All posts by Scott

My Experience in BADM 395, Digital Making Seminar

Reflection on the Past Semester

Hi there! I’m tuning in one last time before ending this semester. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and being interested in what I have been learning throughout this semester. I can honestly say that this course has taught me the most tangible skills out of any class I’ve ever taken at U of I.

At the beginning of this course, I simply expected to learn how to utilize 3D printers. My advisor told me that that course was all about 3D printing and its implications in business. I had no idea that I would be learning how to code, use laser cutters, use conductive threading, etc. I loved learning more than I had expected because it helped broaden my skill set to areas beyond just 3D printing. It really showed me how 3D printing goes hand in hand with so many other activities, and it can be used a supplement to creating rather than a standalone creation tool.

Additionally, I also expected to heavily focus on 3D printing wheelchairs at the beginning of this semester. I was intrigued by Arielle’s talk that she gave to our class on day 1. She noted that 3D printing in the realm of wheelchairs could use extra support, so I was set on filling that gap throughout the semester. I interviewed Arielle (see post here:, and I quickly realized that 3D printing a wheelchair on our smaller-scale printers was not necessarily feasible. My takeaway from chatting with Arielle is that there are many non-profit organizations that help individuals with disabilities that offer great opportunities to get involved. As for the making aspect, the devices being created must satisfy an individual’s need and be mechanically-feasible to make through 3D printing (wheelchairs are large with complex parts, which is not feasible). While my group did not choose this as our project for the semester, I am still very grateful to have gotten exposure to this area.

Overall, my expectations were met throughout the semester in that I was able to learn more about the implications of 3D printing, how companies are using this technology to improve lives, and also how to build something from the bottom up. My group’s work on the Arduino Motion Sensor showed me how to break down a seemingly-complex device. This break down allowed me to grasp a firm understanding of how electronics/prototypes work, and thus allowed me to fully comprehend the work I was doing.

As I mentioned, my work was different from what I expected in that I originally thought I would only be working with 3D printers over the semester. I am ecstatic with the fact that I was not only able to gain skills with 3D printing but also with coding/modeling/etc. I recommend this course to all of my younger peers because it allows students in the college of business to learn skills past what we are used to (e.g. Business plans that are solely written out and not necessarily executed with prototypes).

Pertaining to myself, I learned that I often become so excited to learn a new skill that I tend to get too far ahead of myself. For instance, when it came to 3D printing, I was so eager to print that I originally rushed through the Cura program to print my item faster. This was not good because it sometimes resulted in my file having incorrect settings, and thus an unsuccessful print. I also noticed this when I was working with the Arduino coding program. I began by quickly trying to write code and getting my prototype to work (which also failed upon first trying). These experiences taught me the importance to slowing down and grasping a firm understanding the basics before trying to reach an end goal. Each time I slowed down and took the time to understand how my work was impacting the final result, my success became much more apparent.


In Summary

Overall, this course taught me how to take an idea and bring it to reality. When first meeting with my group earlier this semester, we were throwing around crazy ideas of what we could create. Each of our ideas seemed very daunting at first as they were all in our minds and we did not have any materials/resources to create. Slowly but surely, our team took the creation process step-by-step. Laying out what needed to be done in steps helped keep us on track and progress forward each week. It was so rewarding when we finally saw successful results after we got our last wires plugged in and our last code typed out. That is when we knew we had successfully gone from the idea to reality.


Thank You

Thank you for sticking with me each week to watch how I’ve progressed through the course. I would also like to give a big thank you to our instructor, Vishal, who has invested so much time and energy into helping us learn. He is hands-down one of the most thoughtful, kind, and intelligent teachers I have ever had at UIUC! It has been a pleasure sharing my experiences with you, and I would love to stay connected! Add me on LinkedIn:


Wishing you all the best!


-Scott Provenzano

The Final Stretch


This was the first week that my group had all of our needed parts. Since we had previously put some parts together last week, we really only needed to add the new part that we got (the 7-Segment Display). See the picture below for a recap of what we built last week:

Last week’s progress


Arduino Progress

We began by installing our 7-Segment Display onto our Perfboard. We then powered up our prototype to see if the counter would work. Upon first setting it up, some of the LED’s on the 7-Segment Display did light up, but not in non-coherent ways. We then rearranged a few wires and got it so that when we clicked the push-button, the decimal point LED’s would turn on/off. After tinkering around a few more times, we were getting stumped with the push-button and 7-Segment Display. See the picture below for an example of how the 7-Segment Display would light up:

7-Segment Display Example

Luckily, we have incredibly smart classmates to seek help from. I would like to give a huge shoutout to our classmate, Norman, because he was incredible at taking the time to figure out with us where we were being challenged. Norman explained the Arduino code to us to give us a better understanding of what we would need to do in order to get our prototype working. Thus, we decided to jump straight to our PIR sensors since they fundamentally function differently than a push button.

We ensured that our arduino and sensors were working through following this online resource: Thankfully, we were able to get our PIR sensors working. We wanted to take it a step further by tinkering with the settings of the PIR’s, and we learned that there are physical screws (on the PIR’s) that we could turn to adjust these settings. For anyone interested in learning more about PIR sensors and their settings, check out this link:

Also, check out our much cleaner set-up (as compared to when we used the push button above) from utilizing the PIR sensors:

New setup

You’ll notice that we do not have the 7-Segment Display on the board. This is because we utilized the Arduino code program to indicate to us when motion is/isn’t detected on our PIR’s. We are going to figure out next week how we would like to keep track of the motion/numbers. One of my biggest takeaways was understanding the different ports and wires on the sensors and how they correspond to the Arduino board. Knowing what each port does really makes the prototyping process much more easy to follow.


Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to stay updated with me on my posts. I look forward to finishing up this final stretch with you!


-Scott Provenzano



Prototypes, Prototypes, Prototypes


This week we devoted all of our time to working on our prototypes. Now that my team has become familiar with Arduinos, Perfboards, Ohm resistors, and the wiring, we were able to begin getting everything connected. Unfortunately, our 7-Segment Display still has not come in, but we still began connecting our Arduino with the Perfboard.


Connecting the Wires

We followed along with some online tutorials on how to connect our wires (source: This tutorial is in Hindi, so we were not able to understand exactly what the narrator is saying, but we were able to follow along with his visuals. First, we downloaded the code to our Arduino, then we connected the wires. In order to fully comprehend what we were building, we tried to really understand each wire and why it was connecting to its designated port. We utilized 7 LED lights to substitute for our 7-Segment Display for this week. This makes sense because each of the segments in the 7-Segment Display are essentially an individual LED light. Thus, we decided to utilize individual LED lights for now to see if we could get them to light up.

After connecting everything, we plugged the prototype into power and began pushing the push button. The result: WE GOT SOME OF THE LED’S TO LIGHT UP AS WE PUSHED THE BUTTON! We could not make much sense of these lights since they were not technically arranged in the manner of a 7-Segment Display, but we were really excited to see some results from our work. Check out our connected prototype below with an LED lit up:


As evident in the picture above, a challenge we had with our prototype was the exposure of the wires/Ohm resistors. We solved this potential issue by individually wrapping the exposed wires with an insulating tape. This helped us ensure that none of exposed wires would touch one another and thus cause issues. Check out our final prototype from today below:

Prototype with Insulating Tape


Ohm Resistors

A challenge that we faced was not having the exact Ohm resistors for our prototype. We needed 470 Ohm resistors, but we only had 170 and 280’s. Through some research, we found that we could simply connect the ohm resistors together and add their numbers to get closer to our ideal number. Thus, we connected one 170 to one 280 Ohm resistor to get a final resistor of 450 Ohms. We figured that the 450 Ohm resistor would suffice in place of the proposed 470 Ohm resistor. Additionally, here is a useful article for anyone who wants to know how to read the resistor color codes:


Moving forward

We are really hoping that our 7-Segment Display comes in next week so we can be ready to begin the testing stage (keep your fingers crossed for us!). Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

-Scott Provenzano


3D Scanning & Project Tinkering

3D Scanning My Head

Hi everyone! This week was one that I have been looking forward to since the beginning of the semester–we learned about 3D scanning! I have always been intrigued by the capabilities and implications of 3D scanning; it is so cool that we can use cameras/sensors to scan a physical object and create a digital representation of it. We learned about some different consumer-level 3D scanning products and were able to test one out that we have in the lab (we have an iPad attachment). Each of the class members scanned a bust of their head. We were then able to load these files on TinkerCad and fill-in/smooth-out any imperfections in our scans. We then put the edited files into Cura so we could obtain .stl files to then send to the 3D printers! Check out my Cura model and final print below:

Cura Model

Final Print

A fun fact that I learned was that the Xbox Kinect sensor has the same scanning capabilities as the 3D scanners that we talked about in class. This was exciting for me because I have an Xbox Kinect sensor at home! The way it works is the Kinect sensor gets connected to a computer and we can then 3D scan an object with the proper software installed! Check out a video on this topic here:


Project Tinkering

My group is waiting on one of our parts (the 7-Segment display) to come in so we can dive into the building of our prototype. However, this did not deter us from making progress on our project this week. We each performed different parts of our research needed, and I also started tinkering with our perfboard and wires (see picture below).

Perfboard/wire tinkering

The picture may look overwhelming with the wires, but this exercise was actually very beneficial in helping me understand the use of perfboards. Physically maneuvering the wires along the board allowed me to see where the different ports connect and which positive/negative currents would be affected by certain connections. I feel much more confident moving forward in the coming weeks when it comes to connecting our 7-Segment display and sensors.

One additional update that we have for our project is that we are going to utilize a push button counter instead of a sensor for our first prototype. This is because we want to be sure that our 7-Segment display is going to work with our creation before we dive into the depths of coding. Utilizing the push button will allow us to ensure that our prototype is properly created because we will be able to see our number on the display go up and down as we knowingly push the button. Alternatively, it would be more difficult to see where our prototype is correct/incorrect if we use the sensors right away because it would be harder to narrow down if an issue is with the sensor, coding, or wiring of our prototype.


Extra Note

While my group’s project most likely will not require soldering, I found a useful video on YouTube that gives further insight on this topic incase we any group does: This video was beneficial because it allowed me to see how another individual used a perfboard and made his own creation. The more that my group learns about these boards and their different functionality, the better off we will be in using our creativity to make the best possible prototype!


Thank you!

Thank you for tuning in this week. More project updates are to come next week once we have all of our parts!


-Scott Provenzano

Designing our Project

Shapeways Guest Speaker

Hi All! We began class this week with a guest speaker from Shapeways joining us via webcam. She gave us an impromptu tour of the Shapeways facility (really neat to see all of their equipment!), and she spoke to us about the implications of Shapeways in the 3D printing industry. For those who do not know, Shapeways is a “New York-based 3D printing marketplace and service, startup company. Users design and upload 3D printable files, and Shapeways prints the objects for them or others” (

After hearing our speaker talk, I was curious to learn more about the safety measures and policies that Shapeways has in place in regard to creating weapons. With gun policy currently being a heated topic in the USA, I figured this 3D printing company must have to make many choices pertaining to creating devices that could function as guns. Thus, I asked her to touch on the safety measures and policies in place. She let us know that ballistic manufacturing is regulated by the US government. However, Shapeways would technically be able to gain a license to be able to legally produce weapons for consumers. That being said, Shapeways has taken a stance to not produce weapons so they do not offer such a service to customers. I found this information alarming because it allowed me to understand that a 3D printing company has the potential to legally obtain a license to create weapons. These weapons could then be customized in such creative ways by the consumer in an effort to inflict the most harm upon other individuals. This worries me because it may someday result in new weapons that we have not even seen yet.


Readings & Project Design

On a lighter note, the assigned readings/videos for this week were spot on for what we did in class. They noted that the best first steps to take are to draw out your design, get prototypes as soon as possible, and get feedback from users (which are the exact steps that we plan to follow!). Check out the three pictures below to see some of our drawings and the different gadgets that we played around with. You’ll even notice that we got some lights to light-up on our Arduino!

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

We feel confident that we have all of the parts (except one) that we will need in order to create our Person-Counter device. The last remaining part we need is a 7-Segment LED Display that will show how many people are currently in the desired area (picture below). This piece will be crucial to our project because our device is meant to be free standing, meaning it will not need to be hooked up to an external computer once it has the code loaded onto it. Thus, it will need to have the 7-Segment LED Display to communicate to the user the data that it is gathering.

Picture 4

I became even more excited for our project today after tinkering around with the parts. Being able to physically touch the Arduino, perfboard, wires, etc. allowed me to grasp a much better understanding as to how this device will actually function (the circuitry became much more clear to me). One of my group members, Aubrey, noted that she has worked with Arduinos before and that she would be more than happy to help teach me what she knows about coding and how the devices work. This is extremely exciting to me because my mind is always wondering how electronics work at their core, so I believe this project experience will help me learn what I’ve been longing to know for so many years :).


Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. See you next week!


-Scott Provenzano



Finalizing our Fab Lab Creations & Initial Project Steps

What We Did This Week

Hello! This week has been by far one of the most exciting classes because it resulted with us walking away with some complete creations. After laser cutting and sewing for the past 2 weeks, we were finally able to introduce conductive thread to our items and finalize them.

We began class by learning how currents flow in a circuit (which is how our conductive thread would be working). Our instructors let us know that electricity always travels in a circle and follows the path of least resistance. They gave us a battery, battery switch, conductive thread, and LED’s. We were then tasked with drawing out a diagram of how we would be connecting each of these parts on our fabric (it is useful to diagram because of the potential complexities from connecting the positive and negative ports). Below is my diagram:

As you can see, I ensured that each of my positives connected with other positives, and my negatives connected with other negatives. There are also not any areas where a positive wire crosses a negative wire (which would cause short circuiting).

After diagramming, we were ready to get to work. We used a needle and conductive thread to stitch the LED’s and battery pack to the fabric (again, being careful to keep the positive wires only connected to other positives, and negatives only connected with other negatives). Below is a picture of the back of my fabric with all of the internal parts sewed on:

Once I got all of my parts into place, I flipped the On/Off switch and my LED’s turned on! This was nerve-wracking because if they had not turned on then I would have had to go back and potentially unthread/rethread some areas–which would definitely be difficult. Check out the lights turned on below:

To finish up my box, I cut off the excess fabric that draped over the sides of my box. This resulted in a clean-cut box that you can check out below!


What’s to Come?

Now that we are equipped with the proper knowledge, skills, and resources, we are able to begin working on our final projects! This is extremely exciting because these projects are essentially created by our groups from the bottom up. My group (FastFoward) plans to create a Laser Person Counter (example: Essentially, this device would utilize lasers, wires, arduinos, etc. to count the number of people in a specific facility or area. This could be useful for restaurants, bars, and class buildings around our campus because it would give users the ability to understand capacity without necessarily being physically present at a location. Our goal for the next week is to gather the required components/parts and grasp a better understanding of how we can bring this idea to fruition. We are going to need to learn some coding skills in order to make this project work, so we will also be researching around in that realm!


Thank You

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post. Stay tuned for the coming posts to follow along FastForward’s progress in developing our final project!


-Scott Provenzano

Bringing our Creations Together


Hi again! This week we switched stations at the Fab Lab and got to create an additional piece to our boxes. Since I created the wooden structure of my box last week, I was able to create the cloth top this week. This is not just any regular cloth top, but one in which we were able to design the embroidery/sewing on our own (and we are even going to add LED’s to it next class!). Let’s jump into it.


Recap From Last Week

As promised, below is picture of the box that I created last week. I wanted to etch some things that I feel like describe me on the sides of the box: My name, my school, my hometown city, and my employers. I also etched the date that I made the box on the inside for nostalgic purposes.


PE Design

We began our embroidery/sewing work by working with the program called PE Design. Our instructor walked us through some of the basics on the program, and ultimately allowed us to take free reign with our designs. There were not enough working computers for each of the students, so Michael Rindler was kind enough to let me join him on his computer. We worked to create a design that we both found meaningful: a sailboat scene with a lighthouse. We figured that the lighthouse would be a really cool feature on our embroidery since we needed to incorporate out LED’s into the design. Having the lighthouse emit light would simply tie the entire scene together. We also decided that we wanted to add one additional element to our design that would fill some of the extra awkward space: a moon.

After we positioned each of our design elements, we learned how to command the program to convert the silhouette images into stitch designs. As seen in the image below, each of the items are created up of lines. These lines represented how the sewing machines were going to stitch the design on the cloth.

I also found this video for anyone who may have missed class and wants to learn some basics of PE Design: I hope you find it helpful!


Sewing Machines

With our design files completed and saved, we then moved to the sewing machines and learned how to thread the machine. This process took a few tries to get it right, but once the needle was properly threaded, we were good to go! Below is a picture of the sewing machine we utilized, and the cloth that we loaded onto the machine.

All we had to do was send the file from our computer to the machine and then prompt it to begin the stitching!


Final Result and Looking Forward

I was very satisfied with how my design turned out. Check out the picture below!

I decided to use the navy blue threading in order to compliment the nautical theme of my design. I was blown away by how accurate and precise these machines were in creating such a clean stitch print. As evident, there is a lot of excess cloth around the outside of the wooden box area. We were told that we would be removing the excess cloth next week while we also add our LED lights into our design. We are getting closer and closer to the final product, and I can’t wait to share it with you next week! Thank you for taking the time to read my post.


-Scott Provenzano



First Time at the Fab Lab


Our class had the pleasure of being hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab this past week. I have mentioned this lab in a previous post, but as a recap: The Fab Lab is “an open and collaborative workshop space for computer-driven innovation, design and fabrication” ( Essentially, this establishment allows individuals of all ages to utilize making resources to bring their creative ideas to fruition.

We began our class with a tour of the Fab Lab. The space is located in the second oldest building on U of I’s campus, so there was definitely an historical feel to it! We got to see some of the different machinery such as a sticker laser cutter, 3D printers, wood laser cutter, threading machines, etc. (see pictures below with sticker examples and other creations). I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to explore this space before graduating because it exemplifies some of the most technologically advanced equipment available to the Champaign-Urbana community–I only wish I had known about/visited the Fab Lab sooner!


Creating at the Fab Lab

Our class was split up into two groups so half of us could learn a certain skill this week and then another next week, while the other half of the class would learn vice-versa. This week, I was a part of the group that got to learn about laser cutting on wood. We began by learning how to navigate the program called “Inkscape”. Inkscape is essentially a free, open-source version of Adobe Illustrator. We utilized this program to build the design for our boxes (see my design below).

The red lines in the picture above represent where the laser cutter will cut straight through the wood (similar to cutting out a puzzle piece). The black silhouettes represent where the laser cutter will etch the drawing. What this means is that the black silhouette designs will not be cut all the way through the wood like the red lines will be, but rather etched to appear as an image. See the image below to get an idea of how our boxes will look:

I should be able to utilize the laser cutter next week to create my box, so I will include a photo in an upcoming post showing the object come to life! One of my biggest takeaways from utilizing Inkscape was understanding the amount of time and attention to detail that the creator must have in order to successfully create an object. While the programs that we utilize are powerful, there is still tremendous room for human error. I think this takeaway stood out to me because I had the preconceived notion that we would be able to just click a few buttons on the program and have it spit out a box. The reality was that I had to create this box with proper dimensions, modify each of the notches/outlines, and ensure that each of the lines were as straight/aligned as possible (which was a lot harder than expected). I enjoyed learning on Inkscape so much that I actually downloaded the program on my personal computer! Going forward, I plan to explore the different capabilities in this program along with some of the previous softwares we have learned in this class (e.g. Fusion Autodesk 360 & Cura). I firmly believe that this has been the most valuable course I have taken in college to teach me tangible skills. I love that I am genuinely interested in the area of technological making, and I am confident these skills will come in handy next year when I am starting full-time as a Technology Consultant.


Thank You & Looking Forward

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Next week, we’ll be learning about conductive thread. Specifically, we will learn how to sew conductive thread into cloth, which will allow us to add another feature to our laser-cut boxes. I can’t wait to share pictures of my creations with you next week!


-Scott Provenzano



UPS, Biohacking, & Final Project


Our class was spoiled this week with having two very influential people speak to our class. Our first speaker, Alan Amling, taught us about the advancements that UPS is making in the realm of 3D printing. Our second speaker, Dot Silverman, taught us about her work in biohacking and the exciting projects she is working on. During the second half of the class, we were able to meet with our teams to begin narrowing down our ideas for the semester project.


What is UPS Doing?

Alan informed us that UPS is taking major strides in utilizing 3D printing. The company has facilities that are capable of 3D printing on both the small and large scale. Alan mentioned that UPS’s Louisville, KY facility center can print something out by midnight and then be anywhere in the United States the next day. Such a capability is revolutionary for any company. Currently, it is common for consumers to have to wait multiple days before receiving an item they purchase. However, as more and more 3D printing facilities pop up throughout the country, it will be much more likely that future consumers can order custom 3D-printed products and expect to receive them the same day (maybe even within hours).

One of my biggest takeaways from Alan is the importance of consistency. It’s incredible that 3D printers can create almost anything, but Alan noted that if a company wants to be successful, then they will need to be consistent. For instance, many current manufacturing processes are standardized and effective enough to produce identical objects on a large scale. Since 3D printing technology is still relatively new, there are still areas in which errors are made (thus reducing consistency). Moving forward, I will remain conscious of these potential limitations of 3D printers, and I hope to play a part in identifying ways in which consistency can more likely be achieved at the industrial scale.


What is Biohacking?

Dot shared a bunch of exciting projects with our class in the realm of biohacking, which essentially is combining biology with making/3D-printing. One of Dot’s projects that stood out to me was one in which she had previously worked on a team that created human organs-on-chips; these chips emulate organ-level functions. What was really neat was that Dot and her team were able to combine a bunch of different organs-on-chips and connect them to simulate an actual human body. They then were able to simulate cocaine entering the body and the implications that it had on each organ. These devices (pictured below) may be a great alternative to animal-testing (which remains to be controversial among many consumers). Ultimately, these creations are extremely exciting and could lead to incredible breakthroughs in the medical industry.


Progress on Final Project

My group and I have narrowed down our list of final project ideas. Two of the ideas that I feel most passionate about are the creation of assistive devices for individuals with disabilities and a Neopixel Traffic Map. The types of assistive devices we are looking into are for individuals with limited motor-movements. For instance, individuals with arthritis may no longer be able to hold a pen like they used to. Such a disability can be devastating to many people as they may find joy in sending handwritten notes to their friends and family. 3D printing objects are able to extend an individual’s motor capabilities and increase precision. It would be neat for my group to talk with individuals who have arthritis/limited motor capabilities to understand what challenges they face most often in order to develop an all-in-one tool to help them navigate through their days more easily (see an example in the picture below). Another assistive device that we may look into printing would be wheelchairs, and you can learn more about this idea’s potential through one of my previous blog posts by clicking here.


The second idea that I find interesting is a Neopixel Traffic map (example pictured below). Essentially, we would be creating a way for a user to know the traffic conditions of a certain area before leaving their home/work. This would be accomplished through inserting LED lights into a picture map and connecting them to an Arduino board that would relay real-time traffic conditions via a paired Google Maps API (Application Program Interface). This project would involve us learning to code, working with API’s, and utilizing circuit boards–and we know we are up to the test!


Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. As mentioned, my team is finalizing our idea for our semester project, and I can’t wait to share with you what we end up deciding to pursue!


-Scott Provenzano



Learning the Design Process

Design for America Overview

Hello! This past week our class was able to learn the Design Process from our University of Illinois peers at Design for America (DFA). “Design for America is an idea incubator, a motivated community, and a way of approaching complicated challenges. DFA shapes the next generation of social innovators” ( The individuals representing DFA were very knowledgeable in guiding us through the process and offering great insight. I have a good friend who has worked closely with DFA; this relationship has actually resulted in a successful startup company: Therapalz. Check out the company’s website here: Essentially, Therapalz creates smart therapeutic companion animals for patients with Alzheimer’s. These customizable animals have realistic heartbeats, lifelike sounds, and calming vibrations to provide additional comfort for patients working through this challenging disease. Please keep this success story in mind as I guide you through the Design Process we learned from DFA because it gives a strong indication about how perseverance through this process can produce great results.


The Design Process

The stages of this process are: Identify, Immerse, Reframe, Ideate, Build, and Test. Identifying involves simply observing or researching a challenge. Once it is identified, we must immerse ourselves into learning every piece of information about the challenge. Then we move into the reframe stage which is where the problem is further narrowed down through the insights we have gained through the previous two steps. Once we understand the specific challenge, we then begin creating in the ideate stage. This means writing down each and every possible solution to the problem. We then begin building prototypes based off of these potential solutions. None of these prototypes should be considered final because they should be built up, torn apart, and iterated to better model a viable solution to the challenge. Finally, we test the model with the end-users. We will go back and forth between building and testing until a final solution is pinpointed.

We were able to go through this process by analyzing a case involving an individual named Brian. Brian is an aspiring entrepreneur in the Austin area who faces challenges when navigating the city due to being blind. My team was able to simulate the Design Process by going through each of the steps with a goal of figuring out the best plan for Brian. We came up with the idea of helping Brian navigate by teaching him with two of his senses other than sight: touching and hearing. This would be accomplished by giving Brian a 3D-printed map of his route with depth features indicating roads, buildings, turns, etc. along the path. The 3D-printed object would allow him to become comfortable with his route before having to take it; his sense of touch will give him further confidence in memorizing the path. Second, we would leverage his sense of hearing to guide him step-by-step in real-time while he is walking his route. This will be aided by his phone-based GPS and headphones. Ultimately, we believe Brian will gain much more comfort and confidence through leveraging two of his stronger senses and the technology we designed.


Wrap up & Thank you

Overall, learning the Design Process helped bridge the gap between the real-world challenges that our class has been identifying and the skills we have learned in regard to 3D printing. Prior to this session, we did not have a specific path to follow when connecting our challenges to 3D printing (we simply 3D-printed without much end-user consideration/prototyping in mind). Now, we have the skills necessary to Identify, Immerse, Reframe, Ideate, Build, and Test our ideas. As evident in Therapalz, a challenge was identified, the Design Process was leveraged, and now patients with Alzheimer’s are living more comfortable lives (see video below). I am excited to use this framework to get started on our class’s semester project with my teammates. Thank you for taking the time to read my post this week.


-Scott Provenzano



3D Printing Wheelchairs & Assistive Devices


3D printing has an infinite amount of potential to improve our world and the lives of humans. An area of improvement that I am passionate about is in the realm of improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

On January 17th, 2018, our Digital Making Seminar class had the distinct pleasure of hearing Arielle Rausin speak on her experience in 3D printing. Arielle has since pursued a career in 3D printing by manufacturing racing gloves for wheelchair racing athletes (see picture below). Her company is called Ingenium, and you can check out the website here:

Arielle was kind enough to chat with me on the phone and allow me to ask her questions. During this time we talked about 3D printing and the opportunities/challenges that Arielle has come across throughout her time in this field. Below I have the questions that I asked Arielle along with her (paraphrased) responses.


Interview with Arielle Rausin

Q1: How are you doing? As a person? As a student? As a CEO?

A1: Pretty good. Busy busy life–I like keeping busy. It takes a lot of balance between being a full-time athlete and running a company. I graduated in December, so I am no longer a student. Right now I work part time on campus and train full-time as an athlete.

Q2: Can you talk a bit about the challenges that you faced when first starting to 3D print the gloves?

A2: First was becoming familiar with the software and learning how to do things like manipulate the infill, correct sizing (what you need to scale) and what you need to go in an adjust by hand. Once I bought a 3D printer, it was tough learning the printer maintenance (which needs to be every few months or so), printer clogs, etc. Another challenge is learning to design the file to make sure you are reducing the risk of clogging. Such designs need to be implemented in every file; a lot of the software does that automatically and it keeps improving every year. Additionally, I had to learn how to train my employees in the software.

Q3: Has your company made any progress or performed research in the realm of 3D printing wheelchairs? Are you aware if anyone has successfully done this?

A3: Personally, I have done a decent amount of research. I have not been able to find anyone who has been able to successfully accomplish it. There’s a company in South America that has done pieces of chair, but it wasn’t able to support any weight. I thinks it hasn’t been accomplished because of a lack of people trying rather than it being impossible. I have talked with wheelchair manufacturers that currently weld wheelchairs (traditional form of manufacturing), and I asked if they were interested in 3D printing–most are not interested. An additional note: there is a group in India that is starting to 3D print posture alignments that would attach onto wheelchairs (essentially a wheelchair accessory).

Q4: Follow up question: why do you think the manufacturers that you have reached out to weren’t interested?

A4: I believe it is due to the high upfront cost of learning the new technology and buying the printers. Most of the companies that make wheelchairs in the US have been around for 20-30 years, so the cost of learning a new technology is a big barrier. Also, they are from a different generation. I found this extremely evident when I ordered my previous wheelchair. I actually had to fax in a form to the wheelchair company because they didn’t even have online capabilities. Again, it’s a generational difference.

Q5: What are the most prominent challenges you see with 3D printing wheelchairs?

A5: I’ve talked with my coach about this, and he notes that he is worried about durability. Especially in developing countries, there is a lack of paved roads and stable terrain–thus, the chairs need to be very durable. In a welded chair, you can weld it again to fix it. For a 3D printed wheelchair, it would not have much room to be able to break. That being said, it would be much better to use metal/steel 3D printers for creating wheelchairs because they would be more durable (yet also more expensive).

Q6: Are there any parts of a wheelchair that would not be able to be 3D printed? Do you think it would be too burdensome to use small printers to then piece the prints together (i.e. are larger printers necessary)?

A6: I see a few items that would not be able to be 3D printed. First, the tires would need to be rubber and thus manufactured; I am not sold on the durability of 3D printed wheels. Also, some of the hardware–like the screws–would not be printed. The cushion where the wheelchair user sits would also not be printed.

Q7: Are you familiar with any resources that would be helpful in beginning of production of printing wheelchair parts? For instance, what is the best way to find out each of the necessary components?

A7: To begin, it would be best to directly talk to wheelchair users and see which parts on their wheelchair break the most often. It’d be good to understand which parts need to be replaced most often because those parts could potentially be printed cheaply. A lot of wheelchair manufacturers make “folding frame” chairs, which are completely useless to everyday wheelchair users. The frames that you would want to look at are called “rigid frame” chairs because those are more useful to everyday users.

Q8: I took a course in college called “The Culture of Disability,” and it was one of the most beneficial/educational courses I have ever taken because I learned so much about disabilities in our society. As someone with a disability, what do you wish individuals without disabilities knew in regards to the culture of disability?

A8: I wish people without disabilities knew that people with disabilities are very very capable. As a wheelchair user, I don’t mind if people ask me if i need help. Like I am capable of getting out of my car by myself everyday. People need more faith in the ability of wheelchair users. I think people without disabilities should come to an understanding that we are athletes, travel the world, live independently, etc. It’s depressing when people are shocked that I can drive and live alone. I like the saying “Assume competence.”

Q9: What is your favorite part about your job?

A9: My favorite part is when I hear that it has positively impacted people’s performance. For instance, I like when I get emails and pictures from parents and coaches saying their athlete achieved one of their goals through using our products.

Q10: Do you have a 5, 10, or 20 year plan? If so, what does it look like?

A10: I believe in plans, but I know they can change really really quickly. Currently, I am training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics (2.5 year plan) in hopes to attend the games and compete. At the end of the day, I need to keep in mind that my athletic training is a full-time job. I would also love to help people with disabilities (by providing them with wheelchairs). I have been able to do this in the past by going to developing countries with non-profit organizations to distribute wheelchairs. In the next 5 years, I think it would be incredible if Ingenium could have fully working 3D-printed wheelchairs and a business model that would allow us to give them out for free.



I truly appreciated the time that Arielle took to chat with me about her experiences. My two biggest takeaways were in regards to the current wheelchair manufacturers’ generational differences and her advice to talk with current wheelchair users.

As for the generational differences with wheelchair manufacturers, I found Arielle’s insights fascinating. Initially, I thought that wheelchair manufacturers would love the idea of 3D printing due to the increased ability to customize their products at a cheaper cost. However, Arielle informed me that the upfront costs are what deter the manufacturers from fully adopting this practice. Since they have already invested so heavily in fixed costs over the past 20-30 years, they do not currently find much incentive for purchasing even more items that would qualify as fixed costs (i.e. 3D printers, training, and machinery). I find this to leave a tremendous area of opportunity to first-movers in the 3D printing realm for wheelchairs, which I will discuss in the “Moving Forward” section below.

As for talking with current wheelchair users, I find this advice very useful. As a creator, I often find myself wanting to delve right into the details of the product rather than first consulting with the end-users. I am thankful that Arielle gave me this advice because I will be able to save valuable time in the future by first understanding the needs of the end-users before I make assumptions of their needs and begin work on a product. This also ties into Arielle’s quote of “assuming competence.” People with disabilities are able to accomplish just as much as people without disabilities; those with disabilities may just have different ways in accomplishing those tasks. Thus, individuals with disabilities are competent in best understanding their needs, and creators must openly listen to those needs before creating.


Moving Forward

I know I threw a lot of information at you throughout this post, so I wanted to utilize this section to let you know some opportunities that you can explore to make tangible improvements in the realm of 3D printing for accessibility.

Our instructor, Vishal Sachdev, has shared a link with our class that talks about a company (called Allianz) that is trying to be the first-mover for the 3D printing of wheelchairs ( Allianz is requesting innovators to submit ideas and designs for adaptive mobility devices, like wheelchairs. Personally, I believe that the current wheelchair manufacturers will need to convert to 3D printing once fully-functioning wheelchairs and other mobility devices are able to be dependably created by competitors using 3D printing. I believe this largely due to the lower costs that the 3D printing companies will encounter. These lower costs will thus allow the 3D printing companies to charge their customers less for the products and shift the demand away from the more expensive wheelchairs that are currently being manufactured. Contributing to the efforts of Allianz would be a great way to use your ideas and creating skills to innovate in the realm of 3D printing. Your contributions may also lead to lasting benefits for the community of individuals who require wheelchair use by providing more customized and affordable wheelchairs. Below is an image of a 3D-printed wheelchair concept.

Arielle also told me a bit about one of the non-profits she has worked with: Walkabout. With this company, she was able to go to Kenya last summer and give out wheelchairs to developing areas. She found the opportunity with this company through conducting her own online research and finding an organization that aligned with her values. Walkabout gives out over 10,000 wheelchairs a year, which is a noteworthy accomplishment since the company currently only has 5 full-time employees in London. Currently, Walkabout does not 3D print their parts, but that is great news because that leaves the opportunity open for creators like us to continue innovating in this realm. With our innovations, we can hopefully someday assist Walkabout in adopting 3D printing to then be able to provide even more wheelchairs individuals in need. This summer, Arielle will have the opportunity to go to Sudan with Walkabout. Please see the following link if you would like to explore future opportunities with this inspiring organization:

I’d also like to share the following link with you that has great examples on additional 3D printing designs that can be used for assisting those with disabilities: One of the designs on this site that I found interesting was of the prosthetic hand (see picture below). Prosthetic hands can sell for upwards of $11,000 (source:, while there have been creators who have 3D printed prosthetic hands for $10 (source: These instances go to show that the current expensive costs for medical devices are not necessary. I encourage everyone to explore the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities and see if you can find ways to make their lives easier (both physically and financially) through 3D printing.


Thank You

I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read this post. I hope that you were able to find some of the information useful, and I would be happy to discuss anything further if you have any questions.

Arielle, thank you so much again for offering your insights and wisdom. As you may remember, BADM 395 is structured with 3 pillars: Learning, Making, & Sharing. Thanks to your sharing, our class has valuable takeaways in learning and making. I am excited to carry on this tradition by sharing our information with others and continuing the cycle.


-Scott Provenzano



Learning Autodesk Fusion 360


Hello! This week we learned how to use Autodesk Fusion 360. I originally thought that Tinkercad online was the coolest software, but now I understand how much more superior Fusion 360 is in comparison. While both of these programs are owned by the same company, I was ecstatic to jump into Fusion 360 because of the extended capabilities within the program.

We were fortunate to have Dan Banach come talk to our class and walk us through creating a few designs (shown in the next section). Dan is an instructor from Autodesk,  and he was extremely knowledgeable and helpful as we learned this (to most of us, completely-new) program. One of the neatest things I learned from Dan is that Fusion 360 is used by many large movie production companies to add in animations and special effects to films. As someone who would love to work in the entertainment industry someday, I found this extremely interesting. I think it is so neat that a company can essentially create a character within this program, animate it, and make it come to life in a film. I plan to dive deeper into the animation aspect of this software as I gain more expertise in designing objects. Check out some of the designs I’ve created over the past week in the next section!


Autodesk Fusion 360 Designs

Valentine’s Day Paperweight – I created this when I was playing around with Fusion 360 because I figured that with Valentine’s Day coming up, some of my peers might find it useful. As a college student, it’s easy to let holidays creep up on us. Thus, I thought it’d be useful to share this idea with the class incase they would like to print a Valentine’s Day 2018 heart paperweight for their significant other:


Ice Scraper – This was the first object that we created with Dan. He walked us through each and every step, so we were able to learn a lot of crucial details right off the bat. This design essentially consists of two shapes: a long T-shape on the bottom and a rectangle block on top. We used the fillet tool, used the chamfer tool, and created a hole. It was also neat to learn how to apply paint to the object. This skill will definitely come in handy when using this program to create objects and present to clients/managers!


iPhone Charging Holder – This was another one of the designs that we created in class with Dan. It was surprisingly simple to make after extruding the rectangle on the bottom, putting a hole in it, and then extruding a rectangle on the top. With some minor tweaks with the fillet tool and some additional details, we were able to come up with the following design:


Pen Holder (Everyday Object) – For my everyday object assignment, I chose to create a pen holder. I chose this object because I was looking at my desk and brainstorming what I could use on it. With many pens/pencils laying around, it was a no-brainer. I began by extruding a square (2” x 2”) up by 3”. I used the fillet tool to smooth out the side corners, and then extruded a smaller square from the top of this block down towards the bottom (thus creating the open space within the pen holder). I stopped extruding before I hit the bottom so that this object would not be open the entire way through; I used the fillet tool once more to smooth out the inside walls and was left with the following object:



Further Thoughts

Overall, the skills I have learned over the past week have been very useful in my path to becoming a better creator. My plan is to stay fresh with the content that I have learned and continue creating more in-depth/complex objects.

Since I noted how interested I am in this software being used for animations in movies, I found the following video that shows how animations work (for beginners) in Fusion 360. Definitely check out this short video because it shows how simply we can now animate the designs that we create:

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope you are having a great day, and I look forward to checking back in with you in a week!


-Scott Provenzano

Learning 3D Printing Programs


Hi again! This past week our class had the pleasure of having Jeff Ginger join us. Jeff is the director of the Fab Lab that we have on campus. The Fab Lab is “an open and collaborative workshop space for computer-driven innovation, design and fabrication” ( Essentially, this establishment allows individuals of all ages to utilize making resources to bring their creative ideas to fruition. Our class will be visiting the Fab Lab sometime in the coming weeks, so I will have an entire post dedicated to the Fab Lab coming soon!

I am so grateful to have been able to learn how to use both Tinkercad and Cura this past week. Our class’s steps in 3D printing include first creating an object on Tinkercad and then bringing that file into Cura to get the proper 3D printer settings applied to the object. Diving into these programs allowed me to see what it really means to be able to design a 3D print (from either a template or the bottom-up). Creating is an activity that I genuinely find to be fun, challenging, and rewarding. So let me tell you a bit about each of these programs:



Tinkercad is an online site that allows us to create our own 3D models. This program really speaks to me as a creator because it truly allows me to create any print from the ground up. The user is allowed to put different shapes together, add text to designs, and even import designs from other sources. The interface is also extremely intuitive, and it almost feels like a game when creating the different designs.

One of my favorite features of this program is that we can access our designs from any computer due to the cloud platform that it is on. This is great because I was able to get my account set-up online while at home and play around with the software before logging on when in class. When I got to class, all I had to do was log into my account and then I was able to jump right back into my work. Here is a picture of an Illinois-shaped keychain that we were able to import into Tinkercad (from a template in Thingiverse). It was fun to add different text to the keychain and customize it to our liking.



Cura can appear to very intimidating when first launching the program. However, as the user starts to look deeper into each of the settings, it becomes a much more comfortable program. This is the program that we use to get the proper file needed for the 3D printers. I will have to dive into a deeper explanation of this program in a later post because as of right now, I only know the basics. Our instructors let us know which specific settings to select when printing our objects, but I still need to understand the program better and how each selection in the settings (see image below) affects the final print.

My team, Fast Forward, was also able to create our team logo. We designed it on Tinkercad, set the proper settings in Cura, and then printed it. Below you can see the final product.


Thank You

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I cannot wait to continue learning more advanced features on Tinkercad, Cura, and other 3D printing softwares over the coming weeks, and I look forward to updating you along the way!


-Scott Provenzano



Getting Started with 3D Printing

Hi there!

My name is Scott Provenzano, and over the past few Digital Making Seminar sessions I have been absorbing as much information as possible in order to set myself up for success throughout the semester and future career uses of 3D printing. I hope you find the takeaways in my blog posts to be useful and/or insightful, and I’d be happy to discuss them further if you have any questions!


The two most interesting takeaways I had from our past class was John Hornick’s discussion with us about his experience with law in regards 3D printing and learning about the new perspectives offered by my teammates. In regards to Hornick’s discussion, I found it insightful to consider the potential negative use cases of 3D printing. For instance, the creation of weapons or theft of intellectual property are serious and likely outcomes of this third industrial revolution. Prior to this course, I had only thought of 3D printing as a very practical and useful method in giving creators on-demand access to their creation; I had only considered the positive use cases, and had not even thought of the negative use cases such as creating weapons. This is a very important point for us to keep in mind because 3D printing technology will continue to advance which will allow weapon creation and IP theft to become more accessible to everyday consumers. In regards to the new perspectives offered by my teammates, I really enjoyed hearing how they would like to innovate in the 3D printing realm. For instance, one of my teammates is a soccer player and said that she sees potential in creating certain athlete recovery equipment with 3D printing that currently is very expensive due to the necessary customization each athlete needs for the equipment (e.g. knee braces, see picture below). With the scanning and printing capabilities that we will learn about this semester, this equipment has the potential to be 3D printed at a much lower cost and shorter wait-time than the current manufacturing process.

Everyday Use Objects

Thingiverse has many objects that I could use everyday. The first item I would use would be a cooking spoon holder ( I cook everyday, so having an extra spoon holder to keep drips off the counter would be very useful. I would change this object by adding a tray dish to the bottom so the accumulated drips would not leak over the edge.

The second item I would use would be an iPhone case ( This object would allow me to further protect my phone. For this specific print, I would change the design on the back to be solid/flat so there would not be any circles in the design.

The third item I would use would be a door stopper ( This item would allow me to keep my door open without having to put miscellaneous heavy objects in front of it, and I would not change its design because it is very practical and would get the job done just the way it is.

The fourth item that I would use would be scissors ( I find myself requiring the use of scissors multiple times per week. The issue is that I do not currently own any scissors, so this 3D print would truly benefit me in the short-run and the long-run. The change I would make to this design would be to make the blades longer (if that would still make them an effective pair of scissors).

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I look forward to reading your insights as well!

-Scott Provenzano