FabField Reflection

When we began the project I was very excited about the fact that I will have the opportunity to work on a Fab Lab styled project yet again. Last year I have designed a lamp in a pair for our final first year project. Because the lamp turned out to be a success to an extent as there has been room for improvement. For my Fab Field project I have decided to develop the old project further and try to improve upon it. In order to improve the old design I had to analyse where we went wrong with the project previously, I had to eliminate the issues which I have detected I also had to learn some new skills in order to make this lamp better than the previous one.

The weekly lectures and workshops have been a great opportunity to learn the skills necessary in order to improve my design as well as help me understand the Fab Lab culture and the ideology behind it.

Firstly I would like to talk about the positives, things I have learnt and things that went well.

I have learnt about press fittings using a laser cutter and applied that knowledge when it came to producing my lamp, I have produced press fitted parts which have been an addition in comparison to the old mould. Those parts have turned out to be one of the most significant improvements of my new lamp and they will boost the aesthetics hugely. All of this happened because of the skills which I have gained from this project.

Further, I gained extra knowledge in electronics and the use of Fritzing software. We have been taught how to produce PCB boards using a milling machine. I’m very glad that this project allowed me to learn those skills because they will become very useful in my Product Design BSc part of the course where this knowledge will be vital.

This project also pushed me in to further experiments with different CAD software packages as well as further practice my rendering skills. I have learnt how to place 3D models into real life perspective using rendering software. This can be seen in ‘The Fifth Post’ where the lamp render is placed on a desk in the environment in which it would normally be displayed and utilised in.

I have gained more knowledge about sharing the files and the idea of helping each other to achieve our goals. I can now see better that it is far more beneficial to work in a group of people from mixed backgrounds with a different set of skills because everyone can input the best of their skills to achieve things we could not achieve alone.

I also experienced the negative parts of the project and things which have not gone well and to plan.

For example, one of my goals for this project was to work on my time management skills which I have failed to do because I have wasted time creating a mould for a lamp which was too big and simply ugly and not very practical. However, this will teach me to manage my time better next time and I will now know to be 100 percent sure about the design before jumping ahead and start producing it. Further I have learnt new skills because I made the bigger mould using thicker and more rigid plywood. All parts have been but out on a table saw including 45 degree cuts at the edges of the parts. I learnt how to use 45 degree mitre joints and laser cut acrylic lining for the mould where the sides have then been sanded to 45 degree edges using belt sander. I learnt how to combine classic methods with modern ones.

Another thing which didn’t go well were hole sizes for the PCB the first time round. However, one of the group members has managed to work it out and provided us with the instructions on how to do it. I think that this shows exactly how good sharing is.

One more negative thing that I can think of for this project was the fact that we have moved between topics very quickly and didn’t get to cover them in very much depth. However, on the bright side this encouraged me to explore the areas which have interested me independently.

(To be continued when the production of the lamp is completed)

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