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Endings & Beginnings

I’m really happy I took this class! I knew a lot of people in the class before taking it from other classes, but I feel like I got to know them a lot better through the course. We became friends learning about all the different tools and machinery. I thought it was so interesting to see people’s interests through the work they created and how they customized all their projects.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this course. My knowledge on 3D printing was not very extensive, but I have a lot of friends that use it and I always wanted to learn. I had taken a lot of artistic, creative classes through my time at U of I, but never within the College of Business. I consider myself a creative individual and I knew I was excited to try a new form of expression. I was familiar with a lot of machinery like the CNC machine prior to taking the class, but I had never actually used one and created something with it although I have always wanted to! I expected the class to be very technical and maybe a bit hard. I took an industrial design class my Junior year and I had used CAD software so I was expecting the 3D software to be similar to that.


Looking back now, I think that 3D printing is easier than I expected although it can be challenging at times. I loved using Fusion 360 and I’m very grateful Dan Banach was able to come in and teach us how to use it. It’s so much harder trying to learn these softwares just by teaching ourselves and having a professional come in and teach it made it a more meaningful experience for me. Fusion 360 is easy to use and has a nice, aesthetically pleasing interface which I really enjoyed. It makes me want to go out and learn more softwares through other classes or opportunities I may encounter.

Probably my favorite part of the class was the weeks we went to the FabLab. I had heard so much about the FabLab during my four years here, but I never actually ventured there myself. It’s an amazing place! I loved doing digital embroidery. I didn’t ever know that was a thing until we went to the FabLab. I have friends who are clothing designers and they always hand stitch all their embroidery so I was under the impression that was the only low-cost way to do it. My grandma also stitches clothing for fun and I think about all the time and effort she puts into her beautiful designs that could also be done using the machinery. I feel like I could easily make my own designs now leveraging the digital embroidery technology. I also loved learning the CNC machine and seeing it in action was very cool. My dad is a carpenter and I’ve seen wood being worked in all sorts of ways, but he doesn’t need a CNC machine so that was the first time I actually encountered it. It’s so cool! I want to go back and make a more complicated design with the technology and burn it onto a bigger surface. I’m glad we incorporated the lights into our designs as well. I’ve taken a lot of electrical engineering classes over the years and it was nice to literally weave the concept into our design.

I liked when the Design for America kids came in to talk to us too. I am a member of Illinois Enactus and we work to create sustainable change through entrepreneurial action. We actually have a lot of projects that leverage 3D printing and the FabLab so Design for America is really up my alley in terms of interests. I liked hearing about the different projects they’ve sourced and the ways in which they are trying to improve our community. I think anyone can be innovative and more people should use their creative abilities to help people. It was great seeing the Design for America people be so passionate and willing to teach.

Overall, the course taught me a lot of not only technical skills I will leverage, but also how to think like an innovator and creator. I’m grateful I got to experience the ‘maker’ mentality and I will definitely be 3D printing in the future. I enjoyed how open-ended our project was. We got to pick our idea and really leverage all available tools to make it come to life. It was a great time and I will be sure to recommend it to friends in the future. Thanks for a great semester!

Capstone Update

I was able to redesign our garden and reprint it. The other one we printed had the wrong size holes in it for the water drainage. This new one had all the right dimensions and we made the right size screw holes. The print started off a little rough. It was only printing half and in an off manner. Professor Vishal figured out our garden was on its side and we were able to print it. We took out the water drainage holes in the new print because we will be drilling those ourselves. All of our sensors are working which is really great. They sense the moisture level in the soil and send a notification when it is below a certain threshold. Norman was working on having a notification sent when the plant needed water or light, but we opted for having a light change color. We still need to print the pillars for combining the vertical garden pots together. We also have to screw the pillars with the garden and set up the Arduino device on the garden. In addition, we need to find a way to waterproof our plastic material into something that can withstand moisture. We were thinking about using wood glue or some time of aluminum lining.

I found this article about how knee replacements are getting more popular and researchers have found a way to make a mold from knee CAT scans. The molds provide the best fit for every individual as it is perfectly molded to fit their knee. This is a convenient way to essentially personally fit your knee replacement. I know a lot of people who have had knee surgery that would have been grateful for that option. I find 3D printing in healthcare to be particularly interesting as it changes people’s lives and makes it more affordable to help everyone.



Week 11

In class on Wednesday we learned about scanning and prototyping. We were shown how to use scanners that are attached to an iPad. We were shown how the technology renders and image of the person it scans which can then be modified and printed. I find the whole scanning process to be very useful as it saves so much time when you want to build off of something that exists rather than create a whole new model. I visited a maker lab in Israel that had amazing scanning technology with capabilities a lot more advanced than the scanners in class. It’s amazing to view the prototypes you can render just from a scan.

The video of Jay Leno’s garage was really cool because it showed the power that scanning can really have on an industry. They showed how they could scan a part they needed and rather than going out and buying it, they could produce it in-house and make it even better than one they would have bought. My dad is a carpenter and works with similar tools and equipment so it was interesting to see how 3D printing and scanning can impact all consumers. I did not get to make a scan of my own, but maybe I will have the opportunity next class.

Norman and I worked on our project for most of the class period. I am in charge of designing the prototype so I hopped on fusion 360 and got a good portion of our model finished. Norman was also able to find some of the parts he needed for the technological aspect of our project. I’m excited to finalize the design and really see it come to life!

Week 10


This week we heard from a woman at Shapeways, a 3D printing service and marketplace company. She took us on a tour of their facility. Through the webcam we got to see all the different machines and creative space they have at their location. Shapeways has a great deal of talent working to make people’s ideas come to life through the use of around 60 different materials and over 100 different colors.

In a brief video, the CEO of Shapeways explains the benefits of 3D printing and how it can really change people’s lives. He also talks about the  importance of creativity and really making your own ideas come to life. I will definitely leverage Shapeways in the future.


In Class

In class, we had the opportunity to work with our team to create a prototype for our project. It was great to have class time to talk through our vertical garden and exactly how we think we want it to look. We split our group into three roles of which I got the task of designing the vertical garden. I spent the class period looking at various vertical gardens for inspiration as well as taking in my teammates ideas to create the first version of our vertical garden.

We have a base for our vertical garden to catch water, then we have the first pot, there are two columns holding up the second pot, and a box where the wiring for the Arduino sensors will go. We are hoping to grow herbs inside our garden. We quickly realized we would have to grow small plants that fit within the dimensions we came up with.

David Kelley says designing is meant to be messy and rapidly changing. Usually your first prototype is not so good and it evolves from there. I have known this to be the case, however, I always try and make each prototype as best and as close as I can to my original idea.


My little box

This week we went to the FabLab again. This time it was to design a small wooden box! Clinton took us through the process of firing up the software and the basic capabilities of the program. I found it pretty easy to use and get into. We made some changes to the template of the box so that it fit our original design with the embroidery. We then had the opportunity to choose images that we wanted lasered onto our box. I am going for a retro space theme for my project so I chose images relating to the study of astrology. It took me a long time to find images that I wanted and the position in which I wanted them. We were able to choose more complex pictures than when we were doing the digital embroidery which I appreciated. I am very excited to see how my box turns out!

The CnC machine is AMAZING! Watching images get etched onto the wood was so satisfying. My dad is a carpenter and I know he would love using that machine for designs. I am used to etching wood with wood burning tools. I have been able to make complex designs on wood, but they have taken a long time to accomplish and were not nearly as perfect as the laser etched images. I’ve wanted to use a CnC machine for some time now! I am definitely going to the FabLab to use the CnC machine again.

The last step in our box endeavors is to add LED lights. I am going to try and place the lights in a way that makes it look like they are stars. So far, I’ve really enjoyed working in the FabLab with all the machines and all the people. Digital embroidery was so cool. My mother and grandmother use sewing machines a lot and I have used them as well. The digital sewing machines were so easy to use and they made beautiful designs so fast. I want to use them to etch patterns into caps.  I wish I would have ventured into the FabLab sooner!


Designing for Needs

In class on Wednesday, we heard from the students involved with Design for America. They gave us a presentation on the projects that DFA is involved with including a stuffed animal that helps kids with diabetes adjust to their new lifestyle and health choices. They took us through the process of designing a product to fit a need. I took an industrial design class taught by Professor David Weightman and the concepts introduced on Wednesday were very similar to those used in industrial design.

We were given scenarios to address with our fellow group members. We chose to help Jess, a blind college student, who wanted to feel more at home at her school by going to football games. The process started by addressing who is affected by the design. Then we wrote down as many ideas as we could-no matter how crazy. This is particularly important as many ideas get looked over simply for being out of the ordinary. We discussed our ideas and our experiences with football games and came up with a rather simple solution. We decided to focus our efforts into more of an ergonomics solution instead of a tech heavy solution. Our solution involved installing pads into the ends of the bleachers and various locations in the stadium so Jess would be able to feel with her feet where she is. This would make it much safer for her to navigate the stadium. It would create a value add for everyone that enters the stadium. We used play dough to bring our idea to life before presenting it

I think DFA is a cool organization. It is similar to an organization I’m involved with at school called Illinois Enactus. Enactus is a project based social entrepreneurship organization that works to empower people through sustainable solutions. Learn more about us here:


Real Life Applications

In class on Wednesday we heard from Dan Banach. Dan showed us how to use Autodesk’s Fusion 360 which I really enjoyed learning about. I have to say, it is my new favorite CAD software. I loved all the functionalities and the fluidity of the application. The software was easy to use and also very useful with an extensive amount of capabilities.

He took us through the steps of making an ice scraper and a phone charger holder. The ice scraper was more complicated by design, but he was a very patient teacher. I loved seeing the design come together and being able to make it my own along the way. I thought it was awesome how you can test the stress and fracture levels of whatever product you’re creating depending on the design and also whatever material you’re using. The program will also tell you how much you’re design weighs so you can use it as a tool to estimate the cost of actually printing the design.

I did not get the chance to actually print my designs, but I hope to find some time this week to make our designs come to life. The products we designed were very useful and it opened my mind to the possibilities that 3D printing and CAD could provide. I want to look for more opportunities in my everyday life to incorporate more 3D printed products like an ice scraper.

Week 3 Reflection

Jeff Ginger came in to talk to us about how he got involved with the FabLab. He truly enjoys everyone he works with and it was nice to hear him speak so passionately about different projects he’s been involved with over the years. He spoke a lot about the artistic entrepreneur which I found particularly interesting. He talked about people who took their creativity and used 3D printing to really make their passions come to life. I loved hearing about the different ways people were displaying their artistic abilities.  He also mentioned his own initiatives to help the community through the use of 3D printers. He helped some young adults channel their passion for minecraft into something tangible and constructive. I thought it was a very inspiring story of the use of creativity in the community.

In class, my team and I created our logo. Some nice gentlemen, Billy and Dash, showed us how to use Tinkercad as well as the actual printers. My team created a ‘Money Makers’ logo which was a dollar sign with the word ‘maker’ engraved in it. I also took the opportunity to make a dog key chain that doubles as a phone holder. I found this particular keychain on thingiverse and decided to print it as a side project.

I hope to print this woman next because I think it’s an interesting piece of artwork.


Week 2 Reflection

This week was my first week in class and I really enjoyed hearing from our guest speaker as well as meeting everyone that I’ll be working with this semester. I enjoyed our discussion of 3D printing and the idea of being able to create at zero marginal cost. It’s an interesting look into the future of technology.  3D printing has the potential to be a disruptive technology especially if more and more people begin to use it.

I particularly enjoyed reading “The Maker Mindset.” I believe students learn in different ways and the ‘successful’ student isn’t always the one who thrives in a classroom setting. I agree that we should be pushing innovation and creativity in the classroom instead of stifling it. Giving more students access to 3D printers would give more students opportunities to explore their creativity.

This is a Coral Candle Fixture. It is a candle holder that casts light in a beautiful way. I would tweak it so that it had a bottom portion to it that would be able to hold the candle.

This is a makeup holder. I wanted to buy one of these, but I know making it myself would be more satisfying. I would tweak it so there are more spaces and by adding a drawer to the bottom of it.

This is a speaker for your phone. Its simple, but it looks really fun. I enjoy music and would like to hear how amplified this would make music.

This is a lamp that you can put over your lightbulb. I think it looks really appealing and would consider making it for myself.