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
- UI MakerLab
- Beckman Institute
- Deloitte Chicago
- Knowledge Creation at Deloitte’s Greenhouse
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!