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Knowing that we had to use a laser cutter and/or 3D printer, and be able to design at least part of our project using Solidworks, I came up with the following ideas after a discussion with my TA:

  • Desk organizer
  • Laser cut sculpture
  • Sketchbook
  • Pop-up book
  • Prop or part of an armoured costume/cosplay (or whole, time allowing)

I do not really know what really drew me towards the sketchbook idea rather than the desk organizer idea, but a desk organizer was also something that I wanted to make that could be useful in some way. I had to think about what set of tools it should hold (my pencils/pens? Drawing tools such as brushes, coloured pencils, etc? Paper? Shelves for CDs/DVDs or games?). How I would construct it and out of what material---wood gives a nice finish and can be easily glued, and while this and acrylic can be easily screwed together, acrylic is a it more difficult to hold together with glue. Acrylic is also quite nice as far as opaque or transparent/translucent colour possibilities, though wood could also be painted (but then I would have to paint it). I would have made something that could be easily transported between my desks at home and at school, though I could have just as well made multiples.

There were no strong ideas for the laser cut sculpture idea. Though, I did briefly entertain the idea of having it be a puzzle, where the end state is the sculpture. One possibility was making an animal of some sort, perhaps a magical one, but a few other students were already planning on making something animal-related.

At first, I did not consider the sketchbook idea because I thought it would not turn out to be interesting in the least---it is basically a boring, blank book---and kept on brainstorming for other possibilities. Though after running through the ideas again, I figured I could make it interesting by adding extra parts---hopefully moving parts.

Purely because I could not immediately come up with an idea for a story---and I did not want to just use some pre-existing story, though a pop-up interpretation would have been quite cool---I decided not to run with this idea for now. (Though I have always wanted to make one of these!)

It could be because I am a coward, but I decided not to stick with the armour idea because I feared I would not finish it in time because of what would be involved in making it. (I would of course go for the most complicated and intricate idea I could as a challenge, but realistically...)

Deciding upon the sketchbook concept, I thought about what goals I wanted the book to fulfil. In addition to the requirements for the project, I wanted the book to be able to:

              ~  lay flat when opened;
              ~  lock or stay closed in some way;
              ~  be easy for myself to open;
              ~  look interesting and intricate.

My concept for this book then became one that has a flap attached to the back cover that would wrap around to the front and could be fastened there via a lock of some kind. We'd worked with gears a few times throughout the class thus far, so the first idea to pop into my head was that of a gear-based locking mechanism, rather than some single knob one would turn. I decided to have the gear that people would turn be visible and large and contain a design. The smaller gear would be covered by the flap, atop of which is a shape that rotates with the small gear to hold the flap down in place. To hold the larger gear in place, would be some extra decorations to make the whole piece look a bit more interesting.

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