The Nobody

Yes, it got a name, Nobody! This week I made him move a little.

This idea comes from the scene that when I see the moment someone is really focusing on or obsessing with his own work, I just super want to say "Hi" or disturb him, and see his reaction...


1. Coding and testing

2. Making the scene

I used clay again to make the Nobody, modeling it with a thick wire in the body and a thin long wire in the head which let it can pass through the body hole. Then I made the floor, desk, chair,and laptop with cardboards. The laptop had a LED in it trying to make it like a real computer screen. (Standoffs are really useful and save me lots of time on all these legs.)

3. Connecting with Arduino

This is a simple circuit with one microphone sound sensor, a servo motor, and a LED. I decided the servo's position first based on the Nobody, then just roughly collected all other parts into the under layer.

4. Assembling

I'm so lucky that I bought these two boxes separately in Container Store and they were perfectly matched! It saved me bunch of time that I just needed to focus on the inner part.


1) I haven't figured out how to sense the knocking direction, and how to dynamically sense the default decibel when there's nothing happen.

2)The head moving is not smooth enough.

3) I didn't mount the servo on anything. Because the iron wire passing through the body was not technically straight, the head is moving better when I let the servo move with it a little. It must had a better way than iron wire.

4) There is no switch! Since I don't want people see the power supplier so I used batteries placed in the box, which made me confused about how to make a switch...

Materials: Brick Story

The final product of this week below.


1. Dig a hole on a brick

I picked a brick from a construction site near my home and dig a hole on it using the pointed end of a hammer, then painted its side part white.. In my design, the LED supposed to be flash like a wave and had some color change effect. But it was difficult than I thought to dig a deep hole for Arduino board on a brick. But after that I knew there's a kind of drill bits can do that efficiently...

2. Pouring wax

The hole was a irregular shape and I wanted to make the surface half translucent like a water. So I picked colored wax after thinking about some modeling materials. If I poured wax directly into the brick, I would never pull it off, so I used cling film as a isolator. In order to save some spaces to LED, I put some beans under the cling film to occupy the space.

I water heated the wax to liquid and poured it by couple times.

3. Make a little character

I hand-maded the character with clay, baked it to dry, and refined the appearance.

4. Combine elements

I drilled a hole for the character's legs and refilled some wax to fit the shape. The character can help user lift the wax lake.


1. The wax is not translucent enough to let people see the brick texture under it, which is the main reason I chose brick to do this. And it's very fragile since the edge of the wax lake is thin. But I haven't found another material to replace it.

2. The brick is not rough enough to get the strong contrast feeling between materials. Seems like it is made by concrete which make it clean and hard to drill.

3. The way that I put the LED in it is super dumb!


Plan A:

I tried to build a box for my team filming project in video&sound class, and I drew a sketch, bought a black 12cm*12cm project box, a white spray paint to change the box's color, and some plastic standoffs.


1) I found out the standoff couldn't match the hole on the corner of the box, so I drilled the holes bigger, but not fitting well.

2) The design of acrylic top was totally wrong. I didn't find a good solution to make a joint for the cover.

3) Painting is so hard! I sprayed too many layers on the box and couldn't know when it would dry. Then I got a finger printed scratched bumped box that I had to discard it. (It's so depressing everything seems wrong that I forgot documentation, sorry.)

Plan B:

The final enclosure below.

First I laser cut the acrylic sheet to compose the top part.



The acrylic got so mach stains, and even more next morning. I used a gel glue which gave me a good control, but still got this stain mass.

The bottom part of the enclosure is a firm paper box of my beats ear pod. I putted some cardboard supporting in it, and manually drilled two holes for USB and DC plug.  

Coming soon:

Because of delivery delay, I haven't got my buttons and toggles now. I will keep updating this blog.


Laser cut: snack plate

Final product below:

The idea came from paper garland, and I found the pattern from web.

Since the acrylic sheets are harder than paper, I tried the design with cardboard first.

I accidentally found out the shadow was beautiful. If I had a opaque acrylic sheet, I could carve some sentences between two edges, then it would have the sentences on the shadow when it was under appropriate light. But, I just recklessly bought a transparent clear sheet and didn't have time to buy another one for this assignment.

Then I started the first try on acrylic sheet (3mm) with a small model. I heated the joints and bent them one by one from outside to inside.

The problems are: It broke when the temperature was not high enough, and the angle of each joint was different. After I practiced, I got some experiences of this job.

After that, I laser cut another bigger one with more circles and with words carved at the bottom as decoration. I used wood sheets to secure the bending angle of every joint. It was still not that perfect because the wood left marks on the heated soft acrylic.

However, the outcome seems fine, and also has the beautiful shadow under light.

P.S. When I pictured it, I broke one of the edges in the middle. I think the acrylic sheet should be thicker than 3mm to make sure it's strong enough. And I can make a longer round headed wood piece to be the angle controller next time.

Make multiples of something

If I want to make 100 wood stars, what should I do?

Since it is 100-stars, I want to make a long piece of wood with a star shape intersecting surface, then I can easily cut it to a lot of pieces with no matter how thick I wanted. Then I think about to make a pentagon bar with 5 triangle pieces gluing on it, and also I need to make some jigs to cut the angles.







I made 3 jigs, but none of them worked as I expected. I ran out of my time and still don't know how to make straight cutting.

As a compromise, I chose to use a easier way, the sander. I finally got my pentagon bar, even this process only worked for 6 now, not for 100. Then I glued, drilled, and re-sanded them to make an earring box.

I haven't figured out the angle-cutting problem. I will keep trying.


After I finished this documentation, the idea came out that maybe I made jigs right but use them wrong. For example, I tried to stable the jig-01 on the left hand, then just push the bar through the saw. I should try place the jig-01 at the right hand and push the bar with it just like my sketch.

And another problem: the jigs I made can only be used for cutting the first 2 edges of the pentagon !

Build a Flashlight

00. Preparation

Materials and tools

Materials and tools






01. Circuit test


The First try didn't work. Then I used Arduino to find out the problems.

The problems are:

1) I used the wrong feet of the pushbutton.

2) I confused the “+” and "-" of the LED, and also used only one 1.5V AA battery to power the 3V LED.

Then I made the right circuit below.


02. Make a container

The original design was based on the metal plate and semi-transparent plastic. But I can't use SHOP to cut the metal now. So I tried to build it with the plastic and black tape. 

However, the plastic is too crisp to crack, and I measured the whole size a little smaller than it should be. When I putted the batteries in it, the case couldn't fold very well and parts of the plastic broke off.

Bottom inside, battery's "+" side.

Bottom inside, battery's "+" side.

Parallel connected LED, battery's "-" side

Parallel connected LED, battery's "-" side

The bott0m and the top

As a result, although the flashlight works good, the appearance is a disaster. 



1) Making a neat appearance is way more difficult than making things work. 

2) There are lots of accidents about materials. Try it first before you choose it, and keep yourself a bunch of backup plans.

3) When I tested the circuit, sometimes the wire went very hot, sometimes the LED flashed then dead. So check the elements' parameters first to prevent danger.