Fab Week 6: Mounting Motors

It’s a box. It’s a car. It’s blue. It’s “Boxcar Blues! ”

This title is partly inspired by the 1930’s cartoon:

To make this project, I used the following kit:

Here are some of the instructions I followed:

Putting on Motor Mounts

Mounting Four Motors to Bottom Acrylic Plate

Attaching Arduino + Battery Holder to Top Plate

Combining Bottom + Top Plates.

Here is the robot car fully assembled:

Then, painted a cardboard box blue:

The end:

Fab Week 5: Materials and Fasteners

For this week’s assignment, fabricate something using primarily two different materials, I decided to make a tiered pedestal stand.

 This pedestal stand is made primarily from Band Sawn Eastern White Pine & Mycelium Mushroom, with some plywood thrown in. I chose these materials for the juxtaposition of textures, as well as cost-effectiveness. My local Home Depot was selling the wood (1″x12″x8′) for $10.75 & the mycofoam panel (18″x18″) was $8.

The first step was to decide the dimensions. I decided to make the pedestal stand 32″ tall, with the legs having a taper from 4.5″ to 2.5″. It was a bit tricky determining the size of the modified equilateral triangle bottom & top, so I drew a CAD model to help visualize the sizing.

The second step was to make a mockup from some scrap plywood & duct tape. These were roughly cut with a jigsaw.

After making the mockup prototype, I decided that I wanted to keep a minimalist aesthetic with no visible screws or fasteners. The next step was to purchase the materials. As a standard 12″ board isn’t actually 12″, the final dimensions changed as such:

Height = 30.5″
Leg Taper = 4″ to 2″
Equilateral Triangle Bottom: 22″ with 4″ corners cut off
Equilateral Triangle Top: 16″ with 2″ corners cut off.

The next step was to draw & cut the legs. Since I wanted to do a precise tapered cut, I made use of the opportunity to test a friend’s homemade table saw. 

The legs were very carefully measured & clamped down with this homemade jig.

In order to make efficient use of the material, I laid out & cut the legs out from head to toe. With this arrangement, I had enough material to make 9 legs!

The next step was to mark & cut the triangles out of mycofoam. Since this was my first time working with this material, I test cut different sides with the tablesaw, jigsaw, & mini hacksaw.

However, upon cutting into the mycelium material, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to attach the wooden legs with fasteners or glue to the mushroom bases. Since I had some scrap 1″ plywood at home, I decided to make the top & bottom base from this as a support structure.

The whole triangle was cut with a circular saw. I also test cut some corners off.

But then decided to cut all the corners off with the tablesaw. 

Then with all the pieces ready, it was time for assembly! Since I wanted a screwless-fastenerless aesthetic, all of the holes were drilled on the underside of the triangles using a Pocket Hole Jig.

With all the holes ready to go, it was time to fasten everything together with pocket hole screws + wood glue.

In the end, I’m pleased with how the pedestal stand came out. I plan on using this for the Winter 2017 show as a holder for my Arduino project.

Fab Week 4: Enclosures

This week, I made a sundial enclosure:

On the inside is space for an Arduino Feather bluetooth board, LiPo Battery, & mini breadboard. On the top, there is a soft circle potentiometer.


This enclosure was made by modifying a 4″ tin container bought from the  Container Store. I first started making a hole in the top with a metal nibbler. This was for to make space for the wires that connected the potentiometer to the breadboard.

Then, I lasercut a top 1/4″ wood veneer face in the shape of a sundial. With all the pieces prepared, I then glued everything carefully together with Superglue.

Overall, I’m pleased with the project. However, some classmates have told me that the tin can may block the bluetooth signal? This is to be investigated. 



Fab Week 3: Measurements & Lasercutters

This week, I collaborated with Ronnie-Leigh Goehman of the Onondaga nation to create the following wood etching.

Ronnie Leigh is an indigenous artist who specializes in traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) basket weaving using materials such as ash tree, sweet grass, buffalo horn, porcupine quills, moose hair & antler. Her baskets have been showcased in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian  & have been awarded various distinctions.

To create this wood etching, we started with an inspiration for the design – the George Washington Belt. This belt commemorates the 1974 Treaty of Canandaigua, which established an agreement of friendship, peace, & land boundaries between the United States of America & the Six Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, and Tuscarora.

There are fifteen figures on this belt standing together in unity. The outer thirteen represent the original thirteen colonies; the center two figures represent the Seneca & Mohawk Nation nations standing by their respective Western & Eastern sides of the Longhouse.


To start, I drew several designs in Illustrator & lasercut a test run on cardboard. Ronnie decided on these two as her top choices. 


Then, I started working with some wood she had given me – black ash splints that had been harvested, pounded, & split.

Due to the curvature of the wood, the designs on the first splint were cut off. Also, the vector etching setting was a bit too high.

For the second piece, I attempted to flatten the splint by taping its entirety  to a larger piece of scrap wood:

The final result was acceptable. However, due to the natural curvature of the wood, the heads of the figures aren’t as dark as the body.  If I were to lasercut this material again, I would ask Ronnie for her advice on how to flatten the wood further beforehand. As the black ash tree is endangered, I hope that she is still able to use these splints in her baskets.




Fab Week 2: Guides, Jigs, & Repeatability

For this weeks assignment, I was inspired to make a chevron patterned wooden pencil holder.

Here are the 4 sides with repeated chevron pattern:

All of the wood used was reclaimed from Washington Square park. In early October, they were throwing away some of their wooden picket fences; this is the wood I used.

 The wood was measured in 3″ increments & cut at 45-degree angle with the miter saw. In total, I made 8 “good” chevron pieces, as seen on the bottom; on the top are my failed “pancake” attempts.

The good pieces were sanded slightly.


Finally, the pieces were wood glued & clamped together.

Here is the bottom, which is assembled from the scrap “failed” wood pieces. This will be cut to size & attached to the rest of pencil holder.

Then, I started to make this into a pencil holder. Here are all the sides being glued together:

I am very pleased with the final result: 

Fab Week 1: Intros, Safety, & Tools

For our Week 1 homework, to build a flashlight, I was inspired to make a snowflake shadow lamp.

It is a dodecahedron lasercut from foamcore.

There were 6 different snowflake patterns used. The original patterns were taken from here &redrawn in Illustrator.

For the interior lighting, I had some options. However, I decided to use an Edison-styled bulb. 


I’m very pleased with the result. However, if I were to remake this project, I would make it out of wood & also change the light source to a single strong LED light-point; this would cast a crisper shadow in the snowflake pattern. Also, I would add a switch, a base, & extend the wire so it could be a table-top nightstand light.