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Making ElectricityDevices

In this project, we will research, plan and devise the construction of functioning ElectronicDevices. One possiblity is that the whole class build the same type of device with different designs, another possiblity is that individual groups choose different devices.


One of the inspirations of this project comes from the display at the Museum of Radio and Electricity in Bellingham Washington - http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/02/museum_of_radio_and_electricit.html In tyhe museum, there are about a dozen functioning devices that appear to be made with cnc tools, wood and plexiglass. We could do something similar.


On this project, you will work in small groups or pairs to fabricate a device that demonstrates some aspect of electricity. We will use research methods to find information, the design process to determine the best design and fabrication tools to make a working model of the best design you can come up with.


Initially, The group will need to determine if they all want to build competing devices around the same concept or if each group wants to build to a different concept.


Next, the groups or pairs will need to do some research about the device and the concepts that it shows. You will need to find a plan that can actually be built using the materials tool and time available. This project should be complete within the first half of the term.


Grading on this project will include: Information gathering, daily effort, creating a final working product, documenting the project and product.


Here is a link to the photos of Spring 2007 - http://flickr.com/photos/connors934/sets/72157600023479796/

Here is a link to the photos - http://www.flickr.com/photos/13559856@N00/sets/1458221/



  1. Your intended device needs to be settled by the end of the second class
  2. The device should use relatively simple materials
  3. The device should demonstrate a relatively simple concept
  4. The device needs to be buildable within the first 4 weeks or so of the class
  5. If there are safety concerns,you will need to address them
  6. Remember, you are doing something that nobody in the class has done before. Information gathering is an ongoing and crucial part of this project.


Your documentation needs to include What you are going to do

  1. What the concepts are
  2. what the materials are
  3. What the possible safety issues are
  4. As we go along, you will document your process and progress.


Device Discussion questions

  1. What is the device?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who invented it and when?
  4. What are some examples of this device in the world?
  5. What did you have to do that wasn't in the documentation?

Questions for the device due assignment:

  1. Why does the device work mechanically?
  2. Why does the device work electrically?
  3. What are the possible improvements for the mechanical function?
  4. What are the possible improvements for the electrical function?
  5. What will you do to make the device design repeatable?
  6. What documentation are you providing for future builders of the device?

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