Innovation Hub – How I made a puzzle.

So during the last school year the OU Innovation Hub Opened which includes a FabLab which is one of the coolest makerspaces around. Students and faculty can use it for free, but you are smart to bring your own wood and not rely on scraps.

I know this is important to my @OUEducation students in their preparation to be teachers, so when we switched to badging in Spring 17 we included a badge that they needed to go to the innovation hub or the Edge at the library to make something and share their experiences.

To be honest, I did not have time to go until summer, but now summer is here and two of my students got hired to work here next year, it is time for me learn to better support my students and work out logistics.

I am most excited by the Laser Cutter. I am constantly impressed by the cool wooden things that can be made.

First thing, I met with Brandt, FabLab Director, and he helped me make something after I took the safety quiz.   He showed me a bit in Illustrator but then I knew that if I was really going to understand the process I better make some stuff.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWREqLJeUaGF5AdrziWzSMQ

So first, I started with a file created by Brandt  so I had the basics that I could copy..(but really could not, but it helped me get started)..

Then I went to Home Depot and bought some 1/4 inch plywood.

I checked out a computer with Illustrator in the College of Education and then started to take short cuts.

Miranda Hanno
My partner in Crime awesome @oueducation student Miranda Hannon

I started to download Vector Files from Vecteezy.   (No judgement I am learning – originals come later).

my first puzzle using Vecteezy

So then I printed my first projects but messed up proportions something fierce.. (my 3×5 quote sign ended up being like 8 x 11) and I made my first puzzle and forgot about the back of it and had to reprint and got all the proportions wrong.

Lesson 1:  waste some wood while you learn! 

Then we printed some other things and got proportions figured out and then I was hooked..

Making a Complete Puzzle

I was first inspired to make a puzzle by a card that I found at Hallmark.

This is the original card – 1/8 plywood with a cardboard back.

So I left for two hours, sat on Campus Corner and did a new illustrator file to print. (and if they were open on Wednesday I would be there today) .

(Lesson 1.a – don’t leave plywood in a hot Oklahoma car – it rolls up like a taquito) 

Lesson 2: keep practicing, you will learn more.. (and remember a lot you had forgotten from grad school) 

This time I used a sheet of Owls from VectEezy to make a custom puzzle .. I figure I will give to someone at Arthur Elementary (Arthur owls) They are our local ConnectEd School and are setting up a MakerSpace.

I put the owls into Adobe Illustrator – and used a red line to create a cut around each owl and each square.

So first I printed the owls and planned to cut around them.  Then I made a rectangle and cut that out.

In the laser cutter

so what I ended up was this – a rectangle that had the outlines of the owls.

Each of the owls is cut out but fit back in the square.

Get it.. the owls fit back in?

Then I also cut out a rectangle that was the same size of the cut out square.

Then I used wood glue to attach the one with the cut outs to the plain one.

Wood glue on back..looks like buttered bread – eh)

Lesson 3: a little Wood Glue goes a long way. 

Then I realized I did not have a way to pull them out..  A girl had just cut out keychains and she had made these little pegs where she had cut out the hole for the keychain to attach. She had the idea – use the trash from her project to finish mine!  So we cleaned out the trash tray and found enough to make the pulls to glue on.

Lesson 4: I learned more from looking at other’s projects than what I was doing myself. The community was amazing. 

This student (Instagram: OklahomaMarigold ) had great ideas and I learned a bunch along with the Camp Crimson staff member that was working too.

So here is the final project

The finished project.

So what is the next step?

First I made this to match the size of the greeting card. It fits in a sandwich bag – but if I made it bigger by scaling it in Illustrator, I could make it big. (my first one is the size of a Melissa and Doug Puzzle)

I want to try to do it with original drawings and now I have plan. (I may use Adobe Illustrator Draw App to create a file to export to Illustrator to be able to draw with a stylus on an iPad)

Overall, this was a great start, I installed Illustrator on my computer today and plan to work on it while at #ISTE and print again when I return.

It is kind of like when my friend Mona taught me how to make hummus in grad school – mind blown – these projects that were  so overwhelming to me are quite possible.  This is the same transformation that I need for my students.. so I will keep learning and let them see me learn.

For more information on the Innovation Hub visit:  http://www.ou.edu/innovationhub.html

Ps. this is a great project for my early childhood majors -imagine if you made a puzzle for each Unit or topic in the curriculum!

Watch for my next post on how great the Bizzel Library Edge was to work with for our Education students during Intersession! 

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