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Concepting in Cardboard: Unlock your Prototyping Powers!Expired

Oct 16, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Pacific

What You'll Do:


It’s been said that cardboard is the “gateway drug to making”. For me, it’s the secret superpower behind nearly every build project! Somewhere between sketching your idea and setting out to construct it, there’s an uncertain step where you’re tasked with imagining how an object will feel in space. Does the scale seem right? How does the shape look from all angles? Will it fit? It’s hard to guess about these design elements and spatial relationships without seeing the thing in front of you, or holding it in your hands. 

The good news is, you don’t need advanced modeling skills, virtual reality simulations, or even a big budget for prototyping. Using materials you probably already have at home, you can rough out models in cardboard, foam core, or other scrap to quickly “sketch” your idea out in three dimensions!

What You’ll Do

In this workshop, we’ll discuss the thought process behind low-tech prototyping and scale models. We will cover the basics of working with a variety of materials: where to find them, how to cut and shape them, as well as different types of joints and attaching methods, and how best to use them in your models. Next, I’ll show you some techniques for taking your prototypes to the next level – methods for measuring and patterning off your mockups to make your final designs. Finally, we’ll send you off with a design challenge to apply these skills and put your new mockup chops to the test!

You’ll leave with a fresh look at design thinking, some useful modeling techniques, and a new relationship with the contents of your recycling bin!

Skill Level:

Makers of all experience levels will enjoy this workshop. We’ll be using utility knives and hot glue guns, so young makers should have supervision, but it’s a great skill builder for all makers of any age! Cardboard prototypes are an excellent starting point for design or engineering units in class, makerspace workshops, or even family crafting - all with materials you probably have on hand.

Skills you will learn:

How to visualize and rough out your maker project in 3D, techniques for working with cardboard and foam: basic cutting and measuring, cardboard joints (tabs, slots, hinges, flanges, etc.). I’ll also share a special trick for translating your prototypes into digital format by scaling a picture of your mockup and tracing it in the computer!

What You'll Need:

These are some tools and materials we’ll be using. Many of these items you may already have at home, but here are links for reference or to purchase online:

Wishlist Links:

About your Facilitator:

Jen has been making professionally for over 10 years - building with wood, metal, plastic, fabric, clay, digital fabrication, and the list goes on... But before ever picking up a power tool, she still reaches for cardboard as her secret weapon for ideation and prototyping. She has worked everywhere from niche fabrication shops, to television show sets, and taught in a range of community education environments from youth and adult makerspaces, to tool libraries, summer camps, and live workshops at Maker Faires and cons around the world.



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General attendee
  • Oct 16, 2021 11:00 am - 1:00 pm (Pacific)
Age Range: 18+ 14-18 12-14
Have questions or comments? Email us at makercampus@make.co

Maker Campus session recordings will be made available to all paid registrants.
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