Harnessing the Powerful Tools At Our Disposal

Diving into Fusion 360 during this week’s class session was not unlike jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool in an attempt to learn how to swim; needless to say, there was initially quite a bit of floundering. Over the course of two and a half hours, Jeff walked us through the various functionalities of the program in a hands on demonstration that gradually built our comfortability and proficiency in the software.  We were exposed to far more advanced capabilities than we had previously been able to utilize in Tinkercad, which will permit us to develop far more sophisticated designs and products moving forward in the class. We were also exposed to the extremely fascinating prospects of biohacking, an initiative that is being led by Dot Silverman at the Fab Lab in Champaign. The use of these natural materials in lieu of traditional plastics, fabrics, etc. in production present a new element to consider when developing our capstone projects for the course.

Both portions of this class were equally important in the development of our final projects. Our work with Fusion 360 afforded us a basic level of skill in the software that we can utilize and continue to expand upon in our efforts to design our products. Without this basic level of knowledge, we would lack the fundamentals necessary to execute certain concepts. Dot’s presentation was pivotal, as it encouraged us to consider the materials that will be required to produce our designs, and the various implications of material choice. The biohacking movement is pivotal in the world of 3D making, as environmental concerns are at the forefront of issues facing production of all varieties, traditional and otherwise, in today’s society. If able to harness the technologies devised through this movement on a large scale, the standards for materials utilized in production could be revolutionized.

With my newfound knowledge, I plan to sharpen my skills in Fusion 360 in order to capitalize on all the program has to offer, and to ensure that I have a solid foundation with which to go about developing my product once we finish the brainstorming stage. While it is difficult to discern whether the biohacking aspect of 3D making will fit well with my team’s product until our design is better defined, I would love to explore this concept more. I am fascinated by the idea of utilizing biodegradable materials for short term and/or disposable products, such as packaging. I believe that creating a design that aligns with sustainability efforts is crucial to a product’s longevity and ability to best serve the community. Furthermore, it will be important to understand the interaction between the Fusion 360 design and the material selected; for example, I will need to consider whether, if selected, a biodegradable material has any restrictions or limitations as to which designs it can be implemented in.

Overall, this week’s instruction provided clarity on several powerful tools that are at our disposal moving forward in this design process. I was able to scratch the surface of these resources while replicating a side table lamp from my apartment, as per Jeff’s instruction as the conclusion of our last class. While I struggled at first, as I hadn’t used the software in several days, I eventually became much more comfortable, and was able to create this design utilizing Fusion 360.

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