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

Project #8 : Iteration

I remade the watch I tried making the first time. It did not fit my wrist, nor did it feel like a watch. I was inspired by a bangle bracelet and made a watch device like that.

This iteration, I decided to go back into the original watch face. I based my watch size on a women’s watch and used SolidWorks to model that. I thought about how I could make the ban of the watch and decided to use something similar to how the Apple Watch does it.

I made multiple iterations by fixing the shape. 

My second iteration actually let me slide the plate through. But it does not bend well, so I can wear it comfortably on my wrist. I made a third iteration that curved the flaps so it fits better on my wrist.

I also remade the chain joint because it did not fit together properly before. The chain works but the slot in the watch did not print well, so the chains could not fit through it.

I modeled it a fourth time and will update with photos! But it has that curved band on the watch and the chains will link the watch together. This iteration was better than my original one because: it fits my wrist, it has a flexible ban, and not bulky. I was aiming to make this a smart device where our phones can be on our wrist. The classic watch face is familiar and feels comfortable on just about anyone’s hands which is why I went with this face instead of a curved screen bangle.


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Locomoting Pom Pom Bot

At first, trying to imagine what my PomPom Bot would look like felt counterintuitive. I wanted to have the parts able to move before designing the pom pom bot. But, after playing around with the pom poms and feathers, I decided to name my bot Paco, who is learning how to walk! And Paco’s very excited about this new development. I designed my bot to try to evoke this sort of innocence. At first I used popsicle sticks as the bot’s legs. I ended up changing the legs to some cut outs someone left behind from making a box (I liked the ridges on the scraps) and glueing them to the servo right at the middle, instead of how I had it in Take 1. I was happy with my code, as I was able to move it forward. But because I fixed the legs, the bot seemed to make bigger strides, at one point rolling over.

I hadn’t worked with codes prior to this class. I think that was the new element for me. Playing around with the code, fiddling with the angle start and angle direction. It felt less and less intimidating for me as the time passed. This taught me to dive right in, and think about form versus function (which was what I first focused on). It was interesting to note how much of the final prototype reflects that shift, for me at least.

First look

New legs!

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Iteration Project

I decided to do a second iteration of my laser name tag assignment:

(Left and right) My first name tags from earlier in the semester!










I had a lot of fun with this assignment as well as quickly saw what were things I would do over (for example, the size of the vector cuts/what was supposed to be cut; what information I wanted to raster). This time around, I wanted to incorporate some of the things we learned during the e-textiles sessions. I decided to stay with the Pokemon theme, and ended up stumbling upon the idea of making a Pokedex style tag / “business” card.

Using Inkscape once again

Final version







My idea was to have LEDs light up in place of where the Pokemon badges were (I was thinking maybe having a cut-out outline to show the shape of the badges. I would sew in the LEDs and use a parallel circuit to get it to light up. Because I now had left over badges from the vector cuts, I decided to make vinyl stickers to add dimension/as decoration. The battery pack/switch is sewn in the back, where the pokeball would be. 

If I were to do another iteration of this assignment, I would consider using an LCD screen and perhaps 3D printing the pieces to construct an actual Pokedex. Or even, using digital embroidery to make the badges while still using the sewable LEDs. What I liked about this iteration is that it is all the more hands-on. Quite frankly, it feels very fun! I’m not sure I would be able to present this as a form of ID or as a business card, but it is a start. 

Figuring out placement of LEDs using the acrylic stencil

Final product, with lights AND badges!

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Moving Pom-Pom Bot

Initial Concept

At first I thought I’d make a pom-pom bot that moved by wiggling a tail, like a snake. It would have a long tail and a short face, that I’d decorate with the pom-poms and fabric. I knew I’d use popsicle sticks for the frame of the tail and to hold the motors, and I’d hoped to use pom-poms as the “feet” to propel my snake/worm thing forwards. This idea didn’t quite have an inspiration. I was coming up with methods of movement (like a knee joint to walk with), and the snake was the second one I came up with. I liked it because it didn’t seem like a traditional method of movement!

The first prototype didn’t move forward at all. It wagged back and forth, but didn’t go anywhere! This was due to a few things. By putting pom-poms on the “feet”, everything needed to balance rather than just rest on the feet. That meant each section of the tail I’d built would tilt back and forth, as well as not have enough contact with the ground due to the pom-pom’s slide-y nature. I also had issues with the physical design for the tail movement joint. Connecting the two servos and having one be mounted on the surfacer the other moved proved to be tricky: the connection was weak and prone to falling apart and also didn’t provide enough weight downwards to make the servos move the bot. For the redesign, I decided to  1) not have pom-poms in contact with the ground and 2) to use a different method of locomotion since I couldn’t figure out how to connect the servos better.

Updated Prototype

For the redesign I decided on another method of movement inspired by nature: a crab walk. The code was pretty similar, but the physical bot would be quite different. I constructed a bench-like mount for the servos, with pom-poms on the bottom so that it could slide, and built little windshield wipers for the servos. My idea was that the wipers would go in sync and sort of push the bot up and forwards to walk, and the bot as a whole would resemble a crab. This design also failed. I was unable to securely mount the servos at an angle, which was needed to get the upwards and forwards motion. I tried working with everything horizontal, which made my robot dance in place! I didn’t do much decorating on this version, since I was experimenting with a totally different physical design. To improve it, I thought I would take each leg of the “crab” and mount them on opposite sides, and maybe get a side-to-side motion that slowly moved forwards.

Final Design

I attempted to simply move the legs of the crab bot around, but encountered two issues: weight distribution (it wasn’t squarely on the feet, so the whole bot would slide around on the pom-poms and not get anywhere), and bad servo mounting. I ended up mounting the servos vertically, rather than horizontally, which gave me a great side-to-side swaying motion as well as allowing the feet to get enough purchase on the ground to move forwards. I also added a long tail for balance, which has a knob of glue on the end to keep the bot steady as it moves. I added much of the decoration before seeing how it moved, which was much more snake-like than I anticipated! I was still aiming for a sort of crab motion, but accidentally ended up with the motion I wanted originally.

I was somewhat surprised at how difficult it was to build working mechanics out of simple materials like the popsicle sticks. Hot glue bonds failed, things were more flexible than I envisioned, and nothing weighed enough to give the effect I wanted! Designing with light and flexible materials is definitely challenging; it’s very different from how I picture things moving in my mind. If I were to do this again, I would think a bit more about how I’ll build the movement mechanism, rather than what movement mechanism I’ll build. If I had spent more time thinking about popsicle sticks and how to make the connections I wanted I would have been saved some headaches in the 1st and 2nd prototype stage.

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Arduino Pom-pom bot_Red Elmo

Initial construction/prototype

  • Take a photo or video of your initial pom-pom bot fabrication
  • How do you plan to approach your physical and/or software redesign?
  • What challenges or failures did you encounter with your initial physical design (e.g. materials, locomotion) and/or initial code?
  • What are you going to try to improve about your design?
  • Do you plan on changing any of your materials?

At first I want to make Elmo pom-pom bot which moves up and down (Elmo popping up from the trash can). However, the main goal of this assignment was to make the pom-pom bot move forward with horizontal movement, not vertical movement. I first designed to make my pom-pom bot both move up and down and forward. When I first thought of vertical movement, I was curious how could I make the pom-pom bot up and down with motor of moving 180 degrees. I got help from my TA. For up and down movement, I planned to use push rod and cam shaft. The time was limited and when I tried with the paper folding instructions, its was difficult to stick servos with paper. To be honest, taking process of coding two directional movements was quite difficult to me. I changed the design of my pom-pom bot.


Update your design and make a 2nd prototype

You must construct and document a minimum of two pom-pom bot design iterations

  • Take a photo or video of your updated pom-pom bot design
  • Did your update(s) to your initial design work? Discuss why you believe your design updates were successful or not.
  • Did you encounter any new challenges or failures with the physical design (e.g. materials, locomotion) and/or code?
  • What are you going to try to improve about your design?
  • Do you plan on changing any of your materials?


My second design was totally different from my initial prototype. I thought the second design might work because there was only one movement. What I thought was how should I make this pom-pom bot move forward. When I worked with this servo, it was at a standstill. So the first thing I did for making it forward is to differentiate the move of two servos. I made the second servo to delay 10 seconds. The first servo was more power when it moves. Then, I sticked the wood to the servo to make a leg of Elmo. I thought it would move forward if there is something encumber like wheels. I had a thought of wagon wheel. Then, I thought if there is one more wood stick and the shape of wood connected to servo is X, the pom-pom bot might go ahead. Before I connected the servo with my pom-pom bot, I thought it is better to make the servo-connected wood as arms instead of legs. When I connected all together, it seemed like Elmo was swimming the backstroke.


Final pom-pom bot

  • Take a video of your final pom-pom bot (link to youtube or google drive video)
  • Discuss how your final pom-pom bot appearance and locomotion is like and how it is different than your initial pom-pom bot concept
  • Was there anything about this design process that was new or surprising to you?
  • How would you approach a similar problem differently in the future based on this experience?  


My first design and final product are different. The main purpose of the pom-pom bot is different. If I had more time I would work more on the first design. I wanted to make cute pop up Elmo trash can first. However, my final Elmo has also storyline; my final pom-pom bot looks like red Elmo which has quite big and long arms trying to reach to the black cute dust. During the process of completing this assignment, I thought lot. I should make my pom-pom bot to move forward. This specific purpose made me think a lot. What will make my pom-pom bot to go ahead instead of staying in the same spot. Finally I made my Elmo to get closer to black dust! If there is difficult task, I should think a lot. I first tried to understand what is the problem. Why the servo just stay in the same place? Second step was thinking other subjects which works in this same situation. If the shape of the servo is circle like a wheel, then it will go forward? Then, design with implementation.

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Pom Pom Arduino Ski Guy

My pom pom bot was inspired by skiing. Instead of using legs to move my robot, I thought of using a skiing arm motion to propel the robot forward. The materials I thought of using were popsicle sticks for the legs, arms, and body.

For the first prototype, I built the entire body and legs portion. I used one servo on each side acting as the skiing arms and poles. As you can see from the video, the robot can move forward, but in order to put the arms back into the initial position, it moves itself back. I needed to find a way to lift the arms, so that when the arms go back to the initial position, it wouldn’t touch the ground and make the robot go backwards. 

For my second prototype, I ended up adding a servo to each side to act as shoulders. The function of these new servos is to lift the original two servos so that when the arms move, the ski poles won’t touch the ground. It was difficult getting both arms and shoulders to act symmetrically. If they weren’t symmetric, then the bot wouldn’t move straight as I’d like it to. In the code, I had to time the angles of both sides correctly and test how large the angles should be to get the forward motion I wanted. 

Now that I got the robot to work, it’s time to make it look fancy! I dressed up my bot in a coat, snowpants, scarf, and a pom pom hat using poms poms, felt, and pipe cleaners from the Fab Lab. The clothes I made covers up most of the servos and the cables come out from the pom pom hat, so that the cables and Arduino don’t get in the way when the pom pom bot is moving. 

One thing I learned is to start with a simple project and work from there. It was daunting when I was trying to think of a finished project, so much so that at first, I didn’t even know how to start. The format of this assignment made it easy to think small before thinking big. 

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Project 7 – Locomoting Pom Pom Bot

Initial Concept:

I wanted to create a literal “Pom Pom” ball that walks. I chose to use pom pom balls as bases, building volume by glueing each ball with another one, until I get the right size. For the legs, I planned to cut down the popsicle sticks into small pieces (0.5in * 0.5in) and piling them into pillars so that I can achieve short-but-effective walking legs (Corgi-style). I would then attach the sides of the servo propeller to each leg component. However…

Initial Construction:

The popsicle sticks were not sturdy enough for me to cut them into smaller pieces. As I tried to cut them with scissors, the wood chipped, or broke into vertical slices. With the fragility in mind, I had to come up with a different plan for the legs.

Second Construction:

I chose to have two horizontal bars, or “skis”, with the propeller attached to the middle so that the fluffball can at least waddle its way through. in order to achieve the walking movement, I had to design another way of locomotion. After some trial-and-error, I sketched a scheme for the feet to move forward. 

The problem I encountered then was how to overcome the wooden sticks from slipping. To fix this:

    1. I added hot glue blobs on the bottom of the feet -> still slips, due to the spherical apperance
    2. I cut hot glue sticks and pasted the little cylinders on the feet -> better, but still slips
    3. With nippers, I cut out little pieces to the glue stick pieces so I can get the rugged, “sneaker-like” texture. 

 (iteration 2 on bottom, 3 on top)

Final Pom Pom Bot:

The rugged hot glue stick still hasn’t made the bot to move without any skidding, especially on surfaces with less friction (such as desks!). I could have added a weight to make the bot become heavier (which might add on to the whole friction), but I did not want to dissect the already-glued pom poms to experiment. To improvise, I gave the fluff two ears and a tail, along with decorating the cords with slinky pom poms so that it looks like a leash.  If I “walk” the bot, giving the leash a slight tension, the bot will walk more smoothly than before. 

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Pom-Pom Bot

This week we are doing pom-pom bot with Arduino servos. The goal is to make it move. I have no idea what’s the mechanics behind the movement of moving from point A to B. Before I start my physical construction, I plan to make something that looks like a snake with puffball, but my plan does not work out.

Before I actually start working on the initial construction, I googled Arduino with servos. Most of the designs are walking bot with well function feet and knees. But then I found another tutorial with only two servos, which looks like an insect.

pom pom bot-1So here is my 1st prototype. It’s able to move from point A to point B with only one servo (another servo does not respond…). The problem of the 1st prototype is that one of the servos does not respond and the other problem is that it’s only a skeleton.

I decided to stop there and waited until another open hour to continue my 2nd prototype. But because of Easter, the Fab Lab did not open.

The first thing I worked on for the 2nd prototype is the pom-pom design. I combined the foot with puff balls with the goal to make something like dog or horse. But somehow it blended with the idea of snakes and caterpillar and become a weird creature.pom pom bot-2nd

So then, after I uploaded the program onto the board, I noticed that the reason it kept walking at the same point is that the leg is not balanced. So one of the legs did not lift. I made the leg thick and put hot glue at the bottom of each leg to increase friction. And how it moves is to move backward.

I think the whole process that bothers me the most is how to make it move. And I am too focused on that, but with zero knowledge of how to do it. So after all, I am unsatisfied with the design and unsatisfied with the movement.

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Pom pom bot

For this project, I worked on a design with 3 servos including two to sweep the bot along and one that acts as an arm to lift the sweeping servos as they calibrate after each sweep without pushing the bot in the opposite direction. A sketch is shown below.



Below is the outcome of my initial idea.


The programming was rather erratic for this design, but even with that shortcoming, I was able to see a couple of shortcomings in the design. For one, the levers to “row” the bot don’t have enough surface area in contact with the table to create enough friction to effectively push the bot. Also, the 3 servos exert to much weight in one direction and I needed to add a counterweight to stop the bot from falling over.

To fix the issue with the lack of friction, I switched the plane of rotation of the two sweep servos to the plane of robot travel rather than perpendicular to that plane. Doing so provided much more surface area for the robot to row along. The outcome was a much more effective pom pom bot.

During testing for my pom pom bot, the lever holding the two sweep servos fell off, which led me to rethink that design. I tried to use a shorter arm at first, but I ran into the issue that the long sweep pieces would collide with the rest of the bot and the ground during calibration. This caused more issues than it solved and so I went ahead and redid the arm the same way. But the bot still had too much friction on the stationary component. To solve this issue, I added pom poms to the bottom of it and reduced the friction. I still could not reattach the pivot servo. The glue would not hold. But my final robot can be shown below.




I found it interesting for this project that creating the robot with a specific function in mind led to a form that I was pleased with. Even with regards to form, I’d set out to make the robot work one way but would make a mistake and realized that my mistake created a better robot. I initially had my bot going in a specific direction, but quickly realized that it was making more progress in the opposite direction. Thus, I switched directions of motion of my bot. My iteration led to improvements in form and function. My final design is more functional and more aesthetically pleasing than my initial design. For future designs, I would put less strain on connections that could not handle significantly more stress than I put it under, unlike how I used hot glue for everything and watched it fall apart.


A video can be seen here.

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Pom pom bot – Aisha Motan

Hi, this week we learned how to use our arduinos to make sensors move. In doing so we created pom pom bots. My pom pom bot was inspired by the volkswagon van and I wanted to make it puffy and able to stand on its own and have its own very original vibe. In my first iteration, I age it thicker popsicle stand legs to get it to move because I thought since my bot seemed a bit heavy it would need larger legs to keep it up. I was surprised that my first iteration wasn’t as successful as I thought it would be 


Here is my first iteration:

seeing that this didn’t work because very soon the legs fell off the pom pom bot as I tried to get it to move, i decided to try the complete opposite since my first try was such a fail and went with thin popsicle sticks on their own and this is how that turned out. Honestly, I was hoping this would be better, it wasn’t the best,  but it was definitely not the worst since it still make somewhat of a progress. 


Here is my second iteration:


Finally, seeing that my first two iterations weren’t not that successful I was inspired by my pom pom bot to think outside the box of just one stick since i didn’t just use one color to decorate it. I decided to stick to popsicle sticks together in a cross formation and then add glue on the ends to them to their friction compatible with the table in order for it to move better. I was happy with my last and final iteration. 


Here is my final iteration:


Overall, It was difficult to get my code to work and not seeing any progress on my bot until the second iteration was discouraging but at the end it was amazing to see how a few fixes could really make all the difference and it got my bot to move. Also, I loved my design. I thought it was really cute and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to look with my inspiration in mind. Also adding the hot glue was the most helpful thing because it really added the extra push to get the bot to move properly. If i were to do anything differently, I might not add pom poms to the side of the bot and just leave that empty for the legs to get it to move. Maybe that would help it move more smoothly. 

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Arduino Locomoting Pom-Pom Bot Assignment – Rebecca Tu

My pom-pom bot’s locomotion was inspired by me seeing elderly people walking on the street with canes. I wanted to make my pom-pom shuffle across the surface and slowly move forward. If it went to fast, it would tip over just like how the elderly would lose their balance if they walked too fast with their canes. I planned to use popsicle sticks as legs and I wanted it to have minion colors because I love minions.

This is my initial construction:

This was a very weak bot. It fell when moving the legs. I need to make the legs thicker (stack on more popsicle sticks) so it will have more support and not fall immediately. The bot moved way too much though. I will decrease the angle of rotation to be much less than 180 degrees.


2nd prototype:

The base was still not too firm, I need to add a popsicle stick bar going across the two feet from the front and back so the two feet are sturdier. I also need to add hot glue to the bottom of the right leg in order too let the bot have some friction and be less able to fall. The leg won’t slip when the other leg is trying to move.

Final iteration:

My final pom-pom locomotion was different from the first iteration because in the first iteration, I had the legs swinging all the way back and all the way forward. That did not help me balance the bot at all. I was surprised that I thought about adding glue to the bottom of the leg to increase friction when it moved across the surface. I always thought of glue as a means to hold things together, not for the actual surface.

Based on this experience, when I do build things, I will approach the problem thinking that there is more than one way to solve it. I will think about building on top of what I already have. I learned that even when I think I can’t do anything extra to make it better, there always is a way to better it.

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Pom-Pom Bot – Nick Desai

For this assignment we had to make a robot using an Arduino, a couple servo motors, and lots and lots of arts and crafts supplies. In section, I made a kind of tripod-like thing that tried to scoot itself along the ground by scraping a leg across the ground, then lifting it and moving it back to its initial position. I spent so long trying to get the locomotion to work (and even in the end it still didn’t work that well) that I had to rush the decoration at the end.

And the code to drive it, with tons of Moire patterns because I didn’t think to take a screenshot until just now when I was writing this:

The first bot didn’t end up being that stable (notably, not included in these videos are all the times it fell over during testing), so I decided for the actual project I would make something less likely to collapse. I came up with the idea for how the next version would move by thinking about how I would move if I had only one leg. I thought I would kind of push or pull myself along by extending and contracting my knee. So I designed a robot that would have one leg and use it to push itself along.


My first attempt at actually building this went… pretty badly. I was able to get the robot built, but it had absolutely no traction, even with the pom-poms attached it just scraped ineffectively at the ground. And the main body was unbalanced because of the servo motor, so it kept tilting to one side without the Arduino sitting on it.

(This video includes the cross-piece on the leg, but I didn’t replace the pom-poms with it until realizing the design had problems, so it’s more properly part of the second iteration)

For the second iteration, I realized I needed way more traction, and I needed to fix the balance issue. For the balance, I put a bunch of broken popsicle sticks on the lighter side of the base to counter the weight of the “thigh” part pulling it to one side. And I kept the cross-piece on the foot, but I added a bunch of hot glue along the bottom edge to give it more grip on the ground. I also changed the code to make it lift the leg up before bringing it back to the starting position, so it didn’t undo all the hard work of pushing itself forward. I also realized having the Arduino on the bot itself was adding too much weight, so I took it off and balanced the bot with a popsicle stick across the front instead.

The result actually worked really well! Here’s a video, complete with obligatory footage of me messing up the USB cable:

Then came time to decorate. Since this assignment was called “Pom-pom bot”, I thought I would put absolutely no pom-poms on it at all, so instead I covered the main body in felt and put a bunch of feathers everywhere. I think maybe some of the glue I used to affix the felt and feathers might have run to the underside and slowed the bot down a bit, but the increase in style was absolutely worth it:

And the code to run it:

One of the biggest challenges was actually getting the wires not to interfere. I wish I had a longer USB cable, since I think my bot curved to the side a bit because of the wire pulling on it.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this assignment!


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