Maker Corps member Jereme here to talk about a project that I was commissioned to create an award for the Discovery Squad Members, who are our volunteers at the Museum for the summer. These kids work really hard and their coordinator, Aaron, asked if I could create an award in the form of a sun for them dubbed, the Sunshine Award (since, Aaron refers to his Discovery Squad members as his “Rays of Sunshine”). The idea first was to try to create it via a 3D program and then print it, but I didn’t feel that would give me the quality of the sun that I was looking for. I then decided to approach this task from a different angle and make something a bit more abstract, artistically. It would still be a sun, but maybe not in the sense of a sphere with the sun rays coming off of it. This also gave me the opportunity to try a new program, Autodesk 123D Make & Design.
With the 123D Design program I was able to create my 3D sphere image which I then sent over to the 123D Make program to create a model that I could cut out on the laser cutter, and assemble like a 3D puzzle. The file was then exported as a .dxf file in order to modify part of the vertical pieces in Corel Draw.
With the file now in Corel Draw I added the sun rays, a base to the model, and then exported this document to the laser cutter for test cuts. After, the test cut I found that the base had too small of a connection to the vertical piece and enlarged it a bit and then cut all of the pieces out on the laser cutter in 1/8” yellow transparent acrylic.
Assembly was fairly straightforward since the object was symmetrical on the horizontal and on the vertical all of the pieces, minus the two with the sun rays and base were all identical. I test fit all the pieces and after ensuring they all fit well I used two part epoxy in order to join the entire structure together.
The next goal was to set the base into something a bit sturdier, so Brent used a drill press to create a slot in a wood base which I then used the epoxy to set the sun sculpture into the base and make it look like a single complete structure.
The final goal of the project was to create the award placard for the sculpture. I tried a new type of plastic for this that when hit with the laser would go from the gold sheen it had to a dark black sheen. This was then tested and etched creating the, “Sunshine Award, Volunteer of the Week.” The first recipient of the award was Nandini Kommana and she was overjoyed to receive it.