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  • Writer's pictureJacob

A New Bee to Save The Bees

For this project our team (impenetrable) developed a bee with armor to protect it from varroa mites, a updated immune system to stop the effects of pesticides, and an increased wingspan to address issues of weight. See our finalized bee and feature descriptions below:

Our Final Bee Artifact:

Reflection and about the Process:

Our group started by making a list of the environmental factors we saw effecting the honey bee using background knowledge that we learned in class and from readings. After making our list we drew out a rough sketch of some features that we knew would solve those issues for the bee.

Pictured our list and rough board drawing

After crafting our idea we immediately got going on our low fidelity prototype. A regret that I have from this project is not doing more research and grounding our idea in natured reality, and taking the idea of a "fictitious bee" and running with it recreating elements of the bee and not using a modification that nature would "allow". In the future for the bio design challenge I would like to slow down the prototyping phrase and excitement of getting started and ground an idea in research. Taking our initial idea we hopped on the laser cutter and started making our bee.

Crafting the Wings

Laser cut hexagons

Applying our Armor

Our completed low-fidelity prototype

When creating this prototype it felt like an all gas no breaks operation and in rushing through making the prototype relearning laser cutting was essential as we forgot about placing our work in the epilog software, and quickly learned that small pieces of cardboard like to get sucked up by the vacuum. However, that experience informed our choices in the future and was a learning opportunity that was free, as we were using scrap material, and valuable so we could be better makers in the future. After hearing feedback from our professors we decided to take a harder look at designing around existing nature and saw that our filter beak to stop pesticides from entering the bee was bulky and could be solved by adding to the bee a human like immune system. That was a very valuable lesson in looking at problems can be solved in a myriad of ways and you don't have to invent the wheel each time. We then sat down and I volunteered to make a 3D printable version of our bee. This was a learning experience as I had only ever done mechanical models, but with a bee anatomy diagram I found online I got to work.

My Process for creating the Bee

While a lot of the modeling of a bee was all new to me I think it went rather smoothly. The main lesson I learned from doing this part was that it is important to plan before you start just going because the relationship between the rows changed between my first and second row and I liked the second better and because of 3D modeling time going back to fix it seemed like a big hassle. Then all that was next was hitting print and assembly.

Bee mid-print on printer

Bee Supports Removed

And just like that it is presentation day!

A big take away that I gained from this project too is the importance of reliance on others to each have their skill set. A lot of time it feels like you have to be prepared to take on all aspects of the project, but I had an aptitude for fabrication so I could handle the actual bee making and Griffin and Lindsey really enjoyed research and Griffin was a graphic design wizard and put our spec sheet together. This is another piece of experience that I want to bring to the bio design challenge really focusing on what everyone is good at.

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