Creative Photo Holder




Introduction: Creative Photo Holder

About: I love making stuff, I love Instructables, I love tools, I love machines, and I love materials. But most of all I love Arnie.

Fun + useful + appeals to boys and girls + enjoyable to teach = Awesome project

Learning Objective
By following a design and make activity the students will be introduced to tools such as coping saws, a variety of files, pillar drill, and abrasive paper. As an introduction to engineering skills the students will learn what a metal lathe is and how to operate it safely. Using the metal lathe will include 3jaw chuck, centre drilling and drilling a hole to a given depth.Students will learn how to follow a creative design process and how to behave in a workshop, the practical nature of this task opens oppertunities for the students to learn a new skill, apply it and then be encouraged to support others. This helping of others holds significance as Bloom's Taxonomy states that to teach others a skill means that student has mastered that skill and is using higher order thinking. Theory lessons are part of any good project and will teach the students important knowledge of plastics and their properties, how to analyse a product, and how plastic products are produced in factories.

The worksheets and homework's are attached below

Step 1: Creative Thinking

Resources: Work booklets / colouring pencils / Inspiration work sheet / scissors / glue
  • The students should have brought in some images to use on their inspiration page. They need to cut out the images and stick onto the work sheet.
  • Instruct them on how to use the images
    • Simplify - look for the basic lines that make up the image or part of the image
    • Change - Rearrange / Repeat / Replace to create a new shape that can be later used for a design
    • Colour - Use blended colour to enhance the work.
  • Create a design page with three designs on it, each design shows the top and bottom halves in 2D.
  • Now get the students to annotate their ideas with the following
    • What inspired your work.
    • Do you like the idea?.....Explain why
    • What could be changed to improve the work?

Step 2: Card Model

Resources: Work booklets / colouring pencils / coloured card / scissors / glue
  • Their favourite 2D design ideas need to be tested and modified, card models are ideal for this.
  • This is a good opportunity to get the kids to ensure there are no thin sections to their design as these bits will definitely snap off when cutting out.
  • The students take the pre cut card squares (80x80mm x2), then draw the favourite design on each square....... be careful, students will draw a tiny sketch in the card.....this wastes materials, makes the design hard to cut out and its likely to snap when cutting......tell them their drawing must touch all four edges of the card.
  • Cut out the card shapes and then the students can peer assess and evaluate each others work based on 'can it be made', this is good because it encourages evaluative thinking and communication of constructive criticism. 
  • Stick the models on the 'modelling' page then annotate any issues / mods to make then sketch those changes

Step 3: Plastic Moulding Theory

This is a theory lesson taught to show how important plastics are in our everyday life and how plastic products are made in factories.

Learning Objective of individual lesson:
  • Why plastics are used for particular products (properties of plastics)
  • Properties of plastics
  • Difference between thermo and thermosetting plastics

Learning Activities:
  • Starter: Quick fire questions! A mini head to head challenge to get the students thinking about the theme of this lesson.
    • Get the students to sit on a chair/stool
    • Explain the rules! no hesitation, no urrm's or arrr's, no repeats of previous answer
    • If any of the three rules are broken...your out! and you sit down
    • The game is to name any every day product made from or using plastic.....sounds simple right!
    • Get the kids to stand and commence battle.......when the teacher points at a child they need to immediately answer!
    • It is last kid standing wins
  • This game is fun and they usually want to play it it for the end of the lesson..... if you have time
  • The reason for this activity id to get the students to realise just how many products involve plastic and how important it is to our lives!
  • Demonstration of thermo plastic (use a scrap piece of acrylic and heat it with a hot air gun, resape and let it cool) explain the difference between thermo and thermosetting plastics
  • Role play of chemical structure....
    • I take the class outside as lots of room is needed. I get the students to form four parralel lines with a small gap inbetween the lines. they put their hands on the persons shoulders infront of them. row one moves forward, row two back, row three forward and row four back.....they are acting like a thermo plastic as the monomer chains can move independantly.
  • Reset the lines and now get the students to keep their right hand on the person infront and the left hand on the persons shoulder to their left (person in the next line)....this represents the cross chains found in thermosetting get the students to move, its important they know that they must not let go of either the person infront or to the left.....very quickly the students will become knotted and unable to move.... this represents the chemical structure of thermosetting polymers.
  • Properties of plastics
    • Use the power point to get the class to guess the 5 basic properties of plastics 
  • Different manufacturing methods you tube vids + discussion.
    • I show you tube vids of injection, blow and vacuum moulding
    • I ask the kids at random to think of a product made using that particular process
  • Lesson recap (plenary)…. With a pop! Questions based on what’s been learnt. The night before I write a series of questions on small pieces of paper based on this lesson e.g. name a property of plastic....or....describe thermo plastic....etc.. each question is put into a balloon and inflated. In the lesson i start by asking a question and the person who gets it correct gets to pop the next balloon and read the next question........this is huge fun and is guaranteed to get all the students focused on the main learning objectives of the lesson.

Step 4: 3D Design

Resources: Work booklets / colouring pencils / drawing guide

3D sketching can be quite intimidating for young children so its important to show how break it down into small steps.
  • I use the white board to demonstrate how to construct the 3D sketch, the drawing guide seen in the images above can be projected to the whole class or printed as individual sheets to hand out. I personally like to sketch it live on the board a bit at a time.
  • Once the drawing is complete explain how to use colour to render the 3D sketch. 
  • I also show how to add design detail sketches to show how the product is constructed e.g. exploded views etc..
  • Annotate the drawing with:
    • Materials used
    • Tools used
    • How is it joined together
    • Plastic moulding / manufacturing info learnt form plastics theory lesson

Step 5: Cutting Out - Practice

  • I have always got the kiddies to cut out random shapes out of scrap bits of acrlylic, this gets them used to the saw, cutting curves, filing and sanding......and of not to break the acrylic.
  • A recent instructable has inspired me to get them to create a googly eye character, it makes the activity much more fun......thanks to 'im in the shed'   link.....
  • By thermoforming the base it allows the students to apply the knowledge they learnt in the plastics theory lesson.

Step 6: Marking Out

  • Use a biro to mark out the Arcylic, some students will still try to make a tiny sketch so I get the students to show me their marking out before they cut out.

Step 7: Cutting Out

  • Using coping saws the students cut out their design
  • They must keep the work low in the vice to give the acrylic as much support as possible, then move up each time they reach the vice with the saw.

Step 8: Filing

  • I explain the difference types of file (flat, half round and needle) and how to use them properly
  • Just like cutting out the work must be secured low in the vice to help avoid breaking.
  • The students must bring the work to me when they think it is filed smooth, without fail I will send every student back to remove any remaining saw marks or lumps, bumps or wonky areas

Step 9: Sanding

  • Explain what the numbers on the back of abrasive paper mean (number of bits per sq inch......lower the number the bigger the bits and the bigger the bits the rougher the paper)
  • Using 150 grit paper remove any file marks
  • Now use 240 grit
  • Then wet & dry......start by explaining why you need to use water on the paper (to reduce the clogging of the paper with fine plastic dust...the water washed the dust away). Polish the edges until they a glossy

Step 10: Drilling

  • The holes must not be closer than 5mm from any edge........any will probably break
  • Using a hand vice clamp bothe the top and bottom halves of the work and rest on a wooden block
  • For best results use a wood drill bit, the flat bottom of the drill prevents 'grabbing' then shattering of the acrylic :(
  • Decide where the cable is going to go through the top and drill two Ø4mm holes.

Step 11: Drilling Base

  • Decide where the cable holder is going to go and drill a Ø4mm hole
  • Use a countersink on the underside of the base

Step 12: Creating Cable Holder

  • I use mini lathes to create the this component...not all schools have this equipment so the next step shows you how to do this using a pillar drill.
  • I set up two lathes for centre drilling and two for drilling a hole
  • Use a bench hook and junior hacksaw to cut a 20mm long section of Ø15mm wooden dowel, then sand the ends flat.
  • Firstly centre drill the middle of the hole.
  • Drill a Ø3mm hole all the way through the dowel
  • Drill a Ø8mm hole 10mm deep. 

Step 13: Cable Holder - on a Pillar Drill

If you do not have access to lathes
  • Use a bench hook and junior hacksaw to cut a 20mm long section of Ø15mm wooden dowel, then sand the ends flat.
  • Set up a Ø3mm drill and drill all the way thorough the dowel 
  • Set up a Ø8mm drill bit and adjust the depth stop so the drill cuts approx 10mm deep

Step 14: Attach the Cable Holder

  • Use a 3x10mm countersunk wood screw to hold the component in place

Step 15: Assemble

  • Using bike brake cable cut two lengths using wire cutters, one at 100mm and one at 80mm
  • Cut two Ø6mm acrylic rods to 40mm long
  • Sand the ends smooth
  • Remove the protective films
  • feed the cable through the small holes
  • squirt a small amount of hot glue in to the large hole of the cable holder and quickly add the two cables......allow to cool

Step 16: Glue

  • Assemble top and bottom halves
  • Use solvent cement to adhere in place....note you must tell the kids not to inhale the fumes from this adhesive
  • I put the container at the front of the class and they can only use it if I am with them to supervise.

Step 17: Crimp the Crock Clips to the Cable

  • Use pliers to crimp the clip to the cable
  • You have to get the metal to overlap
  • Repeat this so you have a pair

Step 18: Evaluate & Grade + Students Work

As this project is new I don't have any work from the students yet :(    I have a drawing from the old project which is very givse you an idea of the quality of work you can get from an 11 year old if you structure the work in small easy to follow steps

  • Firstly the students will peer assess each others work, use the work sheet attached below to structure their thoughts.
  • The students pass the photo holder and the work sheet to the next person so they can also write a comment, this is done four times.
  • After the fourth rotation the sheet and photo clip is reterned to the owner, they choose the most usefull feed back....this might be one or two tags then they staple the tags to their evaluation page.... this structures their evaluation so they can discuss their own thoughts aswell as other peoples opinions
  • the students can grade their own work based on the following criteria
    • Originality of design - The design is unique and interesting
    • Use of tools - The product is cut and drilled accurately with no uneven edges, cracks or rough bits
    • Finish - The work has no visible saw, file or sanding marks
    • Assembly - The product is stable and the top and bottom halves are parralel.
  • The students apply a score out of 10 for each of the above then use the table below to calculate their NC level (NC = National Curriculum..... in the UK we use a strange numbering system to grade our younger students!)
    • 35-40 = Level 6 - 7
    • 30-34 = Level 5 - 5H
    • 20-29 = Level 4 - 4H
    • 0-19 =  Level 3 - 3H
  • Once they have decided on their grade they bring their photo clip and their evaluation page to me so I can give verbal + written feedback on their work and I also discuss their grade / level

Step 19: Take Home + Enjoy :)

I tell my students to leave their work in the box and pick it up at the end of the day as the acrylic could get damaged in their bags throughout the day.

Thanks for looking at my instructable.... Jonny :)

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    8 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Can I do this with wood? I do not have any tools for metal in my shop. Also, I love your patterns, but could kids create their own too?

    Thank you for sharing!


    Lady Judy
    Lady Judy

    4 years ago

    Wow.... It's very simple, so i can make that. Can you give me vote and like?? I hope i win :)


    8 years ago on Introduction


    I'll have to make 1 or 3 to put on my desk....8=D

    Thank you for sharing Sir.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi James, Defo upload a pic if you do :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I considered drawing glasses on and cutting out a silly hat for mikesaurus......then i thought i would be mocking a judge......perhaps not wise!?