Final Report Part 1

Final Project Inspiration

I cannot pinpoint a single moment that gave me the inspiration to create my vegetable chopper guillotine. However, the inspiration for my creation can be credited to my love of history and possibly affected by my recent trip to New York in which I saw several pieces of art and sculptures at the Met. I have always loved looking back at history and a common theme that happens during any revolution, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Red Revolution, are executions. No other method of execution was as popular to witness and as swift of a method as the guillotine, which was invented in 1789, the first year of the French Revolution. Though this period of time is long past, it is still fun to look at such unique items and integrate them into modern life. I have a very comical side of myself and therefore I thought what better way to connect the mundane task of cutting vegetables and history than a vegetable chopper guillotine.


Final Project Constraints

My top constraint was money. No project will ever have unlimited funds and due to this constraint, the amount of materials, the type of materials, and the amount of other costs associated with this were limited by my own pocket. I have a budget I will try to stick to but I worked within this budget to produce the best final product that I could. Through the donations of wood from the ITLL and Home Depot, my project only costed $1, as I had the necessary paint and other supplies at home already.

The second constraint I dealt with was the time constraint. Ideally, I’d have had all the time in the world to work on this but having to balance 4 other classes, one of them being senior design and another being a graduate course, my time was severely limited. I therefore used the best of my time management skills to maximize my time I could spend on this and efficiently create this product.

The third constraint I have is my own skill. Though I have had an art piece featured in the Jefferson County Art Show back in high school (a dog sculpture sculpted out of clay), I still considered myself very much a novice when it comes to creating functional art. I of course tried to learn what I could and pushed my limits but at the end of the day, the skills I possess limited how my final product will turned out.

The fourth constraint I worked with is the design constraints itself. I tried to design a vegetable chopper using gravity as the main source of force for the blade cutting into the vegetable. In theory, this would work to chop some vegetables but in reality, the result was different and I was not able to do much due to how constrained I was from the design’s point of view.

The final constraint was from the aesthetic itself. I must create a vegetable chopper that closely resembles a smaller sized guillotine with the French patriotism aesthetic. I couldn’t stray too much from this as the purpose of the project was to design a dynamic product centered around a design.


Project Creation

Since guillotines during the French Revolution were primarily made of wood, I also would be fashioning my guillotine out of wood as well. Home Depot and the ITLL on CU Boulder’s campus donated a single stick of wood and what would become the cutting block piece of wood to me. From there, I used the saw in the ITLL shop to cut my wooden stick into two smaller, equal length sticks of wood. These two sticks wood act as the two vertical wooden supports. I then cut the last piece of the stick into a smaller piece that would connect the two on top. After this, I had to sand the pieces of wood greatly as what was given to me was rigid and had small splinters poking out of the faces and edges. I then slotted the two equal length pieces of wood to create a guide for the blade.

Once this was completed, I had the shop assistant aid me in cutting the strengthened steel blade from the handle and once this task was completed, the guillotine was ready to be painted.

With the assistance of my mother, who aided me in ensuring my painting of lines was straight, the painting concluded and the final assembly of the now painted wood and blade were put together using wooden glue and a piece of twine-like string, which was slotted through a hole drilled into the top supporting piece.

The final product is something I am very proud of and spent a lot of work doing. Throughout my years here at CU, I was never given too much of a chance to use the wood shop machines so relearning these machines and using them to create my product was very fun and I am happy I was given this opportunity to add a new skill set.

Video Presentation:

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10 Comments. Leave new

  • Hogan Auyeung
    May 8, 2019 4:58 pm

    This project was really awesome to look at. Although it was hard to control the blade and have it be functional, the aesthetic portion was definitely something to see.

  • Cool project! What a unique Idea. I think the main takeaway from your project was that you learned a lot and have explored new skills that can be helpful to you later in life. Maybe you can try to redesign it to work better later on.

  • Hadeel Al Gallaf
    April 24, 2019 1:23 pm

    Shalil, your project is very interesting and fun. Though it’s simple, is functional, funny, and unique. I wish you would have painted the cutting surface to make it match the overall aesthetic. I was thinking if maybe in the future you could add a hook on the side to wrap the string around and then let go suddenly instead of having the person to hold the string at all times.

  • Fatema Alhalal
    April 24, 2019 1:23 pm

    I liked the French patriotism! I would make the slits not all the way through, it will be safer.

  • Danielle Glanville
    April 24, 2019 1:22 pm

    This is such a fun project! It’s awesome that you got to learn a new skill with woodworking outside of a typical engineering course. It’s also nice you were able to incorporate some history into your design. I think the fact that it doesn’t work as you thought it would allowed you to focus more on the aesthetic and it shows. Really good job!

  • I really like this cult project! The final project is exactly the same as you described in previous presentation. And feel like you learning a bunch of new prototyping skill like wood shaping.

  • Christopher Seighman
    April 24, 2019 1:17 pm

    It really looks good! The aesthetic is very clear and a really cool piece for someone familiar with French history. The twine holding the knife I think also adds to the barbaric aesthetic of the blade as well, and while the body is painted and pretty, it also reminds you that this is something dangerous. Great job!

  • Shalil, I envy that your stayed well within your budget! This was very aesthetically pleasing regardless of its functionality. I liked how simple this product looked and I’m happy you learned a lot throughout this design process.

  • You did it! It’s awesome that you learned some woodworking skills through this project. I like the French flag theme and the kitchen knife blade you used, it’s got a good kitchen vibe. I think you should sharpen the knife so it can cut food.

  • Joshua Engmorris
    April 24, 2019 1:15 pm

    Shalil, cool looking final project. I like the French patriotism aesthetic with the guillotine; its sort of funny. Maybe you could add some sort of guides of either side so that the knife stays horizontal and a weight to the knife to make it functional. Could be a cool way to make cooking more fun.


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