Transforming Spaces through Art and Function

Final Reflection… Thus Far

This project has had many ups and downs.

We have encountered many problems along the way, really pushing back our schedule. Between design indecision and availabilities to get the jobs done and material confusion, I think our biggest problem was time management.

While I am disappointed our project is currently unfinished, it is in its final stages before completion. I am happy with the ending result, and it is exciting to see our project take its final form.

I think, despite our problems, my partner and I have worked extremely hard and I’m proud of our results. I reached my own personal goal of completing the turtle shell decoration on time, the portion of the project that I was responsible for. As seen in the prior posts, it came out beautifully and as I intended it to. Though I may not be perfect with the jigsaw, once the shapes were screwed down to the boards, they looked just the way I hoped they would. I received many compliments on the work at the Capstone fair, as well.

In retrospect, I want to return to the questions I had submitted as a Personal Evaluation Rubric. These are the goals I had set for myself and my team early on this semester.

Was the final cost around the expected budget? — YES
    Our project actually came to end up beneath our budget! We allotted approximately $900 for this project. With the help of the DCC scholarship and the Sustainability Grant, we have had to spend little to no of our own money on creating our project, and we have stayed within and below our expected budget!
Was the project completed in a timely manner that allowed for testing and improvement? —NO
    My own sort of test that I got the chance to run up to this point was the public’s reaction to the decoration. This is still a critical part, because the project is in a way an art installation. The decorative element on the back is meant to grab the attention of passersby and stop out of curiosity. Many people questioned what the project was, even seeing images of it’s final design. Part of our ultimate goal is sufficient usage, and attraction is the first element.
Was there sufficient communication between my partner and me, and with our stakeholders? — YES
    Throughout the project, Emily and I communicated effectively. We updated each other on our individual progress throughout, and we took on different tasks as to make the best use of our time. If either needed help, we would communicate with each other and plan times to work together. As for our stakeholders, we were in constant communication with most of them, occasionally referring back and providing updates or asking for additional advice. We received two new helpers/stakeholders throughout the project, Don and Joe, from our individual labs. They helped significantly on the fabrication of our product, and we couldn’t have done it without their constant assistance.
Did we create a design that was sustainable, cost-efficient, functional, adaptable, and easily replicated? —YES
     Our design as it seems will be easily implemented around any bench on campus. There are very few strict regulations, and the design can be flexible with different dimensions. The benches around campus are all similar dimensions, though, and thus the design would barely have to be altered. An alternative to alterations is to change the angles to cater to each bench’s particular orientation to the sun, but that isn’t a necessary step. The structure was also not too expensive considering all of the parts needed. We can easily replicate with better materials for approximately $1000, which is not too expensive considering the items on the market today, and our design is quite unique. The materials that have been reused for our project, as well as the element of utilizing solar energy, make for a very sustainable and longlasting structure. Additionally, this design could be sold to other schools, and the turtle shell decoration could be modified to be any mascot decoration.
Could our design be placed on a variety of bench styles? —YES
    The design is not very reliant on the design of the bench it is around. We plan on having an attachment directly to the bench, but even without it, the solar awning will be able to function around any size bench. The width of the vertical posts relate to the width of the bench, but this can be changed if need be.
Was our design innovative and new? —YES
    There still isn’t anything like this out there. We have built something that isn’t in existence yet, and it encompasses all of our initial goals of an art piece mixed with a functional and sustainable charging station. We feel it will be enjoyed and respected by many people.
Did our product serve the purpose of sustaining an outdoor academic community while being inherently sustainable itself? —YES
     Our solar awning will be highly sustainable in the fact that it can absorb and project a great deal of power daily, and can continuously charge electronics for many hours. The design itself is highly sustainable. A large amount of the material is reused or recycled, including all of the metal frame and some of the wood pieces. The project will be longlasting with the several layers of protective paint on them. Even in the process of our construction we tried to be environmentally friendly, including using as little paper as possible when creating the templates to trace out the shapes of the turtle shell. I used half the amount by turning one template into all the templates. We also didn’t use any spray paints or adhesives as to eliminate the amount of aerosol we release into the atmosphere. We stuck with good old fashioned, back breaking painting.
Did I keep my blog updated on the events as they happened as to keep a solid record of our progress? —YES
    Though I was not as good throughout the construction phase in my documentation, I updated my blog excessively early on in the project, sharing my progress and feelings as we went along. During construction, I took personal notes to record later on. Today I believe I have several successful posts that detail our hard work throughout the semester.
Did I put in equal efforts as my partner and not put the burden on her? —YES
   At first I was nervous about a group project, and Emily took on a lot of filling out the initial proposal the previous semester. I intended to work very hard this semester, and I certainly think I did. Coming up with the design was a heavy task alone, and then trying to implement it was difficult sometimes. While I tried to communicate the design effectively with her, since I was the one who created it, there were sometimes questions on her end to clarify dimensions or action items. Additionally, by splitting up the process, I ended up with a great deal of work cutting out each of the individual shapes and all of the cutting, sanding, painting, and screwing. While I was almost entirely on my own for this, I was very happy with the end results.
Did I gain any experience in design or electrical engineering? —YES
    I learned a TON about effective design, both in the sense of function and aesthetic. Through the help of the stakeholders, I came to understand how solar energy interacts with design, and how sustainable design can be most effective. I also learned through Emily and her stakeholders how solar wiring and PV panels actually operate and how they will work in conjunction with my design.
Overall, a very satisfying result.

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