Week 18: Project development

Since late April, we embarked on the construction process by first creating the polar bear sculpture. In total, we have a goal of completing eight sculptures, which include the polar bears, whale, dolphin, turtle, seal, and penguins.

Regarding the painting phase, we encountered a minor issue with the acrylic paints. Upon observing the colors after they dried on the cardboard, we noticed they appeared slightly darker than desired. To rectify this, we decided to mix in additional white acrylic paint with the existing colors to achieve a more pastel tone (please refer to the attached photo).

Due to the client's request, we are required to deliver 1000 sets of the mini cardboard whales by Monday, May 22nd. However, we are currently facing some time constraints, which puts us under a bit of pressure to meet the deadline.

Throughout my involvement in this project, a consistent realization has dawned upon meā€”that individuals often possess an unwavering belief that they are right (until they encounter a situation where they are proven wrong). I humbly acknowledge that I, too, am susceptible to this pattern of thinking.

Weekly Progress from April to June 2023

Over the course of several months, I have contemplated various ideas for my final project. However, in the end, I decided to go back to my initial concept - constructing large sculptures with interactive elements. To achieve this, I will utilize the microcontrollers we explored in the Electronics Design module (Weeks 6 to 9) to incorporate interactive features into the sculptures.

The Final project area spanned 16m x 13m, and the exhibition period is scheduled from May 26th to June 11th, 2023. The following is a draft idea for my current project.

I have always want to make my cardboard sculptures come alive. In coming weeks, I would like to mimic life form through different sensors and actuators and present them with mechanical movements, sound and (maybe) light. The final build-up is a 8m long cardboard whale (together with other endangered marine animals). Using RCWL-0516 Microwave Radar Motion Sensor (Week 11) to detect visitor approaching the whale sculpture, the eyeballs of the whale will move (or blink) and then make a vocalization.

Week starting 24 ~ 28 April 2023

I diligently prepared the templates for the mother and cub Polar bears and successfully completed the cutting process at the fab lab. Within a week, I managed to set them up for display.

I have always aspired to bring my cardboard sculptures to life. In the upcoming weeks, my goal is to mimic life-like forms through the integration of various sensors and actuators, presenting mechanical movements, sounds, and potentially even lighting effects. The centerpiece of my project will be an 8m-long cardboard whale, accompanied by other endangered marine animals. By utilizing the RCWL-0516 Microwave Radar Motion Sensor (introduced in Week 11), I intend to detect visitors approaching the whale sculpture. This will trigger movements in the whale's eyeballs, possibly including blinking, as well as vocalizations, creating an engaging and immersive experience.


Week starting 1 ~ 5 May 2023

The preparation and cutting of the whale templates, particularly the internal structure, proved to be time-consuming. To streamline the process, I enlisted the assistance of a few student assistants, and it was truly heartening to witness the collaborative efforts of the fab lab team, who provided support whenever possible. This is what true teamwork feels like.

In terms of "supplier side time management", starting this week, my priority will shift from hastily completing weekly assignments to ensuring the timely completion of the final project.


Week starting 8 ~ 12 May 2023

Final Whale setup

Final Whale setup
Final Whale setup

Week starting 15 ~ 19 May 2023

Final project WIP
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16
WIP week 16

Week starting 22 ~ 26 May 2023

Move-in plan on Monday on-site Pdf file

To watch the instruction video at normal speed here: https://for.edu.sg/whale

Final project on site

Watch the 8m whale come alive! (Video below)

Week starting 29 May to 2 June 2023

Make a whale shape PCB board to fit into the cardboard whale.

Whale PCB board

3D print an integration case

Whale PCB casing

First step, get the automata working with minimal force (and then replace it with a servo motor). Curiously, I find myself deeply moved by the profound emotion evoked by the whale sculpture in this very moment.

Final version with servo motor activated by PIR sensor.

System integration

On the other hands, today (5 June 2023) the local newspaper "Straits Times" post a photo of my project.

On local news

On the same day, another project from our fablab also got published on front page with the Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Steven Chew.

On local news

Presentation on 7 June 2023

I am no. 4 this year. Slide and video are here.

Week starting 12 to 16 June 2023

11 June 2023 (Sunday) is the last day of exhibition. The following day, we move the sculptures from the central atrium to other locations within the mall.

Final location
Final location

Also, this week we have improved the version of the instruction video of the mini whale significantly. Watch here (Youtube link): for.edu.sg/whale. Compare with previous version of the instruction video here. Below is the low-resolution of the revised instruction video.

Good news come today! After two months of processing our proposal, finally it is accepted after we went all out to our supplier network to solve the most challenging issues (Materials, logistics, and customs tax)!

As the journey unfolded, taking Fab Academy 2023 is NO longer about getting to the finish line- it's about meeting the community IRL who has been working so hard to make it all possible! Don't you agree?

Letter of acceptance
BBBB Workshop proposal

What has worked? what hasn't?

What questions need to be resolved?

What will happen when?

In February, we received a client inquiry and subsequently engaged in several meetings to discuss the potential project. After careful consideration, we decided to undertake the endeavor. Towards the end of February, the client provided us with a satisfactory budget. Our team promptly initiated the necessary paperwork, allocating a dedicated group of individuals for this task.

The production phase commenced in late April, and we diligently worked towards completing the project within the agreed-upon deadline of May 26, 2023. However, the client expressed their desire for an accelerated delivery and inquired if it would be feasible to receive the project a day earlier. Demonstrating our commitment to customer satisfaction, we mobilized additional resources and put forth exceptional effort, enabling us to meet their revised deadline successfully.

What have you learned?

I have come to recognize the paramount importance of teamwork. While it is true that not everyone may exhibit strong team-oriented qualities consistently, the achievement of successful project delivery hinges upon collaborative efforts. I am fortunate to be supported by an exceptional team within FabLab, whose dedication has enabled us to meet our project goals punctually and with precision. While acknowledging that perfection is elusive, we wholeheartedly committed ourselves to delivering our very best.