LIN’s Semester Learning Portfolio

Time flies!

I couldn’t believe that it is time to say goodbye to Spring 2015 semester. Digital Making Seminar was one of the best courses I have ever had at college. Not only because of the latest and hottest technologies and skills I gained throughout the semester, but also because of you talents. The class was a good combo of people with different academics background. Students in arts, business, engineering, science and so on amazingly mixed and matched with each other. Every one was here with interests and enthusiasm in “Learn, Make, Share”.

Our section was held every Tuesday afternoon for 3 hours. It gave the class a good amount of time to pick up new technics. But it may also leave you hungry during the session. Don’t worry. Pizzas got your back. Guest speakers visited the class to give speeches and pizzas along with for half of the semester.

In beginning of the class, the first guest speaker, Zach Simkin – President and Founder of Senvol, introduced the impact of 3D printing technology on supply chain. I asked him about the quality guaranteed period of digital making products in comparing to regular manufacturing products. From there, I realized the importance of digital making procedure on efficiency enhancement, quality control, and even more. Meanwhile, I also got to know everybody in the class through ice-breaking activity.

We began to brainstorming ideas and create simple design with TinkerCad and MakerBot from the following class. That was when I formed group with Jill and Kavin, and we remained as a team since then. The class was assigned to make a group name card that can represent each team as a whole. So we listed the initials of our first names in alphabet order (J, K, L) on the name card. The printout was in orange, which is the university’s color.

From week four, the class had focused on individual projects and self interests. I used basic desktop scanning, TinkerCad, and Makerbot to create a 3D self-portrait.

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The printout in the left photo is the original without additional touch and cleanup. The one on the right shows the look after cleaning and polishing.

Fusion 360 was the most difficult software I learned in the class. We’ve been using it for two weeks. I decided to work on creating a screw with it. It seemed to be a practical project in tutorial videos found on Youtube.


Here’s a snapshot at the middle of the progress. I thought that Fusion 360 does not as beginner-friendly as TinkerCad. However, it is designed to create technical items that may be massively produced in industries, whereas TinkerCad is more likely for personal interests in 3D printing.

One of the specialties of Digital Making Seminar was having the opportunities to visit different labs across the campus. Throughout the semester, we have been taking classes at Maker Lab, Fab Lab, and Beckman Center. Within the session at beckman Center, One of my teammates came up with a racer glove. It is a customized wheelchair racing equipment. If we figured out the way to use 3D scanning technology to make gloves, then it would significantly reduce the costs and inputs of the process. In addition, customers are able to order mass customization.

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The scanner was working on analyzing and copying the white racing glove. Then, the data and imagine could be adjusted and enriched with Geomagic software.

Back from spring break, there was a three-week learning program at Fab Lab. I had a lot of fun at here. The class was assigned to three topics: Arduino, Digital Embroidery, and Laser Cutting. Each week we switched to a new program and continued working with amazing staffs at the lab. I began from using SewArt app to create patterns on fabric to design silhouette with Inkscape computer software, and wrapped up with learning arduino and relative software to create inductive sensor.

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The above are photos of my work made with digital embroidery. It is a purple clove and each leaf was in different thread styles.

IMG_5900 IMG_5901 IMG_5902Another object was using laser machine to carve patterns on wood. I tried to make a pattern which combines word “Chicago” and several of its famous buildings as the background on a piece of wood. These are pictures of the view of the piece on computer, during working, and after completed.

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My last task was learning to use arduino and relative software to create inductive sensor. Th photos reflect the sample code – Blink.

In terms of final portfolio, some the class chose to work on individual project, others teamed up with two to three persons to accomplish big subjects. I was with Jill and Kavin. We named the team JKLOL. Our project is a bean-like silicon grib helper that aimed to make life easier for the elder with weak arm muscles. It took us the last three weeks to design, research, collect data, ask professional’s opinion, and finally have it printed

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Theses are the look of the “bean” on screen and printout.

 All in all, I was thrilled to see how far the class have been along the semester. Everyone in the class was fulfilled with knowledge, information, and skills to “Lean, Make, Share” within and beyond the course.

Week 16 Reflection – Project Final Post

During the last week of the course, we have given final portfolio presentation to the public. Besides the entire class and Professor Sachdev, we also welcomed Fab Lab staffs, professors from other sections, and a career advisor to attend the presentation. I participated the CU Make – Make a Thon event. Jill, Kavin and I are the team.

Our project called BeanGrip. It is a silicon based grip helper for people with weak arm muscles. It took us three weeks to come our the final prototype. The process began from model design, dimension setup, and issue diagnose to computer moulding, 3D prototype printout, and final adjustment. Though we was not able to display our final version of the project at the presentation because of 3D printer problem, the technologies we learned, skills we practiced, and fun we shared will be appreciated.

At the presentation, Kavin introduced the idea and purpose of our project, I explained the dimension measuring process whereas Jill talked about design and molding process. We nailed our presentation with attractive and clarified information.

11208860_10155954739645131_1799965470_n11262234_10155954740155131_722896741_nThese are photos taken after the class with Professor Sachdev, Kavin, and Jill. Thanks to the course for introducing all of you talents to me. I appreciate the help you guys offered me and the knowledge I gained from the course. It is an amazing experience to be the fist generation of Digital Making Seminar. Wish you all a great summer. Hope to see you soon.

With love and affection.

Week 15 Reflection

During this week’s lecture, the class continued on finishing individual’s final projects. My team was almost done. Instead of updating our project, I would like to share some information about a special 3D printer with you. It’s called Cocojet. 3D Systems released it on January 6, 2015 at Rock Hill, California. According to 3D Systems, Cocojet is a chocolate 3D printer developed in collaboration with The Hershey Company, at the 2015 International CES, at Sands Expo, booth 72225. Ideal for the baker or chocolatier, the CocoJet prints custom designs in dark, milk or white chocolate. Here’s the look:

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It looks like a Makerbot to me, which helps me to imagine how it works. Sometimes, I felt addict to chocolate. If I had a Cocojet at home, i would make chocolate with different shapes, tastes, and sizes. It will make the process of producing chocolate become efficient, easy, and fun. Maybe you are also interested in making chocolate with 3D print technology, please check 3D Systems website and look for more news about Cocojet and other latest 3D printer.


Week 14 Reflection

This is the last week for us to have class at Fab Lab. Each group of students are able to accomplish arduino, lasers, and digital embroidery routine. My last task was learning to use arduino and relative software to create inductive sensor. There is a list of items needed to make things work: a USB wire, an arduino board, one or more bread boards, a sensor chip, several jumper wires, one or more resistor, and a LED light. First of all, I an auduino board to a computer monitor with USB wire. Then, opening up the arduino software to create codes or choose from examples. I tried a bunch of existing basic codes, such as blink, bareminimum, and fade, Following are pictures of blink:

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This is the one of the most basics. Sensors are not needed. There was a resistor to prevent the LED light from overloading. The ground end of LED light had to be matched with the GND on the arduido board, otherwise it would not work. Arduino is quite fun, but I enjoyed learning and playing with Laser and digital Embroidery better.

Week 13 Reflection

In this week, we were given time to continue working on individual’s final projects during class.Some of my classmates worked on their own, others cooperated with group members. Our group decided to refine the BeanGrap and reprint it, since the previous module was a little oversized. Near the end of the class, Jill accomplished editing and started printing the new model with Maker Bot. Based up this version, we will mimic a silicon one, which is close to the texture we meant to have on the real product. There was an exhibition from another section of the course during the class time. Some of classmates went to see and learn from the show. This week’s class doest not have something special, but everyone was as productive as usual.

Week 11 &12 Summary: Fab Lab Continued + Make-A-Thon

During the past two weeks, the class had been working different projects at Fab Lab. There were three assigned topics: Arduino, Digital Embroidery, and Laser Cutting. By the second week in the lab, the class switched to a new program and continued working with amazing staffs at the lab. My group transferred from using SewArt app to create patterns on fabric to design silhouette on materials like plastic, glass, and wood with Inkscape computer software.

Here is an example of making process of laser cutter.


This is the final look of a design on Inkscape. The piece combines both characters and graphics. The entire designing stage begins from drawing patterns or using existing ones. Then, people may edit dimension, shape, background and so on with the software. Once the design has been set, it was ready to cut.


This shows how the piece was cut with eplloglaser. Before having the machine started, the class were told to turn on fans and gas in order to prevent fire. Laser begins moving and cutting from the left upper corner and it can be adjusted to other places when it is necessary. While laser machine is warming up, we may put materials at the original starting point.


And, this is the completed piece. There was a hole on letter “A”, which was caused at the design stage.


At my fist visit to Fab Lab, it took me a while to find out this entry.



During the weekends, there were two groups of students from our class attended Make-A-Thon event held by CU Maker. Jill and Kavin teamed up with me. We named the team JKLOL? Our project is a bean-like silicon grab helper that aimed to make life easier for the elder with weak  arm muscles. It took us a good amount of time to design, research, collect data, ask professional’s opinion, and finally have it printed. During the process, Jill first came out the idea and did both hand-drawing and computer modeling for the conceptual graphs. Kavin and I joined to the discuss and helped to solve problems. Moreover, Kavin visited Fab Lab back and forth several times to make sure that our model was printed and ready.

Following are photos I took during the Make-A-Thon activity.


This is an inside look of one of the studios at Architecture Annex, which is next to Fab Lab.


The above two are Jill’s hand drawing. It looks even better on the paper.

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These two show the way we decided the measurement of our item. We started from collecting the size of each others’ hands. Then, we average the total. The results became the dimension of our first printout.


The last photo from left to right are Kavin, Jill and Dorothy. Dorothy is an expert of project design and materials choosing. Thanks for patiently listened to our presentation and answered our questions.

Overall, it seems like a week full of excitement, creativity, and work for everyone in the class.



Week 12 Reflection

This was the second week at Fab Lab. The class got chance to switch to different projects. My new object was using laser machine to carve patterns on hard materials, like plastic, glass, wood and so on. I copied a pattern which combines word “Chicago” and several of its famous buildings as the background on a piece of wood. The following are pictures of the view of the piece on computer, during working, and after completed.

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The last picture showed the first piece of my project. It has a little hole on letter “A” that it is a little blemish. I fixed with the software and came out a perfect one. The reason I picked up this design is because I used to live in Chicago for years before I came to Champaign for college. It is like souvenir reminding me of the days back then. The two holes are for hang up on high places. I haven’t decided where to put it. But, it seems to fit into any place.

Week 11 Reflection

We had class at Fab lab this week. My assignment was to create a relatively simple pattern on fabric with auto-tension sewing machine. It began from choosing a picture of outlined subject or drawing one with computer. Then, importing it to Embroidery Lettering Software. The software can be used to edit patterns, which includes coloring, changing dimension, adding tread styles and so on. It is a user-friendly process, but with a few  minor issues. For instance, I had to clear all and start all over again if I made one misstep at the thread styles stage. The following are photos of my project:

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This is one of the best experiences I had in the class. Looking forward to visiting  Fab Lab again.

Week 9 Reflection

Our class had workshop during the week 9 lecture, we were able to work freely on any projects that needed to be done by the end of the semester. While most of the class were getting start on the once a semester project, the professor gave me a Makey Makey cirvcuit board to play. It is like a magic board, which allows me to build many different program into it. For the second half of the class, we listened to a guest speaker from Fab Lab to present 3D printing  projects made in the lab. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to upload photos of some of the introduced items made in the lab. I’ll try to share them later if applicable. Looking forward to coming back to the class after spring break. Thanks for the pizza again.

Week 7 & 8 Reflection

The class began to learn a brand new 3D scanning technology during the lecture at Beckham Institute in week 7. For the first part of week 7 lecture, Mr. Travis Ross, a professional working in the institute, introduced a scanning program that can reserve an engineer to a CAD model.

One of my teammates came up with a racer glove. It is a customized wheelchair racing equipment. The main body was made of white plastic with a black leather handler. As the owner said that the original process can be time consuming, complicated, and expensive. It started from importing the raw material from Japan, then melting it to be flexible enough for modeling. Each individual has to hold melted plastic to shape it into a glove that perfectly matches. The following steps include adding an adjustable handler and sticky pad to the glove. In order to complete the entire process, it required expertise in the project and plenty of time.Moreover, it will cost the same amount of effort and inputs to produce every piece of glove.

If we figured out the way to use 3D scanning technology to make gloves, then it would significantly reduce the costs and inputs of the process. In addition, customers are able to order mass customization. The rest of the class was listening to a trainer in 3D scanning field giving lecture to the class.



During the week 8 lecture, the class welcomed Travis Ross to introduce Geomagic, a software for clean up the scanned models. Following his presentation, we began to select a new printable project with Geomagic, I probably need more time to get used to fix a scanned object with the software. By the way, thanks for the pizza.