We can’t believe it’s over! Make-O-Rama has come and gone, and we have finished constructing the ARS Little Free Library. We’ve made this blog post easy for you to navigate with headers of the topics we’re reflecting on.
At the Make-o-Rama we showed our completed Little Free Library (minus the post that is required to stick it in the ground. Many groups of students came by our booth and asked about our Little Free Library, mainly high schoolers, but also some middle schoolers and even a few teachers. Everyone really loved it, and people were very curious about how long it took us to construct the LFL, as well as how we did it. When we told them it had taken the greater part of the semester, they were very impressed and realized how much work it took to get to the final product.
We figured we’d be able to make at least a couple of them, maybe even three or four, but as it turned out, we could barely make one Little Free Library. We also wanted to auction off the LFL, but we weren’t sure how to coordinate that, so we ended up deciding to donate it to the school.
What We Would Have Done Differently
Jordan: Looking back on what we were able to do, I would’ve taken less time designing the thing and tried to order the materials sooner. If we had done that then we wouldn’t have lost so much time waiting for things to come in. Oh, and get the paint ourselves to avoid the communication errors we had with Ms. Jo, our chief Home Depot delivery woman.
Karrie: If we could start again, I would have spent more time planning the actual construction of the library and getting a list of ALL the required materials so we wouldn’t have spent valuable days waiting for new orders of materials to come in; there was no avoiding that this time around, since we couldn’t have predicted all the things we would need to complete the project, but for the future, it will save a lot of time to have a solid “plan of construction” and list of materials. I think our group could have even tried harder to assign certain tasks to certain days (to have a more concrete construction schedule), but then again that still can’t cover mishaps that occur and unpredictable things that come up. And in the end, we finished on time, so it’s all good.
Zane: Why would I start this over again? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t turn out much better. Granted we’d have more of an idea of what to do, but we’d have to order everything super early for it to turn out well.
Also, we wouldn’t need to do it again, this thing is fabulous.
Connections to Capstone
Jordan: My role in my Capstone project pretty much involved the designing and building of a product, aka, exactly what we did for this project. In that aspect this was helpful, because I was able to use the knowledge of tools etc that I got from this project to make Capstone easier, but at the same time making two wood products at the same time was really difficult and I basically lived in the Makerspace for a couple weeks. The other two didn’t really get any Capstone help from this.
Skills We Developed
Zane: Power tools. I can use them somewhat effectively, though my ability with a drill is questionable.
Karrie: Yes, my skills and confidence with power tools are much improved from the beginning of the semester, and I would love to continue working with them in college, probably for designing and creating theatre sets and props, since I’ll be participating in theatre. I also learned that projects like this take A LOT OF TIME. If you predict the time you think it will take you to complete the project (before you even start), it’s a good rule of thumb to multiply that by two or three just to be more realistic (and safe if there’s a deadline). We’d planned to construct two or three LFLs, but had enough time to finish one–so we really under calculated how much time it would take.
Jordan: Well, I definitely have a renewed respect for people who make these for themselves/their communities because there are NO good instructables for them (except ours of course, but we didn’t have that). Also, my maker skills have been refreshed and improved through this project, which will certainly help me in my future life (knowing how to use power tools will be the first step in my quest to be able to fix things myself).
Zane: Start early. Prep quickly, and know the basics of construction. Don’t set high standards or goals.
Karrie: As I said before: Multiply however long you think the project will take to complete by two or three so you actually have enough time. Time flies, and construction (if you’re going very carefully…like you should) takes more time than you think. One more thing: you WILL need teacher and adult assistance; our LFL simply requires too many potentially dangerous blades and angles. So know when to step back and let the experts take the reins.
Jordan: Don’t try to find instructions–there aren’t any. Just go with it. Also, Oren is your new best friend.
Fun and Frustration
Zane: Frustration was figuring out what we should do, what we could do with our resources and time, and then attempting to accomplish whatever we decided on. Fun? It blurs together. But watching the laser cutter burn stuff was decent. Though there was the terrible smell that chased me away.
Jordan: The most challenging part was probably trying to figure out how to fix the problems/accidents that happened to/with the library (like how to do the back piece or when the bottom didn’t match up). The most fun part… well actually, I loved the whole process! This was a really fun project that I actually care about (woo books!), and I had a wonderful team to work with.
Karrie: The most challenging part was how frustrating it was to not know HOW to actually construct parts of the library, like the window, door, roof, and drilling the wood together; we were VERY dependent on Ms. Jo to make this LFL. If she wasn’t at school, we’d often have to put off progressing on the construction because we weren’t sure how to attach the roof, for example, or how to cut the metal for the roof or the acrylic for the window, simply because we’d never learned how to use the table saw or the laser cutter. But other than that, this project was FUN! That is, if you like using power tools and making things.
We are going to attach it to a wooden post and donate it to ARS for the school and the surrounding community. We still need to inform them that we are doing so. Also, we have the instructable to share with the maker classes and PLTW classes, and maybe even the world.
Zane: Donate it and never touch it again. I don’t trust it, its already cut me twice.
Zane: We finished building it, and there was a bunch of random adjustments and help from creepy strangers and strange creepers, and I guess it turned out alright since it’s over. So, I’d guess that anywhere from an ninety to a ninety six would work taking into account the product, blood, building, effort and improvisation involved. And terror. Epoxy is terrifyingly stressful.
Karrie: I would give our team a 90 to a 95, because although we barely met the deadline, we did finish the construction of the LFL on time and the building is high quality; you can see how much we cared about this project. We did everything we could to make is as weatherproof as possible–a waterproof roofing, a threshold for the door, and the outside paint that it’s decorated with. All holes were filled in and the edges of the inside and outside were caulked to prevent leaks. I believe it’s very well-made and we deserve an A for our hard work, but maybe not a 100 since we COULD have spent more time planning out construction and materials we’d need; which would have led to a roof with an overhang that would have protected the LFL from water even more; that’s my only disappointment with our final product. Even our original design had the roof extending over the front and back side; but due to material shortages and measuring complications that arose, it wasn’t executed into reality.
Jordan: I’d give us a 95 because we worked really hard, put a lot of time into this, learned a lot, and made a legitimate actual real world product that people can really use (I still can’t believe that, it’s super cool).