e-Portfolio: Final Words


Coming into this class I did not any expectations on how this class would turn out. I was recommended this class by an upperclassmen friend who had previously taken this class before. When Professor Vishal started describing the class, I was taken aback on the project that we had to do for the class. I was certainly not expecting it and I had little confidence that I would even be able to create a product that would be plausible to use. I was expecting that this class would be a disaster for me. However, I did expect that I would learn more about designing and digital making.

Looking back, I must say that this class went above and beyond my expectations. This class taught me not only create something, but be a better thinker. This class definitely taught me how to design different products or solutions, as well as digital making. However, what really stroked a cord with me was how I improved in such a short period of time and that I was able to, by the end of the semester, successfully create a product that functionally worked and was plausible. I learned that most problems have solutions. If you just stopped to think, many problems could be solved. I also learned to always have confidence in your own abilities. In the beginning, I was scared and I really did not know if I could be successful in any way during my time in the class. But the class was set up so that if you fail at something, you still have multiple chances to get back up on your feet and try again.

What We Learned:

3D Printing

In the second week of the class, we started to learn how to 3D print. We used the open source software Cura, as well as open source websites to download blueprints of things we could print such as a Chip Bag Clip, a Phone Holder, and even a Selfie Stick. Personally, I printed a USB cord rack. I have so many cords around my room that it’s not only dangerous for me if I stepped on one, but it could also potentially damage the cord. This rack helps separate one cord from another and keeps the cords organized. We also learned to 3D Print through Autodesk Fusion 360.  To be totally honest, I had a hard time with Fusion 360, even now I still cannot fully understand and figure out how it works. However, I must admit that it becomes more user-friendly as one gets to understand the functions more and the program is quite effective. What I do admire about Fusion is its ability to help the user be more productive. It helps users create more complicated objects with different layers that would normally take hours on end to create in a normal CAD program at a faster pace with the same amount of quality. Finally, Autodesk, the company behind Fusion 360 offers this program, as well as many others, free to students for 3 years.

Design Thinking

In the third week, Design for America, an organization, came to talk about design thinking. Personally, I really loved the presentation and this 3rd week of class. It really gave me insight on how much design and innovation was used in our daily life for all types of products we used and how it was the beginning steps to a product. I also learned the important three steps in design thinking: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. During class, as a group, we had to design a type product centered around senior citizens in their day to day life. This was very memorable because we were able to go through these steps to make something that had potential to become reality.  Design thinking is taking an innovation or activity and changing it to fit human needs. In this day and age, a design must keep up with current technology.

Laser Cutting

During our time at the FabLab workshops, laser cutting was my favorite station. We learned first what laser cutting is: when a laser etches or cuts into the material to make a design or object. We also learned that laser cutting can be used to make boxes and almost anything. The box we are currently designing and making will be a box with 5 LED lights that will blink when the sensor which is attached to an Arduino is triggered. We used Inkscape, an open source software designed to make laser cutting easier. We then were given a “class”/tutorial on how to build a box through Inkscape. My box’s design (pictured below) uses pictures that are black and white in which the laser cutter etches onto wood.

Coding and Circuits

We also learned how to code for the Arduino during our workshops at the FabLab. Honestly, coding is not my strong point. Aside from some experience in JavaScript, C++, and MySQL, I was inexperienced with using Arduino. Business students do not normally have a lot of experience with coding or even hardware, but it was safe to say that the FabLab staff really helped us walk through the process of connecting the breadboard to the Arduino which incorporated code to enable our lights to blink. However, soldering was the most frustrating and difficult area for me. The whole process was stressful and having to be detailed and delicate with the wiring was not for me. By the end of the soldering session, I felt ready to give up and never touch soldering again. To add fuel to the fire, because of my twisting and turning of the wires, the connections constantly broke to a point in which some of the connections were unrepairable. Because of this turn of events, I was unable to successfully created the LED box that included the soldering of the lights and photoreceptors. Since I broke most of my connections toward the end of the class, I had no time to redo the soldering and was forced to create a prototype LED box with the breadbox and the Arduino. As much as I don’t like soldering, this skill is very important to have knowledge of and I learned about it through the FabLab

Project Managing

Lastly, I learned by the last three weeks on project management within the team. Our team was very busy from the get-go. We all had our own academics and extracurriculars to deal with aside from this class. So finding time to work on this project together definitely needed compromise and leadership. As a team, all three of us had to step up and manage not only the project, but also team members and ourselves. We had to keep each other accountable. Only by doing so did we manage to pull through and successfully complete this project. We also learned how to audit other teams and take constructive criticism and use it to better our project.


All in all, this class was fun and exciting. It was a nice breather from my regular day-to-day class, and each week, I was looking forward to class and getting my hands “dirty” for my project or the assignment that week presented. Thank you so much for this opportunity. If I had to do this all over again, I would have done the same thing because this experience was priceless.

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