Cold, Hard Proof of Concept – Annalise Irby

This week, JetSet divided into two distinct teams, to better tackle our many requirements for the upcoming midterm presentation. The Biomed team, Anjali M. and Isha P., were responsible for creating our Powerpoint presentation; they also gathering photos and images from our blog posts to create a complementary visual display (read more about their adventures here). They’ve even decided on a name for our product! JetSet is now proud to present the Aeris Solarium to the world. Our next task is to create a catchy nickname (AeSol? Aerium?) that people will more likely remember.

The Engineering team, Erin S. and myself, are finishing up JetSet’s 3D model on AutoCAD. Today, we put the finishing touches on our design and prepared to 3D print it using the MakerBot Replicator. After we filleted and chamfered a few edges, we handed our .stl file to Ms. Miesner. She used the program MakerBot Desktop to convert our design to a high quality printable version. Unfortunately, this process automatically resized it to a mini-mini-version, but we fixed that problem quickly enough by enlarging all the pieces by 200%. Erin and I cheerfully headed over to the Makerspace to print our first prototype….

Our final 3D model. We planned to print just the base, pedals, and various side- and end-pieces, without printing the balls.
Our final 3D model. We planned to print just the base, pedals, and various side- and end-pieces, without printing the balls. (Original image by Annalise)

But then, disaster struck! We hadn’t realized that the MakerBot Replicator’s printer bed was much too small to print our 12.5 x 8 inch base, much less the pedals, sidepieces, and endpieces along with it. We suspect that the printer may have automatically resized the parts because of this problem, and gradually realized it ourselves as we watched a very tiny pedal began to print in front of us. I’ll admit I had a small moment of panic and then despair… how were we ever going to make our prototype in time for the final presentation?

Our back-up prototype (shown here) was made out of wood and its grooves with a drill press. We did run into some technical difficulties with the length of the drill, though. (Original image by Anjali)
Our back-up prototype (shown here) was made out of wood and its grooves with a drill press. We did run into some technical difficulties with the length of the drill, though. (Original image by Anjali)

Luckily, our team had planned ahead. Isha and Anjali had started to build a back-up prototype in the next room using wood and a drill press. With this in mind, we gathered for an emergency group meeting and decided to forego 3D printing for now, especially considering that our whole device could take over 48 hours to print. Instead, we would display one half of our device – just one pedal, with grooves and a few wooden balls – to demonstrate its basic principles. Another term for this is proof of concept (click here for a more detailed definition).

In conclusion, our process is bumpy but we are still pushing through! I feel confident that JetSet will be ready for our presentation on Wednesday of next week.

Safe travels!

Annalise I.

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