Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Posts Tagged ‘Section: Dot’

Sewing and Embroidery Project

Subtitle: I Did Not Realize I Could Mess Up So Many Things In So Many Ways, Incredible. 

Other possible subtitles: Embroidery Machines Why Don’t You Love Me, How Did I Lose The Pupils??, I Should Really Figure Out The Ladder Stitch, and Why Don’t I Own Fabric Scissors.

I’m not proud of this project as much as I would like to be (which is even suckier considering its late, oops), but I still learned a lot.

First, the in-class stuff:

I seriously love this bag. I’d love to have another. I might make another, honestly.

This is the embroidery: It’s a head of a white wolf, from japanese folklore called Amaterasu, the sun god, It’s specifically a video game adaptation. It’s called chibiterasu. its adorable.


Final Product!


He’s a kitty bean, and a lovely mint color (although it doesn’t come out super great in photos). Also, yes, his pupils are not there. I have no idea where the eye shines went. More elaboration later.

This is the embroidery part; I was worried about embroidering on the softer mink fabric, so I decided to make him a lil cape. I was gonna put a hood on it too, but due to me not having fabric scissors, I don’t want to risk cutting the black fabric more than I have. 

The embroidery did /not/ come out good. I would like to redo it entirely, but the embroidery machines gave me a surprising amount of trouble and I didn’t have time to iterate on it. 🙁 Per Duncan’s opinion, that white etchy-look was due to the bobbin thread being loose. It’s supposed to look a lot cleaner (a picture of the PES file is also below). I debated turning it over and using the white side instead, but opted against it in the end.

I might redo the embroidery at some point, just for me, once I have time. I like embroidering, but I have a weird amount of difficulty with the machines. After not having enough time + breaking a needle on a machine + the weird threading issue + starting over a few times on embroidering, I think any time set aside for embroidery needs to have at least an extra hour or too to account for my inability to use the machines properly,

I spent a good amount of time putting together the design myself. Once I knew what fabric I wanted to use, and that I wanted a cape, I wanted some kind of sprawling plant design with maybe some scattered stars but couldn’t find anything I wanted online so I, (admittedly panicking at this time because i was already running on limited time), threw something together. The mess at the top is supposed to be a cluster of mint leaves, while the ferns encircle a line of stars going down.

Sewing wise: The entire plush was hand sewn. In a small part because the fab lab was closing and also I wasn’t entirely sure I trusted the machine for plushie work, and I had….. some… experience with hand sewing.

My stitches are… not great. Admittedly. I also don’t have the best instinct for facing things the right way. or putting the “good” sides together, so…. things took way longer than they had to, honestly. Pictures from the process below.

THESE EARS. These are included because I redid the stitching, I kid you not, 7 times, because I kept on sewing it so that they weren’t mirrors of each other, or so that the good fabric was facing the wrong way, or both. I /kept doing it/. 7 Times. It was a mess. 

Last known sighting of the pupils (a little white fluff in the top left corner). I swear I stuck them with th rest of the fabric when I stuffed it into my backpack to take home for sewing. but they’re gone.

Ladder stitch! Mentioned because I “learned” it and went “oh wow! thats really neat!” and had a moment of “i can do ANYTHING now that I know this!”. It was nice. I’m still very bad at it, but its nice knowledge to have.

“It was at this point, she squinted at her handiwork at like 5 in the morning and went: ” why…….. are the legs……. off center………………….”

Additional fun things: I don’t own fabric scissors, and realized at one point I forgot to cut out a second of one of the pieces, and that I needed to cut the cape so it could be fastened properly. Things that can cut but do not work as well as fabric scissors: Multitool knife, art knife, my spare knife. 

Anyway, funtime goodtimes. 

Lastly, I set up the cape (having brought the fabric home). I cut some of it off so that I could make a little button fasten.

Me, abruptly, at this point: …………. wait, do I know how to sew on buttons? (thankfully, the answer was yes).

It comes unbuttoned!


Overall, not my best work, definitely. I learned a lot, have a lot of respect for anyone who works with fabric regularly. I’d like to do more fabric work, but I definitely need more time than I gave myself for it.

Fun though!

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A Bag, A Bear, and A Dead Bird

Assignment 5: Textiles 

For assignment 5, we were tasked with creating two objects during class and one outside object. Object one was a simple drawstring pouch that sewed only using straight lines. The second object was an embroidered patch of our own creation. Finally, we had to combine the two skills we learned to make a textile object of our own.

The final object had to have at least 4 colors embroidered. This requirement seemed arbitrary to me since to complete this I would just have to choose a random spool of thread instead of doing two white sections. I embroidered an eye, so I feel that I should not be docked points for not stitching a red pupil on my chicken.  

We may have been doing this assignment for three weeks, but this assignment offered the least amount of time to work. This is troubling since the out of class project needed more than three work days to complete. Because of this, I only have the head of my plush to show. Also, sewing machines are insanely inconsistent. The project became much easier one the idea of perfection was thrown into the sun. 

Assignment One: D`rawstring Pouch

This pouch was the product of the first time we learned to sew. To start off we had to cut out two cloth outlines twice. Once cut we could fold one outline on the other and stitch them together. Finally, we had layer the two halves onto each other and stitch them together. Once we folded the bag in on itself it was complete. ez pz. 

Assignment Two: Embroidered Patch  

In this assignment we had to create a patch using the digital sewing software (I forgot the name of the program :/ ). In preparation for this assignment we had to find a picture/logo that we would be able to process as if we were going to make a sticker in silhouette. Instead of using edge detection, when tracing the bitmap in inkscape, we use the color re-scans. The number of color re-scans will be the same as the number of colors on the patch. Once completed we can export the .svg to the sewing software and start to stitch.

This patch was supposed to look a ton better but I spent more than an hour of class time debugging my sewing machine. I do not remember why, but my thread kept on clumping and getting jammed under the metal plate. One issue I vividly remember is having to re-thread the bobbin. I’m glad I had to figure that out since I had to do it again during my individual project. Kind of glad I experienced these problems, navigating a sewing machine is easy now. Only issue now is understanding why thread just clumps, seems really random.   



Assignment Three: Torso-less Mythical Chicken

Ok, so this actually kinda cute plush chicken head was far more stressful than it should have been. The sewing seams just worked, I was bewildered at how it just came together. The guide was great, easy to follow. The reason why I’m astonished that it “just worked” was because everything else about this project was annoying.

To start off, I spent about two hours just cutting fabric. Of course this plush had more parts than just the head. A lot of little parts. With there only being one good pair of fabric scissors, cutting took some time. Next was the issue of embroidery. Embroidery most of the time just didn’t work. In the picture you can see the blue oval and how crappy it looks. I don’t know why it did that, it just did. Also, embroidering one face took about 30 min. Finally, was the issue that I printed two left faces lol. Instead of making a proper right face I inverted one of the left faces. so now, the right face looks ugly but I saved time. Overall, the development process was crappy but I feel that I produced a product that is indicative of my skill level. 


Overall I feel that the challenges I faced in this assignment were not “real” challenges but more of ones of happenstance and poor planning. I’ve already stressed how much I dislike the randomness of the sewing machine. during assignment three that was almost the only issue with sewing, inconsistency.

The other fake challenge was how, in my opinion, how poorly this assignment was scheduled. I had a total of 7 hours available to work on this project, that was not enough. We could not really start the assignment until we learned embroidery. Since we learned that the week before spring break, and the assignment  was due the week we come back, This only allotted me three possible times I could come in during the FabLab. This minute amount really impacted how I felt emotionally about the assignment. I didn’t care about my final product, I just wanted something I could turn in. I know scheduling is hard, especially for this semester, so I understand that one project was going to go poorly.  

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Jacob Pruiett Sewing & Digital Embroidery

The first decision I made for my project was on the embroidery logo, I decided to do the wario-ware logo, both because I really like the the aesthetic of the logo, I like the game series and Wario as a character, and I thought the logo would look humorous on my project.

I put the logo through inkscape, and cleaned the different layers, then put the logo through PE design to prepare it for embroidery later.


For my sewing design I initially wanted to do the tote bag., and I chose a canvas for the outer later since it was a nice sturdy material, and a soft blue interior material.

However, I realized the material requirements for the tote was quite large, and I decided against making it. Instead I used the same material for the box pouch. Here is the cut out material as I prepped it.

I then began embroidering the logo onto the fabric piece that would become the handle of the bag.

However, the first time I ran the machine, the needle broke.

I restarted the process


And it came out pretty well! There was a weird issue on the nose where the sewing machine embroidered, but otherwise I thought the result was good.

Next I turned the embroidered piece into the proper handle piece:

Afterwards I worked on the bag proper:

I then attached the handle to the bag:

I found this process relatively difficult, and needed to retry it multiple times, since for this part I needed to make sure I sewed the handle to only the top layer, but kept accidentally getting the bottom.

The final step was for me to sew the corners inward so that it stands up as a box.

Understanding the instructions to this part was difficult for me, but after consulting someone from the lab, I figured out that I was supposed to pull the corners out so that the lines were aligned, and then stitch.

Here’s the final product!

Overall I think I did a pretty good job with this project, and was satisfied with the result, especially since it took me over eight hours to finish. I had some difficulty sewing certain parts and with embroidering, but it was a learning process, and I really think it helped me with 3D visualization and understanding how to manipulate objects in more novel ways. Overall I can’t say I found this project to be most enjoyable, since it was so time consuming it became kind of a slog at times, but otherwise I liked it,

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Making a Ukulele Case

Fabric and Embroidery

For the past few weeks, we were introduced to sewing and embroidery. For the first week’s lab, we made a simple pouch that closed with a ribbon. Although it was my first time using a sewing machine, the instructions were simple enough for me to follow. For the second week’s lab, we learned how to use the embroidery machine to make custom made embroidery.

Making a Ukulele Case

For the assignment, I decided to make a Ukulele case, as I own a ukulele, but didn’t have a case to carry it around in. I started by choosing and creating the svg file that would be used in the embroidery machine. I originally planned to modify an image from the internet, but it was extremely tedious to get the bitmap tracing correctly. Therefore, I ended up making one on my own, with the image as reference. 


The next step was to trace out the Ukulele, and cut out the fabric. For the fabric, I used three pieces each for the top and bottom, and two pieces for the sides. On one side, I also included a zipper. the The top and bottom pieces had a inner fabric, a padding layer, and the outer fabric. The padding layer was cut a bit smaller, in order to making sewing easy. The side pieces only had inner and outer fabric. Once the pieces were cut out, I embroidered the outer layer of top  piece, then sewed the top and bottom pieces. Then, I cut a part of the side piece in half, and sewed on zippers. Like the top and bottom pieces, the zipper side had a inner fabric, the zipper, and the outer fabric. Then, I attached the rest of the side piece, without the zipper, to the zipper portion. Then, I started sewing the side piece to the top piece. As the top piece was curved, while the side piece was straight, it was fairly difficult to sew the two pieces together. Once the top piece and the side piece were sewed on, I then sewed on the bottom piece to the other side of the side piece. 


I feel like my project may have been perhaps too ambitious. Sewing a curved surface onto a straight surface was extremely challenging. Furthermore, I believe the traced outline of my Ukulele was not symmetrical, as my final product ended up being skewed. I feel like I could have avoided the skewing if I had used a ukulele diagram from the internet instead. I also think that the side pieces weren’t perfectly straight. I could have made a straighter piece by sewing several shorter pieces together, or cutting the fabric using a knife and ruler instead of a scissor.


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An Evil Whisk, A Bandanna Bust, and Some Plastic Shards – 3D Modelling

This week’s assignment was that of two parts, an in class introductory 3d model and, a batch of different prompts that we had to complete using 3D modelling software as well as print one. The three prompts I chose to complete were: 1. cutlery for your enemy, 3. insert yourself into a piece of famous art, and 4. make a part you need. The prompt I chose for my one print was the part that you actually need.

 Overall this project was tough! I definitely spent more time thinking about the prompts then actually working in Fusion. Oddly enough the part I needed and printed took the least time to plot out. To be fair though, my printed object was just a rectangular prism that has had two subtractions. The other two models I made use different functions like loft and editing face meshes. The printed part was more plug and play while the other two were a design challenge.

Part 1.

                In class we were given 15 min to design a castle in tinker CAD. I spent 10 of these minutes trying to figure out how the heck to make an arch. Turns out that you cannot rotate faces in tinker CAD so, in a mad panic, I threw up some castle wall and made concept art for a white castle. We then took our shoddy models into mesh mixer to toy around with various tools. The amalgamation shown below was the final product at the end of the session.

Picture 1: Castle walls made with extruding blocks, connected using the union function.

Part 2.

The next pictures will be answers to a few of the prompts that were laid out for us a couple weeks ago. 


Pictures 2 & 3: Bumpy Whisk (left) is modified in mesh mixer. Metal Disk Whisker (right) made in fusion.

Ok, so this prompt, Cutlery for your enemy, ended up a bit weird but in a way I accomplished what I wanted to do. I included both the meshmixer picture and the fusion picture because the small metal disks (right) did not show up as well in the meshmixer picture (left). The original design was to make a whisk with metal disks at the top where one’s thumb would go and a bumpy sticky looking handle. The metal disks are placed where the user’s thumb would go, or where the most pressure would be applied. After some use these metal disks would probably slice the users hand. Moving on to the second modification, the handle was meant to be sticky-looking because that’d be terrible. I thought that if I were to use meshmixers’ brushes I could achieve some sort of residue looking pattern. I ran into the same issue we did in lab with there not being enough polygons, so I tried to remesh. Remeshing ruined everything so I had to revert everything. I ended up playing with the brushes at random and came up with the bumpy handle (left). So, this metal-slicing-disk-bumpy-sitcky-handle-whisk is the perfect gift for your latest enemy! 

Pictures 4 & 5 Me 3D scanned using fusion and a piece of famous art found on google images.

This 3D model addresses prompt number three on the assignment sheet. We all scanned ourselves during last week lab and, when doing so, I made myself as low as a polygon render as possible because I knew I wanted to do some sort of bust. Through my googling I found that busts are WAY more detailed then most images. That is not to say that the image on the right is low detail because I chose it, but it was the easiest to incorporate into my 3D model. The bust was sculpted by Chris Mitton and is supposed to be modern iconography in a classical medium. I was already wearing a hoodie so having two hoods would look weird thus I had to find another way to make me look anonymous. I was able to make a complex mesh and seemed as though it was a bandanna wrapped around my face. Then I threw on some shades because I thought it was lacking.

Picture 6 Complex 3D Mesh

This was the mesh that I made using two center arcs connecting with a line. I then added a anchor point in the middle of the top line so it can be bent outward. I then used the face mesh editor to pull some vertices out, creating the warps you see above. All of this made it seem that the bandanna was kinda attached to my face.

Pictures 7 & 8 Battery Pack Wall Mount in Fusion(left) and Battery Wall Mount Printed(right).

The final prompt was to make a part that I needed. Would be silly to do this one and not print it thus is why I printed it. Starting out, I took measurements of the orange battery pack (right). Once I constructed a prism with the dimensions I needed I made two subtractions. One was to make a cavity for the battery pack. The other was so that I could snake a micro USB through the bottom. The picture on the left has the small hole in the wrong spot, I fixed it in the right picture. Where I messed up (I guess) was making the fusion model in inches instead of millimeters. When I imported the .stl into the flashware it came up as the inch measurements but in millimeters, so it was tiny as heck. I googled the conversion and scaled it. The right was the end result, didn’t print right at all. 

Picture 9 Attempt at salvaging.

  The height and depth were manageable but the width was not. So, I tried to clip them off with clippers. The model was too sturdy though so it just snapped and broke. 


Overall I don’t think the biggest challenge was designing for 3D modelling but actually navigating the software. My prior experience in 3D modelling was using 3DS MAX, and its was more of a sculpting software, (atleast that how I used it). When making an arc, not have to sketch a line and loft it. I could just keep extruding the same circle and rotate the face a little bit to form a curve. the process of getting there is always the hardest, never the execution. The battery pack wall mount is a contender for my iterative project for sure. I have these modular slots on the front face of my computer tower and could possibly make a charging try come out of it. Would be really cool if I pull it off tho. 

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3D Print: Brandon Steinman

My goals for this project were to learn more about 3D printing/scanning and 3D modelling software (namely, blender, since I’ve been wanting to learn it for a long time). As for the work I put in during class time towards learning these, this is what I have to show:

A tinkercad castle, and

A 3D scan with some meshmixer work done on it.


As for the assignment, I did the silverware part, where the idea was to create a set of silverware that are impossible to use. I used Blender to do this, and learned about the basics as well as some more specific tools, like the object modifiers tool.

Obviously, these would be pretty difficult to deal with.


For the 3D print that I did, I made a part that would help to organize my desk a bit better. This was a fitting to the edge that I could hang light stuff from, like earbuds. Or some other small and light items.

The tolerances were off, so it doesn’t fit super well. Either way, the print worked! We had to flip it on the side, which means the layering would probably cause the hook to shear off with much weight applied. Something to consider for next time.


Finally, I attempted to scan and change a piece of traditional Peruvian art, a necklace that a friend had given me a while ago. Unfortunately, it was a bit small. I tried scanning it on a larger object, but it still didn’t pick it up well. So, I decided to go into blender. My “scan” was putting the necklace on the screen and tracing the outline. Unfortunately, my intended changes to the surface didn’t work out, even though I’d been able to successfully take the differences of objects earlier. Oh, well.


I tried to upload the tinkercad .obj file, but the site was undergoing maintenance when I tried to post this 🙁 .

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3D Printing and Scanning Project

Subtitle: Sometimes you try really hard and then realize the simplest idea is the easiest.


Finished product!


Its a little piece of plastic essentially meant to act as a little splint for my injured headphones. Dimensions/curve matched to fit my headphones specifically, with little grooves in the back so I can secure it with rubber bands. 

Here it is in action (in retrospect, probably should have chosen a color other than black, because it doesnt show up super well in photos. 



This is the one done in class:

The other two options I ended up not choosing were the cutlery set, and the remixed cultural piece.

The cultural piece I admittedly spent the least amount of time on. I was going to do something with Malaysian/Singaporean/Chinese roots, so I gathered some icons from each- Merlion, traditional Chinese lion, headset from the lion dance, I was hoping to find a 3D scan of the Batu Caves in Malaysia, but no can do. i spent some time trying to mash stuff together but i.. it just didn’t turn out very well. I have a few screenshots here and there, but I wasnt very happy with how most of it went, so it looks pretty untouched.

The cutlery set was a real option. I started out with “cutlery that is intentionally inconvenient but still usable”, and then just ended up with “all the cutlery in one piece of cutlery”. Granted, its still a little inconvenient to use, I think, but it is very compact. Good for camping and the like. The handle is the knife (with a sheath, of course), and you would probably be able to slide the prongs of the fork back in.

AND THEN. My headphones broke, and I dropped both of these ideas to work on “something you need”, instead. 

This is a physical photo of my headphones after the incident, featuring my excellent rubber band engineering abilities. 

I don’t actually have a picture of it dangling freelly, but in a very rough sense, the ear-parts of my headphones can swivel, and the plastic swivel part snapped, leaving only the cable holding the ear piece attached.

My astounding mspaint abilities at work, explaining to someone what had happened. Blue being the plastic part that had snapped, and the black being the cable.

The original plan was something like this 

I’m not an art major, but clearly, I should be.

Something like a cast, wrapping around. 

So, game on. Originally, I was going to try to get a 3D scan of the headphones, and then build around that. Seemed easy enough. [ It was not. I don’t have photos for most of this, but I swear it happened]

I first tried downloading a scanner app on my phone (Scann3D, from the assignment doc).  It did not go well. I didn’t have a good setup for scanning, and either way the headphones didn’t seem to register well, and it kept picking up on literally anything other than the headphones. At one point it even pretty accurately recreated my keyboard, in the background of the photo, rather than the headphones.

I then went up a level, and tried using the fancy scanner in the Fab Lab, getting help from Colton. He was extremely helpful and great about it all, but ultimately even that gave us only partial bits and pieces, and I would have had to sit there and manually piece everything together. He then suggested making a 3D mold with clay, on the headphones, and simply scanning that, then cleaning it up. Which was a fantastic idea! So, I ordered some clay off of amazon, and waited.

Upon starting working with the clay, I realized that the piece would probably be too small to scan well, and I might be better off getting dimensions instead.

(…. It is worth noting that I… just, kind of forgot, I could probably have looked up the dimensions online. Just know that I completely forgot that until after I had finished the first prototype.)

I tried to get the right dimensions and etc off of the headphones. Here is a photo of me getting dimensions using the clay.


But not with a ruler, because apparently I don’t own a ruler, so I was trying to use my multitool for scale. I also decided against a cast setup, at this point, and instead started going for more of a splint. No wraparound, just a piece at the bottom that would essentially hold the earpiece up, and a top part curved against the band of the headphones. I was still debating on how I would keep it secured at the time of the first prototype.

Anyway, by now it was approximately Monday and I knew I had to start printing, so I gave up on the clay dimensions, went to MakerLab, and just sat there with a ruler.

And it worked! So first, I recreated the headband of the headphones using a ring, and matching it to the diameter of the headphones. I couldn’t get the thickness of the ring right (so definitely no cast, or anything else that wrapped around), but the height and curve seemed right.. I spent a while fiddling, and then printed my first prototype.

It worked okay! I was very excited, but there were two issues: The bottom hook-ish part, as pretty thin, and was also what was holding up a majority of the weight. In addition, it didn’t really have a way to stay adhered to the headphones, although I realized combining this piece and my current rubber band setup made it REALLY secure. 


This in mind, I made my second iteration: thicker (all over), and little hook things on the back so I could use more rubber bands to horizontally lash it in place.

This iteration (which I picked up the next day because I hadn’t had time to stay and wait) actually was… worse. Thickening it had messed up the curve, so it could no longer sit flush against the headphones, and the hooks had turned out funky.

This is the only pic where the hole is visible- thats meant to be there if I want to loop something through to tie it down, but the hooks mean to take the place of that. I just kept it there jic.

So, I made a third- and last iteration. I went back to my old design (I’d saved it in a separate file before making changes, thankfully), just thickened the bottom layer, and then, instead of hooks, made grooves.


Here it is in action on my headphones. + the rubber banding in the grooves.

And all of it together: 

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Jacob Pruiett 3D Printing

Part 1:

My TinkerCAD model for a Wizard’s Tower and a 3D scan most terrifying. Unfortunately my meshmixer model for the wizard’s tower was deleted/lost, so I can’t upload a picture of it anymore.


Part 2:

For part 2 I chose to do the following three assignments, and worked on them in this order: I made a wolverine style set of cutlery in TinkerCAD, made a rendition of The Scream using my 3D scan in meshmixer, and finally I needed to 3D print a part for my RSO, iRobotics, so I made measurements for and designed a cover in SolidWorks, since that’s the CAD my RSO uses most often. I had also wanted to try using a different software for each different assignment, in order to get a different taste of each method.


To start: The Cutlery

I started by first creating some brass knuckle styled grips as a base for all of the utensils to attach to. I quickly decided I wasn’t a huge fan of TinkerCAD due to how imprecise everything was, despite being presented in a familiar CAD style. It just rubbed me the wrong way. The four finger holes were just made with cylinders, but the palm grip was a pain. after some finagling, I found the scribble tool and decided to use that, since even though it was imprecise, it didn’t look that bad in the end.

The first utensil I end up making was the fork. I first made the side profile using the scribble tool, then turned it over, stretched it, and cut out prongs and a handle using cubes and cylinders. Overall I think this was my best looking one, as it came out looking pretty good.

The knife didn’t end up quite as pretty. It was made purely with the scribble tool, and it shows. My artistic expertise is unmatched. Overall not super satisfied with this one, but I’m not very sure what method I’d use to make a better version.

Next up is the “spoon”. I decided to combine all three spoon heads together because imagining someone trying to eat with that makes me giggle. It was a simple enough design using some cylinders and half spheres, that were in turn cut in half.

And here we have the final assemblage in all of its glory! Dinnerware for the biggest of wolverine fans, or people who just want a challenge!


Up next: The Scream

To start, I cut off my 3D scan for every part below my shoulders, then deleted some choice parts of my wrists to make the next few steps easier. I then imported a large oval and positioned it with an end just touching the neck to act as my body. From there I used a combination of the draw and drag tool to move around the body into a shape more closely resembling the art piece I was trying to capture, and to make arms that would reach to my wrists.

From there I imported some spheres onto the wrists, then use the shrink smooth and drag tools to create cuffs for my shirt.

The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch

Here is the final product in comparison to the piece I was trying to capture. A big issue I had initially was the fact that Meshmixer doesn’t have any subtractive tools, they all either slightly change the current surface or add on top of it. Fortunately the drag tool was able to do an okay job of subtracting from the model. I overall had more trouble using Meshmixer than TinkerCAD, but after I learned the ropes I found the process of using it to overall be more fun, since it was more like I was sculpting, rather than using a precise tool.


Finally: My 3D printed part for iRobotics

For some background, the robot I work on in iRobotics is similar to the ones seen in the T.V. show Battle Bots. In general I work with the electronics, in particular the motors and speed controllers for our robot. For our robot this year we decided to use outrunner motors for our drive system, and the weird thing about them is that instead of spinning just the central shaft like a typical motor, they spin the rear part of the outer shell. However, this causes us to run into a few problems from an electronics stand point, since that means we now have a spinning piece on the outside of our motors that other electronics can’t touch without risk of getting caught on it. Fortunately we have an in-house 3D printer at our work space, so I was able to print there.

Here are the initial measurements and CAD designs I had for the walls. A fairly simple design that would slide into place and block off access for most wires, whilst leaving space for us to power the motors.

However, when I talked to my team leader, Tor, he said I had left out a few things in my design. Firstly, we had a corner piece I had been intending on attaching afterwards, but he suggested I instead have a separate file with the two pieces attached and to soften the edge by using a fillet. In addition I hadn’t included a way to fasten the piece to the robot, and he suggested I add some drill holes near the base. Finally, he thought it would be a bit risky to have that much open space near the tops, and asked that I minimize them and round the corners. 

After I redesigned the pieces, I passed it by Tor again to make sure it looked good, and then asked the manager for the 3D printer, Eric, if the part would be food in the printer. He gave me the thumbs up and I went on ahead to the printing process.

Here is the machine in our work space as it prints out the first piece.

Here is the second piece all 3D printed. I didn’t get a picture of the other piece because it had disappeared into the depths of the parts bin, and it was late enough that I decided retrieving it would be an adventure for another day. We did some test fitting and it appears to fit well, but we couldn’t install it yet because we’re currently painting the frame, so we can’t assemble it all together.


Overall I was satisfied with the results of my work, but I can’t 100% test the results until Thursday, so I won’t know for sure if it’s up to snuff. I am relatively comfortable with SolidWorks, so I didn’t have a hard time at all using it. TinkerCAD reminds too much of SolidWorks, but without all the nice features to make me comfortable. MeshMixer was completely unique in my 3D modelling experience so far, and I’ll reiterate that it felt a lot more like sculpting than like a rigid tool, and I liked that a lot. It was a fun experience, although learning the ropes or dealing with suboptimal tools was a bit frustrating at times.

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3D Printing a Pi Zero Case

3D Printing

We learned about 3D printing for two weeks, and using various software, and scanners that could be used to create printable 3D designs

Part 1

First, we learned about Tinkercad, which is a very simple 3D modeling software. A huge benefit to Tinkercad is the fact that it’s accessible online, and even works in mobile devices. We created aliens and castles as an introduction to Tinkercad. Thanks to some preexisting models, they were not difficult to create. The next step was downloading the models as stl files, and playing around with them in Meshmixer. With Meshmixer, it was possible to smooth any quirks in the model that would make it hard to print.

Part 2

In the second week, we learned about 3D scanning. We used the Structure Sensor on iPads to scan some objects, but sadly, the scanned model did not come through by email. We also used the kinect scanner to scan people, and it worked quite well. The model created from the kinect was also unsuitable for printing, so we learned how to use meshmixer to make it better for 3D printers.


I choose to design a themed utensils for my enemies, and a traditional art, and print out a case for my raspberry pi zero.

The theme for my utensils was the fact that they all had ridiculously round bottoms, so you could never put them down at all. It was quite simple to make with Tinkercad

The traditional art I chose was actually an instrument from Korea. I am in a student organization that gives performances using the instrument, and I thought making a 3D model would be interesting, and challenging, as the shape was quite complex. I was not able to get anything scanned into the model, however, as SketchUp was not friendly with importing stl files. However, I did create everything from scratch, and getting all the straps was quite a challenge. The changes I made were the engravings on the leather straps holders, and adding the university logo to the drum faces. 

The part that I actually 3D printed was a case for my raspberry pi zero. I already did have a case for it, but it left the soldering pin holes exposed. As I felt that I would not be soldering anything on my pi zero for some time, I  decided to make a new case that would cover the holes. I used SketchUp, as I had previous experience with the software. I used my old case as reference, and a diagram detailing the dimensions of the pi zero that I found online. 

Once the design was done, I tried to get it printed using the abs print at the fab lab. Sadly, it did not work out great. So, I used the PLA printer instead, which didn’t work out too great either. It did print, but the 4 holes in the corners were too small. I printed another set at the business maker lab, which turned out nicely. It’s holes were also slightly small, but I could make the hole bigger using a file.

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Copper Tape Circuit – Brandon Steinman

The initial idea was to create a paper plane that would light up when the fuselage is pressured before throwing. The constraints were the 3V battery, 3 different colored-LEDs, switch activation, and (personally assigned) to keep the paper plane well-balanced and throwable. I decided to line the LEDs in parallel, which made the circuit design somewhat difficult.

I started by lining the fuselage with the main +/- leads. I also aimed to use a fold inside the fuselage to prevent the battery from falling backward. I had to tape portions of the leads to prevent current from flowing between them and closing the circuit early, before reaching the LEDs.

Next, I laid out the copper tape and added two of the LEDs. Portions of the copper tape had to be covered where they overlapped, and insulated so that the circuit wouldn’t close unintentionally. The last LED is shown directly attached to the battery.

The last LED remains there, since the circuit is very finicky and doesn’t always immediately light up. I’m keeping it so that the battery and third LED can be easily removed, so that I don’t add a degree of permanence to the plane that would ruin it and cause the circuit to never light up. In this, I sacrifice a bit of aesthetic and also my ability to throw it safely.

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