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Gabriel Ng, Rohit Srivastava, Delaney Sunbury, and Joseph "Joey" Baietto with their "Fidget Cube" they designed and developed a prototype for in their ME 444 course, "Toy Design."

Gabriel Ng, Rohit Srivastava, Delaney Sunbury, and Joseph “Joey” Baietto with their “Fidget Cube” they designed and developed a prototype for in their ME 444 course, “Toy Design.”

 We’ve all been there—in that situation where a last-minute change to a project or a plan can evoke panic-inducing visions of the entire thing going up in flames. For college students, end-of-semester papers and projects can be rife with this kind of hiccup, and many times, at such a critical juncture, the support and resources provided by faculty and staff can make or break such an assignment.

Recently, when Gabriel Ng (Overland Park, KS), a senior biomedical engineering major, and his fellow group-project members in Purdue’s Mechanical Engineering (ME) 444, “Toy Design,” course had a last-minute change to a toy product prototype, he and his team received such support from staff in Purdue Libraries—support that was critical for the project’s success. With the help of Library Assistant Robin Meher and her fellow employees in the Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue (D-VELoP) located in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC), the students were able to get the project—the “Fidget Cube”—completed and turned in on time.

“We had been working on a large semester project in ME 444, and I came into the WALC just before Thanksgiving break because our team had a last-minute change that forced us to send a significant amount of our nearly 50 parts to the 3D printers in D-VELoP for printing,” Ng explained. “Robin was the one in the room at the time and was incredibly helpful in answering my questions, detailing the quotas and constraints of your system, and helping me organize the prints so we could get everything printed on time to complete the project.”

Joseph “Joey” Baietto and his group's Fidget Cube.

For a group project in their ME 444 (“Toy Design”) class, Joey Baietto said he and his fellow group members wanted to design a challenging, complex, and creative toy that would celebrate Purdue’s 150-year anniversary.

According to Joseph “Joey” Baietto (Crystal Lake, IL), a senior mechanical engineering major, for their project, the team wanted to design a challenging, complex, and creative toy that would celebrate Purdue’s 150-year anniversary. Other team members include Delaney Sunbury (Seymour, IN), a senior mechanical engineering major, and Rohit Srivastava (St. Louis, MO), a senior biomedical engineering major.

“Our preliminary designs for a toy each focused on one aspect of Purdue and Purdue’s icons,” Baietto explained. “However, with the Fidget Cube, we could incorporate most of the Purdue icons into a single toy! As a result, we chose this concept as our toy. The resulting toy was an astounding success. We were able to incorporate Purdue’s Sesquicentennial, the Purdue XTRA Special, Purdue Pete (twice), and an ‘IU SUCKS’ banner all into the toy. The team incorporated many concepts we learned in class into the design, as well. Because there are six sides to the cube and all are unique and independent, all of us had the opportunity to design our own sides on the toy. As a result, each person was invested equally in the project,” he added.

Earlier this week, Ng sent Meher an email, thanking the staff in D-VELoP for their help with the team’s toy product prototype, and he included a photo of the prototype.

“Right now, the size of the prototype is rather large, but in the future, the size of the product will be reduced greatly,” Ng added. “The Fidget Cube has four sides: a fully functional fidget spinner; a 150-years push button (users can push the 1 and 0 back and forth); a maze feature that, when you complete the maze successfully, the LED array around the maze lights up; and a train side that, when a user spins the wheels, a Purdue Pete pops up and down, which is based on a scotch yoke mechanism in the inside of the face. There is also a drivetrain on the bottom to drive the cube around.”

The course, ME 444, teaches students about computer aided design and rapid prototyping and uses toy design projects for student learning. Such courses at Purdue often require students to create product prototypes. Many times, Purdue students use the 3D printing and data visualization resources provided through D-VELoP (part of the Library of Engineering and Science in the WALC) for their assignments.

“The creativity and ingenuity of Purdue students never fails to amaze us in the print lab,” Meher noted. “We have printed architectural designs, tools for shaping clay, parts for robot cars, and so much more. Printing prototypes like the Fidget Cube is especially enjoyable, as we can imagine the day when the items come to market. For a lot of prints, especially parts, we don’t know what the final product will be–so seeing the finished cube is very cool. Props to Gabriel, Joseph, Rohit, and Delaney for their vision and design! It was a pleasure working with them.”

To learn more about the resources provided at D-VELoP, see www.lib.purdue.edu/d-velop. Information about and instructions for 3D printing through the Library of Engineering and Science is available at https://guides.lib.purdue.edu/3dprinting/Home.