Purpose:  Class project for Physical Prototyping
Instructor:  Noah Posner
Timeline: October 2019 - November 2019
Tools: Storyboarding, CAD modelling, Solidworks, Adobe Illustrator, Laser Cutting, Informal Usability Testing
Team: Individual project
Contributions:  Designed interaction, created the box model in Solidworks, fabricated the prototype from laser cut parts, tested the interactions with users.


For someone who has never been near a sewing machine before, the whole process of spooling a thread into the machine and then directing the cloth while using the foot pedal can seem really daunting. I designed a sewing machine to make the lives of beginners easy. The auto spooler pulls the thread in once inserted by the user and then all the user has to do is follow instructions on the touch screen display to enter a stitch pattern, width and length and hold the cloth in place while the machine handles the rest.

CAD Modelling

An Exploded View: How the box model fits together

Laser Cutting And Assembly

Featuring: cardboard, weights, a dowel and loads of hot glue

Usability Testing

We conducted informal usability testing using the Wizard of Oz technique

What Worked Well?

  • ○     Users liked the form of the sewing machine as it satisfied their mental model of what a sewing machine should look like.
  • ○     Users found the instructions easy to follow almost every time.
  • ○     The cloth and needle mechanism was quite believable and was appreciated by almost every user.
  • ○    No one mistook the stitch pattern panel for a touchscreen which was a noteworthy success.
  • ○     Everyone thought that the rotating disc was a good visual feedback that the machine was running.

What Could Be Improved?

  • ●     Most users were confused about how to put the spool into the holder. A good change would be to improve the visibility of the spool holder or make the hole inside the holder bigger.
  • ●     The display screen could also do a better job at making it clearer how to insert the thread into the spool holder.
  • ●    One suggestion was to have the speed slider on top rather than on the vertical surface since its a more comfortable wrist motion to move the slider when in that location.
  • ●     There was some confusion about which settings needed to be changed on-screen vs which settings were supposed to be changed physically on the machine.