Project 1: Teardown

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

  • talking kids’ toys at the dollar store
  • an old CD player you have around
  • your old cell phone or digital camera
  • pick up something good at the Gowanus e-waste warehouse

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

  • hair dryer
  • wired 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 (ask Becky if you are unsure). Please be careful not to puncture or bend any lithium batteries that may be inside your object.

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, consider timelapse)
  • 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(s) made it that way

Your assignment will be turned in as a blog post here, with the following requirements:

  • Blog post title will follow format of Object Name + “Teardown”, for example “CD Player Teardown”
  • Blog post must be in the Teardown category
  • Due by 8pm Tuesday 9/17

For inspiration:

Here’s my first teardown from 2006, much simpler than the ones you’ll turn in but hopefully encouraging anyway!

Additional week 1 homework:

We won’t meet for class next week since I’m traveling, but the following week we will have two classes (regular time and a makeup class Thurs 9/19 2-5pm). To keep us on schedule, please complete the following for next class:

Author: Becky Stern

Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! I'm a Content Creator at Autodesk and part-time faculty at SVA. Check out all my Instructables and find me as @bekathwia on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.