Wenling Zheng (鄭文玲): I tried to get my boyfriend a new pair of shoes, I put them in my room, and it became moldy due to the humidity… The shoe storage is actually named Dry honeycomb, because it looks like a honeycomb, and it can be expanded by the user. It’s not only for shoes, it protects your electronics from humidity as well…
The Southern Taiwan Maker Camp Series 2016 organized by the Southern Taiwan Maker Center started with “Maker Village,” which took place for 3 consecutive Saturdays from July 16. It was designed mainly for beginners with zero experience in digital manufacturing, and immediately had almost 40 people signed up. Though the students came from different backgrounds and age groups, ranging from senior people to high schoolers. With the DIY spirit of a maker, everybody was able to make something amazing.
The Maker Village chose 6 of the beginner’s maker tools: 3D printing, 3D modeling, 2D graphics, laser engraving machine, digital plotter and arduino, to teach to the students in 3 weekends or 6 days, and the last day was an exhibition where each team showed what they had made. Unlike traditional maker courses, the Maker Village tried to not only turn inexperienced beginners into makers but also ones that are able to make something of their own through constant learning
On the first day of the course, the Design Thinking Workshop led each team to plan the things they wanted to make, based on the problems people might face in their daily lives, and tried to make something that might help. Besides learning about the 6 digital maker tools, the rest of the course also included designing and combining the tools and each member’s suggestions to build the prototype together.
Below is the interview of Wenling Zheng (鄭文玲), a member of the “Dry Honeycomb” team. She shared her initial thoughts and how her work came into being:
Not so choopy as a beginner, won first prize with her shoe cabinet
Q1: What made you want to be a maker?
Zheng: Actually I was just bored at work… and I like the feeling of making things with hands, plus more and more maker tools were being released at the same time, so I decided to step into the field. “All products are made by people, so I should be able to make something” has been my belief all this time, and then I started taking different courses on digital maker tools.
Q2: What made you want to sign up for Maker Village? What kind of new impact did it make?
Zheng: I had been learning for some time, and still not made anything of my own. Seeing that Maker Village last for a rather long period of time, I hoped to grab the opportunity and make a difference this time. These courses were very open, they let us design by ourselves. When we faced a problem, we solved it, this helped us understand what the problem was, and actually learn something. The teamwork was even more fun. In my past maker courses I often met people who wouldn’t stop speaking jargon, as though they were on a higher level, which was too difficult for me. In Maker Village however, everybody seemed to be on the same level, and made the teamwork less stressful.
Q3: What are the advantages of your team?
Zheng: Each member has his or her own profession, and this makes our teamwork perfect. I have experience in woodworking, so I am in charge of architecture; our leader studied mechatronics, so he is familiar with the operation of arduino; and we have another partner who knows materials, and can always remind us the details on how to put them together. Despite the age gap, where some are almost 40, and some are in college, our professional teamwork lets us communicate with no problem.
Q4: What made you want to make Dry honeycomb?
Zheng: It actually came from something petty in my life. I tried to get my boyfriend a new pair of shoes, I put them in my own room, and it became moldy due to the humidity… The smart shoe rack is actually named Dry honeycomb, because it looks like a honeycomb, and it can be expanded by the user. It’s not only for shoes, it protects your electronics from humidity as well.
Q5: How does Dry Honeycomb make use of what you’ve learned from the course? How does the dehumidification work?
Zheng: The honeycomb joints are 3D printed, the door and logo are made by laser cutter, the smart core system for dehumidification is the arduino, and the design of the entire cabinet requires 3D modeling and 2D graphics. The cabinet will automatically detect humidity, once it gets above 60% the smart chip will initiate the condenser, and the internal fan will send in dry air through the air vent valve. This does the jobs of electricity conservation and smart monitoring at the same time.
Q6: What is the future development of Dry honeycomb?
Zheng: During production, we hoped to have 6 Dry honeycombs, but due to the lack of time and budget, we could only make this prototype. The cabinet will be expanded in the future, and we are yet to overcome the problem of the separate control of air vent valve on each cell. There is only one cell at the moment, so the air vent valve is always on. After more cells are attached, we hope that each air vent valves will be able to detect the humidity of its own cell. Only when they are all independent, can there be real electricity conservation.
Q7: What are your future plans?
Zheng: Because of the praise and recommendation we got in Maker Village, the Southern Taiwan Maker Center has sent us to the Million Dollar Maker Arena organized by the Workforce Development Agency. If we are accepted, we will finish Dry honeycomb.
Because the work is nearly complete and has high usability, Zheng’s team won unanimous praise from the judges. Southern Taiwan Maker Center member, Jiahao (家豪) , said that the results of Maker Village had been amazing. All 9 teams finished their works and received great feedback. The Southern Taiwan Maker Center will hold another advanced course in August, and PunPlace of Tainan city will hold another Maker Village in September. Everybody is welcome to experience the maker spirit of DIY fun!