Music Player Enclosure

My assignment for intro to fab in the past week was to create a concept of an enclosure for a project.

The enclosure should have a function and buttons for manipulating it. As I am really focused on working in my final for pcomp and icm I knew I wouldn’t have much time to focus on this project. Besides, one of the main things I am working on my final is actually fabricating the cardboard dollhouse that will be the scenario of it. Thus, I have been already spending a lot of time in the laser cutter.

Accordingly, to get away from the laser cutter and do a simple yet useful enclosure I got a simple plastic box at Thinkersphere.

I specifically liked this box size because you can fit a considerable amount of important things in it, such as breadboard, Arduino Uno, a battery, a speaker and still have space. To create the buttons, I also got an on/off switch (you can’t never have too many of those), and used two potentiometers from a previous project. I used the ruler to draw where I wanted to place the holes.

And now it was time to use the static DrillBid – is this the name of the machine? -, and I was doing it for the first time. How exciting it was to get away from the laser cutting for a bit and be able to do it manually. I was really happy with the result and surprised by the simplicity of the process. I was done in about an hour. Wow.

So now I could add the buttons and use my Music Player Enclosure as I wish!


A really simple project, still I found out important new tools and resources 🙂


ITP Students Final’s Laser Cut Souvenir

We are all going crazy over our final projects for Intro to Physical Computing and Computational Media. At least I am. Coming up with ideas, thinking about its execution, starting to develop it…Giving up and thinking the first idea is dumb or is really hard to accomplish in the given time. Thinking about a second idea…going back to the first one…wait, did I hear a third idea? It is indeed a challenging process.

Therefore, for the laser cut assignment I decided to create little keychains to give as fun gift for the class, or, if I achieved to produce more, even to distribute to ITP students.

I had a spare thick (6mm) acrylic sheet that I bought at Canal Plastics when doing my PCOMP Midterm. Since I had spent a considerable amount last week on my succulent vases (which I glued yesterday and I will be updating the final results later today in last week’s post), I decided to create the keychains from it.

I was curious to see the issue Ben, our teacher, mention about creating multiple tiny things in the laser cutter. The laser cutter (the 75w that I worked on because of the thickness of the material) has an x of 0-32 and y of 0-20. The closer from 0, the stronger the laser is. Therefore, If you use a sheet that is 18×12 (like mine) to create the keychains, chances are the ones located in the 5×5 will be fine, engraved and cut, while the other ones will remain unfinished and have to go through a second/third/fourth/… laser cut process.

So I created my files in Illustrator, using 0.1px black for what I wanted to engrave and 0.01 red for what I wanted to cut. I tested it on a cardboard. I wanted to test two sizes and ask people which size they would prefer to use as a keychain.

Everyone liked the small one better.

Then, I tested in a scrap sheet of the same material that I had.

And now it was time for the official test. My first aim was to cut my whole acrylic sheet for the tiny keychains. So, besides setting the cutting lines to cut the keychains I also set it to cut my whole acrylic sheet after two vertical roles of the keychains. I decided to do that in order to avoid the failing Laser Cut issue that Ben mentioned.

Throughout Laser Cutting, I had to repeat several times my process. I pressed “go” to engrave about 4 times and would have pressed more if it wasn’t for the time – I booked 2 hours but was still running out – and had to press go 4 times.

For my surprise, the keychains placed in the bottom of my two vertical rows were not ready by the time I had to leave the machine. Only the keychains placed in the top 8in of my vertical row were actually well engraved and cut. I imagined that doing two rows vertically and so on would be enough but at the end it wasn’t.

Still, I got about 11 ok Keychains (I booked an emergency 30 minutes before class laser cut time so maybe I can have 17 by the time the class starts to be able to give it to everyone). And, mainly, a couple of lessons to keep in mind: Laser cutting can take a lot of time, always book waaay more time than you think to work on the laser cutter and, mainly if you are working in the production of many tiny objects, keep in mind the x and y power factor and that you will have to deal with that while creating with it.

To finalize, I used a sharpie pen and a marker to fill my engraving with a black color. I bought a lot of keychain holders from Amazon, you can get 100 units for $5. It didn’t turn out exactly how I expected but, well, embrace your process 😉


Repeatability Succulent Vases

For the second week’s assignment for my Intro to Fabrication class, we had to create 5 identical objects. The aim was to learn the process of creating replicas.

As I have just moved to a new apartment and I am really looking forward to fill my place with plants, I thought right away of making vases. Also, since in my last project I only used paper (besides the circuit to make the lantern), I wanted to challenge myself and work with different materials. Specially materials that I have never worked before.

I love this “Pinterest” concrete vases. And it seemed interesting to work with concrete. As I also wanted to test my skills Miter Saw and wood – since it looks a bit scary but at the same time cool to play with. In spite of that, by working with copper tape last week I really got into the idea of bringing to my house something with copper color. There is something about this industrial style that is very visually appealing.

So the first idea was to create a concrete square shaped vase, with a wood square bottom as a base. This wooden base, I would spray paint – something I also have never done before – with copper color spray. And the result should be similar to the picture above.

Step 1 – Getting the materials

There are a considerable amount of youtube tutorials and blog posts on how to make those vases. This one was my main reference.

As I googled where to buy concrete, Home Depot was the first answer. So Friday I headed to the store where I purchased my plants ( I was lucky to find tiny ones so I could make the small square shaped vases I wanted ), a high piece of wood – that had the width to fit the tiny vases and have spare space for the concrete borders, a pre-mixed bucket of refined concrete, Copper color all-materials spray paint, and Gorilla Glue, to glue the wooden bottom to the concrete in the end.

Step 2 – Making the mold & adding concrete

I spared my Sunday afternoon to make this project. In the video tutorial it was mentioned that you needed 24h to take it out from the mold, and 48h for it to completely dry. So I thought that by doing it on Sunday I would be safe.


For this assignment we were not able to use the laser cutter. Therefore, to make the mold I did it first on Photoshop, printed it in regular a4 paper , cut by hand. I chose a cardboard from ITP’s shop cardboard shelf, and, as I was really worried to make a stable mold (in the tutorial video one of the errors the Youtuber mentions is that at first she used a very light cardboard and thus it collapsed) I made the questionable choice of picking a thick one – later you’ll understand why.

I out the a4 paper mold on top of it and cut 5 molds of cardboards with a knife. I assembled the little squares, and also, being afraid of it collapsing, made a really safe enclosure with the Glue Guns and tape. This may have also been a questionable move.

After that, I put vaseline in the insides of the vases. Also, I got the little plastic vases of the plants to use it as the holes to put my succulents in. I added the concrete and everything came together. Now I just had to let it dry, and hope for the best.

Step 3 – Getting it out of the mold (after 72h and still not dry) & making the wooden base

Since Sunday, I kept checking everyday on my five concrete baby vases to see if they were ready to come out to the real world. This was when I noticed that was something wrong with what I did with my mold: I made it so still, stable and enclosed that there was barely space for air to come in. Thus, it wasn’t drying. So Wednesday afternoon I decided to take it off and let it dry without the molds, even if with this I had to embrace a lot of imperfections since parts of the concrete would glue on the cardboard, that was really hard to get off.


Meanwhile, I made the wooden bases. And it was incredibly fun and successful to work with the Miter Saw – at least something was working out!


So this is how my not yet dry vases were looking so far:


I sanded the wooden squares to ass paint and spray painted with my new favorite color.

Step 4 – Waiting for it to dry and hoping for the best

My plants are still homeless, but I’m sure the concrete WILL dry at some point and they will be soon sitting in cute copper trendy industrial like vases.


[to be continued…]





[Halloween Inspired] Angry Trump Paper Lantern Coffee Cup

In Intro to Fabrication class we were assigned to create a lantern.

The constraints were the following: it has to light up, have a switch (on/off), and be portable.

So…What is the first thing you associate to portable once you are a 2-month-old-newbie New Yorker? Paper coffee cups, of course.

Once my idea was to create something simple and fun, I decided to use it as base for my lantern. Here, despite the rush of the city, we are all immersed in the fun Halloween vibes. And, at the same time, the not so fun ,unfortunate new wave of restrictions for legal working immigrants (that may actually impact me at some point in the future). Therefore, it wasn’t hard to think about adding a sarcastic and scary  Trump image to my project.

For that, I needed a 9V battery, resistors, LEDs, wires and copper tape.

Besides that, I just printed a b&w scary Trump face and glued it in my coffee paper cup (nothing like recycling!), cut holes in his eyes and replaced by my LEDs.

I cut the copper tape and the top of the plastic cover of my cup, making a switch.

And that was it!

No drills or laser cutters yet…. but their time will come Muahahahah 😉

Happy Halloween!