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

Posts Tagged ‘Section: Duncan’

Anna Kim Name Tag

Final product with size comparison.

 For this project I wanted to make a simple nameplate. Generally I prefer more minimalistic designs, and the main icon I wanted to incorporate was this dove: 

I wasn’t going for anything complex; my idea was just a simple name sign in wood. I followed the process of tracing a bitmap image as the instructor demonstrated in class in order to raster the dove. Creating, resizing, aligning, and grouping the various shapes for the design helped familiarize me with the Inkscape interface and different shortcuts to speed up the workflow. Since I love music and have been playing multiple instruments for several years, I wanted to somehow incorporate a piano into the layout; however, as the design developed I couldn’t figure out how to gracefully put one in. Eventually, the groups of two and three stars around the border were originally meant to emulate groups of two/three black keys on a piano. 


I do wish I could’ve spent more time on a more complicated design and expanded into using multiple mediums as some of my classmates did (eg. vinyl, paint, acrylic). Admittedly I did feel a little rushed, and good ideas take time to grow. However, I do appreciate this project in that it’s sparked a joy in freely creating things by hand, as well as a desire to do some more exploration in personal projects. The dove icon is of personal significance, so I would like to make another design on my own time in the future. I now feel much more comfortable in exploring different features in Inkscape and vectoring/rastering designs. I think this project was a good start to understanding the nature of this class: that it’s not about coming up with the perfect design, but simply letting creativity flow and ideas diversify, finding inspiration and instruction from my peers, and just seeing where things go. 


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Spinning Gear Name Tag – Seth Sawant

For my name tag I knew from the start that I wanted to incorporate a kinetic and interactive aspect into the design, as I think one of the most useful applications of things like laser cutting is the ability to create precise small pieces, and also that it highlights my career choices as a engineering major. I initially experimented with levers and wheels, but quickly got frustrated with finding ways to attach the various pieces together securely. I then decided that gears might be easier, so I began experimenting with different numbers of gears and different layouts until I found one that I thought looked nice at the scale of a name tag (in my case, 4 inches by 3 inches). Luckily for me, Inkscape has a built-int extension for generating simple toothed gears, which quickly expedited the design process for the mechanical portion. I initially struggled with finding a way to align concentric circles within the gears for mounting to the tag base plate, but one of the FABLAB staff members showed me how to use Inkscape’s built in alignment tool which proved to extremely useful throughout the project.

Mangled text from vectoring too small of a font into the gears.

For the text on the gears, my original plan was to vector it out using a stencil font, but after attempting to laser out a few of the gears I realized that the scale of the text was too small, causing the laser to turn most of the gears into charcoal bits and burning away the finer detail of the lettering. In the end, I opted to raster the text which I think looked cleaner than my original plan and allowed me to use a better font. The final portion was the base plate; I debated between using wood for the back as well versus something else, but eventually settled on acrylic because I liked the contrast it created with the burnt wood as well as the added benefit that its smooth surface allowed the gears to spin more smoothly. To mount the gears, I found some small machine screws and then vectored out holes in the base plate to hold them down.

All in all, I think my name tag turned out well. I really like the overall aesthetic and the gears I created meshed well and spun smoothly. I think that the mounting system for the gears could be improved however as it desperately needs a spacer between the gear and the plate to stop the gear from scratching up the acrylic. The gears also could benefit from being vectored first and then rastered on the other side to hide the burn marks on the face, but at the same time I like the contrast it creates with the clean look of the acrylic. I learned a lot about Inkscape throughout the design process like the alignment functionality and useful specialty functions like the ability to type on a path and the gear tool. It was a lot of fun throughout and I really enjoyed the satisfaction of watching my design on the computer screen be brought into reality right in front of me.

The finished name tag.

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Justin Franklin laser name tag

Laser Name Tag Project

  I was a little nervous before this project, because I had not worked with laser cutters before. At first I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew I should do something related to music, since I am a music major. After brainstorming about it for some time, I settled on the Idea that I should make a synthesizer name tag, because I want to go into sound design and I’m always working with sound synthesis. 

   When I first began making the design for it I wasn’t sure if my idea was going to work out because I could not get a clear image of a synthesizer. Thankfully I eventually found a drawing of one, the Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Research Laboratory. I decided to raster this into the material. Originally, I completely forgot about any vectoring, so I decided it would be cool to cut holes out for the patch points and put in some little patch cables later. 

Originally I had planned on doing this with wood, but I really liked some of the acrylic examples that were shown to me so I thought I would go for that and give it a try. Luckily, there was some black acrylic in the scrap basket.

This is the tag after it first came out of the laser cutter:

After this I wanted to make tiny patch cables for it. I initially wanted to use string, but I saw that I could use some scrap wire from the electronics section at the fab lab, so I began experimenting with it. Although it looked ok, there wasn’t any way to hold the wires in the holes so I decided to hot glue them.

And this is the finished project:


   I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, but I would do somethings differently if I did it again. One thing is the size, It is basically the full 4 inches square, which is probably too big for a practical name tag. Also, the acrylic makes it sort of heavy for its size. The music note I put on it was intended to be a different shade of rastering than the rest, although it didn’t really turn out that way. All in all I thought the project was fun and it turned out neat, but if I got another chance I would make it smaller. I had a lot of fun designing and creating this and learned a few things about laser cutting.

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Simone Stone Nametag


 My name-tag was inspired by my current masters degree and my previous studies in film. I wanted my name-tag to incorporate elements that were important to me. I am a Librarian Studies graduate student and like many librarians, love to read/like books. Additionally, I was a Film and Television Producing student many moons ago and I still love films. I was also excited to have a chance to work with Inskcape again. I have used Inskcape before to make a magnet for a 3D printer at my former job, but I am not terribly knowledgeable about laser cutters or the Inkscape program. 

I knew that I wanted to have a project that was layered, similar to Professor Emilie’s acrylic design. The original concept was to do the name-tag on acrylic. The wood was meant to be a prototype as I was told that if the wood did not look good, then the acrylic would not either. However, after spending an additional two hours after class on Thursday, trying to make the name-tag feasible, I decided to stick with wood, primarily out of frustration.

My first attempt- the reel was in two pieces

Note the charring in the wood

 The reason my original project did not work was that I had too many nodes. Consequently, when the laser printer followed the nodes, it had to go over the same spots multiple times, which increased the pieces breaking apart and getting damaged. The raster was perfect, but the items were still attached to the original wood. Thus, we re-vectored it and ultimately, it was too much for the pieces to handle. 

As a result, I tried to keep the calligraphy aspect, but I realized that for letters like “m” and “n,” there were still too many lines and thus, I would run into the same issues. Therefore, I got rid of the lines in the “s” and the “i” and changed the latter half of my name to simple text to not spend hours trying to get rid of extra lines. I was kind of sad about that because I really liked the calligraphy aspect as I wanted to give the appearance of having written the words by hand.

Then, I decided to switch book images. My original had lots of lines, like the calligraphy name, and to simplify everything, I found a simpler silhouette.

On Tuesday, I decided to come during open hours and see if my tweaks worked. I had to reset the parameters, like making sure the lines were still 0.001 inches, the fill colors were red 255, etc.  Luckily, I realized that my .pdf file was not correct and I was able to correct it before going to the laser and printing it out. 

This is to show how many Inkscape projects I had before I completed the assignment

Overall, I still need to improve my Inkscape skills. Although, I thought I had removed the lines that would cause issues, I was assisted by the lab technician with removing others to ensure that my name-tag would not char the way that it did last time. While I got to do some of this removal, he ended up doing a lot of it for me because I was not competent and I was very slow. 

If I had more time, I would have done my name differently, made it larger so that the letters would be less likely to fall apart. When I printed with the laser, it destroyed the cut-out letters, so I decided to use the name from the leftover wood. To help with this, the lab technician suggested that I draw a rectangle to give the illusion of a name-tag backing. 

The finished product is a hot-glued amalgamation of several pieces. I spent time trying to decide if the reel should go over the book and not the letters. In the end, I decided that I liked the idea of having the film reel near the letter, “s,” and draped over the book and the name portion. 

Moreover, I am glad that it turned out well. I received a lot of help and this was quite daunting. I had never used a laser cutter. The first time I used the machine, I was constantly getting Maxx or Duncan to help as I worried that the fire was too high and that I was in danger of burning down the lab. I may decided to incorporate this in my final project. 

The wood

Finished product

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Black Acrylic Name Tag


I made a circular name tag with my name on the bottom with one of my favorite fonts, two cocktails with the drinks, inner part of the glasses, cut out, and a moon engraved on the black acrylic. Below is my design.


I used different shapes of gray to engrave the moon, table, and tiny details (such as olives, pineapple, cocktail glasses). I used the red stroke for all the cutting parts such as the inner area of the glasses and the name tag itself. I wanted to cut out the inner parts for aesthetics, so that any background it’s in can look like drinks in the glasses, like the photos on the top of the post or below.



One mistake I made was making the straw too thin, which broke while removing the inner piece of the tall cocktail glass. I had to use a super glue to stick it back. The pineapple, small triangle on the left glass, was originally cut out, but I glued it back due to personal preference. 

Using black acrylic as the material was very fun, although the speed was very slow and felt like it took forever to finish cutting/engraving. Though completing this assignment, I learned about and understood the difference among different materials and their unique characteristics while using the laser cutter.




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Priyanka Chopra – Assignment 1


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. 


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Iteration Project: Make-a-thon Participation

During the week of the Iteration assignment, I opted participating in the Make-a-Thon.

My team was named “MOVI” and the goal was to design a protective guard for a prosthetic leg. Prosthetic legs are very sophisticated and are extremely valuable. Yet those products are worn at the part of our body with the most movement and thus are exposed to scratches, impact, and lots more other threats in daily life. The reference model, C-leg, cost more than $100K. It has been a pain point among users, especially the active ones. To make the matter worse, people wearing only one of these are told to fell on the prosthetic side when imbalanced. Because, falling to the other side will make it rather difficult, if not impossible, to get up by themselves.

There are some prosthetic leg covers in the market. But most of them are like the same model: a dull thick bulky black cushion covers every section of the prosthetic leg. This leads to a problem, apart from the aesthetics, the back of the prosthetic knee is an area filled with delicate moving parts. The bulky protective sleeve covers that area and makes it very difficult to bend the knee.  


Thus we got the needs of users:

  1. easy for putting it on-and-off
  2. protection against scratches
  3. cushioning of physical impact (mostly in case of a fell)
  4. not blocking knee flex
  5. good looking


Our team started the design with a 3D scanning of the prosthetic leg. The model was then printed using three 3D printers and glued together. 

For the prototype, the team proposed a solution combining a hinge in the front and straps in the back for the top need. The user reported that the phase 1 prototype lacks coverage of the leg. So we created the phase 2 prototype, just to specify the max area of protection that is necessary, considering need 2, 3 and 4. Therefore, we’ve combined the two prototype together and came up with the final design. 

The final design adopted the hinge-straps design and used a two-layer solution for protection and aesthetic needs. A hard shell with patterns is put on the outside. In the future, users should be able to customize and switch the shell for their taste or even the mood at the moment. Two pieces of cushions are fixed inside of the shell. Each cushion used a heavy fabric cover with foam pads inside. To help further protect the user, we’ve inserted a layer of sheet metal between two layers of foam pads inside the cushion. Two extra cushion pads are added to the top for knee protection. Two straps go through holes on the shell. We fixed velcro strips onto the straps. 


Our team was well-paced during the make-a-thon, and each step was well executed throughout the event. After rounds of presentations and expert review, our team got the championship of the competition. 


During the event, I helped in the 3D printing post-process, and led the efforts in the fabric department. Cleaning and gluing the PLA parts were rather easy with the training in class. But I’ve got quite some challenge in the sewing part. I was quite confident before going into it. It was not long before I recognized the challenge. The cushion pad was of an irregular shape, with five corners of varied angles. And there was a significant thickness. For solving this problem, I design the two piece of fabric of different sizes, with all the side panels included in the front piece. While sewing the corners, Duncan gave me some useful tips. Cutting off some fabric inside the corner is key to a smooth outside. I’ve got some of them right, some of them not so. 

Just when I felt a relief finished sewing the cushions, there came the straps. “It’s just an extended square, not so different from the little pouch we’ve done in class!” That thought was so wrong. The fact that we’ve chosen a waterproof rubber coated fabric and a very thin strap width made the task very challenging. Flipping the strap inside out was not far from a mission impossible. It was a combination of stick and brutal force and dedication that helped me finished those two straps.


I am very happy about the results, and the fact that our team has developed something useful in real life. 

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Final Project: PiCrawler

PiCrawler Assembly – Field Test


is my final project for this course. It is a voice-controlled robot that can move in all directions on the ground. 

The robot integrated a Raspberry Pi (as the master for control), an Arduino (as the slave managing servo actions), and a mechanical base with two panels of “legs”. An offline speech recognition module called “Snips” is used for the project. A generated Snips assistant was configured and installed onto the Pi. Then a Python script was coded and set as a native service on the Pi. The script handles internal messages from the Snips assistant and parses them for robot command. The command will be sent to the Arduino using serial communication (USB A male to B male cable). The Arduino will then call servo functions based on the message. Currently, the robot can react to five commands: forward, backward, turn left, turn right, and stop.

The mechanical base was designed using Klann’s Linkage. It has the advantage of smooth progression and heavy load lifting, from the “D” shaped pattern from its legs.  The robot was based on two panels of such linkage, each panel has two sets of legs. The robot can move forward or backward when the panels are all moving in the same direction. And it can make turns when the two panels move in different directions, similar to that of a tank.


Challenge 1: Power Solution

Since I had very limited knowledge of power supply of robots, I decided to take this part of the project first. And it’s proved to be a wise decision.

Each of the servos has a stall current of 1.5 Amps at 6.0 V. The Arduino can be powered with a variety of options. The Pi needs stable 5V and 1.5 to 2.0 Amps for reliable performance. I was thinking a high throughput power bank would be enough for all of these. But after putting everything into a test. It was pretty obvious that even a 15W dual USB output power bank won’t be enough. Then I turned to the idea of auxiliary power supply — using the power bank for the Pi and Arduino (board only), and one to two battery packs of 4x AA batteries for the servos. In theory, two battery packs are needed in a parallel setup, since the AA batteries have a reference current of 1.5 Amps. But in testing, I found that one would be enough for the robot to move. Since the load and frictions were not terribly enormous. 

Power Solution

Challenge 2: Assembly

Proving the movement and leg patterns in software was one thing. But putting everything together and get a useable assembly is another story. With all the printing relief, and those many layers of acrylic parts, and screws, and spacers, I was not very successful in my first attempt. Quite some time were spent on sanding and drilling, reassembling and testing of the linkage. Even getting the screws was a challenge. Because, I used 4mm holes in the design, which would fit M3 screws smoothly. But none of the local stores has enough metric sized screws and nuts for me. So I spent many more hours switching everything to #6-32 screws (from the Imperial size chart).

Legs Panel Testing


In multiple layered mechanical linkage project, extra (I mean, quite a lot extra), precautions should be paid to load balancing, stability, and relief (or spatial allowance). With all the consumer level machines of laser cutting and 3D printing, and all those environmental variations going around, many measurements could go one way or another. And the gears will tilt if the loads are not balanced. There is still a lot to improve of my design. The frame is not stable enough for holding the body. The body design should have put those heavy batteries closer to the center of support. And the gear section needs a redesign, on a certain level, for a stable and smooth power progression. But I did have learned a good deal of lessons from this project.


Test with Voice Command

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Final Project

Question 1.

I made an art mobile that can be used to lit the room and showcase my photos. I often light my room at night only with Christmas lights and I wanted to make something that incorporates Christmas lights and decoration. I wanted to make something that is artistically aesthetic and also display my photos. I’m really proud of the photography/photoshop skills that I developed for my project. This is some skills that I can use it after this class for various occasions. I’m proud of my cloud room decoration overall. It looks artistic and useful in terms of displaying my photos. A major challenge I faced was the Arduino part of the project that I was initially going to include. I wanted to make the photos drip down out of the “cloud” (paper lanterns), but I couldn’t figure out a way to make that happen. Since this piece of decoration is meant to be hanging from the ceiling, it was strong enough to support multiple Arduinos inside the “clouds”. 

I hot glued pieces of cotton onto the paper lanterns. This process took a while because I wanted to make fluffy clouds that look realistic.

This is the inkspace design for the acrylic stars I made

This is my final product. I wish my blue lighting got delivered on time. I also I could showcase this during the final presentation in a dark room so I can show the full effect.

Before the photoshop

After the photoshop

Question 2.

Learning Goal 1: I want to use Arduino to display my photos more emotionally appealing by making the photos draping down in a timed matter. 

My number one learning goal was to use Arduino. It’s something that I didn’t really enjoy using back when we learned how to make pom bots. I wanted to challenge myself by using Arduino. I thought it would add a cool effect to my project too. However, it was difficult to make it happen. The first problem was that the Arduino motors weren’t moving in a way I wanted. I imagined my photos all folded into one and drapes down out of the “cloud”. Especially the LED lights being inside, it was not only fire hazard to multiple cords inside, but the clouds also weren’t’ strong enough to have something inside. I didn’t want to take a risk of ruining my whole project by using the Arduino. I talked to my classmates after I finished making it. They suggested some potential ideas on how to use Arduino. It’s something I never thought of and I will definitely consider using them in the future. I failed to meet this goal. I learned that sometimes it’s the solutions to your problems are much closer than you think. I could have talked to my classmates in the beginning process about my challenge. I think the key part of being a maker in the makerspace community is utilizing all your resources. This is the most precious thing I learned. I had a great chance to talk to my classmates. 


Learning Goal 2: I will spread out my tasks throughout the week to prevent myself from procrastinating. 

Most of my projects were done last minute because it was difficult for me to come to the fab lab in the evening during weekdays due to my other commitments. However, I knew I didn’t want to push my final project to the last minute. I set tasks for each week so I don’t do everything at once. Since I had to learn how to take photos with a DSLR camera, I watched tutorial videos every night in the first week. I had to ask my friends who are experts in photography in my own time to learn all the little things (aperture, shutter speed, appropriate light settings, etc). It rained so many days so I had to really look out for good weather to take pictures. I think I succeed in not doing everything last minute. I had all my photos taken and photoshopped done in advance. However, I had to make my clouds a little late because all the materials came late. I didn’t’ want to work on my project on the day of the presentation. I had to come in for a final touch. Due to this, I didn’t fully meet my goal number 2. 

Learning Goal 3: I want to push myself to make something that can make me happy even if I fail because I learned so much from the production of it.

I wanted to challenge myself from using tools that I’m not really good at. However, I also didn’t want to push myself to do something that I wouldn’t enjoy. They are so contradicting to each other that I had to do something that met two goals in the middle which was using the tool that I’m still comfortable at using but not really an expert at. I was very bummed after giving up on using Arduino. I decided to use laser cutting. I wasn’t really confident at doing the laser cutting. I got a new idea at the last minute to add shiny stars to make the clouds look more like hanging in the sky. So I designed the shiny stars and laser cut using the universal. It was my first time that I did the whole process without any problems. I felt like I can even help other people who don’t know how to use it. It was an amazing feeling. I’m actually really happy with my shining stars (mirror acrylic) because it adds so many artistic values to my final piece. 

Question 3

I think I have never felt this insecure as a student in a class before INFO 490. I was the slowest learner in my lab section. I always asked the most number of questions. I was the last one to understand the same tasks in my class. I felt like my project was never as cool as another person’s. It was a constant feeling of failure and insecurity. It took me a while to tell myself that I’m good at certain things. I think I have really cool ideas. I may be a slow learner to learn how to use tools to make my imagination come true. But I had the creativity and also desire to create something original. This class taught me how everything we make in this class can’t be compared to each other. There is no such thing as “mine is cooler than yours”. I definitely felt sad when the Professor asked why I didn’t execute certain things. He didn’t know as an audience that I already have attempted to make those but I just failed to execute them. It was a very meaningful learning experience for me to understand the interaction and the silent communication that happens between the artist and the audience. I don’t think I’m an expert at any tools we learned in this class. I still have more experience with the tools we have used. However, I think I learned what makerspace community is. I can’t thank enough people who never got annoyed from me asking so many questions and were always willing to help me even if they were busy. 

Question 4

Although I was never happy about anything I made for this class, I feel proud as I’m writing this post. I didn’t even know that I was going to be doing all this when I registered for this class. I’m proud of being an original maker. That means, I always challenged myself to be original with my creativity. This is why I consider myself a maker. I created something out of my imagination. I’m not sure if I will put myself to create something tangible like the stuff we make in the fab lab. I will definitely use the skills I learned in everyday life. I think even my cooking skills make me a maker. I’m writing this blog as a person who has basic skills. However, I’m definitely more curious and passionate about creating something after this class. I think I have tough love for this class because there were definitely moments where I felt like a failure. I felt uncomfortable and intimidated to ask questions from time to time. However, I made good friends from this class and met so many good people!! I honestly wish I had more chance to be friends with my classmates. They are so freaking cool. I hope I remember to utilize my resources and ask as many questions as needed in many situations so I can execute my imagination fully and challenge myself.

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Copper Tape Project

For my copper tape project I created a mothers day card. I wanted to include a silhouette of our family so I spent most of my time creating and editing my pictures on Inkscape.

Using the silhouette as my inspiration as to wear to place my LED, I could tell that it was difficult to see that my mom was the second from the left so I made the LED light her up from the background and used word “mom” to be the switch for the circuit. 

I hope she likes her card, I had a lot of fun using the silhouette cutter and editing the pictures on Inkscape. 

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Final Project

For the final project I chose to make a skirt for my mom. I chose to use linen for skirt so it was breathable in the summer, and I chose linen over cotton just so I wouldn’t have to add a slip layer if because most of the cotton fabrics were see through. 

I found a tutorial for a half circle skirt and followed it accordingly so I wouldn’t buy too much fabric as I had done for my iteration project and wouldn’t be “winging it”. 

I first started with cutting out my fabric. Since the measurements were very exact (math and radii were involved) and the skirt was very long I used measuring tape and chalk in a way I never thought I would.

strategy to make a circle (tape chalk to the edge of the measuring tape so I could keep track of the radius)

Afterwards I started the sewing process. This was a bad idea because when it came time to print the design on my fabric, I had to wait for the paint to dry before flipping my skirt around and print on the backside rather than just print on the separate pieces and then sew them together. 

My original plan was to have embroidered flowers on the bottom of the skirt but the spacing of the prints was so close together that I decided that big embroidery would just crowd the skirt and make it too busy. My original idea was also to include buttons but I also didn’t end up doing this because of the same reason. The skirt looked very incomplete without anything so I wanted to do a border along the edge because I knew it wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the skirt or make it look too busy and unwearable. 

Chose to do a satin stitch without the embroidery machine

In this project I learned how to do a hidden hem with the blind stitch foot but because I was dumb I didn’t realized that my white bobbin thread was showing on the front of the skirt so I tried to cover it with the satin stitch I used for the border but I couldn’t make the width of the stitch smaller to cover the hidden stitch as the fabric kept getting caught in the machine. 

By the end of this project I learned so many new skills and learned to make a clean finished product without and compromises to quality. I first started out this semester with a jean skirt that I will never wear because I’m too afraid it’ll rip every time I sit down. Now I’ve made a skirt I’m confident my mom can do whatever she wants in. 


By following the tutorial and applying all the skills I learned from my iteration project and the new techniques I learned from my TA, Duncan, I was able to create a something I would proudly say I made and give my mom. Working with a plan and a design in my head and on a schedule, I made something that I think is very high quality. 

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Final Project Reflection

For my final project, I was inspired by a pokéball-themed Nintendo Switch cartridge case that I found on YouTube.  My initial idea was to make six pokéballs and case/stand based on the recovery machine in pokémon centers. After considering the amount of time needed to complete the project, I cut the number of pokéballs to three, and changed the idea for the case/stand to the incubator that contained the three starter pokémon in the first episode of the anime.  I also decided to have one of the pokéballs contain a small Pikachu plush rather than Nintendo Switch games. With that in mind, I needed to decide what pokéballs I would make. I, initially, was going to make one regular pokéball, one master ball, and one unique pokéball that I would design. After discussing my idea with Duncan, it was decided that I would instead design three unique pokéballs.  The two pokéballs that would hold Nintendo Switch games would be based on the Overwatch logo and the Smash Ball item from the Super Smash Brothers series. The last pokéball would be based on Pikachu.


I had quite a few challenges in this project.  The spring releases weren’t as strong as I had hoped they would be.  I had some trouble keeping the buttons positioned so that they could hold the balls closed.  I had multiple parts break during assembly, and two parts fail halfway through their prints. I hadn’t anticipated that so many parts would break, so that threw off my schedule for the project.  Due to this shift in my schedule, I was only able to paint two of the pokéballs and use a primer on the case/stand. Despite the setbacks, I am very proud of how well the Smash Ball came out. I also feel that the laser print design for the case/stand came out well, considering that it was my first time using Fusion 360.

Overall, I had three learning goals: Improve my time management by making a schedule of what I needed done by a certain time, making more use of the tools at my disposal, and asking for help whenever I was confused.  I did accomplish my learning goal of making a schedule for better time management, but I did not account for the possibility of parts failing. Not including the case/stand, I needed to print fifteen separate parts. I began printing on Thursday with a plan of printing six parts that day, four on Friday, and five on Sunday.  I created this plan factoring in that on Friday and Sunday I would only need to use 2 printers at once, so that I wouldn’t be preventing others from completing their own projects. The plan seemed realistic, but I did not anticipate that multiple parts would fail. The setbacks caused by the broken parts caused my plan to fly off the rails, snowballing to the point in which I was having the last two parts of one pokéball printing from Monday night to Tuesday morning.  Due to this result, I feel that I only partially accomplished my goal. I created a schedule, but I failed to stick to it due to a lack of flexibility in said schedule.

I definitely feel that I made use of the tools at my disposal while working on this project.  When I made my 3D Printing and Scanning assignment, I simply imported my scans into Meshmixer, used the analyze tool to fix any errors, plane cut them, and then moved it over to Tinkercad to stitch the scans together.  For this project, I actually used different tools such as inflate and flatten in order to morph the pokéball shells into the shape that I desired. I used Fusion 360, a software I had never used before, to design the laser printer file for the case/stand.  I used power tools for a project for the first time. I needed to use a drill to widen the holes of the hinge of each pokéball. I actually also had to use a soldering iron and a heat gun for the first time to help secure the buttons into place. I also did foam smithing for the first time, using contact cement to glue foam to the wooden skeleton of the case/stand.  I also painted something for the first time since I was about 6 years old, so that was fun. I definitely feel that I accomplished my goal of making better use of the tools at the fab lab.

For my final goal, I made sure to ask questions.  Typically, when I feel stuck in a project, I would sit feeling defeated for a while.  This time, I made sure to ask questions as soon as I felt that I did not know what to do.  One person that I cannot thank enough is Brandon, who helped me with a large portion of my project.  He taught me how to use Fusion 360 so I could design the case/stand. He taught me how to use a soldering iron and heat gun, and how to do foam smithing as well.  When I was feeling lost after my parts broke, Brandon helped me get back on track by helping me with the case/stand while new parts were printing. I am very thankful for all of the help I received while making this project.  If I hadn’t been asking questions as soon as I had, my project would have been in much worse shape.

Over the course of the semester, I feel that I truly did learn something in this class.  Before this course, I never really went out of my way to make new things. In this class, I learned how satisfying it is to come up with an idea and bring it into reality.  Before this class, I never thought I would ever need to learn how to sew. Surprisingly, I would say that the project I am most proud of is the stuffed animal that I made in the Sewing and Digital Embroidery assignment.  I may have gotten frustrated at one point while making it, but overall, I truly enjoyed making it. This class has definitely improved my confidence as a maker.

This class has made me feel different about the very concept of making.  Since high school, I have wanted to work in some sort of lab as a chemist, making different products for the company that employs me.  Whenever I thought of the word “maker,” I always felt that the term applied to a select few that create inventions that have a lasting impact on the human race.  This class has taught me that anyone can be a maker. This class gave me confidence in my ability to make things. It really showed how anyone can make something if they have access to the tools to create.

One of the most important lessons I received in this class is that it’s not the grade that matters; it’s the effort that really counts.  I eventually got to a point in which I stopped caring about my grade, and started caring more about the projects themselves. I’ve enjoyed a lot of classes in my four years at this university.  This is by far the most fun I’ve had in a class. Thanks to this class, I feel that I will feel more confident when asked to make something.

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