Tag Archives: Digital Making

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!

Shapeways and Shaping The Way to Our Project

We had the privilege of hearing from an employee at Shapeways and even got to get an inside view of the company! While we set up to have a presentation, the employee showed us around the company and the different things they were working on. It was really amazing to see people working with 3D printing in so many ways and different methods of coming up with the same product. She mentioned how there is an efficient way to print multiple projects at the same time using some sort of 3D printing using compression and cohesion of some sort of dust or powder using the Binder Jetting Technology available.

Its great to find out that improvements are still being made within the 3D making industry that can make things more efficient and faster and waste less of our resources that make it more of a possibility for future projects and developments to make use of 3D printing!

After the presentation from Shapeways, we went into our groups to begin the actual specific blueprinting for our project! We began with the base design which we intend to be a sort of 3 part design for the pour over coffee project we are working on that will ease the process of making pour over coffee as well as making it a lot more time efficient. Once we got the base design we started thinking of modifications and improvements for the design that include resizable base legs for different sized cups and mugs as well as screens that we can slide into the design that will help control the speed at which the hot water from the pour-over coffee contraption is falling through to the actual coffee and mug.

After designing our device, we went to discuss with Vishal more specifics including the issue of using hot water with the PLA material we have in class. He gave us the idea of using thin sheets of metal to use inside of the PLA printed structure to withhold the heat of the water. We are planning on meeting with people from the FAB lab to help us with our design as well as with the idea of using the thin metal sheets in our design!

Let there be Light!

This week was our third and final session at the FabLab in which we added conductive thread and LEDs to our embroidery project. I was excited to use conductive thread and review circuits because I have taken an ECE class before and was fascinated by circuits. It’s neat to have my previous knowledge apply in areas I would never expect (ECE knowledge with a creative/ arts project). We started out the class by drawing out designs and figuring out where the conductive negative and positive thread would go into the design. This was important because you could not cross the negative and positive threads and it’s a lot easier to visualize by drawing it out than guessing where the path should go while sewing.

We then sewed the individual sides of the circuit. I did the negative side first and then the positive side. My design halfway through changed as I decided I only wanted to incorporate 1 light in the plane instead of 2 LEDs. One big lesson I learned was that you absolutely cannot have either the positive or negative side touching the other thread. After finishing hand-sewing, I tried to turn on the light and it wasn’t working at all. This was because the negative thread was touching the metal that the negative current goes through at all so the circuit was being shorted. I then hand sewed the negative thread down so that it would not interfere and it worked well!

I had an extra embroidery hoop at my house, so I decided to have this separate from the box we made in previous classes and use it as a small wall hanging. I’m happy with how it turned out and excited about the new skills I gained through this project. Unfortunately, it looks as if the storage on our site is full so I didn’t get to upload a photo but you can imagine it from my previous post!

What’s next?
We are starting to put in more time on our final projects at this point in the class. I went into the FabLab for consulting open hours on Thursday in order to gain more knowledge about the sensors the FabLab has and their experience with hydroponic farming. I talked to Brandon, a sensors expert at the lab who has also made a hydroponics window installation so he helped to clarify many details of the project and I am sure he is going to be a huge resource for us.


What Could’ve Been

This week I was feeling very under the weather after all the climate changes that have been occurring on campus as well as both of my roommates contracting Pneumonia and was unfortunately not able to attend class on Wednesday. Upon reading some of the other posts, I am very sad to know what could’ve been done in class and the awesome box I would’ve created (and will hopefully have the chance to create later).

The class learned how to design a small wooden box that will be then used as a base for the canvas that we embroidered last class. The box was to be created following the same theme as our original embroidery piece that we created last week. The embroidered piece that I made last week was one that depicted a couple dancing some sort of Latin dance, therefore, for my box I would’ve loved to design it with images of silhouettes of couples dancing to further fit the original theme as it is to represent the dance team that I am currently the artistic director to called “Dance2XS: Caliente”. If the silhouettes design did not look nice on the box I would go for maybe some sort of star design with little star shapes to go along with dancing to feel like a “dancing under the stars” theme.

The design would then go from the computer to a physical object with the help of the CnC Machine that seems to be the new technology that was introduced to the class that etches images and laser cuts them into wood. Having had worked at a carpentry as my first job growing up was sanding wood, I got to see a lot of carpenters shaping wood and turning it into some sort of furniture and this technology sounds like it could be so much more fun and interesting to have used at this workplace if the technology was available to them at that time that could’ve led to furniture that was a lot more aesthetically pleasing or creative and innovative designs that could even give the carpentry a competitive advantage up until others were to discover the technology. Furthermore, it could’ve made shaping and forming the wood into furniture more efficient as well if the laser cutter was large and powerful enough to cut through wood at the carpentry.

Discovering the Beauty of Autodesk Fusion 360

This week we had Dan Banach from the Autodesk 360 company run a workshop introducing Fusion 360 software, the uses for it as well as walk us through creating our own models. We went through and made 2 different items, which I will discuss in detail later, while introducing many different functions and tools within Fusion 360. Dan had a slide discussing the various industries and companies that use Autodesk software, one I was surprised by was the movie industry and special effects. Many films use Autodesk software to design and create special effects. I am absolutely amazed by the capabilities this one software has and look forward to honing my skills in the coming months to be able to better design and create objects of value.

Fusion 360 Creations:

Our first item we designed was an ice scraper. In this workshop we walked through over 20 different tools within the software in order to create the exact look we wanted. One neat feature within Fusion 360 is that you can change the material of your creation. This then allows you to determine the specs, for example how much it weighs, which would then tell you how much it would cost in time and money to 3D print. I was also amazed by how many material options there were to model items in including metals, ceramics, paper, canvas, and even water.

In class we designed 2 items: an ice scraper and an iPhone charging stand. The phone charger I kept as the plastic PET material (since that is typical for 3D printing) thus why it is transparent, while the ice scraper I applied a “paint” layer to color it teal.

Ice scraper: http://a360.co/2snHF7x
Iphone charging stand: http://a360.co/2BpSWas

I thought the iPhone charging stand would be a useful item for my everyday life and was interested in seeing how the fusion file transferred into Cura to 3D print. I ended up printing this model and was excited to try it however, it is not very functional. The section that goes around the charger is too large to stay easily and when you put a phone on the shelf it is thrown off balance and falls to the floor. I was happy that I printed it because I got to see the iterative process, not everything comes out exactly as planned however you are easily able to go back to the drawing board and adjust the design for improvements. 3D printing is a series of trial and errors which makes it that much more exciting when you print something that works exactly as planned.

My Own Fusion Creation:

As for my own creation, I decided to make something to keep my electronic cords organized on my desk. I plug quite a few different cords into an outlet below my desk and have been getting annoyed that they fall off my desk and get tangled thus I’m constantly picking them up. This figure is a way to help keep the charging ends of cords on my desk. I incorporated a small shalf to keep it from sliding all over my desk however I still think it will need to be secured with a command strip. Hope this is of use to others! I’m excited to try printing this this week and will share updates on how it goes!



The most useful resource I resorted to throughout this small project is actually Autodesk’s Support & Learning page. They provide wonderful tutorials, explanations and examples of many different tools as well as products that you can use when creating your model. I found the tutorials quite helpful.


First 3D Creation

FabLab Guest Lecture

This week our class focused on the extensive possibilities of 3D printing applications and various examples of products created with various machines in the FabLab on campus. We had guest speaker, Jeff Ginger, who is the director of the Champaign Urbana Community FabLab. He shared insights on the various capabilities of the FabLab and example products and projects that have been created within the lab. I was absolutely inspired hearing different stories of several entrepreneurs who launched their businesses with the help of the machinery and expertise of the FabLab. I have visited the FabLab a few times and made laptop stickers using the Silhouette machines and software however I’ve never used any other equipment. Each time I’ve gone in, I’ve always wanted to explore the other machines but was intimidated by them so I look forward to familiarizing myself with more FabLab machines this semester and expanding my “maker” mindset.

3D Printing Process

The next part of the class we got to dive in and play with the Tinkercad and Cura software while finalizing our logo designs and setting up the printers to create our team logos. Our design went through a few different iterations. We decided on the name 3Dream inside a cloud to represent the endless capabilities of 3D printing and the many dreams that can be achieved through this technology. Our first logo was a flat rendition, as shown below, although after loading it into Cura we decided it would be neat to make it into a 3D cloud shape. We found a useful model for a 3D cloud on thingiverse which we then tinkered with in tinkercad adding our logo and stars.

One of the most challenging parts for us was adjusting our logo to fit perfectly onto the 3D model of the cloud. We utilized a few different tools within tinkercad in order to rotate and adjust the logo to lay flat onto the surface since the surface was angled. Below I have included images of our design in the Cura software as well as the final product. I was very happy with the final product. It took about 4 hours to print.

3D Printing Resources

Looking further into different resources available for people new to 3D printing, I am amazed by what the internet has to offer. I have included a variety of different resources I will be using this semester.

Models Library: Cults3D: https://cults3d.com/

This platform is similar to that Thingiverse and Pinshape however more selective. There are professionals who ensure the uploaded models are of the best quality whereas Thingiverse allows anyone to upload their designs even if they have not been printed. Additionally, many of the curated models on Cults3D are created by professional designers.

3D Scanning: Trnio: http://www.trnio.com/team/
This is a free IOS App that allows you to convert photos from your phone into 3D models. I am hoping to try out this app to see how well it works.

3D News: http://3dprintingindustry.com/

This website shares news about the 3D Printing Industry such as hardware and software but also discusses related industries that are impacted by 3D Printing.

Week 2 Reflection: The Power of 3D Printing

The main takeaways for me this week revolves around just how powerful 3D printing can and just how incredible this technology has gotten in the last couple of years in really transforming from something a few hobbyists would play around with to a full-blown industry that welcomes everyone. We have seen countless examples the past 2 weeks about how people have taken 3D printing and built not only full on businesses but entire communities where people can share and learn from each other. This community especially resonates with me because I was introduced to 3D printing by my brother in law back in 2014 when he purchased a Printrbot Plus and started to show me what the technology could do and the communities around 3D printing. We would spend hours browsing on thingiverse.com looking for cool stuff to print and just seeing how creative people got in designing and creating solutions for problems that I didn’t even realized existed. Granted, most of the stuff we printed revolved around designing our own versions of NASA satellites and space ships as well as some other stupid stuff, I saw then the potential that 3D printing is showing now and it makes me want to dive into it even more.

Another thing that struck out to me from the reading was one of the main points in the “The Maker Mindset” by Dale Dougherty about how one of the biggest challenges to the maker movement is education and how giving students the resources to be able to explore the realm of making things is incredibly important. This really resonated with me because as a kid I took apart everything I could get my hands on to learn how stuff worked and how to put it all back together. Although my parents were often pissed off at some of the things I “borrowed”, they realized that they needed to support my curiosity.  They gave me a large workspace in the basement so that I could tinker with things and bought me my first set of tools and even gave me old electronics and appliances and challenged me to get them to work again. When I wanted to learn a new skill, whether it be soldering or carpentry or electrical work, they went out and found people that could teach me these kinds of skills. Students these days need the kind of space and support I had so that we can continue to generate makers and people whose tinkering will lead to the next great invention.

Looking on Thingiverse and Shapeways, I found 4 objects that I would use in my everyday life.

  1. DJ Headphones Holder


I’ve been running my own Professional DJ and production company for about 8 years now and one of my biggest pet peeves is where to leave my headphones so that they are out of the way but I can get them when I need them easily. This item is just a simple holder that hooks on to a fly case. I’m going to have to print this.

  1. Audio Equipment Mixer Faders and Knobs


Another item I would use while DJing. These are knobs and faders that are used on a variety of music equipment. After a while, they can either break or become worn and buying new ones can be a hassle. I love the idea of being able to print your own instead. While this design is based off of Pac-Man, I would likely make them more suitable for my style in terms of grip type and weight.

  1. Small Tools Holder


This is just a small tools holder that is designed to sit on a desk or work space that would be perfect for me because I have a bunch of small tools like this that I am always misplacing when I work on things.

  1. Vehicle Cable Wrap


This is a simple cable wrap that would keep my aux cord and phone cable in my car nice and organized instead of always been tangled up. I would most likely mount it in a different place in my car.

Week 2: 3D Printing will Rock the World

Class Reflection & Takeaways

This week’s class has been a wonderful introduction to the world of 3D printing and the third industrial revolution. I have been wanting to get involved with the MakerLab each year of school but never took the time on my own to visit and get more involved with it. The first week I was incredibly inspired by Arielle, the guest speaker and class alum who spoke about her final project. She turned her project, printing wheelchair racing gloves, into a successful business after completing the class. This got me thinking about various innovative uses for 3D printing that may not have been done before.

Our second class, which I will focus on in this post, provided a great overview of the various resources available to provide inspiration and templates for printing various items. During class, we explored the resources in depth and I looked further into https://www.shapeways.com/. This is a website that provides a marketplace for people to sell their designs and have them printed in various different materials. If interested in buying a product, you have the freedom to choose what it is printed in, materials from 14 karat gold to silver to various grades of plastic. They will then print it for you, and ship it to you, giving a loyalty to the designer as well as making a profit. As I was exploring this website, there was everything from games, to household objects to jewelry. This was interesting for me as it raised the question of whether the art of handmade jewelry will continue, or if 3D printed jewelry will slowly replace the traditional methods.

The readings for this class provided interesting insight into how 3D printing is not only affecting the consumer and manufacturing market but also the mindsets of a large group of people. Dale Dougherty in his article, The Maker Mindset discussed how important this idea is, the innovative way of creating that helps our world flourish. He critiques the current academic curriculum for failing to emphasize creativity and innovation. Makerspaces are wonderful places for a variety of skills and ideas to come together to create something altogether new. I found this an interesting concept, as I have always loved the arts and exercising the more creative side of my brain. I can only imagine what it would be like to go to school in an environment that encouraged creativity over math and sciences or in combination with the more technical courses.


Below I have listed a few items I am interested in printing:

This coaster is unique and I know I would enjoy using it in my own apartment. I drink coffee and tea quite a lot and like nice looking coasters therefore this one is perfect for me! I cannot exactly tell what size this design is, but I would want to make sure it fits a large coffee cup but is not overly large, taking up too much space on my small desk.


As a larger project, I am interested in attempting to print a violin this semester. It seems as if there are quite a few different designs out there both for acoustic and electric violins so I have included a few of the designs I found for them below. For the acoustic violins, I would most likely print them in white, for a sleek looking design, I would also make sure they had supporting posts inside to hold the back up from the top of the violin while being played.





I am interested in printing a small carrying case for my GoPro camera as I do not currently have a case or any good way to transport it. This box seems to be the perfect size and with a hinge it would be much more protective than the current way I transport my GoPro (which is typically unprotected in a backpack). I have never even seen cases like this sold in stores or online so I was very excited to discover it on the internet available to print. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2210863

A final object I would like to print is a candle holder. I found this design beautiful and enjoy burning candles while I study. I would love to have one that I personally made. A way that I might modify it would be the changing the shape slightly to fit different sized candles as well as printing various colors.


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 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22000). 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 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:487847). 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 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:200571). 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 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1008990). 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