Week 12: November 24, 2014

Reminder: Project 2 Documentation is due today

Make sure your project documentation is in a GitHub repository, with all of the required elements.

More Project 2 presentations

For those that missed out last week.

Let's focus on providing thoughtful and constructive feedback for everyone.

I would like for this discussion to be led by you not me.

A little structure...

For each student:

  • First, we (the audience) provide feedback or ask questions based on observation.
  • Then, you (the presenters) can talk a bit about what you were trying to accomplish.
  • Finally, back and forth between all of us.

Project 3: Self-Driven Research Project

This project is to be completed individually.

The remainder of the semester is for you to realize one small, personally driven research project. This can include anything related to, or incorporating, 3D printing or laser cutting (or both).

You've all learned a lot of new tools and skills in this class. I want to see you pushing the limits of your abilities!

  • Chat (or email) with me about your project plan for the remaining two weeks (Dec. 1st)
  • Work presentations will be on the last day of class (Dec. 15th)
  • Documentation and source code pushed to GitHub no later than Dec. 19th.


Dec. 1st: Work session. Discuss your project plan with me BEFORE THIS DATE.
Dec. 8th: Work session.
Dec. 15th: Project presentations.
Dec. 19th: Documentation due.

Brainstorming Exercise

To help with the process of coming up with a final project, let's do a collaborative brainstorming activity!

Thanks to my friends at Oil and Rope Games for this exercise.

Form Groups

Get into groups of 4 (there can be a single group of 5).

Group size is very important for keeping this exercise on time.

Think about some design goals

What are your goals for the final project? Here are some simple examples:

  • Make something mechanically useful to solve a problem in my life.
  • Make something that interacts with a real-world object to enhance or subvert its purpose.
  • Make something that works around time and size limitations of 3D printing or laser cutting by clever connector design.
  • Make something beautiful, disturbing, or otherwise thought-provoking.
  • Make something that has a secret or non-obvious use or purpose.
  • Re-make an everday object to better understand the challenges involved in its design and manufacture.
  • ... These are just examples. Think of something that inspires or challenges you!

Part 1: Crazy 8s

On a sheet of paper, write down 8 different ideas for final projects using words and/or drawings that meet your design goals in some way.

This is a timed exercise and it moves very quickly - you'll have 10 minutes to spend on creating these ideas!

Some Tips:

  • Create simple ideas.
  • If you get stuck take a previous idea and change it slightly.
  • Don’t be afraid to write down old ideas as well, once you have a few of those out of the way your brain will be clear to brainstorm new ideas.

Important: Just write something. Fill up 8 boxes with whatever you can come up with and don’t judge your ideas.

Some of the best ideas arise when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, so don’t be shy and keep writing!

Part 2: Crazy 8 Critiques

  1. One person presents all 8 of his/her ideas to the group (5 minutes per person)
  2. Everyone else critiques the ideas (5 minutes per person)

Critique Guidelines:

  • Put a star on 2 or 3 of your favorite ideas from other group members.
  • Be positive: focus on the ideas you like, not the ones you don’t
  • Do the designs meet the designer’s goals?
  • Take notes!

This is your time as a group to collaboratively brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another.

It’s possible the designer needs to reconsider their goals. Help the designer work towards -- or change! -- their goals. This is a time to figure out what we really want our goals to be: nothing is in stone yet.


(Did your goals change? Were you inspired by another idea? What’s good or bad about what you heard?)

Part 3: Crazy 4s

We're going to do another 10 minute exercise, this time a round of crazy 4s.

In this round take the feedback you were given and/or other people's ideas and flesh them out further.

This time you'll only be creating and fleshing out 4 ideas in 10 minutes.

Remember your goal(s).

Part 4: Crazy 4s Critiques

  1. One person presents all 4 of his/her ideas to the group (5 minutes per person)
  2. Everyone else critiques the ideas (5 minutes per person)

Again, this is your chance as a group to collaboratively brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another.

Don’t forget to mark down stars on 2 or 3 of your favorite ideas!

Part 5: Final Round - 1 Idea

Here's another 10 minutes, this time to work on a single idea.

Incorporate all the feedback you've received so far to come up with a unique project idea that fits your design criteria for the final project.

Please note: this does not need to be the idea that you pitch to me for your final project in the class. You are free to use any techniques you like to come up with your final project idea!

Remaining time

Work on your project ideas for the final project.

If you are missing any homeworks or project documentation, now is a chance to work on those, as well.

Check the Assignments Page to see if you are missing anything.

If you need help with anything, please let me know.


Project 3 - Ideas due Dec. 1st

Chat with me in person or email me about your project plan for the rest of the semester.

The sooner you and I discuss your project the sooner you can get started!