Project 1: Teardown

Your first assignment is to take apart a consumer electronics object, and document it. Some ideas of things and places to find them:

  • talking kids’ toys at the dollar store or Target
  • an old CD player you have around
  • your old cell phone or digital camera
  • ask TekServe if you can root through their trash

Battery powered devices are best, as are ones that play sound, light up, and have buttons. Item’s that aren’t quite complicated enough for this project:

  • hair dryer
  • headphones
  • most kitchen appliances like toasters

Select something that’s easy to get NOW, do not order anything online for this project. Do not select something that is dangerous to take apart, like a CRT monitor/TV.

You will be evaluated based on the following guidelines:

  • Take lots of well-lit photos during the disassembly process
  • Consider taking video as well (optional but encouraged)
  • Photograph all the parts spread out on a table in some kind of order (consider knolling your parts)
  • Identify the materials used for each component
  • Identify the manufacturing techniques/equipment used to make it
  • Look up part numbers on chips and find out what they do (searching the part number + “datasheet” helps)
  • Make a list of the tools and techniques you used to take it apart
  • Select two design elements that interest you and describe why you think the designer made it that way

Your assignment will be turned in as a blog post here (in the Finished Projects category) titled something like “Speak and Spell Teardown” where “Speak and Spell” is substituted for the name of your object. Your post is due by 10pm Wednesday 9/17.

For inspiration:

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