black acrylic instead of wood as I wanted the image to have deep contrasts although I had originally wanted to use wood. Then I vectorized my initials on the picture and rastered the words ‘nature lover’ on top of the image. I also vectorized a border and a fern separate from the image and pasted them on top of the overall vectorized image.
The overall print of the image came out really well. The words ‘Nature Lover’ weren’t as obvious on the name tag, so they could have been made to look more enhanced. Lasering it was the easy part for me but designing everything on Inkscape and converting the idea in my head to a design on Inkscape was the hard part because of the steps involved in taking a small idea to work on the laser. I learned that the steps involved are what I will need to pay attention to in this class. At the first stage of imagining a design, I felt like I needed to think hard about how I wanted to design my name tag. I came up with something but it was too simple, so I went on Pinterest for inspiration. I was inspired by a business card and decided to create something like it. At designing the name tag on Inkscape, I was excited but had to focus on the different steps and give them my attention. Once the design was done, I was excited to go my favorite part of actually lasering it. I was hopeful that the universal machine would print my idea as I had imagined it and it printed an even better version of what I had imagined. Overall, I really enjoyed the whole process.
Motive & Initial Design
At first, I thought the name tag is a boring topic to work with. I wondered how I would be able to make a name tag to be something interesting and useful at the same time. During the lab section, I heard one of the instructors mentioning the word “maze,” and I immediately came up with an idea for my name tag. I wanted to include a mini-game where a ball would navigate within the maze made of my name. Having a mini-game within the name tag would make my name tag interesting and useful.
The initial design included four layers: base, a maze of my name, solid lid, and the transparent lid.
I encountered two problems during my first construction. First, I had difficulty finding a ball small enough to fit the maze. The smallest ball I was able to find was the head of a pin that I had to cut off the pin, but it wasn’t entirely round and still wasn’t small enough to freely roam around the maze. The second problem was that there wasn’t any glue that would work well with wood and transparent acrylic plastic because it would leave glue marks visible. Also, the glue would spread to the maze itself, causing the ball to stick to the ground preventing it from rolling.
On my second design, I added an extra layer that would prevent the transparent lid from falling apart. This way, the lid would stay in place without needing to glue it, which solves one of the problems. I also increased the overall size of the name tag, which allowed the ball to move around freely without needing to find a smaller size ball. I changed the body material of the name tag from acrylic plastic to wood and added extra space on the size, which allowed me to use wood glue and preventing the glue from spreading into the maze. To fill up space on the side, I added some rasters on the side with the shape of a Gameboy which fits the theme. After sanding the edges, I ended up with a clean, functioning name tag with a mini-game function.
There were two critical things that I learned from this process. First, no matter how good you think the design is, there are going to be flaws and factors that need to be changed. Second, the final product is going to be so much better if it went through the improvement process after the rough draft. I encountered multiple problems during the first construction that I did not expect, such as finding a ball and gluing issues. Once I spent the time to fix the problems I noticed during the first construction, I was able to improve my final product significantly.Continue Reading
I created a very poor implementation of a circuit design that I was very proud of. In the below video, I discuss issues with the quality of my implementation –
- poorly secured battery, and a
- poor work-around to prevent the battery from draining, and
- poor connections between components.
I wanted to create a name tag, that was a wooden cube with a button on the top, and this button would turn on an LED. It would incorporate wood working, and circuit design. My plan was to redeem my poor copper circuit by addressing its issues in the following ways.
- Secure my battery in place with superglue (I verified that this was safe).
- Secure connections between components with Soldering rather than tightly wrapped copper tape
- Circuit design where open circuit when button is unpressed, so that battery does not drain
Additionally, for the button design, I drew inspiration from Brandon’s Midi Controller project. I used the same design process and parameters as he did, and arrived at a well functioning ‘button’ with my name tag on it.
I also soldered the wires of my LED circuit to my LED. This was my first experience with soldering – my friends in Mechanical Engineering taught me to solder, and I took it from there. It was a rewarding process, I was surprised at how easily the solder material would melt and reform, and impressed by how secure the connections it created were.
I investigated and determined it was safe for me to solder one of the wires to the coin cell battery I was using (my initial plan was to secure it with copper tape). I soldered the black wire to the bottom of my battery.
My plan was that when the button was pushed, the battery would be directly beneath the button, and the button would make the blue wire touch the top of the battery and complete the circuit.
An issue I had was that if I just taped the blue wire to the base of mu button and pressed the button, it wouldn’t always reliably complete the circuit. I needed to always push the button at the location where the blue wire was taped below, so that that point was the lowest point and touched the battery.
I needed to create a larger surface area for the button to complete the circuit. So instead of the button pushing the end of the blue wire onto the button, it would push a copper tape onto the button. The copper tape would secure well to the button, and would ensure that it would have a larger area of contact with the button.
I had to find a way to connect the blue wire to the copper tape however, and here my MechE friends pointed out to me that I can solder the blue wire onto my copper tape! I was so excited about this possibility, I tried it and it worked perfectly. I am now a huge fan of soldering.
After I stick the tape to the bottom of my button, the full circuit looks like this.
To create the sides of my cube, I used popsicle sticks, and cut them down to the right size using a wood saw. Here’s how the finished product functions!
I’m very happy with how this project turned out. To test that I met my goals, I threw my cube against a wall and shook it in my hand very hard (in an attempt to loosen the connections. The soldered connections stayed intact, the heaviest component (the battery) was tightly secured with superglue, and the connection was always completed (irrespective of where my finger was positioned on the button) due to the larger surface area provided by the copper tape.
I’m glad that I was able to address all the shortcomings of my earlier copper tape project and create a much more reliable design.
My woodworking could use more finesse, however.Continue Reading