Digital Making Journey

The day prior to the start of second semester classes, I was reviewing the classes I had registered for: Accounting 201, Economic Statistics 203, Calculus 234, and Communications 101 to name a few. None of these topics sparked even the slightest excitement in me. Being a creative minded person, none of these classes offered me with the opportunity to utilize these skills. An hour later, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed that one of my friends had posted about a new 3D printing class, encouraging students to sign up. At first, I scrolled right past it, knowing my severe limitations when it comes to anything technical. However, minutes later, I searched through my Facebook feed for the post. It being my freshman year, I didn’t want to waste another semester going from on drawling class to another. So I took the risk, dropped my Communications class due to credit hour restrictions, and applied to register for the class. Looking back, dropping Communications for Digital Making was one of the best decisions I have made in college yet.

Walking into the MakerLab was one of the first times I really felt excitement in one of my classes all year. With MakerBots whirring around the room, creating real objects from digital files as blueprints and plastic filament as substance, I felt extremely overwhelmed by the potential in that room. I might have flooded my friends’ Snapchat inboxes that day with endless videos of the MakerBots in action due to my fascination.

The class began and everyone introduced themselves as instructed. Immediately, I noticed three distinctions between myself and my classmates: A) I was the only freshman, B) many had had some experience with creating or a technical background at least and C) most already had a clear idea about what they wanted to do as a career. I had come into this class with zero technical experience and a very slim idea of what I wanted as a career. Already, I was starting to doubt my chances of being successful in this class.

It soon became clear to me that my lack of experience would not hinder my success in the class. What makes Digital Making so special is that every individual is able to pursue their own unique path. Each student enters the MakerLab with a different background and is able to use the technology to build themselves up to wherever they want to go.

So, here is my path, as an unexperienced Freshman with no background in making whatsoever:

3D Modeling

We started the course by playing around with Tinkercad. A very elementary modeling program, Tinkercad gets you started with the basics. Through playing around with basic shapes, you begin to realize the potential of even a simple website like Tinkercad for creation. Through this, you can build robots, phone cases, model planes, dragons, and anything you can imagine up.

Although Tinkercad is a great website for beginners, the class learned very quickly that it is severely limited. We were soon introduced to Fusion360, which is free for students. The day we learned Fusion360 ended up being the most frustrating class I have ever sat through. However, after downloading the software on my computer and playing with it on my own, even I was able to learn the basics…kinda.

Headphone tutorial:

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Below is my beginning attempts at modeling a snitch.

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After those failures, I settled for modeling something a little simpler…

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At this point in the course, I began reflecting on the skills I had learned and how I could apply them to the real world. Obviously, 3D modeling is not my forte. However, I believe with this technology, there is something for everyone. The key is blending your passions with the ability to create. My issue was finding that passion to blend with my new making skills.

Learning Alternative Making Technologies

As we neared the end of this course, we began holding our class sessions at the Fab Lab, where we expanded our knowledge of making to various other types of technology. We spent three weeks at the Fab Lab, and each week we learned about a new technology. The weeks we spent at the Fab Lab were my favorite, because the technologies were very easy to use, so I was better able to express my creativity. During these weeks, I used a vinyl cutter, laser engraver, coded with Arduinos, and used an embroidery machine. I began to realize my own potential for making during these sessions. Anyone with an idea is capable of making using the technologies we learned. Creativity is so powerful in that it harnesses the creation of billions of unique ideas. The technologies we now have at our hands are equally as powerful in that they can fabricate these thoughts into existence and make an impact on others’ lives.

For example, during my first session in the Fab Lab, we learned how to use the digital engraver. As it was my best friend’s little sister’s birthday, I decided to use the technology I had just learned to make her a birthday present. Because she is a huge Harry Potter fanatic, I engraved this journal for her with the Marauder’s map on the back and her name engraved in as well. As soon as she received it from her mom, she screamed out loud in the car in excitement, which made me super happy that I had been able to make that kind of impact.

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In addition, I was also able to get my own sister a gift because of this course. When she heard I was taking a 3D printing class, she gave me one request: find a way to 3D print our cat. Although I never was able to accomplish that, during our 3rd session in the Fab Lab, I was able to embroider our cat for her.



From 2D to 3D

After spending some time in the Fab Lab, I began to think about the things I was passionate about and how I could fabricate those passions. Being one of those people who loves to learn new hobbies, this summer I ventured into learning how to do typography. During one of our class sessions, we were given a lot of free time to work on individual projects. I ceased this opportunity to do a bit of research about the potential of 3D typography. Using what I had learned in the Fab Lab and with a little help from fellow maker Kay, I was able to 3D print one of my typography drawings. I couldn’t find one of my original typography designs, so I had to use one that I had replicated.



The file in Tinkercad:


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Test print:



Going through this process allowed me to realize that although I may not be able to proficiently use 3D modeling software to make the next big thing, there still exists a sector in making for me to make my impact through art. I plan on expanding on what I learned about 3D printing the 2D to create even more intricate typography designs this summer.


At the start of this class, I did not think I would be able to create anything useful. However, even though I came in this class with zero technological experience, I can now 3D model and code with Arduinos, which are two things I never imagined myself doing.

In the making world, it doesn’t matter what you start out as. Regardless of if you are an engineer, business major, art student, etc., there is an area for everyone to be able to fabricate their ideas. Everyone is a maker. All one needs is a working mind, a few ideas, and everything is possible. The thing about 3D printing is its potential is as large as the creativity of the maker. The more minds that get involved with this technology, the greater its power will become as more and more ideas will accumulate into greater and greater things to come.

I will end this with a picture of me and my 3D printed face. Twenty years ago, this was an impossible. The possibilities for the future are now endless.


Print Objects Not Paper – #DigitalMaking

It all started when I blissfully entered Vishal’s office through the MakerLab a year and a half ago. I had entered to clear my queries regarding queries (query-ception) for BADM 352 and was immediately puzzled by the weird shapes and objects placed all over the lab, instantly misinterpreting it to be a collector’s pad (with Vishal obviously the collector here). After my meeting with Vishal, I stepped back into the lab and it hit me that I had been living under a cave, there were printers that printed objects, yes, created objects, and there I was, wondering only a while ago why printing on both sides of one sheet was not cheaper than printing out two sheets. I soon followed up with Vishal during the expo for the ‘Making Things’ class and signed myself up for the DMS. That was they day my Digital Making experience began.

Unlike most classes, I did not know what to expect. Exams? Readings about printers? Learn a programming language? I did know one thing though, I wanted to know how this new technology was going to impact my life, both as a professional and as a person. Being a Supply Chain major, I was already curious as to how the ability to print objects would affect global supply chains. How can 3D Printing benefit a company like Boeing if a crucial piece of mechanical equipment could only be made in a lab in Germany could be made right where they wanted it, in Seattle? My questions were answered on the very first day of class, when two Wharton MBA grads spoke to us about the scope of ‘additive manufacturing’ for supply chain management, and I went on to write an article about our classroom discussion with them.

After that, the class followed a path through which I have come to realize the multiple stages of a product/object being printed, after all, the printer doesn’t make objects out of thin air, it needs a virtual model to make a physical one, and how do we create a virtual one? Either through CAD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) software or through a scan of an existing object. My introduction to both these channels resulted in me gaining elementary proficiency in AutoDesk Fusion and just simple awe from watching a powerful $80,000 scanner in action taking thousands of individual pictures to generate a highly detailed virtual model of this awesome racing glove. Fusion can be frustrating if you try to learn it by yourself – I can say so as it was hard for me despite being coached in-part by the makers of the software itself. Attempts at building a water gun were demolished when I realized that creating a piston along the shaft that connects the tank to the trigger needs more design experience and patience that I didn’t have (but hope to achieve someday soon). While it was hard enough to use the software, imagining what went into the making of this software just makes me dizzy.


While there was definitely a lot more to be learnt in the CAD modeling area alone, the class moved in the direction of quantity over quality, which is necessary as going in-depth into a particular area like CAD modeling alone would need total devotion for an entire semester. FabLab (the place really is ‘fab’) sessions were my favorite part of the class, as it exposed us to new realms in terms of disruptive technologies. Laser Cutting and its many applications were great to learn about, although I would recommend being careful when placing a weight over notebooks to hold them in the laser tray, as you can see below, my weight placement led to part of my message being in-scripted elsewhere! Arduinos – the boards that weird pins stick of (or boards that you can plug sensors into and help save lives), were a unique concept to get acquainted with, while I didn’t get too far in one session, a team in my class developed a pill-box that sends out an alert if a patient has not taken their pills, just by sensing the weight of the box in relation to time! For the same event that the pill-box was made for, the team I was part of made a grip support brace, called the Gripping-Bean. It is meant to add girth to objects with thin handles so as to force its user to recruit more muscle fibers when holding said object. It can be really useful for people with hand tremors, people in substance rehab going through withdrawal effects and most importantly, for people with severe arthritis. 3D Printing allowed us to create prototypes and we had our first model printed within 4 hours of completing our CAD model.
prototype 1

I am lucky in the sense that I will be working at a firm that values 3D Printing for its pending (and almost certain) impact on businesses of all kind. I did not have the time to take Deloitte University’s online course on 3D Printing, but I intend to do so over the summer and have a chat with it’s director, Mark Cotteleer, when I visit DU in the fall. I have come to view 3D Printing as more than just an interesting new technology after this class. I now see 3D Printing as a field in which I need to maximize my knowledge in order to make myself a more competent professional. When I joined Illinois, my ‘Business 101’ class section leader used to emphasize the need for graduates to be well versed with MS-Office applications as tech skills are crucial to career growth. A few years from now, I can see the DMS becoming a core requirement (like CS 105) for the College of Business and I am thankful to have been part of the first class. For me, DMS not only stoked a growing interest towards 3D Printing, it also taught me the importance of familiarizing oneself with new technology in order to be a more well rounded professional.


What I learned from Digital Making

I took this class originally to learn how to model, not knowing that I would actually only spend a portion of the semester with modeling softwares. Eventually we toured most of the major making topics: programming, sewing, ideating, scanning and carving. We bounced from additive manufacturing to subtractive, and I learned more about this broad topic of making than I ever would have if this course looked at it strictly from a modeling perspective. Below, I catalog what I’ve learned:


Modeling: What I learned

We started out the semester learning how to model on the simple to use, browser based program tinkercad. With this program, we were able to print out basic shapes, to heights and thicknesses we dictated. We even imported scans of our faces and made busts of ourselves. Me, I made a short mug.

From there, we learned how to use a more advanced software called Autodesk Fusion 360. We were given a workshop by a pair of instructors from the company, and we made lamps.

I didn’t really grasp the program at the time, I’m a journalism major after all, but I chose to apply what I gained at the workshop and watched learning videos with their helpful website. From there, I was able to work on a semester long project and made an advanced model of a spaceship.

Programming: What I learned

During a 3-week stint at a local making lab, I had the opportunity to play with a breadboard, some wiring, sensors, LEDs and “arduinos.” Through the arduino software installed on the lab’s computers, I was able to tell the LEDs when to turn on. I essentially made a night light.

Sewing: What I learned

Also while I was at this lab, I learned how to upload a silhouette onto a sewing machine, apply patterns, and automatically sew a patch. The next week I did something similar with applying a few silhouettes to a plank of wood in a wood cutter. WP_20150405_001

Ideating: What I learned

Lastly, we had a design thinking workshop during one of our classes, where I learned how to use a good process to get to a final design. From thinking of a problem, to thinking of and enhancing a solution, I learned just how designers do what they do.

So what exactly does all this mean?

As I said earlier, I came to this class with a journalism background, but that didn’t really inhibit me. Through this class, I was able to apply myself in ways I haven’t in a long time.

This class has opened up a whole world of things that I can make and do – from doorstops to birthday presents. All I have to do is take a few hours and learn how to do it.

My DigitalMaking Experience

In January 2015 I came to the US and to the University of Illinois to study abroad for one semester. Back home I had to chose several classes. Digital Making was of course not one of them, because nobody had told me before about it. However, Database Design, a class also offered by Vishal, was one of them. During the first class of Database he mentioned the MakerLab, the worlds first 3d printing lab at a Business College. I was impressed, I’ve heard a lot about 3d printing before, but I haven’t seen a printer in real life before. Of course, there are many 3d printers in Vienna as well. There are some at the FabLab, at the Technical University, and so on… Nevertheless, that day Vishal also mentioned his course DigitalMaking! So I asked Vishal if I could participate and I also asked him if I would receive credits for that course. I thought: „An interesting and fun class, that’s not something you get credits for!“ But we did!

First of all, I want to say what I expected this class to be – and what it was not about. I expected this class to be all about 3d printing. Isn’t it taught at the MakerLab?
Of course, this course was about 3d printing, but that was only one piece. It is a lot more and therefore you don’t have to be afraid to be locked into the MakerLab the whole semester! 🙂 Let me organize all facilities as a list

Truly, I can say that I have learned a lot in this course! We started by designing simple things on Tinkercad, moved on to scanning and printing our own head. We thought about finding solutions for several problems and we later started using the powerful tool Fusion 360. We used a more precise 3d scanner and of course printed our scan. We „printed“ by stitching and engraved paper and wood, and we learned about the small but powerful Arduionos.

But what was this all for? For me, it was a hands on experience on several different tools. I think Vishal designed this course to show us all these tools to use them in future. It is not possible to try every tool in detail in class, but you are able to get to know them.

So I got to know all these different tools, and I can tell you, I will use all of them in future! I have plans to buy an Arduino, a temperature sensor and an Wifi Add-On like this to connect it to IFTTT and my Nest Thermostat. I have also several ideas of things I wanted to design and 3d-print. As I am going home in a few weeks, I will not be able to use the facilities at UIUC but I’m looking forward to visiting similar facilities at Vienna!

My Semester of Digital Making

I have learned so much about digital making this semester! I’m going to break down some of the main things I learned, then talk about what this experience means to me as well as what I plan to use this knowledge for in the future.

What I Learned:

3D Printing and Scanning
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One of the first things I learned this semester was 3D printing and scanning, which makes sense since our class was held in the Maker Lab. We were introduced to the many sources to find 3D printable files, the software to edit files, and then how to print the files.

The first thing I edited and printed myself…was myself! We learned how to use a scanner that was very easy to use, then got to edit it however we liked. I went with a simple stand to create a bust of myself.

I later printed many objects including detailed jewelry, a candle holder, and a brain.

Fusion 360
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The next thing I learned about in class was how to create 3D objects in a software called Fusion 360. It is a way to make 3D designs into almost anything imaginable. It is quite complicated to learn, but once you understand some of the basic functions the possibilities are endless.

I followed the in-class tutorial to create a lamp and also tried to make some other objects outside of class including headphones. I’m not sure I will be using Fusion 360 beyond this semester, but I know it is available to me if I have a use for it.

InkScape (for laser engraving and vinyl cutting)

2015-03-31 17.45.49The first week in the Fab Lab I was introduced to InkScape and learned how to edit images in order to create amazing things. I first used a laser cutter to engrave a journal. I also used an electronic cutter to cut out a vinyl sticker.

I had a lot of fun making both of these items. I was able to use InkScape in other projects as well this semester including the digital embroidery patch below.

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The second week in the Fab Lab I got to learn about Arduinos. I used the Arduino Uno and we were given basic items to get started on our learning. I followed online tutorials to run programs like the basic blink and fade, then added in an LED.

I also got to learn about different types of sensors that can be used with Arduinos. I was able to use this in the CU Make-a-thon in my group project for the semester to create a pillbox for the elderly that senses when you take a pill out of the container.

Digital Embroidery

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The last week in the Fab Lab I learned about digital embroidery. I had created a design in InkScape in preparation for class because I wanted to make a gift for my roommate’s birthday, so I got to focus on learning how the process works rather than designing.

I chose different patterns for each part of the design then threaded the sewing machine and watched the magic happen. I was amazed by how accurate the stitches were.

This project, as well as all of the others mentioned above, can be found with more details on my previous blog posts:

Take Aways:

This class taught me so much about the world of digital making. I am very grateful for the experience and I wish I could take this class again next semester.

I started in the class having no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anything about 3D printing or other digital making technologies. Also, I didn’t know about the other digital making spaces that are around campus. I was amazed from all of the information I learned in the first few class sessions. The scope of the technology that exists is so far beyond what I initially imagined.

Now that I have completed the course I can say that I am much more aware of what is available to me and have a better insight into the digital making world. And I have loved sharing my learning with my friends and family.

I plan to return to the Maker Lab and the Fab Lab next semester to teach my sister (an incoming Freshman) all about what I have learned this semester. Hopefully we can learn even more together. I look forward to exploring deeper into the technologies I learned about and beyond. I can’t wait to see all the projects that can come out of it!

I encourage everyone to try out digital making in any or all of its forms because the technology is useful to anyone no matter the age, gender, ethnicity, or interests. The digital making world welcomes all makers, no experience necessary!

Any questions about my projects or experiences in this class can be directed to my email or message me on twitter @ARoseK10.

Digital Making: A Semester of Creativity

This semester provided numerous experiences in expanding my horizons of how I can create products. My education thus far, while extremely valuable, has prepared me for continuing the operations large institutions. While this is a valuable skill set, it does not focus on creativity or creation of products.

Learning to Make

I entered this class with a rudimentary understanding of what 3D printing was and how it could be used to make custom iPhone cases. However, I had little knowledge of the broader maker movement or its implications beyond 3D printing. This course has taught me a broader appreciation of all things related to this phenomenon.


The beginning of this course explored the materials that we had in the MakerLab. Using TinkerCad, handheld scanners, and eventually Fusion 360, we were able to design products and bring them into the physical space. The process of creating something from scratch provided a pleasant refreshment from the other tasks of my education.

Later in the course, we broadened our learning to other technologies in the Maker Movement. With help from the Beckmen Institute and the CU FabLab, our class was exposed to 3D scanning, laser engraving, digital embroidery, and arduinos. These technologies only increased our classes capabilities and knowledge to create incredible works of art and engineering.

Changing Thinking

Learning these skills only gave me a taste of what the Maker Movement provides. Knowing some of the skills taught by this phenomena will better equip me to understand these people  who work in fields where the democratization of manufacturing would be applicable. As I talked about previously, my education is focused existing industry and preparing me to work in that world. However, this class exposed me to an entirely new industry and its thinking. If I chose to work in this field, I would be more poised to succeed due to my prior knowledge.

This class has also changed the way I think about preexisting products in my day to day life. Now, when I look at a cup or a phone case, I don’t think about where I need to buy one if I replace it. Instead, I think if it would be better to make one myself, or if there was something I could improve upon. I could go on thingiverse, download a file for a replacement product, edit it if I desire, and print one off. Instead of accepting what is in front of me, I can now question what exists and seek to improve it.

Beyond the Classroom

This class has come to an end, however, the Maker Movement is still going strong. For my professional path, I am not yet sure if I will pursue a career in this field. However, in my chosen field of consulting, it is likely that I will encounter some businesses in the additive manufacturing field. With this class, I will better be able understand these individuals and work towards solving their problems.

I also don’t believe that I will stop honing my skills after this course has ended. While I have gained some skills with CAD, I wish to further work with Fusion 360 to create more sophisticated designs. I also hope to keep using the FabLab to continue to make artwork for my own enjoyment.

All in all, this course has vastly improved both my interest and ability in Digital Making. The concepts taught in this course have shown me a new world of business and my own personal projects.

One Door Closes, and Many More Open: Digital Making 2015

Time has flown by and the end of the semester is quickly approaching. Though this is a relief in some of my classes, in Digital Making it is a sad goodbye. I signed up for the class wanting to learn all I could about Digital Making, and am going to miss having three hours set aside every Tuesday afternoon to do just that.

Some of the projects I worked on during my Digital Making semester.

This class has definitely been a journey for me and has taught me about a whole new world of resources (and people) out there that will be helpful to me as I continue my making journey here at UIUC and beyond. From gaining new knowledge about 3D modeling and printing through the BIF MakerLab classes and our session with Autodesk, to learning all about scanning and preparing them for printing in our sessions with the Beckman Lab, to discovering the plethora of resources-including digital embroidery machines, laser cutters, and Arduinos (to name a few)-available to us through the Champaign Urbana Community Fab lab, to learning all about the amazing organization that is e-NABLING the Future through my semester-long project, my Digital Making semester has truly been an eye opening experience. Its sad for me to see the semester ending feeling like there’s so much more to learn, but I definitely feel prepared to do so if I can get myself to set aside the time.

If there’s one key thing I took away from this semester it is not to be intimidated to try things out. Though the idea of building 3D printed prosthetic hands, or creating something with a laser cutter, or coding an Ardiuno to sense light levels would all have sounded super intimidating to me at the start of this spring, I’ve done all of these things in Digital Making and none of them were really that hard! Moving forward, I’m definitely going to have a much easier time taking on scary sounding projects and using the resources available to me to figure out how to make them a reality. One example of this is a project I’m thinking about taking on myself this summer: building a 3D printer from scratch. My department offers some small grants for students to take on research and projects over the summer, and as soon as I saw the email about the offer I thought, “There has to be some way I can use this to continue with Digital Making!.” Not long after Vishal posted something about building a $200 3D printer and immediately I thought, “This is perfect!”. I’m still waiting to hear back from my advisor about sponsorship, but I think this is a great example of how I’ve grown. Building a 3D printer would have sounded crazy to me before this class, but now I’m thinking of it as an adventure I could definitely figure out with some persistence.

And I see that as just the start. I still have three more semesters to spend time tinkering at the CU Fab Lab and now working at the BIF MakerLab and lots of projects I want to take on and tools I want to explore. This curiosity in combination with the people I’ve meet-both inside the class and outside of it-are a great starting point for me to take my making skills and knowledge to the next level. And its obvious I’m not the only one who feels that way. Through my classmates presentations in our last class reflecting on their semester long projects and their own journeys of learning and their own recent reflections, it seems pretty clear that I will not be the only one hanging out in the MakerLab next semester.

Its very exciting to see how everyone has grown and interpreted the class materials in their own unique way. From Kays project Making 3D art with Math to Arielle and Cos. project making wheelchair racing gloves with 3D printing and scanning, we’ve each brought making skills into our life in different (and awesome!) ways. For me personally this has been a great addition to my concentration in Product Design and a very interesting way to apply my engineering education to actually making real things (something that doesn’t happen very often in theoretically-focused undergraduate classed). Talking to additive manufacturing-focused companies and visiting Deloitte through this class has opened my eyes to the new areas of opportunity opening up to people with making knowledge and has helped encourage me to seek out and apply for opportunities in this area-like hackathons and additive manufacturing related jobs and internships. Already a number of doors have been opened to me, including the opportunity to attend hackathons at Stanford and NYU Abu Dhabi and the grant I mentioned earlier on, partially because of the new skills I’ve gained in this class. All in all, it has been a very productive semester and I am looking forward to all the making opportunities and projects the future holds for me.

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

Lima Gripper IMG_20150412_101551

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.

Semester Learning Portfolio

In the Spring 2015, my last semester in college, I took by far one of the most interesting and hands on rich classes in the College of Business. As you already guessed it was a Digital Making class taught by professor Vishal Sachdev. The class had about 20 students and was very diverse in the students backgrounds, in fact we had business majors, engineers and journalists. It was nothing like other classes in our college, it was an absolutely unique experience. The mission of the class was “Learn, Make and Share”.

Let me tell you first about the environment we worked in and how the class was structured. The most exciting thing was that we rarely stayed in one place. What I mean by this is that we got to explore the majority of resources available on our campus with regard to “Making”. For example our classes took place in the MakerLab at the College of Business, the Beckman Institute, the FabLab and even the Deloitte office in Chicago. In each of this place we had an opportunity to learn and make something new such as 3D printing at the MakerLab, 3D scanning at the Beckman Institute and Arduino coding at the FabLab. However, not only we as students went to visit some places, but we also had some professionals come to our class and teach us something new. For example, we had an opportunity to learn working on Fusion 360 from real industrial design professionals. Also, we had student organizations such as Design for America as our guest speakers that helped us understand human centered design concept. So, as you can see this class encompasses so much diversity in learning and making.

Here is the picture of the FabLab I mentioned above. FYI the door is not easy to find.


Now since I gave you a little bit of environment and structure of the class let me give you examples of things that we made during this semester and the implications of the learning and making processes. The class had a quite exciting start because the first thing that we made was ourselves. Let me clarify here, what we did is we scanned ourselves with a portable 3D scanner and then printed our sculpts on a 3D printer. I could never imagine that this was possible, so I was quite amazed with this experience. With this experience I realized that there could be many applications one of which I learned at the Beckman Institute. When our very own Alma Mater was sent for reconstruction two years ago, some folks at the Beckman Institute were able to 3D scan it and send it to an app that would allow the graduates to take the famous picture with the Alma Mater. Isn’t this amazing!

This is Travis who worked on the Alma Mater project and his giant 3D scanner @Beckman



As I mentioned above we spend some time at the FabLab. The Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is an open and collaborative workshop space for computer-driven innovation, design and fabrication. Here, we were able to learn and make quite a few things. The FabLab has several sections such as electronics, textile & fabrics, laser engraving and 3D printing. I personally learned to work on Arduino at the electronics section, digital stitching at the textile & fabrics section and laser cutting at the laser engraving section. Each of these experiences gave me opportunity to learn new skills and look at some things differently. For example, with the knowledge we got from Arduino workshop my teammates and I were able to create a pillbox that was able to notify senior citizens with the LED light on Arduino. This idea was developed at the event called Make-a-thon that was organized by the FabLab community. This was a very exciting event where different teams were able to develop their ideas with regard to the “Senior accessibility” and create their prototypes. In addition, with the digital stitching and laser cutting I realized that it is possible to make personalized gifts to my friends and family. Overall, this experience at the FabLab really showed me that it is possible to create an make things that are both meaningful and affordable.

Here are some of my works at the FabLab.

10982905_954476817938530_6906218937898392464_o  IMG_20150419_215602 ard  IMG-20150407-WA0002



Now with this amazing experience that I have gotten from the Digital Making class there are certainly some take aways that made me think of how I can apply or further broaden my knowledge about this subject. First of all I really got interested in additive manufacturing which basically is 3D printing. More specifically, I started researching on how people can apply or already applying this knowledge to the construction industry. For example, in China there are already cases when people built houses using additive manufacturing concept (check this articles I think this is truly amazing and soon potentially can become a normal thing. No one thought we could carry phones in our pockets 2-3 decades ago. So, I think 3D printed houses are similar in  that sense, it is hard to believe in it but it surely will become a reality.  Therefore, as I am thinking on becoming an entrepreneur, I believe the trends such as 3D printing will be important for me to keep an eye on in the coming future.

Additionally, many things that I learned in this class, especially the ones at the FabLab I think should become more popular in many places in the world. In particular, I think children from young age should be taught with this kind of skills and knowledge that will allow them think creatively and give opportunity to make things themselves. As a result this will allow to nurture a generation of makers, creators and innovators.

This was my experience at making things, are you ready to “Learn, Make and Share”?!