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:


Saying Farewell to the MakerLab

This semester has been a great one! I learned so much about not only the digital making world, but about myself and what I am capable of as well. Reflecting on the semester, I have created a lot of different things and exposed myself to a new side of learning.

My Expectations

Going into the course, I expected to be printing little things every week and learning how to use the printers and the software that is used to 3D print objects. In a way, my expectations were met, but not the way I envisioned them. I not only learned how to 3D print objects, but I learned about the process of creating useful objects to help people. I also learned how to utilize different resources in the FabLab like laser cutting and conductive threading. We even learned how to embroider!

Things I Learned:

Fusion 360

Looking back at my first blog post I realized the things I was interested in making I could easily print in the MakerLab today if I wanted to. I remember thinking in the beginning that there was no way I would be able to make stuff like an ice scraper which I ended up successfully designing in Fusion360.

We had an entire class period dedicated to learning the ins and outs of Fusion360. With this user-friendly software, we were able to learn how to make simple objects. With the skills we learned from making an ice scraper and a phone holder, we could create nearly anything we set our minds to. We were also given the opportunity to extend our knowledge even further by watching youtube tutorials and making things in Fusion360. I definitely expected to learn the software used to 3D print objects, but not to the extent that I did. I thought we would all make the same things together in class each week, but we were given much more freedom than that. It really opened the doors to my creative side of thinking, which is difficult for me to do.

(photo of ice scraper)

Design Process

One of my favorite things we did this semester was have the team from Design for America come into our class and teach us about the design process. I learned that all these great products people have made are developed from a thorough design process that takes a lot of iteration. I learned that we first have to understand a problem and immerse ourselves into it before we can start designing something. After that, you can start ideating and building your product.

This was really interesting for me to learn about. I am not a creative person whatsoever and I loved learning about how to come up with ideas to create products that can actually help people. This is something I did not expect to learn, and will take with me for the rest of my career.


The three weeks we spent in the FabLab was something I did not expect to do in this course at all. However, I am so happy that this was part of the course because I learned so much in those short three weeks. We learned how to embroider, use InkScape which we used to create images that could later be cut with a laser, and conductive threading. The first thing I did was laser cut the sides of my box. I chose to cut four things that made me happy. For more details about what those four things are, take a look at my blog post from that week! After the three weeks, we took the things we learned at each station to create our very own box. My favorite thing about the FabLab was that I really had to challenge myself and get my hands dirty.

(photo of final product from the FabLab)

Final Thoughts

Overall, this course exceeded my expectations. I walked into the MakerLab for the first time in my college career on the first day of class and had no idea how a 3D printer worked or what they were capable of. I did not think we would touch on so many different areas of the making world. I enjoyed the final project, but felt like I learned the most when we had our guest speakers and were working with experts in Fusion360 and at the FabLab. Through this course I was able to challenge myself and expand my creative boundaries. Hopefully, this was just the start for me in the Making World!

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

And That Is A Wrap!

Before I start, I want to say that I am happy I took this course. I loved how it was a small group so that we all were friends by the end. I think that made it special and we were all on this journey together.

I thought this class was going to be extremely hard for me because I lack a lot of technical skills. I was nervous that I would not be able to keep up with the pace of the class. I knew it was going to take a lot of work. Also, I do not consider myself very creative so I thought I would be bad at coming up with ideas for the project.

Looking back these expectations were not met! This class was all about learning at your own pace. Each workshop, guest speaker, and project gave me hands on opportunity to learn new skills. For example, Fusion took me a while to understand, but with practice and patience I learned how to create and print my own model. Also, our sessions in the fab lab gave me an opportunity to create a design step by step. I used the platforms to import my personal pictures and all the way up to the final stage of printing and sewing. This freedom at first was scary because I felt lost, but I was able to problem solve through my projects.

I learned that I have very low confidence in my tech abilities. Whenever we were introduced to something new I was easy to give up and depend on teachers or students for help. Usually I get the help I need, but in this class I was pushed to out of my comfort zone and forced to learn new skills on my own. It was then I realized I can take on the task, but my initial mindset is that I cannot do it. I am smarter than I know.

I also learned teamwork in this class. For the past month my team worked together to build an idea from scratch. There were a lot of opinions and ideas involved, but we worked together to create the best prototype we could. I think we all contributed and were dedicated to this class. I hope to utilize these teamwork skills in my next job!

Finally, in this course I learned A LOT! Walking into class was the first time I had ever seen a 3D printer, I did not even know how to turn it on! From 3D printing, to fusion, to the fab lab, the design process, and more I decided to reflect back on my previous posts.

We learned about “The Maker Mindset” which is starting to be integrated into the education system. I learned that everyone learns differently and grasps to ideas in different ways. Personally, I have struggled with a reading comprehension disability and school has always been difficult for me. It makes me so hopeful for the future of students who struggle form learning disabilities that they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge through different ways of learning.

I learned about the six-step process that Design for America taught us. This workshop not only set us up for the remainder of the course, but also for our future careers. This process is a way to take a step back and really break down the problem. It helps you dissect your thoughts, which leads to better outcomes.

Our week with Dan Banach form Autodesk taught me fusion. He showed me how to build our own ideas. Getting an understanding of this platform has allowed me to try other platforms. What stood out to me about Dan was he teaching style. He made it easy to follow along and learn. I really appreciate that because I feel like I learned more. I am very grateful for learning this tool because I know I will continue to use it.

My most recent blog posts have been about our vertical garden project. I learned how to work with fusion on a more specific level in terms of measurements and shapes. But I also learned the importance of persistence and adaptability. A lot of our project did not go our way, for example the WiFi shield. Instead of putting energy into that aspect, we adapted and used sensors. I am very proud of the progress my team made and happy with our final product.

Thank you again Vishal!! This was a great class; it was unique in the best way. I cannot wait to show off my technical skills next year in Chicago!

Once a Semester Activity: 3D Printing and the Apparel Retail Industry

While many will proclaim that “retail is dead,” (in reference to the archaic department stores we all grew up with) I beg to differ. I’d argue that retail is simply changing. My love for the apparel retailing industry began over the course of a summer job as an Anthropologie customer associate. I watched as the brand I loved most had to react to a shifting industry climate. They made strategic decisions to close down locations, and instead, open larger format “experience-based” stores that allowed customers to create custom furniture, shop for clothes, and learn about different types of garden plants, all under one roof. So in a time when traditional brick and mortar retail is supposedly dying, I find myself fascinated by what the future of retail actually looks like. I therefore chose to research the intersection between technologies like 3D printing and the apparel retailing industry in more depth.


Most people automatically associate 3D printing and retail with the idea of 3D printed clothing. Luxury fashion designers have toyed with the concept, however, current 3D printing mechanisms have proven better suited for accessories such as jewelry or eyewear. “The evolution of materials for fabrics in 3D printing has been slow and there remains a trade-off between stiffness, robustness and comfort. Because the technology involves fusing layers of melted plastic one on top of another, a 3D printed fabric does not behave the way a woven textile adapts its shape to the body” (Sim, 2017).

Although the idea of 3D printing clothing items may seem impractical or gimmicky to customers, startups like Ministry of Supply are fighting to change that perception. MIT graduates Aman Advani and Gihan Amarasiriwardena cofounded the clothing company that specializes in 3D printed knit garments. They use materials like “Merino wool and NASA-engineered Phase Change Materials, so you literally get the best of both worlds: the best properties of natural fibers and space age temperature regulation” (Leighton, 2017). Their knits are not only more comfortable and movement-enabling, but they also create less waste and are more durable. According to this video, they can print a blazer in around 90 minutes:

Because the garments are printed without seams, they do not have weak points that are more vulnerable to wear and tear. They currently use a Japanese 3D knitting machine called Shima Seiki, which has been used by manufacturers but has yet to be widely adopted by retailers at a storefront level.

Retailing Practices

Looking beyond fashion, it is clear that 3D printing has many implications on the other segments of the apparel retailing industry:

Inventory Management

The most obvious change seems to be in the form of inventory management. Dealing with excess inventory in the face of unpredictable consumer demand is one of the key challenges that retailers face today. “Imagine walking into a store that carried only enough inventory so that customers could try on garments and touch the material to ensure it meets their demands and expectations. Then, images of the garment in various colors and textiles would be made available to the consumer. Perhaps some stores will even carry swatches. Once the shoppers decide which one(s) to buy, they pay for the item and wait for them to be printed” (Sedhom, 2015). This will also impact the supplier-retailer relationship. “We find that cost-sharing contracts can coordinate the supply chains where 3D printing is used in-store and the supplier controls the raw material inventory” (Chen, Cui, Lee, 2017).

Product Customization

In addition to better inventory management, retailers can rely on 3D printing to drive better customization. Companies like Nike have already embraced this by printing custom-fit shoes for world-class athletes, however, it is likely that this trend will catch on among apparel retailers as well. “Indeed, customization will change fashion as we know it, as 3D printing will allow companies and brands to create, in real-time, items tweaked and personalized by the consumer. Imagine yourself walking into a store and changing the length of a handbag strap, lowering the neckline on a shirt, or selecting a color for your dress! The frustrations attendant with shopping from what’s available versus shopping for what you want will end. 3D printing will facilitate contemporaneous customer-designer or customer-store collaboration” (Sedhom, 2015). Customization has long been a trend impacting retailers’ approaches—according to the “State of 3D Printing” report conducted by Sculpteo, retail profits from custom 3D printed goods is projected to increase 91% by 2020.

Intellectual Property Protection / At-Home Printing

            As designs and the overall apparel retail distribution network go digital, intellectual property theft is emerging as a top concern within the industry. When it comes to the overall retail landscape, luxury brands have the most to lose. They already face competition from creators of knock-offs. “With global imports of counterfeit goods already estimated to be worth $500 billion a year, it is likely 3D printing will only add to that figure. The growing threat of counterfeit 3D printing stems from the increasing availability of cheap 3D printers, printing materials and design specifications for items ranging from bags, apparel and jewelry” (Sim, 2017). More affordable brands may also face challenges as 3D printers become more ubiquitous among households. Customers could eventually design and print their own clothes from the comfort of their own home, eliminating the need for retailers at all. Designer Danit Peleg, who has worked extensively with 3D printed fashion designs, foresees a future where this is possible. “In the future, when these printers are in your house, I can send you a file and you can immediately adjust the file to speak to your measurements. You can choose the material, whether it’s cotton or wool. And while you’re getting ready in the morning, you can just press print and have the dress done by the time you’re done getting ready” (GE Reports, 2017).


After conducting all of this research, I’d still stand by my argument that retail is far from dead. I think it’s easy to paint an apocalyptic picture of a future where everything is automated and 3D printing completely takes over. However, even in a world where all clothes are 3D printed, I still believe that retailers will play an integral role because we live in an experience-based economy. They will simply have to differentiate themselves through capabilities like unique designs and customization. Even the most “DIY” oriented customers will want to be able to see designs for themselves, or reference available swatches that retailers can provide. Therefore, they will simply have to rethink their position within the market. Manufacturers and distributors will also have to reposition themselves, perhaps shifting towards cost-sharing contracts. All in all, 3D printing does have the ability to permanently alter the apparel retailing landscape, but it will take time and the outcome is uncertain for members across the value chain.

Works Cited:

Design Audits

This past week in class, we actually all physically had working prototypes that we got to share with one another! We all had the chance to work ‘design audits’ with each other – working through and explaining the designs we had with our peers, so that they understood it properly.

I had the privilege of being able to ‘audit’ two of my peers’ designs for their final projects. The first group was the vertical smart garden team. They showed me how they had wired their arduinos to both their soil humidity sensor and their LDS sensor (which detects the presence of light). It was amazing to see how much they had progressed over the course of our short semester! One critique I suggested was to incorporate two separate LEDs for each sensor output, because the one they had was flickering – perhaps because it was too large of a power load.

Secondly, I got to audit the team that created the custom overhead headphone attachments. I loved the simplicity and imitability of this design – I suggested to this group that they actually make a bunch of their product – many colors and sizes – and hand them out during the presentations. Their print time is actually only about 30 minutes so it would work out fairly well.

As for my group, we went forward with presenting our prototype to date, which included the steering wheel bracket, bushing, and custom screw used to add the physical attachments. We feel like we are right on the edge of where we want to be with our project. We are looking forward to printing our actual final parts and continue the final testing phase of the project. We can’t wait to share our idea with the world!

A Look at 3D Printing In the News

I was not in class this week due to a stomach bug from which I am now recovered. Because I cannot personally attest to the design audit and assembly experience, I am going to give a brief summary of my group’s progress before sharing a couple of articles of interest.

My team, the Animakers, made some great progress on our steering wheel attachment device. Ajie and Jason were able to complete the printing of multiple versions of our initial design and successfully formed the base of the product. Initial photos of the designs look great – I’m excited to finish up the rest of the project in the coming days and thoroughly test out the device.

In The News

This article on presents yet another possibly groundbreaking opportunity for 3D printing in a new industry: construction. A home is a place that everyone wants to make their own – customization is the name of the game. 3D printing might make for a natural fit in this industry because it would be much cheaper and faster than home construction today. This company may be on to something.

The next article is quite different, which speaks to the versatility of 3D printing. The United States Army is looking to print soft robots that can easily make their way through the tightest cracks as stealthily as possible. The idea of octopi has long intrigued the robotics industry for the potential of creating desired, unconventional movements. You can learn more in the article below.

The Army is building 3D-printed soft robots


Prototypes Galore

During this week’s class, everyone was able to meet in their groups to work on the design of their projects. After meeting with our team, we were to look over each other’s designs and critique them with constructive criticism. We first met with a team that was working on creating a simple 3D printable device that would count the number of people inside and outside of a building for businesses to use. This team was currently struggling to get the device to display on a 3 digit display screen. Although we weren’t able to give much feedback as we do not know much of the mechanics for the wiring of this device, we were able to give some adjustments for the future to consider like the actual storing of this data as opposed to just displaying it that can be implemented in the future to add value to this product.

We then met with a group that is working on a sort of smart plant holder. It was a very interesting design for a plant holder that would make the use of a pump to raise water to the top of the holder so it trickles down to the rest of the plants as this is a vertical plant holder. One concern the group had was on how to split the water evenly among the plants, we advised them to check in with the FAB lab to see if they had anything that could help as well as got them to think about how to not only distribute the water evenly but the nutrients in the water as they plan on putting plant food in the water. As the water trickles down to the next group of plants, there will be less nutrients in the water  since the higher plants would soak it up.

Additionally, both groups gave us substantial feedback on our design in terms of the physical design as well as improvements to think about. Most feedback involved the design of the legs for our coffee contraption as the current prototype does not allow for a cup to be placed under it to catch the coffee. This is something for us to look in further prototype versions. We were thinking of potentially taking another group’s advice and making a tri-pod design for the contraption.  Tune in next time to see what direction we went in!

Final Stages of Prototyping & Testing

This past week, my team and I really focused our efforts on finalizing our prototypes. My team’s project is to create a customizable steering wheel knob that can be twisted on to a universal handle. We are planning to create two final prototypes: 1) A knob that is the shape of a small sphere; and 2) A knob with a strap that individuals who do not have all five fingers can use. So far we have created two iterations of prototype one and also a universal bracket, bushing, and screw to attach onto the knobs.

We are working to create our final prototype that will be useful for individuals who do not have all five fingers. Our team is planning to head to the MakerLab on Monday and Tuesday to design & 3D print this last prototype. So far, we have had the chance to test our universal bracket and bushing on a steering wheel. It fits all steering wheel types. Because it attaches to any steering wheel, the knobs can be customized and attach to any bracket/bushing.

With our final project heavily dependent on designing & then 3D printing – I have been using MeshMixer and Autodesk Fusion a lot to create our designs. In Autodesk I have learned how to create, modify, and thread shapes. It has been great to experiment and learn more features of each of the two softwares.

Meeting with other teams in the audit process and presenting to the class also allowed us to get feedback on our idea and prototypes. We received feedback to include finger print indents on our sphere knob to make it easier to hold. Additionally, we received multiple ideas on new knob prototypes to create in order to better help individuals who do not have all five fingers.

The last step in finalizing our prototype is to create and finish our new prototypes based on feedback we got. We have tested the bracket/bushing, but we will need to test the new prototypes with other individuals on other vehicles. I am excited to finish up our new prototype designs and to test them. Our team is planning to finalize and test our prototypes in the next few days. Lastly, we have also been taking videos and photos of the process and are preparing media to share to the judges in our final presentation. Overall, this project has been very hand-on and given me the opportunity to apply concepts that I have learned in this class.

Prototyping & Feedback


This week, 3Dream worked very efficiently and we made allot of progress with our final project (Vertical hydroponic drip system). There were multiple complications with 3D printing the voronoi bottle cages and it failed 3 times. At last, with some tweaks on Cura and removing all the supports and only including a brim, the four bottle cages turned out beautifully! Initially, I was worried that the bottle cages would fail without supports but it turns out that they were completely unnecessary. The four drip nozzles were also successful when printing.


ll drip nozzel

Another milestone was better understanding and getting the sensors to work while attaching them to the bucket which will serve as the reservoir. My Teammate learned how to use an electric drill & caulking gun while building it.


Now that we have tangible prototypes and received feedback, 3Dream has been able to develop a new sketch of what we imagine our final project to be.



In class, we met with two other groups and both sides presented their project and we shared options/suggestions. Further, we were expected to conduct an interview to gain additional information on how to better our project. Our group interviewed 3 separate people and plan on coming to together to share what we have learned and also to present our individual possible alterations of the prototype. I interviewed a post-graduate computer science male. Age 25, lives in a studio apartment, and is familiar with a hydroponic system but has never owned/maintained a plant before. The main takeaways that I gathered was that the bucket was not visually appealing and should definitely be remodeled. Users who do not have any experience in  caring for a plant are highly interested in our project and would own one if we made it more visually appealing and included a pH sensor.

Overall, after getting feedback from numerous sources, I deeply understand the importance of getting user feedback in all trials of development. I hope to hear more thoughts on our project in the comments below! Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog, see you next week!

Prototype Refinement

This week in class we continued to work on our projects. As I am focusing on the electronics of the vertical garden, I continued to work on the Arduino and visited the Fab Lab on Monday in search for an Arduino WIFI shield and a little help on how to use it. Unfortunately, the Fab Lab did not have any WIFI shields for me to use on our project. I did speak with one of their experts on small electronics and he did suggest that I use a specific Arduino that can connect to the internet without the need of a shield.  After asking him a couple questions about the Arduino I found out that it has only 1 Analog data input which would not work for our project as I would need at least 3 or 4.  He then suggested that I could potentially connect that Arduino to the Arduino Uno that I am using and connect to the internet that way but in the end we agreed that it would probably be too complicated in the short time I had. I then decided to connect the sensor to a series of status lights as a temporary solution and I will attempt to set up a 3 digit display that will show the status of the vertical garden. I am also working on an issue with the LED lights flickering a little when the soil moisture sensors are triggered. I am confident I can figure out these issues with the Arduino in time for our final presentation.

Prototype Testing Picture

In class we also evaluated 2 other group’s projects. The first group’s project was the adaptable steering wheel attachment. Overall I really liked the progress they had made and attachment really felt like it would attach to a steering wheel well. I did give them some advice on testing the strength of the clamp. The second group we evaluated is working on a people counter. I ended up spending a good amount of time helping them out with their Arduino and showed them how to connect their motion sensors to the Arduino in order to make sure that they work. That group is also working on getting a 3 digit display to work so we will be sharing any successes that we might have.

Capstone Update

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

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



Prototype Feedback


This week in class, we were able to share our product idea and prototype with other groups. Many people had a hard time understanding what the practical use for our product was because it did not have a clear distinction between existing pour-over coffee filters, but once we explained how we wanted to make the pour-over coffee filter more autonomous, people understood how efficient our product could be.

Once our product idea was understood, many people gave us feedback about the safety of our prototype. Since our product was fully plastic, people did not know if boiling water would be safe. We explained that our prototype did not have the aluminum sheets that we hoped would insulate and cover the plastic parts of our product.

Another piece of feedback that was consistently given to us was how there was not enough control on the user’s end to how long the coffee grinds would be brewed. We agreed, and in order to change our product, we decided to add more “slots” that could be interchanged with different sized holes to control how quickly the water would drip.

The last piece of feedback that we diverted our attention to was how the base of our structure was designed. Since the legs that held up our coffee brewer was too close together, we found out that most cups were too big to fit between the legs of the brewed. In order to fix this issue, we made another print of the base with legs that were a lot bigger, but a lot further apart from each other. While we are trying to make sure that the product looks aesthetically good, this was a temporary fix in order to let cups fit.


Our next steps now include plating our entire product with aluminum sheets to cover the plastic parts. While we are trying to figure out ways to check the safety and health hazards of our product, we are looking for new materials to insulate the boiling water from the plastic parts.

We were able to get in contact with the FabLab and found that they had a laser cutter that would allow us to make precise cuts to aluminum sheets. Our next steps include making these sheets to cover the entire product to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. Afterwards, we plan on giving our new prototype to our two testers to see if there is any improvement in their feedback.

Money Makers Making Progress

This week was extremely beneficial for the Money Makers. We were able to make more progress on our final project. Our first prototype did not print how we wanted it to. The screw holes were not proportioned correctly and the bottom was squished. We printed a new prototype with the screw holes at exact measurements. Then we decided to drill the drain holes into the bottom because this will give us more control over placement and size. The next day we saw our prototype and it printed perfectly. The next steps in our project are to get the light detectors to work. Norman, who has been the mastermind behind the sensors, got the light to work. But we need to use a code so it works according to the plants needs. I am looking forward to making more progress next week.

Also this week we were able to meet with other teams and hear about their progress. I really liked this because I saw how far other teams have come and hear what set backs they have had as well. Both groups we met with gave positive feedback about our vertical garden. This gave us a lot of confidence in our project.

I found this interesting article about electric scooters in California. They are made for people to rent and use throughout different cities in California. They are a way of transportation, but also a fun time to feel free. There have been problems with people dropping scooters on sidewalks or in the street. This chaos and clutter is causing a lot of issues with people. Check out the article to learn more!


Improving Our Prototypes

Another successful week in class working on our final projects! This week we met with two other groups and gave and received feedback on the initial prototypes we have made. The first team we met with was the group making the people counter for businesses. Their current struggle was configuring the code to count on a three digit LCD screen because it was currently only counting for a single digit LCD screen. Unfortunately, we were not able to give them much help, but we did give them feedback on what we would like to see out of the project and what we would want if we were a small business owner deciding to buy their product. They also gave us some good feedback regarding our project. They like the open source idea which allows users to adjust the height of the legs to their own liking. They also suggested looking into the Teavana steeper which we could potentially use similar technology for our project. Another suggestion they had was to make sure we have enough material to cover the parts that will touch water so the plastic does not leak toxins into the water or the water doesn’t melt the plastic.

The next group we met with was the group making the smart plant holder. They were trying to figure out how to make the hose split into two at the top of the stand to allow both sides of the object receive equal amounts of water. We also posed the question of if plants on the lower end of the stand will receive enough nutrients since the plants at the top of the stand will soak up most of the nutrients. Their idea to combat that issue was to put plants that do not need as much nutrients on the bottom of the stand to ensure a longer survival. We also received feedback from them which included looking into making the legs into a tripod formation. We will consider this as one of our iterations of a prototype and see which one users enjoy more. Overall, the meetings were very helpful and we will take into consideration the feedback we received from both groups.

In terms of next steps, we plan to get material to line the water reservoir so the hot water doesn’t touch plastic. We will also make the slides out of this same material since the water will flow through them.

Week 13 Progress in Design

This week, Team Synergy made great strides in our final project and we now have a better focus for our next few steps. Despite our initial struggles with other project ideas, designing ergonomic headphone attachments has been a very successful and informative process. The focus of our project will center around the short waiting period for customers to get their Air Pod attachments. We hope to create three different sizes for our Air Pod attachments, small, medium, and large, allowing us to quickly print the design and deliver to the customer. We hope to print each design in fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Upon reflecting with my team, we have decided the best long-term business strategy is to create a website or app to order the prints ahead of time and pick it up from the lab. Thus far, we have created our own design and printed a fully functioning prototype. The first iteration of the making process has been completed and we are now moving on to the crucial processes of perfecting our model. Our first model functions, however, we noticed a few critical changes we could make to improve the design and performance of the Air Pod attachments. First, the base of the holder could be smaller to fit snuggly around the Air Pod. Second, we need to print out of a more bendable material for comfort and aesthetic appeal. Finally, we will lengthen the tail to fit better around the customer’s ear. Here are a few pictures of me wearing the designs and my team members holding them.



Our team entertained the idea of scanning someone’s head and printing a custom fit earphone attachment, however, we have decided against that idea due to technological limitations. Currently, the technology is not readily available to create accurate 3D models using existing consumer technology (However, an article I shared on Yellowdig shows how this is changing). It would take far too much time to render their head and then design the earphone around it. Our current plan features three different designs, small, medium, and large for all customers. We will use Team Synergy Member Ria’s ear to model the small, my ear to model the medium, and another BADM 395 student for the large. We believe that these three designs will help iPhone users of all shapes and sizes use their Air Pods when working out. Look for more next week from Team Synergy!

Prototype Progress & Feedback Session

This week we made significant progress on building the prototype. I went to the FabLab last week to discuss options for the water sensor to detect the level of water in the bucket. Instead of buying a sensor for around $7 and an LCD screen we figured out that it is not very complicated to create our own. The homemade water level sensor would essentially be 2 wires put into the bucket at 3 different points (6 wires in total) and connected to the Arduino.  The way it works is that a current is sent between the two wires and each of the 3 points and when  a change in frequency is noted (the current going through water versus air is noticeably different), a message will be sent to notify user that the water level is high, medium or low and to refill the water or shut off the water pump if it is too low. They also have LCD screens at the Fablab that they do not mind us borrowing for this prototype so we are minimizing our costs of the project as well.

On Tuesday, I went back to the FabLab with the bucket to create the sensor. The process involved a lot of new activities for me as there were several tools I got to use that I had not previously had experience with. We first needed to drill holes in the bucket so I got to use an electric drill and then screw a few screws in with nuts and washers in order to hold the wire on the outside of the bucket (out of the water). The wires will then be able to conduct current through the screws even though they are not in the water. I put caulk on the inside of the bucket around the screws in order to prevent water leaking out through the screw holes. I had never used a caulking gun before so that was also pretty fun to use. We then were able to cut some wires and attach one to each of the screws. I am going back this week to finish attaching the wires to the bucket and soldering them to a couple other parts in order to have a functioning sensor. I will then be finishing writing the code for the Arduino to be able to interpret and send a message to the LED screen of the water level. I am really excited about the progress on our project this week and look forward to finishing the sensor programing this week!

In class we continued working on our hydroponic garden, ensuring that we will have each of the parts ready to construct throughout the week. The second half of the class we split up into small groups and met with another team to pitch our idea/ progress on the project and any current challenge areas in order to receive feedback. The 2 different teams provided a few valuable comments and questions from the perspective of an outside potential user of the product that we had not previously considered. It was definitely an interesting and useful activity. Additionally, we heard updates on all of the other projects and I am excited to see how each of the teams’ work comes together within the next couple of weeks!

Finishing Touches

This week, my team made great progress in our final project. Although we had a slow start, I think our idea for earbud attachments is simple, yet effective. We wanted to create something that everyone could make and also use. Printing these attachments takes less than 30 minutes. Also, we figured out the dimensions for small, medium and large attachments. We have an app that allows us to compare your ear to a quarter, ultimately figuring out what size ear attachment you would need.

Although we aren’t completely and totally “customizing” an earphone attachment for each individual, we market it as such. This has the customer believing they are getting something customizable, creating more value for the product (that’s business for you!).

During class, we tested our product on a couple of our classmates (with all different ear sizes). Our classmates seemed very pleased by the product and said they wanted us to print them a copy! One problem we ran into was the clip was to loose and was falling off the string of the earphone. So, with our final project, we must figure out how to make it flexible enough to hook around the earphone, but not too loose where it falls off.

Overall, this week we made great strides in our project and I am looking forward to finishing it all up!