Designing The Wedding – Part 2

The second part of my series on designing the wedding will continue focusing on the planning process itself. In case you missed it, you can catch the first part, which summarized some overall thoughts on the day here. This second part is going to be relatively general and abstract, focusing on core principles we used to guide our overall decision making process. The next part will be still centered on the wedding development process itself, but with an emphasis on more concrete tools we used. 

These fundamentals should be fairly obvious. If you look at it from a certain perspective, weddings essentially are big, high stakes projects to manage. It follows then, that a lot of project management 101 tools are useful.

Start Early:

The single best thing we did to make our wedding a success was simply starting our planning early. Seriously. It sounds simple, but it truly helps in a myriad of ways, and in many cases you literally don’t have a choice. 

COVID caused a lot of the issues around pent up demand, increased competition, and supply chain woes, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. We started planning around April of 2021, before I had even officially proposed… but still, all Saturdays in 2022 were already booked at our first choice venue. 

Even though we decided to DIY much of the wedding, we never felt like we were drowning under a terrible amount of pressure or rushing to get things completed. I’ve heard horror stories about bridal parties being enslaved and rushing to finish a bunch of stuff right before the wedding, but we intentionally tried to make things as simple as possible for our friends. 

In essence, starting early builds in flexibility and resilience (more on this later), which in turn reduces stress levels for everybody involved!

Setting Expectations:

This is a big one. So big that honestly each of these probably deserves to be its own top level bullet…

Set expectations with yourself

First and foremost. I’m not tryna write a self-help book here, but don’t judge your wedding (or yourself by extension) by comparing it to others’ weddings. After seeing things up close through taking part IN FOUR weddings the year before ours, it was difficult for me to not compare… especially given how amazingly successful and fun they each were in their own ways. What helped me was reframing my thoughts as taking inspiration from the amazing experiences my friends had  to build my own. 

Along these lines, realize that your wedding is a celebration of YOU AND YOUR PARTNER. None of your true friends should be judging you by how your wedding goes. Take pride in doing what you think is best and owning it! Avoid toxic weddinglinity–there’s no dishonor in making things easier on yourself, or not following all things traditionally. You should decide what’s important, and you do you!

Dream big, but don’t be irresponsible… (aka budgeting)

With enough time, money, and willpower, all things are possible. Unfortunately for most of us, a deficiency in at least one of these resource categories keeps us from pulling off everything we want for our wedding in its most ideal form. I’m a natural optimist, and I still believe you should go into planning with a blank sheet, blue sky perspective on what things can be. However, you also need to be somewhat realistic on how much time and money it will take to achieve your ideas. We thought of budgeting as simply an additional requirement we had to come up with creative solutions to meet. Frankly, in a lot of cases, having more constraints can help force you to make your processes and designs better and more efficient ;). 

We both agreed to pay for the wedding ourselves, with a 50/50 split between the two of us. This enabled us to take a top-down approach, starting with how much we knew we could responsibly spend, and then setting budgets for the subcomponents. I don’t know about you, but it makes it easier for me to stick to budgets when I’m dealing with my own money. Overall, we were fairly successful in sticking to what we originally budgeted, but we still inevitably overran it in some areas. We were fortunate enough to be in the position that we could absorb the cost of the wedding without any major impacts to our longer term goals. Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings and mine was the best day of my life, but it seems unconscionable to me to take on any sort of debt or other heightened risk to host the event… 

Since weddings are a union between two partners, it’s important to set expectations with one another. In other words, you MUST…

Communicate!

It sounds simple, but can be hard, especially when the emotional stakes are high.

I am particularly proud of the way Tiffany and I managed our communication throughout the planning process. To help manage our conversations between ourselves and with our vendors, we created a shared gmail account to keep track of emails and documents (more on this in the next installment as well!). 

Tiffany did a good job at making sure we were actually completing our tasks in a timely manner. My general approach to complex projects is to  take care of big, non-negotiable things first while leaving smaller things to be done on a more nebulous time frame (sometimes you can’t just schedule creativity!). It drove Tiff mad sometimes since her style is more about seeing concrete progress and results, and we had slightly different definitions for high priority items. Looking back, I should have communicated better, but if I saw 60-80% of a solution to a problem in my head, I automatically deprioritized it, willing to take a calculated risk. For example, we got into a minor argument about the design of our escort cards. In my head, I had an idea nearly fully formed, so I didn’t think much of it and was happy to delay the work instead focusing on something else. However, my description made it needlessly difficult, hence a small quarrel ensued. I took 5 minutes to cut out a prototype, and sure enough, Tiff’s fears were assuaged. 

Development of escort cards from cutting a manila folder to final product. I lost the original and all photos of my original prototype cut out of plain paper though >.<

Luckily for us, we didn’t have issues with communication between us and any outside parties. Most of this is due to how are friends and family simply are, but at the same time, we did try to tell everybody well in advance what our plans were, and what we needed help from them on. I am so glad we avoided problems akin to those I’ve seen from peoples’ posts online. I’ve read rants from brides on the verge of tears about parents/future mothers-in-law being insanely demanding, bridal party members being irresponsible, and drama in general.

In terms of cultural demands, both of our families were relatively progressive on this front. The only ask from my parents was a tea ceremony. My dad prepared a giant double happiness sign for the event, so we made it happen with the help of our bridal party:

Tea ceremony with our parents!

Decide what REALLY matters to each partner

We began our planning process bright eyed and with expectations as realistic as possible. We each thought of  things within the wedding that were particularly meaningful to us and made sure to convey it to the other. Conversely, we both had certain items which we had less of an opinion/were more flexible on. Knowing both made it much easier to prioritize and make tough decisions.

Venn diagram of our priorities… we’re not actually nerdy enough to have made this during planning, but it wouldn’t have hurt.

While we didn’t formally write everything out or graph it at the time, I did notice that our priority lists were actually VERY complimentary (I’m not sure how abnormal this is?)–that is, most of the things I wanted the most weren’t a priority for her, and vice-versa. Looking back, I guess this is one area where being different made things easier. Our division of labor was obvious since we could both focus our energies on what we each cared most about, and trusted the other’s judgment on what they were more passionate about.

This doesn’t mean we both got everything that we wanted, of course–we’re not baller enough. The biggest sacrifice we had to make was on our guest count (mostly on my side). Due to the uncertainty COVID brought, the limits of our venue, and the expense entailed, we simply could not invite everybody we wanted to, and ended up with an intimate wedding of only 90 guests. The biggest enabler of a reduced guest list was actually a creative suggestion from my parents. I have a very large family, but the majority of them are in the Chicago area, so we had a wedding banquet for 30 of my aunts, uncles, and cousins in lieu of inviting them to fly out to the main wedding. 

While we found it helpful and intuitive for us to KNOW what we each wanted for various parts of the wedding, it wasn’t something which was set in stone. Additionally, we were blessed to have attended so many weddings immediately before ours, so we had a pretty good idea about what would be most meaningful to us from the onset. Even had we not attended multiple weddings before our own, I feel that a lot of what we wanted would have crystallized as we went through each phase of planning, from researching options, weighing pros and cons, talking to our vendors, asking for advice from friends, walking through schedules step by step, etc. 

The key was understanding that even though we set a rough budget we wanted to stick to beforehand, the wedding was not a zero sum game. We worked very well together to come up with creative solutions that ensured we both got what we wanted while keeping within our constraints. 

Plan to be flexible

The last concept I wanted to highlight was building resilience in our schedule and overall plans. If COVID has taught us nothing else, it’s the fact that life can be unpredictable. It feels like now more than ever before, things can change completely without notice. I’m glad that this collective trauma we’ve faced together has (hopefully) helped everybody become a bit more understanding and empathetic to the fact that we’re just trying to do the best we can with the resources at our disposal. That being said, I found it imperative to have a Plan B for everything–and honestly, starting early was a huge factor in resilient planning.

The biggest oh **** moment for us was when the housing for our bridal party fell through. We had booked a venue months in advance, however the owner ended up taking advantage of the insane housing market by selling the property, and canceling our reservation. Given that we only had a few months’ notice, a huge group, and were looking at a busy holiday weekend, we panicked a bit. Our next steps were obvious though, since we were guided by the fact that we both knew that we both wanted our wedding party to be together. We agreed without question that we had to book a replacement immediately, and we would simply take on any cost differences. Without a question, this was the correct decision, and I am thankful we were able to book such an amazing property… The photos speak for themselves! Take a look below:

Had we not gotten on the same page beforehand, knowing that we both wanted a great looking location to shoot our getting ready photos with all of our friends at, I’m not sure we would have moved with such conviction and alacrity to secure the house. I’m just grateful that we created a system for ourselves that made the decision simple.

Thanks for tuning in!

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this long, long post. I wrote earlier about these principles being the stuff of project management 101, but reflecting a bit, I also see that many of these concepts (e.g. communicating, realizing things are not zero sum) are among basics in relationship building as well. Next time, I’ll be writing about more concrete tools and planning methods we found effective in designing our wedding.

Designing The Wedding – Part 1

Sound check… sound check… 1, 2,3… It’s been a minute… is this thing still on? It’s been quite a while since my last post. Just a couple of life updates, ya know–an ongoing global pandemic, starting an online design shop, and oh–getting married 😉. I’m glad to have enough free time again to do a bit more writing.

I’m going to try something new! Instead of talking just about designing objects (although, I certainly will dive into it), I’m going to be writing about a much more complex and rewarding process–the design of my wedding. I’ll be frank here–I love weddings in general, and especially loved all the planning and execution that went into ours (maybe atypical for grooms?). I may be biased, but I believe Tiff and I work exceptionally well together. While our experience may not be directly applicable or repeatable for every couple in every relationship in every location (heck–I can’t even guarantee all of my thoughts align exactly with Tiff’s perspective…), it isn’t my goal to give a bunch of generic/useless advice (or any advice at all really). I could talk for days about everything that we did for our wedding, but I’ll do my best to distill my thoughts as well as I can. That being said, this is going to be my most ambitious blog writing project–so big that it comes in an unknown number of installments. 

Part 1 will be an overall summary of the day itself, through quick highlights of what I felt were the biggest successes, things I would do differently if I had a time machine, things that had a bigger impact than I anticipated, and things that didn’t matter as much as I originally thought they would. 

Summary:

In a single word, the day was sublime. I loved every moment of our wedding day. I have never felt so much love emanating from everyone, everywhere all around, all at once. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing and planning for the wedding in and of itself, so it was an incredible and surreal feeling to watch everything come together. Despite minor behind the scenes hiccups, I felt the day was a huge success overall. It was the best day of my life so far, and I know I’ll look back on it fondly forever. 

The biggest successes:

  • All of the speeches. Our officiant Jason’s. Our vows to each other. The toasts at dinner–all fantastic. They each triggered my allergies to some extent.
  • Overall, all of our vendors were fantastic to work with. We had a snafu where we misplaced all of our final payments and gratuity envelopes. I was able to apologize profusely and arrange alternative payment methods in today’s age of Venmo. Luckily, we found everything at the very end of the night, but this wasn’t until after some of our vendors had already departed. 
  • No drama at all! Browsing through various wedding planning forums, I see a ton of horror stories involving overbearing in-laws, incompetent/non-responsive vendors, irresponsible friends, unruly guests, etc. I’m so glad we had zero issues people-wise. Everybody had a good time, and stayed safe! 
  • When issues came up, those around us were empowered to just take care of things. Our coordinator Melissa from Mellie Bee, and Nick, my best man especially. I was very proud of the planning spreadsheet we put together. It included everything from photos of what each piece of decoration looked like to where we wanted it to go and clean up/packing instructions, full layouts for both ceremony and reception areas, the full schedule and also our seating chart. We gave everybody in our wedding party access to it in case questions came up (they did).
  • DIY Decorations. It would have been extremely embarrassing for me as an artist and engineer if the centerpieces we spent so much time on turned out badly. Tiff and I are so lucky that both of our fathers were able to contribute as well. My dad’s portrait was a showstopper, and I think the table numbers Tiff’s dad helped us cut have the potential to be a successful product. 
  • This is gonna be a bit cliché, but honestly, just seeing everybody was truly the biggest treat for me. 
Our wedding was chock-full of DIY projects, including the centerpieces and table numbers you see here!

Things that had a bigger impact than anticipated:

  • Photo booth. The photo booth was something we saw as optional/on the chopping block if we couldn’t find one that met our budget. It was actually a bit difficult to find a company willing to quote due to how far our venue was. Luckily our DJ’s company had one they worked with often. The booth was used widely, and was a great outlet for those who didn’t want to be on the dance floor. 
  • Coordinator. At the outset of the planning process, I didn’t really want to have one. Thankfully our venue required us to hire one, and the one we hired was spectacular. She was able to help take care of our decor setup and takedown, while helping us manage all the little things that came up. It was such a blessing to know that we didn’t really have to worry too much about anything on the day of. 
  • Our photos. This is not technically something that made an impact on the day of… but I can’t believe our amazing photographer Elyana (IG: elyanaivette), turned around over a hundred (!!!) sneak peak photos in less than a week. They are all so much better than I hoped and I can’t wait to see the rest! Along the same lines, the shared google photos album we set up worked better than I expected. 
  • One thing that took me by surprise was I also didn’t expect how easy it was to get swept up in the moment. The time just flew by so quickly.

Things I would do differently with a time machine:

  • Communication with our venue
    • Despite all of our detailed planning, there were still a few miscommunications with our venue. The biggest one was how the timing of food service would impact our vendor break. It was an unfortunate oversight, which forced us to cut out photos with each of our tables. 
    • We should have been more explicit about where exactly we wanted our dinner tables to be–we expected a bit more space to move the portrait to the deck area after cocktail hour. 
  • Planning more special photos ahead of time
    • The biggest photo I regret not taking was with the portrait my dad drew. 
    • Looking back at some of our night time photos, I wish we took more. Our venue looked like something straight out of a fairy tale when it was all lit up.
  • Spend more time talking with people
    • Basic and generic, but true. The dance floor was fantastic, and it’s my favorite thing at all weddings, don’t get me wrong, but in hindsight, maybe a bit more balance would have been nice. 
  • Practiced our first dance
    • Even though we spent so much time practicing our first dance, I wish we had taken a few minutes to run through our first dance one last time. We missed a few steps during the execution, and I got caught in Tiff’s dress. Whoops! Adding  5 minutes into our timeline to sneak away would have paid dividends >.<  
  • Lack of official hotel block & shuttles. I felt really bad about not being able to arrange an official hotel block for our guests to take advantage of. At the time we were searching, none of the hotels we talked to were able to accommodate without committing to a hard number and minimum number of nights for each guest :(. Since we didn’t know where exactly everybody was staying, trying to arrange an official shuttle likewise didn’t make sense. I’m glad that this didn’t seem to make as big of an impact for our guests though.
Our parents enjoying a photo op with the portrait my dad drew

Things that had a smaller impact than I anticipated:

  • The weather. Throughout the few weeks before the wedding, the weather was fluctuating between very hot and very cold. Given our wedding was mostly outdoors, it was a big concern for us. While our venue had an option to add heat lamps, I never feel they are that effective. To help combat this, we sent out multiple reminders and told our guests to bring layers. Luckily, the weather turned out to be a non-factor since it wasn’t too cold, and those who were could keep warm by either drinking or going on the dance floor 🙂 
  • Nerves. I was surprised at how easy and natural the day was for me. I didn’t really feel too worried or anxious at all. I think it’s just a testament to the excellent support group of friends and family. 
  • Not being able to eat. I’ve heard stories that brides and grooms don’t usually get a chance to eat at their own wedding. This was not the case for us, but it may have been due to our confusion with the vendor break. Also, our coordinator made sure to save us some of the desserts and appetizers :). 
  • Length of toasts. All of the toasts at dinner went a bit long, but they were all extremely heartfelt and none of them seemed out of place at all. 
  • Alcohol. I was a bit nervous that the pressure to drink a lot would be pretty high. It was. I definitely did not get drunk at all though, despite the numerous shots I took :O. Thank goodness for adrenaline! 

Thanks for sticking through this rambling post, I hope it is at least semi-coherent! As I mentioned, this will be a multi-part series… no guarantees on timing, but I promise the next one will come out eventually. I plan on delving deeper into the planning process, and yes, closer to my normal project updates, I promise I’ll get into the design of all the DIY decor as well ;).

Stay tuned for more!

Wedding Season

TL;DR: September 2021 was the craziest month I’ve ever had in terms of being involved with weddings… I had the honor of being in the wedding party for all 3 I was able to attend, and was able to make gifts for all three as well.

Without a doubt, 2021 and 2022 will go down as the crazy-busiest two-year timeframe for weddings in my life. If you haven’t heard, of it yet, a little thing called COVID19 came along and delayed most weddings from 2020 into 2021 and it seems like all the couples who didn’t drive each other insane during quarantine decided to get hitched.

September 2021 was undoubtedly my single busiest month ever—I had the honor of being in the bridal party for all three I was able to attend. I love weddings, they’re all always so much fun! For each of these three, I am proud to have crafted something special for each couple.

Early this year, my friend Jason commissioned me to design the party favors for his wedding. After going back and forth with a few Jason and his now wife Stephanie with a few design iterations, I completed the following final design–a sculpture of two swans with their initials (S & J) as the heads, which also doubled as a document holder able to display papers of arbitrary size.

These swans came in two colors and doubled as a namecard/document holder and as a practical favor guests could take home and reuse

I was very happy with how all of the favors turned out after several weeks of nonstop printing and finishing the parts by hand.

These swans can hold documents, photos, etc. of arbitrary size!

For the other two weddings (Jimmy & Cat; Solomon & Sabrina), I created very similar gifts—custom cards filled with words and phrases meaningful to the couples usable for a variety of games (monikers, charades, codenames, Pictionary, etc.)

In both cases, I am fortunate to have known nearly all members of both sides of the bridal party. I was able to I reach out and had everybody fill in a spreadsheet with words and definitions. Next, I gathered artwork to use for the front and back of each card–for the game Sabrina and SoloMonikers, I reached out to Sabrina’s brilliant designer sister who was able to whip up custom artwork.

Sabrina & SoloMonikers!

For Hao Peng Yu, I reached out to a caricature artist James and Cat previously commissioned for their Save the Dates and took some photos from their engagement shoots.

For Hao Peng Yu, I used engagement shoot photos for the front of the cards

I generated unique cards by populating the art files with words and definitions from the bridal party spreadsheets in GIMP via python script. Then I uploaded all the files to a fantastic card printer based in Hong Kong (makeplayingcards.com) who printed both ~500 card decks and had them at my door within 2 weeks! After the decks arrived, I sleeved all the cards and printed custom boxes to hold everything.

The box was custom sized to fit all the cards and a divider was included to help keep things a bit organized

I am very proud of how both decks of cards came out, and am grateful for all the help I had from all members of all four wedding parties. Things were too hectic at both weddings for us to play with the cards–a bit unfortunate, but EXTREMELY understandable. It’s just an excuse for us to all get together again in the near future though ;).

Looking back at this crazy September, I am delighted to have played a part in making the day special for each of these happy couples! The entire month felt like it was gone in the blink of an eye, yet I know we made enough memories to last a lifetime. Despite the exhaustion and a sense of relief of being “off the clock”, I wouldn’t have traded last month for anything.

Apiphany Design Launch!

TL;DR: I’m finally launching a store to sell my designs!! Check it out at www.apiphanydesign.com and @apiphanydesign on insta and facebook!   

It’s been a while since my last post because I’ve been working on an exciting new project which I’m finally ready to share. I’m finally launching my very own webstore to sell my designs!

The first product I designed was originally a sculpture I made for Tiff for Valentine’s Day—it’s a little plastic sculpture that says “love” and has this magic-like floating element attached. The first prototype was rough—I used thin copper wire to provide tension, but have since upgraded to using nearly invisible nylon since then, and have created several iterations.

I’m also incredibly excited about my 2nd product line available at launch—I’m going to be making a series of minimalist line drawing sculptures. The first design I’ve got ready to go is this shiba inu, but I’m in the process of finalizing a husky version next, and then I’ve got a couple more ideas that’ll be ready for Mother’s Day 😉

Oil Screen Hook

TL;DR: I designed and printed a custom hook to store our oil screen on the back of our cabinet door to save some space.  

Inspired by similar projects seen in various places online, I spent about an hour’s time measuring, designing, and printing a small custom hook to hang an oil screen on the back of a cabinet door.

Due to the simplicity of the part and the application, I decided to spend some time making deliberate choices to optimize performance. First was the design of the part itself. While I could have used a generic 3M command hook to achieve a similar effect, the tight custom fit of this hook prevents excessive movement and noise. Second, I decided to use PETG instead of PLA, a no-brainer for when strength is required. My last optimization was in the chosen print orientation. Despite requiring more support material, the orientation I used is actually ideal for the loading expected in this application. FDM printed parts are weakest parallel to the layer lines—that is, they are susceptible to delamination when loads pull the layers apart.

Quick project to save space in our pan cabinet.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got–here’s to a year full of fun projects in 2021!

Bailey Slow Feeder

TL;DR: I printed a slow feeder bowl for Bailey out of food safe filament and coated it with an FDA-compliant food safe resin. It works, but I think she hates it and me for making it.

I’ve wanted to experiment with 3D prints out of PETG for a while, and finally found some time to do so during this long Thanksgiving weekend. PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) is a 3D-printable plastic with numerous advantageous properties:

  • High strength
  • High density
  • High temperature
  • UV resistant
  • Food safe

The drawback is that it is a bit trickier than PLA (the most typical home 3D printed filament) to print. I invested an hour’s worth of time to adjust settings and complete two quick test prints before deciding I dialed my printer in enough to start a real project.

Our dog Bailey is a voraciously fast eater and I recently learned that various slow feeder bowls existed. However, most of the products on the market seem designed for larger dogs, and I wanted to make something that would fit in our existing holder. Spoiler image below:

Bailey’s custom slow feeder bowl fit perfectly!

The design of the bowl was straightforward. I measured the dimensions of our existing metal bowl, added another mm of thickness of the bowl for strength, added an extruded “B” in the middle to act as an obstacle, and finally made some cuts in the B to allow Bailey to access all the nooks and crannies. I took care to fillet any sharp edges away to ensure safety:

Left: Top view, Right: Iso view. I cut the “B” into an arch so Bailey could reach all the food and made sure to fillet all sharp edges.

The quality of my first real PETG print exceeded my expectations… Based on troubles I’ve read about people having, I expected some blobs/zits or stringing issues, but surprisingly, I didn’t have any real problems at all. The ease of support material separation was shocking too–99.8+% of my support came off in a single piece, and the remaining two pieces were easily removed with pliers:

Top: 3D print in various stages of completion. Bottom: Removal of support material. I was surprised at the great quality, high strength, and ease of support material for my first PETG print.

After the print was complete, I coated the bowl with this neat FDA 21 CFR 175.300 compliant resin I bought a while ago but hadn’t tried out before. The biggest pain point with the coating process was the 48-hour cure time.  Luckily this was a long weekend, haha.

Right: Top view of bowl post resin. Left-Top: Showing off shininess of the bowl. Left-Bottom: Water beading up on the print after washing. Not pictured: 48 hours of waiting, and the popsicle stick, old tofu container, and paintbrush all sacrificed to make this happen.

After washing the bowl with soap and water, I tested it out with Bailey by putting in a few training treats. She did not look very happy…

She eventually came around to eating, but clearly wasn’t happy:

I hope she doesn’t hate me forever because of this…

Does she look most annoyed, confused, angry, or disappointed?

Quarantine Wall Decor

TL;DR: Tiff and I took advantage of a few lazy quarantine weekends to plan and create a few custom pieces of wall décor.

A few weeks ago, I posted photos previewing string art Tiff and I started working on. We planned a series of four. While she focused on making the most adorable one, three fell to me. For the background of pieces, we upcycled an old dress otherwise destined for Goodwill. This was my first string art project in about 7 years and actually found the act of stringing quite meditative and refreshing.

A series of four string artworks we completed during the Great Coronatine of 2020

As a bonus art project, we also created a shattered mirror piece. I purchased “sliceable” adhesive-backed plastic mirrors for a different project but first wanted to experiment with how easily cut the parts were. I doodled a geometric hummingbird design while Tiff picked colors for and assembled the background from cardstock we had laying around. Cutting the mirror was harder than I expected, but got much better by the end.

I originally intended to add a simplified geometric rose to match the rest of the aesthetic, but it was difficult for my friends to figure out what it was. We went with a bundle of curvy cherry blossoms instead, and I think I dig the contrast in shape and colors.

Upper Right: Finished work; Everything else: various stages of planning/making

Baymax Cord Lock

TL;DR: A cord lock for Tiff’s hat broke… so I made a replacement shaped like Baymax since I had white material installed in my printer and I was too lazy to change it, haha.

Tiff got a great sun hat from a friend’s beach birthday party last year. I use it almost every day when walking Bailey. I noticed that the cord lock was starting to break, so I decided to make something useful while scratching my maker itch now that the need for PPE has declined.

Since I currently have black TPU (an elastic material not really suited for this application) installed in one printer, white PLA installed in my other, and a severe lazy streak, I needed to design something white and ovoid.

White? Check. Ovoid? Check. Fun? Check Check Check.

With proper source material in place, knocking out the design was straightforward for me. I decided to use the sculpting tools in Fusion 360. Sculpting is great for quickly making organic shapes that don’t require a lot of exact dimensions. Fusion makes it super easy to combine sculpted forms with parametrically defined features as well. I split Baymax’s body into two parts, one main body and a removable front plate to install the spring and legs.

Sculpt and boolean tools in Fusion 360 made designing and cutting the parts up for 3d printing a breeze!

Since the part was very small, I initially had some troubles with Cura deciding some areas (primarily the cut out for feet to retract into the body for cord installation) were so thin that I must not have wanted material there. I solved this problem by reshaping the Baymax body a bit and scaling the parts up by roughly 15%.

Functional? Check.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results… despite it looking slightly terrifying, IMO… like Baymax lost a fight. Maybe I should have gone with some sort of squid ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

As always, hope everybody is staying safe and healthy!

UPDATE: 7/25/2020:

Looking at the Baymax cord lock I made last week depressed me because it looks like his body is getting pierced by some sort of tentacled foe. I decided to replace it by designing a Blooper (the squid thing from Mario games), since it is also white, but looks natural with long arms:

I think Blooper looks better than Baymax cause the strings are tentacles XD

I used all the same tools I used for Baymax to make Blooper, but it was much faster the second time around. While I like this cord lock looks better, but Tiff doesn’t like it because of all the legs, hahaha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Window Sill Shelf

TL;DR: It gets hot in SoCal so I overengineered a shelf to hold a fan to blow cool air into our bedroom at night.

Just a quick post this time—I decided to put my printer to work making another functional print! SoCal is a desert, so it gets very hot during the day, but cooler at night. A few days this past week were especially brutal. To help circulate the air at night, we use a little Vornado fan, but its effectiveness wanes when it doesn’t have access to cooler air.

A simple, but effective design. I originally intended to print the shelf itself too, but I found a piece of wood that I’ll cut later to eliminate the use of this piece of cardboard, haha.

I designed a very simple shelf comprised of brackets, a brace, and the shelf itself. I sized the brackets specifically for our bedroom windowsill. There is a very satisfying click during installation, but the shelf is very easily removable in case we need to close the window.

I didn’t end up printing the shelf part because I found a piece of spare wood which will work perfectly, and I installed a piece of cardboard until I find time to cut it. Although this specific design isn’t super generalizable, I decided to upload it to thingiverse anyway in case anybody is inspired to made minor modifications to fit their needs:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4462927

Stay safe and healthy!

#BlackLivesMatter Gear

TL;DR: I believe #BlackLivesMatter. I still can’t say anything more eloquently than what has been said by others elsewhere, so I’m going to chip into the cause in my own way. If you’ve donated to a reputable social justice charity, I’m more than happy to send you some 3D Printed #earsavers or touch-free door openers.

Despite law enforcement agencies across the country telegraphing they don’t believe so, black lives do matter. To help the cause in a small way, I designed a new earsaver and a touch-free door opener/keypad stylus.

The earsaver is a modified version of the NIH-approved design found here: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013615. No critical outside dimensions were altered, and the part remains very flexible. Earsavers are very useful for anybody who needs to wear a mask (aka EVERYBODY WHO LEAVES THEIR HOME). You put this on the back of your head and hook your mask straps around it instead of around your ears. This takes the pressure off your ears and makes wearing the mask much more tolerable.

I modified an NIH-approved design to allow wearers to show solidarity with the movement.

Creating the door opener/stylus was a bit more involved; I created the design from scratch, using a few existing designs as inspiration. The hook is useful for opening door handles without touching the surfaces. A strip of copper tape wrapped around the fist allows the stylus to function on capacitive touch screens, as long as you touch the bottom of the strip with your thumb. This is useful for pressing buttons at the self-checkout line in grocery stores.

This touch-free door opener doubles as a stylus useful for hitting capacitive-touch buttons at self-checkouts. The strip of copper tape is the secret-sauce which allows this functionality.

If you’d like some of these doodads, I’m happy to send them to you free of charge. Since I literally finalized the design at lunch today, I don’t have a huge stockpile right now. For now, I’m going to prioritize those who have donated to reputable social justice related charities, but I aim to eventually provide these for anybody who wants them, so feel free to reach out!