What I made in Digital Making

Through the Digital Making course at the University of Illinois, I’ve been able to pursue something I’ve always wanted to get into: spaceship modeling.

I grew up playing-out space battles with model ships from Star Trek, and little Bionicle and Lego contraptions I thought up. I used bottlecaps and Wint-o-Green mints too. As I played, I imagined an entire universe outside of myself – a universe of aliens and knights, of spaceships and complex alliances.

I’ve taken that imagined universe and written it down, in dozens of pages of notebooks and word docs. My goal is to make it an online book one day, but always another goal of mine was to actually make the ships I thought up in my head, and not just imagine it as a bottlecap. I accomplished that this semester, and made the most important ship in my universe. Give it a gander:


I made the SS Valhalla with Fusion 360, and its took several incarnations to get me to where I am today. It’s finally finished, and as I’m writing this, it’s being printed. You can print it for yourself here.

As I move forward with my universe and eventually publish my stories, I intend to make this ship, and the others that will follow it, integral to the reading experience. I want my readers to read the words and click on them, landing them onto a thingiverse page where they can print it for themselves.

I want my readers to make their own ships and contribute them to the lore.

I want to change and innovate science fiction, making it more than just words on a page. I want to make my universe a digital gateway to imagination in a way that wasn’t possible 10 years ago.

Email me at austinkeating3@gmail.com if you want an email sometime when I’m ready to unveil the project, hopefully over the next year or so.

Digital Making Log: Week 12

The semester is coming to a close, and now I find myself scrambling to put together my final project. It looks like I’m not alone, judging my by my classmates vote on a recent Facebook poll.

We were originally planning to show off our projects last week in a mini maker show, but now we’ve pushed it back to give ourselves more time to finish things up. Which I’m thankful for.

You see, I’ve been grappling with how to split my spaceship model for printing and I only really found out a way to do it Tuesday. Prior to that, I used tinkercad to apply holes to my model – the only downside was that the model had to be exported in low resolution so that it could be loaded into the online-based modeler.

Now I’m splitting the model up in Fusion 360, and then exporting each part individually. It’s not as easy to do as it is in tinkercad, but I’ll get there, eventually. Right now I have a running Thingiverse page for my model, check it out! I’ll be updating it with high res imports by the end of the semester.


Maker log 9

Last time our class held a session, it was pretty much a free for all. Some people printed their projects, and others worked on arduino technology (making circuits). I opted to do my own thing and spent the class period applying holes to the base of my spaceship model, and printing the ship in pieces. It came together quite nicely:unnamedThe edges where the superglue is applied are still very visible after gluing, so hopefully some paint will fix that. The rest of the ship is pretty well done and will be added on this week I’m hoping. Check out a screenshot of it so far:

UntitledEach of the four alcoves I’ve built will hold a frigate, held in place by a peg built with the hole function.

Outside of working on my ship, I haven’t done much else in these past few weeks in the maker world. I’ve been following some arduino tutorials and am excited to delve into the technology over the next four weeks!