A Design Journey to Make Some Difference

Expectations

At the very beginning, I head about this course from my friend Ruei when we were in Chicago and watching Heat VS Bulls. I learned about that this course is focused on 3D printing and students will have lots of opportunities to learn about other skills such as designing method, prototyping, and modeling. I still remember the time when I walked by the Makerlab and I was attracted by the 3D printers. I have never seen a 3D printer before. To me, Makerlab was like the mysterious palace that I need to make lots of efforts to get in. Due to my strong interest in 3D printing and designing, I sent an email to Professor Sachdev after I came back to Champaign. Even though I couldn’t make to the first two weeks’ classes, Professor Sachdev still provided me the opportunities to join you guys. Looking back to the beginning of this semester, I really appreciate the opportunities given to me. Speaking of the expectations, to be honest, I didn’t even think about what we’re going to do this semester, and the only thing that I kept in mind was that we’re going to design a product for our mentors or certain group of people. I was like a freshman to this course when I first walked in the class and found out that we have different teams. At the first few weeks, I noticed that other teams did lots of stuff and share them in class. I was really freak out since I thought my team was not actually making any progress even though we scheduled a lot of interview with potential group of customers. I even thought we probably couldn’t make it till the end of this semester. “Unfortunately”, we did make our product and we actually used our gift card won in Make-A-Thon to buy a watch and redesign our product for our target customer John.

Week 2: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-2-reflection-4/

Week 3: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-3-reflection-5/

Week 4: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-4-reflection-learning-from-interviewing/

Week 5: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-5-reflection-6/

Throughout the whole process, what I didn’t expect is that sometimes team members and I would have some different ideas and it was hard to get consensus. Actually, from this experience, I learned about how to collaborate with other people who have different perspectives. I found it was not only about communication but also you need to think about what you can do to benefit everyone and gather everyone together and work on the same goal. I truly realized that it’s hard to manage a team from doing the team project. The second thing that I didn’t expect is that changing our product at the last minute. Since we’ve been working on some glove design that help people with disabilities to hold things like utensils. However, after the meeting before Make-A-Thon, we met John who told us that he has problem wearing a watch and he actually wants a special designed watch so that he can put it on without making too much efforts. We noticed that the special loops design on his socks. Inspired by that and based on Saloni’s suggestion we started making the watch strap at Make-A-Thon. At first we all thought it was a really challenging project and we were stuck for a long time. After spending time trying out different methods, we found a special way to design the watch strap by utilizing simple physics mechanism. At last, we finished our two prototype on presentation day, and both of them worked well for John.

Resources and People

To be honest, I never expected that this course have such a lot of resources and invites lots of guest speakers from different fields and companies. I would say the Professor Sachdev is really good at networking. Sincerely, I appreciate the help and advice provided by all the mentors, TAs, classmates, guest speakers, mentors from Fablab, people we interviewed (Ryan, Zain, Selina, John, Avery), judges, professors from different classes, and everyone who helps us in throughout the whole semester. Due to your help, we can have access to so many resources that can help us improving our products in to next level. Thank you all for your help and time devoted into this course.

Due to the great guest speakers, we have chance to learn about how to design on Autodesk Fusion 360, 3D printing skills, laser cutting technique, Arduino, and sewing skills. These skills really helped us a lot in our designing process.

Week 6: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-6-introducing-technical-skills/

Week 7: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-7-fablab-reflection/

Week 8: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-8-back-to-the-fablab/

Week 9: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/week-9-reflection/

Week 10: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/make-a-thon-pre-night-meeting/

Week 11: https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/one-last-week-before-make-a-thon/

Make-A-Thon & Prototyping

I would say Make-A-Thon is the highlight of BADM357. We finally get the time to design our product. Since we changed our project, we spent some time doing research and look for any opportunities that can make our product work. We stayed at Fablab for the whole weekend and kept working on our products. On that Sunday, we finished two watch strap prototypes. We utilized sewing skills and 3D printing techniques through the process of production. We also print out some slides and put them on try-fold.

During the presentation, we introduced our designing process and product to all the judges. Fortunately we won the prize which provide each of our team member $100 Amazon gift card. I was so happy and also shocked. I felt that our work finally got recognized by other people. The recognization also provided us the faith to continue improving our products to next level.

Week 13:https://digitalmaking.web.illinois.edu/spring2019/make-a-thon-3/:

After Maker-A-Thon, we decided to buy a watch with the gift card that we won, remake a better strap that fits the watch face, and give it to John. Last week, we ordered some materials that we need to make the strap. We ordered bra hook, elastic straps, and velcro. We spent one day discussing how we should design the strap and two afternoons on making the product. We adjust the size, the angle, and the surface design based on John’s wrist and his idea. After all the efforts, I showed the watch to John this afternoon. He was really happy about it, and it perfectly fitted his writs. I felt so happy at that time since my teammates and I actually turn this project in course into a product that can help someone meet his demand. Going back to the objective of this course, I realized how important human-centered design is, how hard it is to design a product, how many interview that we need to conduct, and how happy we finally helped someone who needs our help.

Thanks again to all the resources and help provided by all the mentors, guest speakers, sponsors, students, and faculties. I actually learned a lot of technical skills such as sewing, 3D printing, researching, interviewing, laser cutting, drawing, designing, teamwork, collaboration, communication, and brainstorming. I really appreciate this valuable experience. This course changed my future career since it offered me so many possible opportunities to discover in the future. I discovered my interests in designing fields, and I hope to continue my journey on this path. I’ll definitely recommend this course to my friends. Well I wouldn’t say it’s a course. It should be an opportunity to start your adventure. Love Y’all šŸ™‚ Happy Graduation for seniors! Hope to see the rest of you who will still be on campus in Fall! STAY TUNE FOR BADM357 PROMOTION VIDEO!!

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