All posts by Shayna Patt

BADM 395 Wrap-Up

This semester in Digital Making, I learned far more than I anticipated. Not only did I learn how to 3D print and use software like Fusion360 to design prints, which is what I expected to learn, I also learned how to do digital scanning, digital embroidery, wood cutting, laser engraving, and even a bit of coding and Arduino use. This ended up being my favorite class in my Undergraduate career, which is saying a lot because I actually hate waking up early. Below, I will summarize what I have learned in a few of my favorite areas.


I am choosing to talk about scanning first because my mini-Shayna scan gave my friends and me unlimited amounts of entertainment. I was surprised at how easy it was to scan someone using a simple add-on to an iPad. The scan was extremely accurate and looked exactly like me, as did the print that resulted. There was a slight mishap with my nose, which didn’t get quite scanned correctly, but the “fill” option on the software allowed me to fill in the missing chunk of my nose before printing.

I mentioned earlier that the print provided my friends and me with a great deal of entertainment. My friends all thought the scan of me was pretty funny, and thus dubbed it “Lil’ Shay,” insisting that Lil’ Shay come with us on our trip to Nashville that weekend. We documented all of Lil’ Shay’s antics and compiled them on Snapchat- I know this is not the most practical business use of a product but I thought it was fun and worth mentioning nonetheless. Below are a few of the photos we compiled, so I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed taking them.

Digital Embroidery:

One of the things that was most surprising about this class was that we got to learn how to make embroidery with sewing machines that were equipped with digital embroidery capabilities. I decided to embroider the Chicago skyline and Duncan helped us find images online that would translate well into the embroidery software. He showed us how to clean it up to ensure the stitching would come out in the way we want. I wanted a very colorful embroidered piece but I failed to realize that this would mean I would be constantly switching out thread. I also didn’t realize that I could have had the machine stitch ALL of the thread that was the same color at the same time, leaving space for the other colors in between; this also contributed to how long the piece took, but if I were to use a machine like this again I would be better prepared to tackle the project. One thing I especially liked about this part of our learning at the FabLab was that I could see the real-life applications of this activity. I used to Irish Dance and the costumes we had to wear were all intricately embroidered, unique, and could cost up to a few thousand dollars to purchase. If I had the knowledge and capabilities to embroider back when I was still dancing, I could perhaps have made my own costumes! I have attached what I made in the FabLab as well as a photo of an Irish Dance dress for reference. 


I was lucky enough to be put into a group with Scott and Aubrey, both of whom have technical experience- Aubrey is not only an ISIT major like Scott and me but is in the T&M program where she has used Arduinos before. Scott, on the other hand, has had some experience coding in R and SQL. They were great guides, as I am a pretty poor coder (SQL only) and had never used anything like an Arduino before. I was so surprised how much we were able to accomplish in just one class period per week- from conceptualizing our idea for a digital counter for people entering and leaving a space to the realization that this product may not be the most useful thanks to Google Analytics. When we came to this realization, we altered our prototype to register movement in different areas. This opens up the possibility of tracking what products or displays are the most interesting to customers based on the amount of time they spend in an area. I’m really proud of how well our project turned out, as well as how we presented. I think this is actually a viable business idea if we were to follow through with producing it.

Final Thoughts:

I loved this class and felt that I was able to learn more than in any other class because of the hands-on nature of each lesson. I thoroughly enjoyed producing physical products that I could be proud of and actually inspired a few of my friends to try out the MakerLab and FabLab spaces because of my not-so-subtle bragging about what I made. I hope to stay involved in the Maker World in some facet as I enter into my career, which shouldn’t be hard as there are many maker spaces in the Chicagoland area where I will be post-graduation. Thank you to Vishal and to my classmates for such a fun semester!

Link to my previous posts in this course:


Week 12- Design Auditing with Multiple Teams

This week’s class period was greatly beneficial in terms of progress for our team! Getting other teams’ opinions and suggestions has opened up our minds more to the potential problems that our team was previously unaware of. We first talked to the Coffee Pour-Over team, whose prototype is coming along very nicely. Their idea is to make the next prototype a little bigger so that a coffee cup or even a coffee pot can fit underneath it, and also print their filters from metal so that hot water can be safely poured over the top. Their project fixes seem to be much simpler than ours, unfortunately. We explained to them that we were having difficulties with our code and wires to connect our three-digit 7-segment display. What happened is that we were following the instructions for a 1 digit 7-segment display (a display that can only show numbers 0-9), but we wanted to use a three-digit display (because most businesses will get more than 9 visitors in a day or at a time). Since the instructions we were following only were for a one-digit display, it wasn’t working properly for our three-digit display. Some of the segments were lighting up, and dots next to the segment were flashing when we used our push button (which we were using in place of the sensors at first, since it was what was used in the instructable). The Coffee Pour-Over team had a good suggestion about storing data- they suggested that we add a way (eventually) to store historical data from the sensor including date and time. In this way, businesses can keep track of and analyze how busy they are on certain days and use data to plan inventory purchases and scheduling; we thought about how a lot of our friends on campus who are bartenders have to be “on-call” and ready to work but we thought this could be reduced or eliminated based on better estimation of busy days and times.

After that, Money Makers came over and Norman changed our world. After trying for a bit to help us get our digits to display better, he suggested that instead we move straight to testing with our PIR sensors- as Chelly pointed out, the push button method (which we couldn’t even get to work properly) could be accomplished with a hand counter used by the person working the door, and thus wasn’t that useful. Norman helped Scott attach our two PIR sensors to our Arduino and helped him find and adjust code that would change to say “motion detected on sensor 1” and “motion detected on sensor 2.” We are much more hopeful that our project can come to life in the way we imagined it, especially if we can capture the historical data. We are going to keep experimenting with it before next week, so hopefully we will have more to report by then.

I was unfortunately not able to capture a picture of the code saying “motion detected” because I didn’t think quickly enough, but I did manage to get pictures of where we were at before Norman’s help, which I have attached as a flickr link.


Week 11- Project Continuation

This week in class, the entirety of the class time was put towards continuing our prototyping. The article we read in preparation for this class was helpful. Before reading it, I had thought of prototyping as more of an “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” method. While this is definitely part of it, the actual prototyping process includes a lot more than just continual testing. The article explained how you have to have actual test subjects. This can include friends and family, people at trade shows, and even people you find on websites such as Craigslist. Not only do you have to think about who you want your test subjects to be, but you want to make sure that the testing environment is the right environment for your specific test- perhaps you need a full laboratory, or else you can simply do the test in your office. These and other things should all be taken into consideration before testing and updating the prototype.

My group has not yet found test subjects, but has definitely gone through some initial testing. For our people counter, we haven’t yet received the LED number board yet, so we attached single LEDs to our board and Arduino in order to see if we were on the right track. We essentailly wanted to find out if our code worked and would correctly tell the LEDs to light up when the “count” went up. Since the sensors are a little difficult to set up, we tried out a simple push button with the lights instead this week- and it worked! We would push the button and the light would shine. It wouldn’t work on every light all the time (we attached 7 LEDs total), so we are going to be working to find out why that is, and working to find out how to substitute the number board for the LEDs and the sensors for the push button. One last thing we would like to try to figure out is whether or not we can use the sensors to add and subtract people from the count based on the direction they pass the sensors.

Below I have attached the link to pictures of our work in progress LED “people counter,” as well as some of the more intricate parts used in the making of this project. The little bead looking things are resistors, which limit the flow of electricity in the circuit.

Scanning, Printing, and Prototyping

This week in class, we started learning how to scan items- including people- to use for 3D printing. However, the data for the scan that is collected can be used for any number of things on top of simply recreating what’s actually there. The data can be edited to adjust things that the user might want. This is why scanning can be really helpful for prototyping. After making an initial prototype, a scan can be taken, things can be edited using software like meshmixer, and a new and improved prototype can be printed.

The videos on reverse engineering and USF’s printing capabilities also demonstrated important ways that scanning can be important in prototyping as well. The Jay Leno’s garage video, especially, was interesting to me because it was clearly such a useful task that the autodesk man was able to provide and because the way he made the edits was so seamless and easy. The fact that we live in a world where these seemingly complex tasks can be made so simple is amazing to me.

In class, we got to actually scan and print ourselves. Even though it took a couple tries due to apps trying to charge us a lot of money for the data, the end result was very rewarding. I’m not exactly sure what I could possibly use a bust of myself for, but the resemblance is just uncanny. I showed my friends and family and, although they think the bust is actually really creepy (which is definitely true), they all agreed that it was a perfect plastic copy of my face. The printing took a long time, but I’m pleased with the end result. Here you can view videos of my scan printing, of Scott taking a scan of Helen with the iPad, and a picture of the scanning process as well.

Other than the scanning section of class, our group met again and discussed where we want to go with our project. The tough part, we realized, is going to be attaching not one, but two Passive Infrared Sensors to the Arduino and the beadboard; every instructible and article we can find about how to make a people counter only instructs how to attach one sensor or one button. We are working with the code and the wires to see if we can get it to work, but our first prototype may end up not being able to add and subtract people from a room or building.

Designing our Project

This week, we finally set out on our final project. We have decided on a people counter, to be used at bars, restaurants, shelters, and other similar establishments. The video on prototyping the mouse has given me some insight on just how long it might take to get the perfect iteration of our project if we were to continue to try to perfect it, as did the design as an iterative process video. It makes sense that it would take a long time to get the final version, but it would definitely take some perseverance and patience. I found the tip about prototyping using everyday articles (such as the Pringles can) in the ProtoTYPING article.

We were initially going to make our project with laser pointers on one side of the door frame and sensors to “catch” the lasers on the other side of the door frame. Brandon, from the Fab Lab, however, suggested that we instead use Passive Infrared Sensors, which only require sensors on one side of the frame. These Passive Infrared Sensors sense motion and, through code stored in the Arduino we will be using, will tick up or down a person, depending on if the movement of the person is “in” or “out.” We will have a number ticker displayed on our final product so that it is visible to users the number of people in their restaurant, bar, shelter, etc. If we were to go into more and more iterations, however, we were thinking that this might not be the best way to display the number of people. Instead of having it simply be visible to the users, it would be very beneficial if there were a way to keep all of the data on exactly how many people are there and at what times, on what days of the week, etc. This would be useful because these places would be better able to track traffic and base their inventory decisions on this data. Our model, however, will be mostly used for real-time counting to know when they are nearing capacity. Here are some photos of the PIR sensor and our Arduino

Our speaker in class this week was from Shapeways. I found her talk very interesting, as I had previously had known nothing about Shapeways. I found it surprising that their customers are about equally split between people who need just one or two models of something (likely a prototype) and people who order a few hundred or more of their items.

The Finished Product- Canvas, Wood, and LEDs

Let me preface this post by saying that, sadly, WordPress will no longer allow me to add new media, nor can I figure out how to delete pieces of media that were previously uploaded to free up space. For this reason, I cannot add any new photos of my (super cool) completed project.

Instead I can describe it to you: The bottom portion is an intricate skyline of Chicago, with the city’s name written underneath. The “O” of Chicago is the Ferris Wheel from Navy Pier, which I think is a nice touch. The four sides of the box have the logos of the Blackhawks, the Bears, the Cubs (the logo with the cute, full cubby bear), and the Bulls. Thinking back on it, I think I would’ve liked to do different etchings on the side, since I’m not overly passionate about all four of the sports teams and I chose them mostly out of convenience or what seemed to “fit”.

Finally, the top, as I have described in a previous post, is a colorful version of the Chicago skyline, with each different building being a different color. Finally, I added LED lights to the tip of the three tallest buildings, and the colors of the thread luckily ended up matching the colors of the lights I selected- there were a limited amount left, but the remaining lights were the perfect colors! Although I can’t add pictures, I assure you the finished product looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

To move on to what we actually learned today, I’ll tell you about our work with LEDs, batteries, battery packs, and conductive thread. It was difficult to figure out a path for each piece of conductive thread to touch only the sides of the sewable LEDs and battery that I wanted, as each piece of thread has to touch either ONLY the negatively charged sides or ONLY the positively charged sides. Since a skyline is pretty linear, I had to do some tricky maneuvering to ensure no wires were crossed. After a few adjustments, my lights worked!

After I completed this final piece, my group and I talked to first Professor Sachdev and then Clinton about our potential final product- a people counter for establishments such as bars, restaurants, and even homeless shelters. We plan on using lasers with infrared sensors- two will be placed at each side of the door, and whichever sensor is tripped first will indicate whether or not a person is entering or leaving. We believe we can find all the parts we need to complete this project, but it will definitely take some extensive time and research on our part.

Creating my Wooden Box

This week in class, we returned to the Fab Lab. Last week, I was taught how to use an embroidery machine and I used it to create a colorful skyline of Chicago. For my box, I decided to stick with a Chicago theme so that it would match up well. I chose to do another skyline etching on the bottom, although it probably won’t get seen very often. For the sides, I chose symbols of Chicago Sports teams. I have a Bulls symbol, a Cubs symbol, a Bears Symbol and a Blackhawks symbol. I liked that with the wood working, we were not as restricted with what the etcher could do as we were when we were using the embroidery machine. The embroidery machine was a little more testy, so I wasn’t able to print my initial idea (a complicated celtic knot) and switched to the skyline instead. If I were to do it over again, I think I would have tried harder to find a celtic knot that would work.

I really enjoyed working with Clinton this week. He went really slowly with us, and made sure no one was getting lost. It was interesting to hear him talk about the differences in teaching camps or classes to kids versus teaching to older people (sometimes senior groups will come in for classes). He said that, surprisingly, the kids aren’t that great at using the technology that the Fab Lab has. We assumed they would be much better than the senior citizens, since kids are now growing up using their parents phones and tablets all the time. Clinton explained that yes, while this is true, kids these days aren’t really being taught to use computer mice at all, which is the main problem he thinks.

Once the machine for cutting and etching the box was fired up, it was awesome to see how the process actually happened. I was shocked that there were actual sparks and little flames that happened when the laser hit the wood. I couldn’t believe that the wood was not set on fire! I asked Clinton if that’s ever happened, but thankfully he said no. The wood machine definitely took longer than I thought it would, and there was only the one machine, so I wasn’t able to see the pieces of my box get made. I have, however, attached a video of a box being made that’s actually fairly similar to mine- a Bulls symbol and all!


Week One at the Fab Lab- Embroidering the Skyline

This week, we had our first class session at the Fab lab. I have been looking forward to this for weeks- the idea of combining multiple facets of Digital Making has been something that has excited me since I found out about the Fab Lab during the first week of school. I have thoroughly enjoyed 3D printing, but have been excited to get my hands on things like engraving, wood working, and embroidery. Embroidery has been especially intriguing to me, as I used to be an Irish Dancer, and the costumes needed are all custom embroidered by different dress makers who mostly use embroidery machines like the ones the Fab Lab has. These dresses can cost thousands of dollars, so I was excited to learn the method of how to make such an in-demand item in the world I used to be such a big part of.

After a tour of the lab, where we saw their computers, 3D printers, electronic devices, milling machines, and embroidery machines, we were split into two groups. My group ended up in the embroidery room. We were instructed on how to select an image from online and import it into the software for embroidery. We learned how to play with the settings to make sure that the software was picking up the right parts of the image to sew, learned how to set different stitches, and how to custom select what we wanted to embroider. After we did this with a simple image, we found more complex ones. We used these to import into the machines themselves via special cords and actually began to embroider on small pieces of canvas, held taught by an embroidery hoop.

I chose to embroider a colorful outline of the Chicago skyline. I am really pleased with how it turned out, but I did not think about the amount of time I would have to spend choosing thread colors and then switching them out constantly. I would estimate that about eighty percent of the time I was using the machine was spent threading a new spool into the machine in order to get the colorful skyline that I wanted. I have attached a video below of my skyline being sewn.


I believe that this is going to be the top of a box that we are going to make. The other group in the fab lab was working with the milling machines in order to learn how to make a box that will fit together snugly, with an open top for canvas to later be fitted into. We are also going to be learning how to set up electronics in order to have lights inserted into our canvas creations. I am going to have lights on top of a few of the buildings on the skyline, to bring it to life. If I were to be able to print a larger version, I would have perhaps used the lights as windows instead, but the canvas ended up being only about 4 inches long.

Biohacking and UPS- Week 6

This week, we heard two speakers, Dan Banach and Dot Silverman, who presented on the involvement the United Parcel Service has with 3D printing, and Biohacking respectively. Mr. Banach overall explained the reasoning behind why UPS is getting so involved in the 3D printing world; UPS is a delivery company, but also stores and delivers parts for certain companies in order to offer quick shipping. UPS has decided that 3D printing these parts is a good alternative to holding a lot of inventory of parts they may or may not end up sending for these companies. On one hand, this move is exciting for UPS, but they also are worried that the more affordable 3D printing becomes, the less companies will need UPS to provide this service- if they can simply buy the printers themselves to produce parts on an as-needed basis, then what UPS has done with this will no longer be as useful.

Dot Silverman, on the other hand, came to talk to us about Biohacking. Biohacking is a relatively new area of the Digital Making world, and covers a wide array of activities. She told us about her experience with Instructables, which is a website that offers classes for people to learn about any number of things. There are classes on 3D printing (both for adults and for children) as well as on sewing, leather making, solar power creation, and more. She also told us about her experience with Harvard Wyss Institute, which involved a lot more technically intricate experimental processes, such as with soft robotics (which is exactly what it sounds like).

I really enjoyed listening to Ms. Silverman talk, as she was so passionate about the work she had done in the past and excited about the experiments and work she was planning on doing in the future. She passed around items for us to examine, as real-life examples of the things she and her coworkers are working on. My favorite was the paper microscope- these allow for low income areas in places like Africa to have access to devices to explore the world at a cellular level. Ms. Silverman told us that each one could be produced for around five cents, which is amazing in comparison to microscopes which are, at their cheapest, around fifty dollars.

I am really excited to get to the fab lab, not only to experience the new machines, but to get to speak to Ms. Silverman again, as she was such an upbeat and fun person.

Week 6 Summary- Once a Semester Activity

This week in our Digital Making course, we had two guest speakers. Our first guest speaker was from the United Parcel Service (or UPS). Alan Amling was kind enough to Skype us from his office bright and early at 9:30 am to explain to us the role that the Digital Making phenomenon is having on the Postal Service as a whole, and specifically UPS. UPS is a delivery service for packages, but UPS also stores and ships parts for certain manufacturers. Using 3D printing, UPS doesn’t have to keep as many parts on hand in their inventory, because they can print per order to ship parts out. Alan also explained how 3D printing is a really great opportunity for UPS, but that it’s also a threat. Since 3D printing is becoming cheaper, UPS can better afford to invest in these printers. On the other side of that coin, however, consumers and companies can better afford to buy printers and printing supplies, and therefore may not need this type of service from UPS at all in the future.

We also had a different guest speaker, Dot Silverman, who came to our class and gave us a very passionate talk about something I have never even heard of before- Biohacking. Biohacking, technically defined as “the activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards, or for criminal purposes,” sounded mesmerizing coming from Ms. Silverman’s mouth. Surprisingly, she hadn’t studied Biology in any way during her undergraduate years, but still ended up getting involved in the Biohacking world while completing her PhD- in Educational Psychology, no less.

One thing that Ms. Silverman touched on was her work with Instructables; Instructables is a website that offers classes and “how-to” articles on everything from 3D printing to sewing to leatherworking. They also have a section that is specifically for children. There are 3D printing Instructables for children, too, but there are also ones like “Paper Mache Class” and “Solar Class.” The Solar Class really drew my eye, because, as a class for children, I was surprised that they would have something so technical (or so it seems to me). It’s five lessons total and you have to specifically enroll in the class to take advantage of it.

Ms. Silverman also touched on her work at Harvard Wyss Institute. These were the projects that really amazed me. She showed us a “soft robot,” which is when a robot is not as, well, robotic as the ones that are normally called to mind. They move with more fluid motions and are overall a better technology for gripping and “dexterous manipulation”. I’ve done some exploring on the Harvard Wyss Institute’s website myself, and what I have found simply astounds me. Most of it, I don’t fully understand, but one article in particular that I found most interesting was an article on how it is now possible to regenerate heart valves- a nanofiber fabrication technique that the researches at Harvard Wyss developed allows for them to rapidly create replacement heartvalves for those that need them. I have included a picture below.

Ms. Silverman touched on so much more of relation to the world of Digital Making through Biohacking, and brought in items for us to pass around, such as a paper microscope that can be used in low income areas to still teach and learn about science. It is amazing to me how many great things can come out of this world of Digital Making, like these microscopes, like the wheelchair racing gloves that Arielle (who visited our class a few weeks back) designs and sells, and so much more.

This brings me to the last portion of class, where I actually got to make my first 3D printed item on my own. I decided to print the phone charger shelf that Dan Banach designed with us a few weeks back on Fusion 360. I downloaded the design from Fusion 360 onto the SD card and inserted it into my chosen printer, made sure all of the settings were according to my specific machine, and finally got to printing. Unfortunately, my first attempt was unsuccessful, as the plastic had trouble sticking to the plate. I cancelled the print, cleaned the plate and switched out the plastic.  The second print was much more successful. I have attached a video below. However, after it was done printing (about two hours later), I realized that the measurements given to us by Mr. Banach to surround the “square” of the charger were incorrect. The charger shelf is far too large for the “square” and falls right off when I try to place my phone on it during charging. I plan to fix this when I can by either adjusting the measurements and reprinting, or printing a piece to glue into my current shelf to make it fit more snugly.

Charger Shelf

Design for America- Improving Lives, One Design at a Time

This week in class, we had students from the Design for America club on campus come speak to us about the design process. The entire time they were speaking, I was kicking myself for not finding out about this club sooner. The projects they were talking about sound like something I would have really enjoyed taking part in. I wish that I found out about this club my freshman or sophomore year, so I could have fully immersed myself in the work they are doing. Sadly, as a second semester senior, I am unlikely to join this specific club, but I intend to be on the lookout for similar organizations out in the real world to join after graduation.

The presentation was well organized and interesting, and the speakers- just students themselves- were knowledgeable, professional, and very helpful. My favorite part of the class was hearing about the different designs and solutions the club had come up with, such as the bear for patients with Alzheimer’s. I do wish they went into more detail about the solutions they came up with and the reasons behind them, such as explaining why a teddy bear vibrating in a certain way would calm down an Alzheimer’s patient.

The other part of the class I thoroughly enjoyed was when they walked us through the design process. I found it interesting that they said not to think of solutions at all in the beginning, but rather just problems that a person might face in a particular situation or in everyday life. I also liked that they gave us options of people to design for, and didn’t assign any group to any particular person; this allowed for the most creative ideas to happen naturally, as each group got to choose the persona that they most related to or found most intriguing.

My group chose to design for Brian, the entrepreneur in Austin who was worried about how his blindness would affect his commute to and from meetings with potential investors, as well as about how investors would view him when they found out he is blind. We designed a physical touch map, that Brian could feel his routes to and from meetings, using distance equivalents (for example, one inch is about fifty feet, and it usually takes Brian about twenty steps to walk fifty feet). We also decided to integrate an app into the idea, in order to keep Brian on track, as well as to alert him of possible changes in his environment, such as construction blocking part of the sidewalk.

What I liked best about this exercise was the feedback from the class after we presented our idea. There were a few things we hadn’t considered that the class brought to our attention, such as the fact that Brian may not need to be going to and from the same place for every meeting, so the map would have to include a wider section of the city than we were initially planning. It shows how important feedback is in order to design and produce a quality product that people will actually want to use.

Learning Fusion 360

This week in class, I enjoyed getting to learn a new modeling system. Mr. Banach was very knowledgeable about Fusion 360, and his step by step instructions and assistance was very beneficial to my learning. It was pretty amazing that he was able to help us design an ice scraper and also a phone charger shelf in the duration of the class, especially since we missed out on a significant chunk of time when the technology assistance took a long time before arriving. I learned not only how to create circles, rectangles, and other basic shapes, but how to extrude an object to make it three dimensional, how to fillet edges (and what the word “fillet” means), and how to insert holes into objects. Making my own object on this system would have been intimidating without having as in depth of a lesson as we got, but I felt more than comfortable designing on Fusion 360 for this assignment. I designed my very own Chief Illiniwek Koozie to keep drinks cold. I would, however, need to be able to print with some sort of squishy, spongey material in order to have a koozie that successfully insulates a can.

Through my research on Fusion 360, I was most surprised to see how many free instruction articles and full online classes that are offered on the Autodesk website. There are classes on the webpage called “Introduction to CAD and CAE using Fusion 360,” “Fusion 360: Foundational Concepts,” and even “Modeling and Prototyping for Mechanical Engineers.” These classes range from thirty minutes to over three hours long. The length of the one that is three hours and fifteen minutes (entitled Fusion 360: Introduction to CAD, CAM, and CAE) especially surprised me- that seems like it would be an especially thorough class for a free online class. It was also interesting to me that essentially anyone could sign up for three full years of access by saying they were a student; this got me wondering whether a person needed a University email address to sign up for free access, so I tried to sign up with my Gmail account, and it worked! It’s crazy to me how much free access to this product a person can get, even if they’re technically not a student. I know this isn’t really on the “digital making” topic so much, but I think it is something Autodesk may want to look into, in order to capture as much revenue as possible and to have money to put into improving the software when necessary.


Attached below is my koozie design.

Also attached are my ice scraper and phone charger shelf designs.

Week 3 Reflection

This week in class, we had a guest speaker from the “Fab Lab” on the University of Illinois’ campus. Jeff is not only an energetic and exciting public speaker, he is also very knowledgeable on all of the different tools and machines that his lab offers. I was very shocked to find out how many things one could do in the fab lab- I am especially interested in the digital embroidery machine. I used to be an Irish Dancer, and our costumes are extremely intricately embroidered and bedazzled. Having access to a digital embroidery machine and knowing how to use it could save Irish Dancers literally thousands of dollars on one single dress.

Jeff also showed us how many employees the Fab Lab has- I was shocked! For such a small and unassuming building on campus, and one that doubles as a dance studio, I couldn’t believe how many people are involved in running it. I suppose it makes sense in that one person would have trouble being an expert on all of the machines that are available. It was also cool to learn that many of these employees and volunteers are from all walks of life, all ages, all different jobs (artists, engineers, writers, etc). Jeff himself is a Library Science and Informatics guy, but is heavily involved in the Fab Lab.

In class, I learned how to use a 3D printer, at last! The people who were leading the class were very knowledgeable and helpful with all questions we had. Not only that, but Scott (who is in my group) has been to free printing days before, so had some experience with the printers. We spent a little time designing our logo on the computers before trying out a print. Our first print didn’t stick to the plate very well, so we had to retry it again before it worked. We are very proud of how it ended up looking!

Another thing I found online, which I found to be interesting, is an article about a company who is looking to raise at least 50 million dollars in order to finally get a 3D printed heart to the market. This is what most amazes me about the 3D printing and digital making world- the fact that we are becoming advanced enough to make things like human organs that are functional and can save lives, or to at least improve lives (like with 3D printed ears). It always made me slightly sad (even though it’s the circle of life) to know that for every person that is saved by a transplant, someone else had to die. It also is sad that so many people are on the waiting list for organs and may die before any become available. This new 3D printing organs idea can change all of that, which I find truly astonishing. I’m excited to continue to learn, in class and through my own research, about the useful or simply fun things that are coming out of this new phenomenon.

Week 2: Exploring the World of Digital Making

Hi everyone! I know we all introduced ourselves in class, but since it’s hard to remember, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a senior majoring in Marketing and ISIT. I’m very happy I was able to secure a place in this course, as the world of 3D printing (and overall Digital Making) has always intrigued me. Being able to learn to use these machines to produce not only existing designs but also my own creations is very exciting to me, and I cannot wait to get started!

Though I’ve been interested in this world for a long time, I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of information I’ve sought out for myself. That being said, I loved the chance to listen to Ms. Rausen and Mr. Hornick. Both had such unique and fascinating experiences with digital making and offered fantastic insight and stories for the class as a whole. Mr. Hornick’s examples of things that have been digitally printed fascinated me, such as the jet engine and human ears or other organs. I didn’t think about the fact that this could be a game changer in terms of rarely needed (or less in-demand) products. When Mr. Hornick explained that it makes less sense to have a whole factory (which is time and capital intensive to build and maintain) for things that do not need to be mass produced. I also didn’t think about how much the way Digital Making is putting more and more power in consumers hands. With access to a digital printer, for example, I can make my own passive speaker cheaper and more customized (which I actually plan to do) than one I was considering ordering on Amazon.

On that topic, I thought I’d include a few of the passive speakers (basically just an amplifier for the speaker your phone already has) that I am interested in making.

The speaker above is interesting to me because of the two-part design, and also just because it’s an amusing design. I might like to change how large the funnel is. Although this design is probably louder than if it were smaller, the smaller design would be more convenient for storage sake.

This design is more convenient in that it is small enough to put in a bag or to store at home, and it is less complex to make than the other example.  I would make it my own color, but other than that, it definitely serves it’s purpose well.

Thingiverse has impressed me in the variety of products I can feasibly make for myself. More examples are below.

This is a hair stopper that goes over a drain. I would not change this at all, except perhaps the color, because it serves its purpose perfectly. As a female with long hair, too much hair in the drain is a definite issue.

This is a phone holder, that I would find useful when watching videos. I would love to add a smiley face to the head.

Finally, this is a beautifully designed cup, that I included because, while it definitely is useful, it’s also very aesthetically impressive. I would use this cup all the time, and would possibly like to print other animals of my own design.