Recently, a local group of Girl Scouts visited the Columbus Idea Foundry to earn a merit badge in Product Design. We designed a program just for their needs, which let this group of 10- year-old girls get some hands-on experience in the prototyping process.
We tend to promote open source software at the CIF: it’s typically free and readily accessible by all. I designed a prototype of a jewelry tree in Inkscape, a free vector editing software, and laser cut a couple versions of a base design out of matboard on our laser cutter.
I tried a 12-inch tall version and 6-inch tall versions, and tried out a few different features: rastoring “Girl Scouts” on the tree base, adding different earring or bracelet holes, and adjusting the branches.
When the girls arrived I showed them the different prototypes– some that turned out nicely, and some that I didn’t like. We talked about how the size affected how long it took to cut them on the laser and quantity of materials used; and how a product’s design affects its price.
Then we split the girls into two groups and encouraged them to brainstorm how they would make changes to the design: what features they liked or didn’t like, if they wanted to change text, pick out different colours, change the way the branches looked, and more.
Each group took a turn joining studio resident, member and volunteer Gary M. in the laser room, where he helped tweak the original file based on their design changes. Then a new tree was cut for each student which they got to keep.
We wrapped up with a tour of the Columbus Idea Foundry and Director Alex Bandar spoke about how we turn ideas into physical “things” here at the Foundry.
Article by Casey McCarty, Assistant Director. For information about special events and programs we can design for your students, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.