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

Iteration Assignment – Nicholas Agate

     For this iteration project, I originally set out to create a box that would hold my vinyl collection, but I quickly realized that the box would be larger, and more costly than I wanted it to be. I then tried to think of another box that could be useful and came up with a gear box for my guitar accessories. I did not previously have any type of specific storage for my guitar gear, so this was an exciting project for me. I ultimately wanted to end up with a box that was lined with felt, had a hole for a lighting insert, had a walled off section to hold picks, and a design that featured bird cutouts, guitar rasters, and my name and the year. I mainly wanted to feature my name as an aspect from the laser name tag assignment because this new box would be the same expression of my love for music, but with an increase in difficulty and complexity. This final box would ideally be in my home or future office and would serve as both useful storage and a conversation piece. Please see the sketch below and original laser name tag below.

     After creating my design, I decided to create a smaller scale box that would be the same design as the final, large box. I did this because I was not one hundred percent sure that the two-piece box was the one that I wanted to commit to. I also wanted to see how the pieces would fit together so that I could have a better understanding of the box for my final design. For both the small scale box and the final box, I used the website Please see the small scale box below.

     Next, I began making my design alterations to the SVG file that I downloaded from I imported images of birds that would end up being vectored, and guitar silhouettes that would end up being rastered. I then created peg holes for the new walls and two square holes for lighting access. Finally, I added my name and the year. Please see my Inkscape progress pictures below.

     I then bought some material from Hobby Lobby which included a hobby knife, felt with adhesive, wood conditioner, wood glue, and wood stain. I applied the felt to the bottom of the box and then cut out each hole that the walls would fit into. After this, I fit the walls together and used a rubber mallet to make sure that the walls fit snugly. Please see a picture and video of the felt work below.


     The walls of the inner box were difficult to fit into the pegs because of the felt, but I ran into a real issue when I realized that I had not designed one of my square holes correctly. I did not notice that one of the walls in the Inkscape design would have to be flipped when creating the box, so the holes did not line up at all. I also cut all the wood that I would need at school and brought all of the materials to my house for weekend assembly. This meant that I had to wait until the Monday after Easter and after the assignment deadline to laser cut a new piece. If I had observed my Inkscape design more carefully, I could have avoided this. Please see the progress pictures (including the error) and video below.

     Finally, I assembled the box with the new outer wall featuring the square hole in the correct position. Another issue that I ran into came from there not being enough play between the inner walls and outer walls. So, I sanded the inside of the outer walls in an attempt to fix the issue. I then applied wood conditioner and wood stain to the outer walls of the box in order to give it the darker look that I wanted. I had never stained wood before, so I used the website And for the light element, I used an Arduino and a breadboard with an LED. The square hole allowed for the breadboard to be inserted neatly into the box. Please see the sanding, staining, and gear pictures below.

     I think that this has been my favorite Informatics 490 project so far. I was able to take inspiration from my original laser name tag that highlighted my love for music, and make a project that is even more meaningful. I ran into bumps along the way, including the hole misalignment and the play between boxes, but I worked hard to fix these issues. Even with these problems, I had fun making this gear box. As I mentioned earlier, I could have avoided the misalignment issue if I had carefully gone over my Inkscape design, so that is what I would do differently next time. Finally, please see the final product pictures and videos below. Thank you for reading.



Birds Silhouettes:

Electric Guitar Silhouette:…0.0..……1….1..gws-wiz-img.hJ4nuFrfX44#imgrc=IvEIxUypWts9RM:

Acoustic Guitar Silhouette:…0.0..……1….1..gws-wiz-img.hJ4nuFrfX44#imgrc=uJi9kKOlyQBurM:

Two-Piece Box Design:

Wood Staining Tutorial:




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