About Taofik Sulaiman

Sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Electrical Engineering. From Lagos, Nigeria.

Using Autodesk 360: A powerful CAD tool

Another day, another tool that you can use to create and make innovative products. This week in lecture we were not in our usual maker space but in the Armory to hear from Jeff Smith, an expert in AutoDesk Fusion 360 and an industrial designer for Autodesk. He gave us an overview of the Autodesk work environment, including their innovative makerspace called Pier9 which is for making digital into real. He also showed us how powerful and unique this software is and different ways of designing:

  • Parametric designing which entails specific constraints and dimensions, and
  • Free-form designing or sculpting using the Tee-Spline Body

The way Fusion 360 is setup is in order of the different design phases: model, patch, render, animation, simulate, etc. They use a top-down componentry/modeling system system unlike other CAD software such as Creo Parametric or SolidWorks which use bottom-down modelling. You could even type code and create a model instead of clicking around the tools. He also introduced the new and powerful concept of having the computer learn and design your product for a more efficient design. Learning from about Fusion 360 was a great experience the way he likened designing with time-travelling. I really felt inspired more to be a maker and get more into modeling. Using the skills that we learnt from him and the Fusion 360 tutorial, i was able to replicate the model of the wire conduit below,

Screenshot (4)

and go further to design a model of a product I use on a daily basis – A Chapstick:

Screenshot (2)

If you would like to dive into this powerful tool, Autodesk offers Fusion 360 free for students at their website.

After Jeff Smith, we had a representative from the CU Biolab, Dot Silverman, tell us about the various creative endeavors they do in combining Biology and making into what she called “BioHacking”. There are so many endeavors involving biohacking going on around the country such as the MIT Silk pavillion and so many others included in the picture below.


From Design Process to Design Thinking

I had the opportunity to participate in this week’s workshop with the Design For America-UIUC. They focused on guiding us through the steps of design thinking – a new trend/concept in the product development life cycle. These steps included:

  • Identify
  • Immerse
  • Reframe
  • Ideate
  • Build
  • Test

In this workshop, we went through many different scenarios and worked in groups to create a non-functional prototype in its simplest form using the deign thinking steps. Starting off with perceiving and questioning the consumers’ world/perspective. After which we worked on an idea, sketch, a model prototype out of arts and craft material available. We came up with so many questions and scenarios for the cinsumers and equally as many possible solutions in the “ideate” step then tried to combine them into one prototype out of art supplis available.

As mentioned in an article by Tim Brown, before companies made products that performed a specific function then it would try to apply to a problem by “dressing them up” with a design. I’ve learnt that this is a flawed way of creating a product. With the new concept of “design thinking”, I would be able to enhance the need and impact of my product ideas on consumers and reduce the chances of them being useless or redundant, this would make them much more innovative. The deign thinking process first pushes me to identify a problem or need. Then immersing my self, empathetically, relating to the world of the consumer encountering that problem or need, reframing the problem to avoid assumptions, coming up with an idea from the perspective of the consumer – this is where the human centered focus is crucial, then building the idea to those constraints and finally testing as in any product development cycle.

So we have an idea of what design thinking is, What does that do now? Now we can target specific problems and consumer responses to products as well as identifying new market potentials as in the examples given in Tim Brown’s articles. Universities are starting to implement this in their classes, as I have experience with this new concept from my ME270 class at UIUC which involved creating a product – primariy mechanical focused – to tackle a specific problem and reiterating till it solved the problem more efficiently. I could then see the business potential in these especially after reading the two articles mentioned below. In the  “Design Thinking: Past, Present and Possible Futures”, they did a great job doing in-depth definition of design thinking and the different ways it could be implemented. Also in “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking”, he kind of alluded to the challenges of incorporating design thinking as putting art before science and how it was difficult for ‘scientists’ to do so.

[1] “Design Thinking: Past, Present and Possible Futures” Ulla Johansson-Sköldberg,
Jill Woodilla, Mehves Çetinkaya . Wiley Online Library. Web. 25 March 2013

[2] “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking” Richard Buchanan. The MIT Press. Web. 23 October 2015

Now, we are entering a world where almost any new open-ended idea has been implemented. Now we need innovative ideas and products that solve the other problems – the specific problems. We will need this design thinking in today’s innovators and major players to tackle more specific problems. I believe companies like Amazon, Capitol One, General Electric and so on, are using big data and data analytics in a way to find these specific problems – these specific potential consumer/market – and provide solutions to these.

Week 2 Reflection: UIUC Maker Community & Ways to Make (3D Print)

Staying in a class for three hours is draining but this BADM 395 class is the exception to that rule, here we listen to exciting and innovative speakers, watch the makerbots 3D-print objects of different colors and get to see finished products on display in the lab.

In this week’s lecture we learned alot more about the maker community on and around campus from Jeff Ginger – Director of the CUC  Fablab – with a focus on the FabLab and the potential locations for making and innovation on campus even he had not fully explored yet, but intends to do so. From the many examples of projects and initiatives they do at the FabLab that incorporated art and innovation, I look forward to working within the FabLab space for our semester project. From his talk, I could see a lot of correlation with the “Maker Movement” and the “3D Printing Revolution” that were in the readings and how they work hand in hand. These blew me away with the many applications and potential for 3D printing in our futures, daily lives and industries as well as education through the utilization of 3D printing in maker spaces for classes.

Then after this I got to meet and introduce myself to my two new team mates for the semester project – Tiffany and Odelia – then dived through thingiverse as part of our in class activity. This showed me a facet of the interconnected world of makers, a community set up to spark creativity and give access to cad files for personal use/customization. It showed us one of the 3 ways to make by “Downloading and Printing”. Then we were able to download a creation of our own choice and 3D print it. My choice was a bee hive drawer:


By diving further into thingiverse and shapeways, I found a couple more cool things that I’d love to print and use:

Vice: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1117728

I work on a lot of tech teams and a frequent problem we have is holding things we use upright, but with this I could easily solve this problem by printing versions of this cad file but resizing it to fit the specific use I need them for.

Raspberry Pi Case: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:922740

Last semester I was working on a personal arduino/raspberry pi project that invilved a bulky shield on it that would not fit the case I saw online for it, but this case on here would be perfect for the project I was working on with a little resizing without keeping the aspect ratio constant. This is but one of the many cool microcontroller cases i saw on these pages with cool designs.

USB Cable Holder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:755186

I am someone who attends alot of workshops, events and conferences that give away alot free gadgets that have usb cables and because of this I have a lot usb cables lying around in my room in a disheveled mess. This with a bit of resizing and probably more than one duplicates would be able to help me organize these cables and access them better.

Stackable Battery Holders: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1004996

As I said, I am someone with alot of gadgets that either are recharged by usb cable or AA-battery powered. With this I would be able to keep all of my extra batteries in a cool way rather than digging around in the bottom of my drawer/cabinets just for one. I would probably resize it to be able to store more batteries too.