Tools Deep Dive

In class we’ve also discussed the framework of “low floor,” “high ceiling,” and “wide walls” to evaluating learning technologies. Before we fully launch into the final project phase of the class, let’s take a moment to review the various lab tools that we’ve spent the first half of the semester learning and explore their “high ceilings” and “wide walls.”

On the lab shelves and pegboard we have several sample widgets that highlight the basic operation of the various lab tools–for example, omni-animals from years past, sample Formlabs prints, etc. We want you to now help the TLT Lab create a similar library of parts that showcase more advanced or alternative techniques and applications of lab processes/tools.

These processes include, but are not limited to:

  • 2D vector drawing and laser cutting
  • 3D CAD and 3D printing
  • Woodshop
  • Vinyl cutting and 2D vector drawing
  • CNC machining
  • Sewing machine / embroidery

And by advanced or alternative techniques and applications, we mean:

  • Using advanced functions in 2D / 3D design software to create complex designs
  • Tinkering with machine and software settings to bring about more complex designs
  • Using nonstandard materials (that is, not cardboard, plywood, MDF, and acrylic with the laser cutter)
  • Creative combination of materials.
  • Post-processing / finishing techniques
  • And much more

In pairs, you will investigate an assigned process/tool and share your findings on Miro (part of this will be done as a class activity during Week 9 lab). You will also fabricate a widget that showcases the alternative technique or application and create a descriptive placard to accompany it.


As a pair, please submit the following:

  1. A simple demo product of your design that exemplifies and showcases the novel technique or application. It should roughly fit in a 15cm x 15cm x 15cm box.
  2. A printed placard with a description and explanation of what you’ve created.
  3. On Miro (as a pair), one card that includes the below information (follow the Miro template):
    • A description of your product. Include information on what tool you used, any relevant settings, materials, etc. (this can be the text that you print onto your placard)
    • Highlights from your investigation. Include the source / reference for your sample widget as well as links and images to 2-3 other alternative techniques / applications that make use of your assigned tool and that you found interesting.


✓+Meets all requirements described above and does something particularly creative or stunning. There’s no precise criterion here.
Meets all requirements described above.
✓-Does not meet the requirements described above.


Example omni-animal placard

Note: The investigation process / Miro deliverable is not shown in this example.