Fired up by the sewing lab from a few weeks back, one of our Making Social Change groups ran with the quilt theme, creating an A-Z of Planned Parenthood quilt as their final group project. They used the laser cutter to cut various shapes and letters, and employed a variety of techniques, including embroidery and applique, to create their squares, and PVC pipe to assemble the frame.  Here they are putting the finishing touches on their project.

Preparing for Visit from Planned Parenthood

On Thursday, December 7, representatives from Planned Parenthood tabled outside the Falcon’s Roost, and our students staffed the booth and displayed their quilt. They got a lot of foot traffic, answered a lot of questions, and distributed lots of literature, including some from built-in pockets on the quilt.

Planned Parenthood!

It’s great to see our students using their skills and passion to take a project from idea to application, and this project is a perfect example of exactly what we hoped would be the outcomes of this course when it was just some ideas on a whiteboard back in 2015.

The theme for week eight of Sociology 379: Making Social Change was “memory” and its role in social movements.  We used timely news coverage of the controversy surrounding Confederate statues as a leaping off point for a discussion about monuments, using James W. Loewen’s “Ten Questions To Ask At A Historic Site” to frame the conversation.

We talked about a variety of examples, including EJI’s Community Remembrance Project, the Bussa Emancipation Statue, many from the San Antonio peaceCENTER’s gallery of Peace & Justice Monuments, and the relocation of Negro Hill Cemetery, an example from our very own backyard.  We also spent some time on the aesthetics and the design of monuments, including the role of light and shadow, scale, and subject matter.

Students were then presented with a mock RFP:

The Carlson Dowell Social Justice Foundation is seeking proposals for a monument – a permanent public art piece – to be installed at Folsom Lake College in spring 2018.  The monument will occupy a 50’x 85’ footprint adjacent to the Falcon’s Roost.  Whether your goal is to memorialize or celebrate an important social justice issue, your proposed monument must also educate, in keeping with the college’s mission.  The installation must also be interactive, encouraging students and the public to actively participate and interact with the work.

Specifications for the prototype included that it be free-standing, crafted at 1:24 scale, include at least one digital fabrication element – an object created/modified using the laser cutter, CNC, vinyl cutter, or 3D printer – and that it incorporate LED lighting.

Making Monuments Challenge

We took a walk out to the proposed monument site so that students would have a sense of the scale and surroundings.  Back in the lab, students set to work on their proposals.  In a very short time – about 2 hours, really – groups were able to craft some really thoughtful proposals and interesting prototypes.

David, Clarity, and Luna developed their proposal around the idea of differences and commonalities among Folsom Lake College students.  Their prototype was based on a maze concept, with many paths leading to a central common ground.

Making Monuments

Another group developed their proposal around issues of food distribution and food insecurity.  They incorporated a greenhouse into their prototype, using www.makercase.com to generate the cut file, and the laser to cut the parts from clear acrylic.  Here Nusaybah and Micaela are preparing to solvent weld the pieces together.

Putting the Greenhouse Together

Zainub, Heather, Jeremy, and Kila based their design on a View-Master Viewer, and were able to modify a Custom View-Master Disc they found on Thingiverse (CC BY TheHeadlessSourceMan), which they cut from wood using the laser.

Prototype of Interactive Monument (Based on a Viewmaster Viewer)

As the final step in the process, groups shared their proposals and prototypes and took questions from their peers.

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We’ve got a great group of students, and I’m continually impressed by their open, collaborative, and creative approach to the course.

Way back in 2008, the Innovation Center got its first 3D printer, a Z Corporation Z450.  At the time, it was very difficult to explain to most people what “3D printing” even meant, as it hadn’t yet entirely entered the public consciousness.  Professor Dan Ross (Engineering and Computer Information Science) was an early adopter, and was in fact the first FLC faculty member to incorporate 3D printing into his courses.

Fast forward to 2017.  The Z450 has long since given up the ghost, and we’ve got a few 3D printers sprinkled around the college, including a LulzBot Taz down in the Theater Arts shop, a few Makerbot Replicators in the Engineering classroom, and the U2E+s, U3s, Rostock Max, and Form 2 in the Innovation Center.

This semester, students in Dan’s Engineering 312 : Engineering Graphics course worked on designing and printing gear boxes.

Gearboxparts

I had the chance to talk to some of the students in the lab toward the end of the semester (which is winding down), and saw some of the parts-in-progress on the printers, but until Dan sent these photos, I hadn’t seen the completed student work.  I have to say I’m pretty impressed, and it’s great students using digital fabrication to solve real-world challenges.

Gearbox

Behold the Ion Drive!

Ion Drive MK 04

Students Andrew Canafe, Tristan Chutka, and David Taylor created the project for their Physics 421 course, and used the Innovation Center’s laser cutter to produce the final parts. Here’s a video of its majesty. Note the safety key and prominent warning sticker. Try this at home, kids, but do it safely!

Inspired by a DIY conference t-shirt making activity at the reMAKE Education conference a few years back, we recently ordered a t-shirt press and heat transfer vinyl, and they arrived this week.

T-Shirt Press

Innovation Center staff quickly worked out a production process, cutting some designs on the vinyl cutter and improving my shop apron by adding a Chibi and Chu Totoro!

Totoro Apron

I’ve been working off and on for months on a furniture project, a set of cabinet door panels inspired by the Japanese woodworking art of kumiko. Today I was finally able to laser cut a full-scale prototype of the project.

Kumiko Laser Panel

Here’s a look at the Illustrator file, a painstakingly assembled collection of hexagons, based on three archetypes:

Kumiko Screenshot

Here’s what was left in the laser:

Kumiko Negative

I couldn’t be happier with the result, and it’s particularly thrilling to hold in my hand something that has lived for so long inside my head and on a computer screen.

Update – Amazing when backlit!

One of the most important outcomes for our Making Social Change is that students leave the class empowered to use a variety of tools.  While our focus so far has been on digital fabrication tools – for instance, using the laser cutter to create stencils – we also want students to leave the class with proficiency in more traditional ways of making, including electric and hand tools.

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After some background and safety information, including the use of PPE, we took students out in back of the Innovation Center, where they each had the opportunity to work with a miter saw, band saw, drill press, sanding station, driver/drill, radial saw, Dremel, jigsaw, reciprocating saw, and a variety of hand tools.

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Some students were already proficient in using one or more tools, and they provided support and guidance for their less experienced classmates.

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Students left class with basic proficiency in additional ways of making that they can employ in their final group projects, and in their collaborative class project, a prototype of a large scale, interactive public installation that will represent the social movements we’ve learned about.

Chemistry Extra Credit Chips

Dominic Green (Chemistry) and I collaborated on these General Chemistry extra credit coins, and used the laser cutter to etch and cut them.   Dominic will distribute them to students who earn extra credit in class, and then collect and tally them at the end of the semester.

Inspired by our class visit to the Rocklin Mini Maker Faire, where the bulk of our time was spent in the open sewing lab, we spent a recent session of Making Social Change creating applique quilt squares for a collective class quilt.  The Theater Arts Department loaned us seven machines to add to the one we have in the Innovation Center, and were able to borrow a few others from students and faculty so that each student would have one to work with.  Students started by selecting fabric from a beautiful trove of fabric samples (generously provided by our faculty researcher Jill Bradshaw) and used the laser cutter to cut out 12″ background pieces.

Sewing for Social Justice

We set up two ironing stations so that students could apply Mistyfuse backing, after which they cut applique shapes and words using the laser cutter (and sometimes good old fashioned scissors).

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T is for Transgender

We had a few folks with sewing experience, and some with none, but students helped each other, and Diane was around to provide guidance and pointers.

U Is For Uterus

Overall a very empowering and dynamic class session! Here’s a gallery of Diane Carlson’s (Sociology) photos from the day:

MSC Soc379 10.23.17

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The hardware store was blowing out these Halloween ghost-projecting LED lights for $5, so I picked up a couple, with the intent of modding them to project images of our own choosing.  After some initial hassle getting the nonstandard screws out of the housing, we were able to pull the whole thing apart, after which CJ (student) laser cut a new projection mask featuring Nova, our mascot.  Behold!