Design Fun With Power Tools (Isha Patel)

This past week, JetSet has been finalizing the design of our prototype and attempting to build our final product. In the past month, we had ordered some materials from Amazon (wooden balls) and we finally received them this Wednesday!  It was exciting because we finally had some materials to work with and start building our prototype.

As our team has progressed through the design stage, we have realized that we don’t have the materials yet to build a working prototype. We would need a base, 2 pedals, end pieces, springs, hinges, and of course our balls. We had received the balls, but a lot of our parts for the model need to be printed on the 3D printer. Also some of the materials that we do have, we haven’t been able to put together yet since we don’t have the majority of our parts. We ran into an interesting problem last class when we attempted to print our base for our product and found out that our 3D model was bigger than the printer could print out. With that in mind we are deciding whether to print out a scaled down version of the base or to use a block of wood similar in size to our actual model to represent the base.

Even with our prototyping setbacks, we still wanted a prototype that we could show during our presentation. The base issue will be decided in our next class, but we decided that since we have springs, we should build our pedals. Last class was extremely fun for Anjali and I because we got to be engineers for the day. Usually, the engineering aspect of the design is left to our other two members, Erin and Annalise, but last class I got to build the pedal with Anjali. It is going to be to scale and have the beads inside the grooves. With our teacher, Ms. Jo, we went down to the Maker Space and learned how to use some power tools. We also had additional help from Maker Space expert, Oren.

The first tool we learned how to use was the electric table saw. The table saw was used to cut our wood into the dimensions of our pedal. It was an exhilarating experience because we got to wear goggles and noise reducing headphones. We had to learn proper etiquette for using an electric table saw. We had to learn how to keep our hands away from certain areas on the saw, when to turn on the saw, when to lower it, and we had to make sure the blade stopped spinning before bringing the saw back up.

A table saw that we used while cutting wood to make our pedals. Image found at:

In our design, we have grooves in the pedals where our balls would be placed. The balls would roll around in all directions to give our users a full range of motion. The wooden beads we had ordered were 3/4 inch and we wanted the wooden balls to be slightly elevated. This created a unique problem because we needed to find a drill press that would allow us to make an almost 3/4 inch circle in our wood. Anjali and I took turns making five rows of grooves. We had to clamp the wood down and measure the exact location the drill would have to go into to make equal grooves. After building the grooves, we fit our balls into the grooves and we found that the pedal worked very well! We just had some sanding to do and the pedal would be an exact replica of the one we would like to use in our prototype.

This is a drill press. We used this tool to make the grooves in our wooden pedal. Image found at:×2000/155/155880_2000x2000.jpg

Overall, I had a great time in the Maker Space. I haven’t been able to use power tools since I was in 7th grade, so this was a nice refresher. I really enjoyed the building aspect of making our prototype. In our up coming class period, Anjali and I are planning to go back to the Maker Space to finish up our pedal and make the second pedal.

This is the wooden pedal that was created with the grooves in the Maker Space. The wooden balls go into the grooves.
This is the wooden pedal that was created with the grooves in the Maker Space. The wooden balls go into the grooves.

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