Week 13: Wildcard Week (Inflatables!)

Learning how to sew

I decided to participate in the inflatables workshop for wildcard week. The first step of making an inflatable was learning how to sew. We were using the Singer sewing machines that are available in the ACT workshop in the Media Lab.

I have used a sewing machine before but never learned how to thread one. Agnes went over the process of threading a machine, which involved running a thread from the top spool down the arrows, around the tensioning hook, and then through the needle. I though the hardest part was threading the bobbin needle from the bottom of the machine up and around the top thread since I couldn't really see what was happening underneath the hatch the houses the bobbin. After a few misguided attemps and poor stitching, I was able to successfully thread the machine and make a few stitches. We warmed up by cutting and stitching together a simple box.

Designing an inflatable

I wanted to design an wearable inflatable that looks like a helmet but with a cup on top. I thought it would be fun to wear it and have people try to throw balls into the cup (movable target game.) I draw out some preliminary designs and used Rhino to geometrically model this as a square and a cylinder. I thought I would be able to get through the class without downloading Rhino, but it turns out that Rhino has a useful unroll function that will roll out the net of the shape.

With my design in Rhino complete, I went to the ACT workshop to work on my actual inflatable.

Sewing the parts

The material we were given was ripstock nylon, a weather and fire-resistant material that was pretty easy to work with and cut. I was able to cut out and sew up the square and the top, including the cylinder that will become the cup.

Once I added a tube for the fan, I was able to inflate and actually wear my creation.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of my inflatable before leaving for break and I did not bring it home with me, but I will update with pictres of the completed wearable once I get back to campus.