Session 6: Mounting Motors



  1. Standoffs
  2. 6V motors * 2
  3. Robot wheels (DC motor compatible)
  4. Batteries
  5. Potentiometer
  6. Switch
  7. Acrylic (White * 1, Black * 1, Transparent * 1)

i. Design the graphic of the face and tear it down to different component in laser cutting files

I used white acrylic as the face part and I used black acrylic as mouth, eyes, and eyebrow.

ii. Laser cut the acrylics and glued the components to correspondent position

iii. Test the motors

iv. Mount the switch and motor

I was trying to mount the motors by connecting the screws to the holes on top of the motors. However, it didn’t work very well. The distance of the laser cut holes is not accurate and the size of the screws doesn’t fit into the holes. After that, I realized that the holes might not design to mount the motors. I couldn’t figure out a better way to mount it because I had laser cut all the materials and it was too late to re-do and re-design. As a result, I end up doing the guilty thing – glue it to the panel. Although this way is not that elegant, it worked pretty well.

v. Solder wires to connect the motors to the switch and the battery. Install them to the correspondent position. 

vi. Do the same thing again with the second motor set

Initially, I intended to use the potentiometer to adjust the rotation speed of the motors. However, it doesn’t work the way I imagined. When the resistant of the potentiometer passes a threshold, the motor stops rotating. When the resistant of the potentiometer goes just below the threshold, the motor starts to rotate very fast. Hence, I end up using the potentiometer as another switch to control the other eye.

vii. Glue the eyes part with the robot wheel and connect them to the motors

viii. Connect different layers with standoffs

End Product

Session 5: Materials and fasteners

After I saw the mind-blowing  Perch Light in the class, I decided to use paper and metal sheet as my materials to use this week, and I found this interesting origami tutorial on Youtube.

In the tutorial, the video maker used two kinds of color papers to make this origami Mandala. My goal is to replace one of them with copper sheet. The Mandala consists of 8 same shapes, which can connect each other nearby. After joining each other,  it would become a circular shape.

Copper Sheet 
Construction Paper
Step 1

Cut the paper to right size (7.5cm x 7.5cm)

Step 2

Cut the copper to right size (7.5cm x 7.5cm)

Step 3

Fold the paper into the shape of the Mandala pedal

Step 4

Fold the paper into the shape of the Mandala pedal

Step 5

Connect it together

The main problem I met is the thickness and foldability of the copper sheet. I underestimated the thickness of the copper sheet. After I folded it, it became way thicker than the paper one. Besides, it became tough to unfold it, which affected the final step – connecting each element. As a result, it doesn’t look harmony. I think if I want to take advantage of the metal sheet, I shouldn’t have folded it that much.

Session 4: Enclosures

This week, I combined the assignment with the prototype of the Physical Computing final project, which is an installation of a tree. We tried two different directions. The first is a 3D tree sculpture. The second is a 2D tree. I am in charge of creating the latter one. Eventually, I utilized standoffs and laser cut panels to make this prototype. The following are the materials I used:

Acrylic (Thickness: 1/16 “, Color: Clear)
White LED

i. Create Laser cut files in Adobe Illustrator. I used the first file to etch the tree shape on cardboard. Besides, there are twelve circles on top of the canopy, which will be the holes to install LEDs. The second file is to laser cut acrylic to create panels. There are two panels with different purposes. The first is to protect the cardboard and the second is to load all the electronics.

ii. Laser Cutting

iii. Test whether the size of the standoffs could fit into the hole on acrylic and cardboard.

iv. Install the electronics and LEDs

LED perfectly fitted to each hole
It’s 3V LED and I used 9V battery to provide electricity. Hence, I grouped three LEDs as on set.
Install power source and switch
Install the bottom panel
End Product



Session 3: Laser Cutter


In this assignment, I used the laser cutter to etch my one of my graphic design work, a Chinese typography design. This character means “flow” in English.

First, I used Blend Tool in Adobe Illustrator to create “the little strokes” within every stroke since I wanted to play around the effect with different stroke width profiles.


Thickness: 1/8″
Color: Clear
Size: 12″ x 12″

First, I used a piece of wood on the junk shelf to test.

It took me 15 minutes to etch.

And then I etched the clear acrylic I bought.

After the etching, I used laser cutter again to trim the redundant side.

And I bent it by the acrylic heater.

Colored it by whiteboard marker and Sharpie marker

When I was doing this part, I found that the depth of the etching trace is getting shallower when it goes to the bottom right corner. Hence, the pigment couldn’t attach well to the bottom right corner.

End Product


Session 2: Make multiples of something

For this assignment, I attempted to use glass bottles as the main material. Initially, I was trying to cut the glass bottle into two pieces. I followed this tutorial on YouTube step by step to cut the glass bottle. Basically,  I used a glass cutter to cut a circular gutter around the bottle first. Secondly, I have to create the imbalance of thermal expansion to let the glass bottle to crack at the gutter I cut. I utilized candle to heat it up and use cold water to cool it down, repeatedly.

However, I failed…

again and again… It’s very hard to control the cracking path of the glass. The cracking surface is super rough and sharp.

This procedure is very time-consuming and I couldn’t succeed once. As a result, I start to think about how to simplify my project. I couldn’t find a proper replacement until I bumped into this beautiful decoration.

It seems way easier to make. I decided to do it without any hesitation since time is running out. The following are materials I used other than the glass bottles.


1. Wood board * 5
2. Part of the wood frame * 1
3. Protection Pads
4. Clips
5. Hinges
6. Screws
7. Hemp twine


I broke down the process into four main steps
Step 1: 
Create the connector between the board and glass bottle 
Step 2: Attach the hemp twine to the wood board 
Step 3: Attach the connector to the wood board
Step 4: Attach the glass bottles to the connector

Step 1-1
I used woodcutter to cut the wood into five pieces of the same length
Step 1-2
Polished the rough cut surface
Step 1-3
Attached the clips onto the wood pieces
Step 1-4
Put the protection pads onto the inner surface of the clips
Step 2-1
Drew the position of the holes
Step 2-2
Bond the hemp twine to the wood boards
Step 3
Used hinge to attach the connector to the wood boards

Step 4
Attached the glass bottles to the connector
Final Product

Session 1: Making a flashlight

Idea and Inspiration

At the very beginning, I stuck at the brainstorming stage for ideas. I browsed the flashlight DIY tutorials on YouTube and couldn’t find any inspirations. As a result, I decided to leave my laptop behind and go to grocery stores to explore. Luckily, I bumped into this…

Commonly, hands control most of the flashlights. What if I create a flashlight controlled by my mouth. Here is the original sketch I drew.


The controller is in the pacifier part, and the lighting is at the bottom of the bottle.

9V battery, wires, battery connector, switch
Super bright LED
Soldering iron
  1. Switch Part
  2. Drill a hole at the bottom of the bottle to insert LED
  3.  Testing the LED and calculate the resistance I have to add
  4. Assemble the LED with the bottle, battery, and switch

    How it works