The end of our semester long project has just ended this past Friday with a successful Make-O-Rama event at our school. Plugged In was able to come together in order to show off our final product which was a phone charging station. We had set up our table with our three prototypes and two computers that contained our powerpoint presentation with information about the process of how we made our product. The three prototypes were ones that we had made throughout the four months we had been together and are made from cardboard, acrylic and sheet wood respectively. Throughout the Make-O-Rama, we shared the steps that we took to make our product and possible improvements for the future. Ultimately the sharing process was one our favorite times because we were able to share with our community the hard work we had been doing these past couple of weeks.
Given more time we would have liked to spend more time playing on the laser cutter in order to have a better feel for the way how the machine works. We assumed that because it was a large and very expensive machine that it would be very complicated to use but that was exactly the opposite- the laser cutter was so much easier to use! I think if we had spent more time experimenting and learning about the laser cutter, we could have used it sooner than later and would have had the opportunity to do even more awesome things with our prototype. Another thing we would have liked to have done was actually seeing the idea of the USB port strip in usage. We had talked about the USB port strip briefly that we didn’t really get time to delve into the idea of purchasing and by the time that we had decided to purchase it, it was too late.
I think the most challenging part of this project was setting up a timeline and planning how and when we would take care of various parts of the project. For example, in the beginning of the semester we filled out a tentative timeline for the first six weeks and although a lot of that time was spent researching, I feel like we could have started gathering materials and prototyping earlier in the process. The week of the Make-o-rama, our group felt like we didn’t have enough time due to other people using the laser cutter or not being able to get into the makerspace due to testing and thus made the process of completing our product a bit harder due to the time constraints. The most fun part about this project was seeing the final product come together, it’s really cool to see how the final product has evolved from the chunky big cardboard prototype to the tiny acrylic one to our final piece which is the perfect height that we wanted for portability and it’s made out of wood which is different from many other existing phone charging stations. It was also a lot of fun using different materials such as hot glue with acrylic panels and using new machines that taught us how to use programs such as Adobe Illustrator in order to use the laser cutter.
Our group Plugged In plans to recruit current juniors soon to be seniors to finish our portable charging station. What these students will need to do is buy hinges and attach them to our prototype and make mini doors to allow the opening and closing system with the charging station to work. They will also need to get their hands on a USB port and attach it to the back of the prototype in between the holes on the right and the holes on the left. This USB port will allow many different types of phones to charge and allow the charging station to be plugged in through one plug. The hardest and one of the most important parts of the portable charging station is creating a lock system. This system should be able to keep each individual phone safe from being stolen. An added bonus that is up to next years seniors is if they want to paint the portable charging station. Depending on how the final product looks and feels the wood should be sanded down to have a smooth feel and the station can be painted a desirable color.
The grade that I would give my team is a 96, this is because we worked well with each other and communicated at all times. We all had a common goal of creating a portable charging station for the school and with that goal in mind we compromised and talked to each other about what the end product should look like. We were also extremely on task when it came to making the prototype because that was a fun process for us all since it was sort of like a glimpse of what our final product would look like. However, there was a lull in the time from one prototype to the other, I would say that this might be the main reason why we were scrambling in the few days before the Make-O-Rama to finish our entire product. The lull would just be due to us learning how to play around with Adobe or learning how to use the laser cutter and adjusting our dimensions in order for the machine to be able to cut out panels. Overall, this project was new and exciting for each member on our team. We all contributed our individual strengths and used those to build a phone charging station that students in our school could use.
PC: Our own photos