build IT Guest Book

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Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

Make your own dyes out of natural materials. It's simpler than you think!


  • Dye-able material
  • 4-5 Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Water
  • Vinegar


Preparing the fabric

  1. Clean your fabric
  2. Soak in a mordant for spinach dye. Make a vegetable based mordant by combining 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water.
  3. Soak in water for avocado dye.

Avocado Dye

  1. Get the pits and skins of 4-5 avocados. Remove as much flesh as possible
  2. Wash the pits and skins thoroughly and scrub off any flesh remnants
  3. Discard any green skins
  4. Simmer pits and skins with 4 cups of water for an hour or to desired color
  5. Strain and let cool
  6. Steep fabric in dye to desired color and let dry.

Spinach Dye

  1. Cut up a bunch of spinach into little pieces
  2. Simmer 1 part spinach to 2 parts water or adjust ratio for deeper color for an hour
  3. Strain and let cool
  4. Steep fabric in dye to desired color and let dry


DIY Board Games

DIY Board Games

Make your own custom board games with everyday materials


  • Cardboard (Thicker cardboard is better for the board, thinner is better for game pieces and dice)
  • Markers/Decorating supplies
  • Scissors
  • Tape


Game Pieces

  1. Draw some characters (2 of each) onto thin cardboard and color them in
  2. Cut out your pieces, make sure the characters that go together have the same cut out shape
  3. On one piece of the character, cut a slit on the bottom. On the other piece of the character, cut a slit on the top. This was you can slot them together for it to stand up. This may take some trial and error to make them fit together perfectly.


  1. Draw a snaking path on your board.
  2. Decorate with drawings or embellishments of your choice.
  3. Optionally add shortcuts or different paths.


  1. Look up a template for foldable cubes or even dice of even more sides
  2. Print or trace it out on some thin cardboard/cardstock/paper
  3. Cut it out
  4. Tape or glue it together
  5. Decorate your dice

Hedgehog Stuffed Animal

DIY Stuffed Animal

An easy DIY hedghog stuffed animal. Follow along or adapt it to make it your own!


  • Scrap fabric/old T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Old pillow/pillow stuffing
  • Sharpie/ fabric marker/ buttons


  1. Fold your fabric in half
  2. Sketch a peanut shape which will be the body of your stuffed animal
  3. Sketch a larger peanut shape 2 inches or larger than the smaller peanut shape
  4. Cut the larger shape out on both layers of fabric
  5. Cut slits about 1 inch apart towards the smaller peanut shape all the way around
  6. Then double knot the two pieces of fabric together all the way around, leaving a small hole to stuff the stuffed animal.
  7. After you’ve filled the stuffed animal, close up that hole by double-knotting the sides together.
  8. Add a friendly face with sharpies, fabric marker, or buttons.

Peanut Butter Oreos

Peanut Butter Oreos

I have no clue if this was a thing before I discovered it by simply dipping oreos into peanut butter


Serving Size: As many as you want, just try to not make yourself sick. They can be a bit heavy

Calories: Who cares? These are delicious and worth every


  • A jar of Peanut Butter
  • Oreos (any work but I prefer double stuffed)


  1. Grab a jar of peanut butter
  2. Grab an Oreos
  3. Dip the Oreo into the peanut butter (or be a bit more sanitary, and use a knife to spread the peanut butter onto the knife)
  4. Enjoy!

build IT Coloring Pages

Missing build IT and all its wonderful creative activities.

Well, the little robots have been working while the humans can’t coexist in the space.

Add your own color to these pages to fill in the blank on what they’ve been up to.

RED and BLUE’s Stay at Home Ideas

build IT is all about promoting creativity. Just because we’re not currently open doesn’t mean that has to stop! Making your own stop motion video can be a fun way to spend your time.

This video was made by student assistants Patrick Coh and Chris Potente working from home. Patrick created the animations and edited the video. Chris created the music.

3D printed objects were found on Thingiverse and linked below:

“Eunny” “Flexible Person with Tinkercad” found on Thingiverse-

“alockey” “Creality Ender 3 Dog” found on Thingiverse-

“HPonstein” “Sofa Business Card Holder” found on Thingiverse-

Things you’ll need for your own stop-motion video:

  • A camera with a tripod– it can be a phone camera and anything to hold it in place while you take pictures.
  • Inanimate objects– it helps if the object has a degree of flexibility or if you’re able to create multiple copies of the object in different poses.
  • Tape, glue, play-doh, fishing wire, pebbles– anything to help you secure the object in different poses while you take pictures
  • Your imagination


  1. Come up with a story. Write down story beats and create a storyboard so that you have an idea of how you’ll frame your object and set up your camera before hand. Creating a storyboard can also help you figure out where you’ll hide your securing apparatuses in each scene. They can be simple, like stick figures or blobs, but they should be detailed enough so you get an idea of how your object will move.
  2. Split the storyboard into different shot sequences. Note when you’ll move your camera and what’s going to happen in between each camera movement.
  3. Play with your inanimate object, see how it moves and figure our how you’re going to shape it and hold that shape for each frame. Do some simple camera tests to see if your poses will read to the audience.
  4. Set up your scene. See if you’ll need any props or if you’ll need to adjust the lighting to liven it up. Maybe take some test pictures to make sure every action in your scene can be captured.
  5. Make a stop motion! This part can be tedious but it will pay off. Move the object from pose to pose keeping transitions in mind. Snap a picture between each movement. We found it helps to do several “takes” by animating and snapping pictures all the way through one sequence then resetting it. Make sure you watch each take before you move on! This way, you won’t get confused by trying to perfect every shot and you’ll get to see if the sequence works all together.
  6. Assemble your video. Drag your images into a video-editing software. The key here is organization! Make sure to separate different takes and scenes as you’ll likely have an overwhelming number of pictures. Depending on what video-editing software you’re using you may find it easier to either create image sequences or just put your images in one by one. There are pros and cons to both. With discreet images, while you may have a ton of photos, it may be easier to delete unnecessary frames, extend the length of a frame, or duplicate frames. With image sequences, your images are contained in one clip so while you can still do all those things, it may take longer to find frames within the clip.
  7. Add any music or sound effects. Create your own or read up on creative commons and reusing content in our article here.
  8. Add any other embellishments like visual effects, create a larger interactive project, or whatever else you can think of. The sky is your limit here!


Just Keep Patching

We can’t wait to see where your creativity takes you here at build IT! This series is dedicated to showcasing just some of the cool things you can make here.

Like what you see in this video? You can do it too! Just make sure you come by for an orientation and a Brother SE600 training before you start.


Thrifted Jacket- ~$10
Cotton Fabric– $5.73/yard
Embroidery Backing– $8.98/100 sheets
Thread- Varies, $2-6 per spool

Tools Used:

Designs were made using Photoshop and build IT’s Wacom Intuos Tablet.
Embroidery was done with Brother SE-600 machine in build IT.
Patches were hand-sewn to the jacket with needle and thread.

Design Tips:

  • Our Brother SE-600 machines have a max area of 100x100mm. Split up larger embroiders strategically or consider other options like heat transfer vinyl or iron-on transfer paper!
  • With that max size in mind, check your design to avoid tiny lines and details. Not only will it not turn out but it could also tangle up threads.
  • If you’re trying to get your design on thicker or stiffer materials, try making patches on fabrics like cotton and sew it on by hand instead! You’ll avoid breaking needles and you’ll get better quality embroidery.
  • Got large patches of one color in your design? Try to find fabric in that color instead of sewing it. It’ll probably be cheaper and it will cut down on embroidery time.


Estimate Print Times with Cura

If you’re wondering if your print will finish within 3 hours, use Cura to help you estimate and plan! You can load your file in and check the time to help you iterate on your design before you come in.

You can download Cura for free here:

Once downloaded, find the Anycubic i3 Mega printer under “Add a non-networked printer”

Then, open up your desired file and make sure it fits on the print bed.

Orient the print on the flattest, widest side by clicking on your part to select, then finding the rotate button in the menu on the left side of the screen.

Then, come over to the right side of your screen, where the print settings are. At build IT, we generally print either at .2mm or .3mm layer height and 10% infill density. The lower the layer height, the longer it will take. If you have overhangs in your file, also check the add support box.

Yours may not look like this, we reduced the number of visible settings for clarity.

After you’re done adjusting, look down under the settings to see the slice button. Simply, click it to see how long your print will take!


3D Printing Do’s and Don’t’s for BuildIT

Before We Begin

Understanding 3D Printing

For an object to be 3D print well, it is best if it is designed specifically for 3D printing. 3D models can be created as very intricate shapes, but it is important to keep in mind the limitations of the machines that will be used to realize the object, and design with those limitations in mind.

To fully understand the limitations, it is important to have a good understanding of the process of 3D printing. If you are a current affiliate of SDSU (student, faculty, staff), one way to learn is to attend an orientation session and then schedule a 3D print training, where we will teach you about the process of 3D printing in our space, as well as guide you through an example print. If you would like, you can schedule your training session for a small group of no more than 3 people.

If you are not an affiliate of SDSU or you are interested in learning more before your training session, you can read more about various aspects of 3D printing under the "Learn" tab at the top of the page.

3D Printing Do's and Don't's

DO: Consider The Tolerances of The Printers

Note: BuildIT uses millimeters exclusively. Please ensure that all models submitted to us are in millimeters for proper sizing.

All of the 3D printers in BuildIT have a nozzle diameter of 0.4mm, which means that the minimum horizontal dimensions that can be placed is 0.4mm. To optimize printing time, vertical "walls" of a part can be made multiples of 0.4mm, but never less than 0.4mm. If the width of an extrusion is designed to be less than 0.4mm, the program we use to prepare parts for printing will ignore that portion of the object and no plastic will be placed.

When designing parts that should fit together, it is important to know that PLA plastic (the material we use) tends to shrink by about 0.5mm during the printing process. If you are designing a part to fit inside another part, the outer part hole should be oversized by about 0.5mm, and the peg that fits inside should be the desired size, knowing both will shrink slightly.

For Print In Place models:
When designing models that should be able to separate or move, each of our printers have a different tolerance for how close two parts can be before they fuse and are unable to move. A good general rule is to leave a minimum separation of 0.4mm between two parts that should be able to move independently of each other.


DO: Design Large Flat Sides

3D printing places plastic from a bottom layer to a top layer. This means that a large, flat side is best for 3D printing. Think of how it would be best to 3D print a pyramid - the square should be at the bottom and the layers should progress vertically towards the point of the pyramid.

pyramid with arrow

DON’T: Design Your Object With Small or Curved Sides

If your object does not have a large, flat side that can be oriented as the bottom layer, the printer will need to use Supports (or, in extreme cases, Rafts) to have a successful print. For some parts, if the object is too small, adding supports still won't allow a successful print. For other parts, if they are too large or require too many supports, adding supports may put the part over our 3-hour time limit, meaning we would not be able to print it.

Supports can be thought of as scaffolding on a building - they are extra plastic that is placed by the printer to support the structure of the object as it is being built, but they are designed to be easily removable after the object is complete. Supports are automatically generated by the slicing software, so you don't need to worry about designing them, but you do need to worry about removing them.

For small or thin parts, the act of removing supports can break the part. For other parts, the supports can end up enclosed within the part, and it will be impossible to remove them without breaking the part open. These are important design considerations for when you design objects that might need supports.

You may be wondering how you can create complex shapes while minimizing supports, which leads to the next point...

Quadrifolium 3D Print

DO: Design Modular Parts

To minimize the need for supports, you can design your completed object as a group of parts that can be optimized for printing, then assembled into the complex shape that you actually need or want.

For example, the object at right was designed as 4 different flat pieces with clips that were all printed separately, then assembled into the complex shape that is shown. This is an excellent way to make completed objects that are too large for our printers or shapes that are too complex to print well. It does require extra work, but it's worth the effort for the better print quality you get in return.

Google Cardboard - Modular

DO: Ask Yourself If 3D Printing Makes Sense

There are some shapes that are easy enough to fabricate using other means that it doesn't really make sense to 3D print them. A very common example of this is a sheet of plastic with a few holes in it - it would be better to purchase a sheet of acrylic or polycarbonate ("Lexan") plastic, cut it to the size necessary, and drill the holes (using a hand drill or drill press). If you are an SDSU affiliate (student, faculty, staff), we have a desktop CNC router called Carvey that you can receive training on after you complete orientation, then have Carvey drill holes in precise locations on wood or acrylic (no polycarbonate or metal) pieces.

Another consideration for whether your object needs to be 3D printed is how dense you want the infill to be. Infill is the percentage of the inside that is filled with plastic, where the other percentage is air. For example, 0% infill means fully hollow, and 100% infill means fully solid. We have found that infill percentages above 30% jam our 3D printers, so we are only able to print 0% infill to 30% infill parts. If you need or want your part to be denser or solid, you should look into other means of manufacturing a part. Please note that you cannot drill into 3D printed parts at arbitrary locations because chances are that it is hollow at the point you choose to drill.

It is also important to consider the purpose of your object and what materials should (or should not) be used. We print exclusively in PLA, which starts to soften and become pliable around 60 degrees Celsius, and is generally a brittle material (PLA stress test). If your object will be experiencing a lot of impact or force (PLA 40km/h impact test video), or will end up in or near heat (for example, from motors), this may not be the best material to use. If PLA won't work for your purposes, 3D printing can be good for prototypes and size checks, but may not be good for your finished object.

Revised Plastic-Sheets