Project Overview

Students combine upcycling with modern technologies – 3D printing, laser cutting, and physical computing – to provide creative solutions to everyday needs and problems. The goal is to (re)make products that are useful and sustainable.

Why Upcycling?

We are all familiar with the “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan. Most recycling is actually considered to be “downcycling”, which means the new products have less value than the original materials. Upcycling refers to repurposing materials to make new products that have more value.

The world has a huge problem when it comes to pollution, trash, and recycling. Repurposing old materials to create upcycled products gives old materials new life and stops them from being thrown away.

Learn more about upcycling here.

Design Pathways

  1. 3D Printing – Learn how to design 3D models in Tinkercad.
  2. 3D Printing – Learn how to design 3D models in Onshape.
  3. Laser Cutting – Learn how to design vector graphics in Gravit Designer.
  4. Physical Computing – Learn how program a micro:bit using the MakeCode platform.

Human-Centered Design

Design teams identify an everyday need or problem and determine the target users who will benefit from their final solution.

Students develop empathy in the beginning by conducting research, making individual observations, and interviewing target users. They get feedback from these target users throughout the design process to make sure they are meeting their needs.

Design Criteria

  • Final product must combine 3D printing, laser cutting, or physical computing with upcycling.
  • Final product must be designed by students using the appropriate app/software.
  • Design process must be iterative – create, test, and revise multiple prototypes until a final solution is achieved.

Design Constraints

Specific design constraints are dependent on the fabrication tool used:

Design Lab 3D Printing Policy
Design Lab Laser Cutting Policy