縫う (nuu), pronounced "new" means sew in japanese
Making With Meaning
Product Realization: Designing and Making - Autumn 2019
Utilize the product realization lab to create a product that is both meaningful to you and displays a mechanical function.
Nuu Box: At A Glance
A sewing box that honors my grandma and the tools she used as a tailor
Aluminum sheet (5053), wood (poplar)
Sheet metal pattern making and bending,riveting, woodworking and staining
To create an item that exists nowhere else and include an element of whimsy
To achieve consistent geometry, precisely plan each folding sequence, ensure all parts fit well together, rivet reliably, work with and finish wood components, and to know when to stop.
When I first approached this project, I didn't know where to start. I had not worked in the machine lab before, and I wasn't sure what the different processes would make possible for me, so I felt uncertain about which direction to pursue. However, this new-ness was also very exciting and after reflecting on the things that I found most meaningful in my life, more and more projects came to mind.
To the right are some of my initial ideas: a mechanical pencil display case and a sewing box - the latter was the project I decided to go forward with.
Utilizing SolidWorks gave me the chance to work through the dimensions of my critical part before I had to cut any sheet metal.
I decided to run through the operations sequence of my project to iron out imperfections for the final.
The inset wooden trays, the scissor holster, the handle added much more complication than I anticipated, but the time I put into making them interact well with the metal components was well worth it as they greatly added to the utility and aesthetic of the box.
This quarter was a journey - peppered with moments of stress but also of great excitement and pride. Through the initial stages of this project, I learned about the different processes that I could utilize in the product realization lab. This opened up my mind to the different materials that I could now manipulate, and I was excited to dive into the world of metal, as previously I had worked mainly with fabric and plastics. During the brainstorming process I thought of many different projects that excited me, including metal cylinder seals and kaleidoscope, but ended up choosing a sewing box that housed the sewing supplies I inherited from my grandmother.
As I embarked on the project, I was frozen by the many uncertainties that I was faced with: Would it be best if I utilized 4 side panels or just one long one? How would I attach the lids? What thickness of sheet metal should I use? Although I was initially uncomfortable by all of the choices that surrounded me, I realized that these were exactly the questions that this project was intended to inspire. As I progressed further and had to make decisions and purchase parts, the anxiety lessened as I realized that not every decision I made would be perfect, but my continued reflection after each step would eventually bring me to the right place.
Looking back on my the trajectory of my project this quarter, there are many things that I now realize I could have done more efficiently or could have done without and still had a successful project, but I think I learned the most because of the mistakes, workarounds, and my hardheadedness of sticking to my vision - even if it meant reworking the pattern of my box or troubleshooting my designs for the inset trays until I wanted to pull out my hair. Although this aspect of the journey was not something I would change, I think if were to remake this project I would intentionally budget in materials to use just for practicing with. I found that when I thought the sheet metal I bought was all I would have, I approached the project very tentatively, too afraid to make mistakes, but when I resolved that my first round with the sheet metal would be for practice, I gave myself permission to develop new designs and different ways to achieve the geometry I desired without worrying about compromising my final piece.
Now that the project is completed, I am so excited to see what I can do next. After seeing all of the wonderful projects that my classmates worked on this quarter, I am looking forward to exploring more in depth the other manufacturing processes as well.