Exceeding Expectations : 3 Things I Will Takeaway from Digital Making

When I first was able to take the Digital Making course, I was  excited at the prospect of being able to work with 3D printers for the first time and perhaps learn some new types of software. While I certainly did the above, the first hand experience of creating a 3D printed product solution with help from multiple campus resources showed me the vast capabilities 3D printing as well as other digital technologies can have.  As a Recreation, Sport, & Tourism  grad student taking this course, I am interested to see how the capabilities of 3D printing can impact entire industries as well as daily life with the maker movement  .  I am very glad to have been in this class as I learned so much from VIshal, the people who spoke in class, and my classmates. Using 3D printers,  Fusion / TinkerCad/ Scanning software, and even programing  Arduinos / Rasberry Pi within the Fab Lab were all new experiences I have not had before. Overall I have 3 main lessons that stood out from my experience in particular.

  1. Ideating and Design Thinking

My team came up with several idea solutions that could solve a problem. Going through this process of ideating to lead to a potential solution was often challenging. However being able to learn from how the process went was a really good experience. For example our team tried out a few ideas that we thought we can create a solution for, and ended up scrapping them because of a lack of need for the product or ability to create it. We eventually created a security product that does solve a need, however the road to get to that solution and idea was harder than an idea just popping into our heads. Having gone through the process and better understanding the capabilities of the technology, I believe we would be more prepared to go through the creation process again and be more effective with a product solution. Lastly, understanding the capabilities now makes it  a bit easier for me to draw inspiration on potential projects I may undertake in the future.

2. Learning through Trial and Error

From creating multiple attempts at a product  solution,  to my personal struggles using CAD Fusion 360 software, there were  plenty of times that failure would get frustrating. Although it is cliche, I learned the most when I faced roadblocks in using Fusion 360, programming Arduinos, or even soldering. It was in the moments of trial and error of multiple failed attempts to get a certain part of the product to work, that I felt as though I learned the most. Figuring out why something did not work, such as a sensor on our product, lead to me having a better understanding of the  technology / process. In this way I have a much bette appreciation for the the prototyping and testing phase of a product. While it can be frustrating due to all of the imperfections being displayed, it is also the time where your product benefits the most from the improvement in my opinion.

3. Broad  / Endless possibilities of 3D printing

Within our class we had people make product solutions which contained some sort of 3D printing. The products ranged from an at home security system, to a friendly bot that records video when you interact with it, to an object that helps individuals tie their tie, to an at home aquaponics system, etc….  The idea being that 3D printing capabilities are extremely broad in scope, which to me is an amazing part of the technology. Some products are entirely 3D printed solutions, while others may just be a tiny yet necessary part to fulfilling a need through a product.

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