Google SketchUp and More: Eliza Martin

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind! I thought that senior year would be extremely calming and easy after the first semester, but that is not been the case. On top of scholarship applications, studying for tests, and completing homework, it’s been difficult to find a lot of time to dedicate to the project. I have been working on Make Your Own Light almost every day for as much time as possible, but it is the weekends when I have been able to dedicate hours to the project. As I mentioned in my previous post (which can be found here), I have never had any experience with anything that is related to engineering. In seventh grade, I took a Project Lead the Way Course and had to build a birdhouse. While I was initially extremely excited about building something with my own hands, spending just one week with AutoCad convinced me otherwise. My list of grievances regarding AutoCad could amount to pages. I do not think I had ever hated a computer program as much until I began using Google SketchUp last week. A few of my engineering friends had warned me about how difficult it was to figure out how to use Google SketchUp. My friends that have figured out how to use Google SketchUp absolutely love it, but the ones that didn’t still loathe it. In preparation, I watched at least fifteen YouTube tutorials. I felt confident as I downloaded the program (you can download it here) to my computer and then it all began. I clicked the countless buttons that the Google SketchUp tutorials instructed me too, and I made a cube.

Original screenshot of YouTube Google SketchUp tutorial watched
Original screenshot of YouTube Google SketchUp tutorial watched

But when it came to the details I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure if I’m technologically challenged or just incompetent, but for some reason, I can’t use Google SketchUp. I’ve worked for the past week using GoogleSketchUp to try to sketch my design and I have been unsuccessful. Despite my technological failings, I did work to create a detailed hand sketch. In the coming few days, I will continue to work towards using Google SketchUp to sketch my design as I wait for the materials that I ordered to be shipped in.

My sketch (pictured below) is what I hope my final product will look like. It incorporates solar panels and green technology that can be mounted on recyclable materials and then used to recharge batteries or charge lights in developing countries.

Original Sketch of Make Your Own Light Design
Original Sketch of Make Your Own Light Design

The solar panel can be mounted on any material. In my design, I will mount the solar panel to a recycled playing card. However, the solar panel could also be mounted on a piece of recyclable plastic or study cardboard. Copper tape mounts the solar panel to the playing card. The copper tape also serves to move any excess electricity to the batteries. The rechargeable batteries can be placed in the back of the playing card to recharge. The playing card and solar panel can then be flipped over and placed directly into sunlight. While my original idea of creating a completely green light is not feasible with the allotted time or resources. I still want to insure that individuals in developing countries have access to electricity.

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