“It’s easier to get into than I had first thought. So I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a steep learning curve, there’s a lot of things I have to know, there’s a lot of things that I would have to be good at before I can even do anything,’ but that’s not the case. I think that all you really need is the drive to learn and a little bit of 3D printing knowledge and the ability to follow some instructions, and using that, I think that anyone can start to build their first device.”
Imtiaz Jadavji is one of the newer makers to join our community. But he’s very quickly made a big impact, having taken on the task of redesigning our light touch switch.
A software developer by trade, having worked with companies including Hootsuite, Imtiaz had long been interested in Makers Making Change since learning about it at a the Science and Maker Jamboree event at Granville Island a few years ago.
“I like to build things, I like to code things, I’ve had a 3D printer for quite some time now [. . .] I could help with my software skills and my hardware skills as well, so that really attracted me to it, that I could use my hobby to also help people,” he explains. “It was always at the back of my mind, I just didn’t have any time, I was always busy with work.”
But when he left his job in December to pursue other opportunities, he found he had a lot more time and decided to take the plunge.
He’s had a 3D printer for about 10 years, but decided to upgrade to a better model. He started learning modeling softwares like Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD.
He joined the Makers Making Change forum at the beginning of the year, and immediately dived in looking for devices to make.
“I looked through the last 20 or 30 requests, and I found that people usually requested the raindrop switch, the light touch switch, and that basic assistive device package, which contained the key turner, the bottle opener, and the pen holders,” he explains. “What I did is to understand how the instructions work and how things were put together, and how the whole 3D printing process works, I decided to just download a bunch of those STL files and print them out, and see if I could actually build them. And then I took those devices, they all worked pretty well.”
Light Touch Switch Remix
Imtiaz’s third revision of the Light Touch Switch.
While working on the Light Touch Switch, he noticed a comment from a user asking if the wire could come through the hinge instead of through the front of the switch. This was a challenge he wanted to tackle.
He downloaded the Fusion 360 file and looked through the historical timeline to see how it was developed. He saw that it could be reversed pretty easily, and mapped the hole in the front of the device to the back.
He 3D printed it, he soldered it together, and put inside the housing for it. But the switch wouldn’t close — it was all solid in the back and there was no room for the cable when it was pushed down.
“So I thought, ‘Oh interesting, let me see if I can design it so that there is a space back there for the cable to go through,’ so I was looking at it, measured the width of the cable, measured how wide the hinge was for the lid, and then I thought if I cut a hole through the hinge side as well, there will still be a bit of space in there for the cable to pass through, and there will be enough material on either side of it so the hinge won’t be weak, and so I went back into Fusion, I found where the lid was being constructed, and then I took the same kind of shape as the cable, and I mapped it to the lid, and I extruded into it to cut a hole into it, and then I printed it again. And then once I printed it, I put it back on the base plate of it, and put the cable through it, and it worked.”
Imtiaz tested it to make sure it was durable, tugging on the cable and even swinging it around. He took it apart and re-glued it, and made sure that his design worked the other way too — with the wire coming through the front — and it did.
He sent his revision to the Makers Making Change team, who coincidentally had been looking to do a redesign.
They gave him some feedback, asking him if he could make it a lower profile in the front, and also have more area for glue that could hold the switch in place and hold the cable in place.
“I took a few days to go back into Fusion 360 to see if I could modify the existing switch to be like that, and I decided maybe that won’t work, I need to start from scratch, and I started a new Fusion file, I constructed it, went through five or six iterations of the different designs, and then I finally ended up with one that actually worked. So the cable comes out the back, there’s 15mm of space to apply glue, it is a little bit higher than the previous switch, but it’s much lower in the front. So in the front, it’s 4mm high and it kept the same width and it’s just slightly higher.”
Imtiaz’s revised versions are 4mm tall at the front (left) compared to the 10mm of the original switch (right).
He submitted the revision, and has continued to revise the Light Touch Switch remix. Imtiaz enjoys the process of designing a device and refining it.
“I’ve enjoyed the design process of things, kind of like coming up with ideas, thinking about how something should work, and then designing it, and then printing it as a prototype. And then kind of failing at it, and being like, ‘Hey, oh, this didn’t totally work like I thought it would,’ and then taking a second crack at it,” he explains. “So the development cycle from the initial idea to the first prototype to the final product — I really enjoy that evolution process.”
His advice for new makers?
“It’s easier to get into than I had first thought. So I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a steep learning curve, there’s a lot of things I have to know, there’s a lot of things that I would have to be good at before I can even do anything,’ but that’s not the case. I think that all you really need is the drive to learn and a little bit of 3D printing knowledge and the ability to follow some instructions, and using that, I think that anyone can start to build their first device. Like the key turner is a really good first project, and even the raindrop switch, you kind of get introduced to soldering a little bit, you get introduced to 3D printing and how things fit together, and following a set of instructions. The instruction set is really good and really clear, and so you can get into it very easily,” he says.
“I think the community has been really great. It was really supportive, really friendly, really easy to get started with. [. . .] I found that everybody’s very supportive, everybody’s very kind of appreciative of the help, and happy to help other people as well.”
Imtiaz is looking forward to diving into more complex builds, like the LipSync. He also wants to become more involved in the community, and with management experience in his professional career, the idea of hosting workshops to help people build these devices excites him.
“I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and I’m looking to get involved more and more, and so I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes, and how I can be more of a help to the community.”