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the project!

w20 - Project Development

  • Implement project plan
  • Apply time management techniques
  • Summarise and communicate the essence of your project development

My FAB Academy process couldn't be more atypical: I'm a full-time Professor at the Polytechnic of Lisbon, where I teach and (co-)run the local Fablab (Fablab Benfica). Besides that, I recently started organizing Maker Faire Lisbon and run a couple of projects and partnerships at IPL-ESELx (http://eselx.ipl.pt). Besides this, I'm a Ph.D. student struggling with time to embrace this task more effectively.

In the middle of this, the Fab Academy opportunity came on, and 2017 seemed like the perfect context for it. And it was. In the early beginning, I started attending all classes but facilitated the documentation of the vibrant and enthusiastic processes I was embracing on. The context of a starting node is not the most helpful either. I tried to relate the project with my previous prototyping experience to make it evolve, and all seemed well. At a certain point, the workload accumulated, and I had to decide to leave it to the next year, 2018. In 2018, with just one colleague at the lab, no team to work, no remote instructor available, and a ton of work, the plan of not attending classes and just clearing the weeks also didn't work. I took some time to change the site, but nothing more.
2019 was this last year, and even with some work previously done, I decided to shift the final project to something manageable if included on the tasks I was also committed with as Professor and Researcher. That's how the GROUU Nursery idea popped in, and I was able to accomplish the difficult task of ending all the assignments.

myProject The Small Nursery Version, ended up being my final project!

Here is a quick relation of the weeks I had missing from the previous years (undone and undocumented):

Note: this is not linear in time, and as I described it is mostly about the opportunity to develop work that fits a specific availability and timing than an exclusive Fab Academy time management process

Week 3 - CAD 3D

  1. Designed a Bigger Version of the Nursery;
  2. Studied the integration of Eagle and Fusion360 software, allowing me to create the board and probe of input devices.
  3. I have also designed a smaller version of the nursery.

Week 6 - 3D printing

I've done some 3d printing in several iterations of this process (remembering a few fails and versions of my intentions from the previous 2 years of work

An enclosure possibility and tests

Week 8 - Computer-Controlled Machining

Even though I have done this previously and a thousand times with my students, I used the bigger version of the GROUU nursery to illustrate this. Later I did the same with the smaller version

Small version out of the CNC

Week 10 - Molding and Casting

I used this to prototype the enclosure of the probe, a wireless accessory of the nursery system.

Week 11 - Input Devices // Week 14 - Networking and Communications

Both weeks were used for the rest of the probe, designing the Probe board (on direct integration with the design made for the molding and casting week, since I used the Fusion360 / EagleCAD bridge.

Week 16 - Interface and Application Programming

Developed while in the residency Tzoumakers in Kalentzi - Greece. I sketched a basic control web app and connections for the entire system.

Week 18 - Composites (wildcard week)

I used the possibility of exploring with composites to rehearse the option of applying a natural reinforced fiber to the fabrication of seedling trays for the small scale nursery, with a fascinating result.

Concluding, I can say that I was far from a dedicated Fab Academy student, and my frustration resides in not being able to express all I have learned in my documentation.
In my defense, I can say that it influenced all my teaching and professional activity, from course documentation for students to the permanent usage of git. (I'm currently releasing all the classes on mini-websites with static content generators, even if not using one on my own Fab Academy website).
Documentation became crucial in everything I'm doing.