Chinese Moon-shaped Fan

In previous years, the Chinese Student Union would hold activities during the Spring Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. But because of the COVID-19 this year, all the activities have been cancelled. In the past activities, I found that people are very interested in Chinese moon-shaped fan, everyone wants to take a fan home. In my opinion, moon-shaped is a carrier that can convey and express Chinese culture. At the same time, it is also an artifact that can express one’s own thoughts and feelings.

In this project, I would like to restore the making process of the moon-shaped fan and make a fan by myself. And, add some ideas of interaction design. Spread the culture and let more people know about it.

The process of making fan
Before I started making it, I did some research. At the same time, I also asked some questions about colors. For example, green refers health and peace, yellow thinks of the sun, blue thinks of serenity, purple thinks of mystery, white is pure and black is heavy and formal. Colors also have different meanings in different cultures.

The most popular fan shape is petal-shaped fan

So I decided to make a petal-shaped fan. At the beginning, I drew the frame of the petal-shaped fan and the length of the fan handle. At the same time, I also drew a sketch of the frame on which to put the fan.

Then, I started trying to make models. The fan handle and shelf’s base are easy to make. I just need to make a cylinder and a cube. But I had a big problem with the frames and shelves, and I couldn’t do it. I searched the Internet for videos, but nothing came up. Finally, I found 3D models of fan frames and shelves from Chinese websites.

After I found or made the 3D model of each part, I needed to print it out with a 3D printer. I had another problem. I was making something that was bigger than the printer could print. So in Ultimaker Cura, I adjusted the size of each item and each item was reduced by 60%.
I met my first failure. The 3D-printed shelf is broken. I asked RJ for help, and RJ helped me modify some print parameters, increase infill by 100% and add adhesives and support. I tried again, and this time the results were much better. There are still some flaws on the top, but it works.

The next step is assembly. I need to put all the parts together. I bought my own drill and drilled a little hole in the fan handle in order to put the fan pendant. I have prepared many pendants of different colors, which can represent different moods.

I am drilling a hole

Here I met my second failure. It didn’t occur to me that my fan handle wouldn’t hold my fan frame. The paddle does not work. I tried a lot of different methods, but I couldn’t get the fan handle and the fan frame together. After thinking about it, I decided that my fan handle was too short and too thin to support the fan frame. So Instead, I found a chopstick and made a hole in the bottom. Let the chopsticks become my fan handle. It was a very successful and interesting experiment. I also combine the shelf and base together, and get a final fan’s holder.

The last step of making the fan is to paste rice paper and beautify the fan. I used the ink and brush to write down what you want to say or what you want to draw. The words and drawing can both express your ideas, thoughts and feelings. Here, I draw a tree with some pink flowers and stick two butterflies on the fan’s covering. This picture represents my missing for my hometown and my parents. I hope the butterfly can fly back to my hometown with my missing. I wish everything good in my hometown, just like this tree, these flowers.

At last, I pasted the rice paper onto the fan frame and knot the pendant. I choice the blue color, because it refers peace, serenity, everything’s fine.

What resources did you make use of?
- Chinese Internet to find the 3D models
- 3D printer to print the items
- Glue, Scissors and Awl
- Ink and Brush to decorate it
- Paper

If this is a part of a larger long-term project, what milestones did you hit?
What’s next for this project? (Future Work)
I think, I have done the practice of restoring the fan and help you understand the structure of the fan. In my imagination, I hope these fans can help autistic angels and non-verbal expression of themselves, through the graphics on the fans or the color of pendant to express their feelings and thoughts. Then you can make a website and quickly DIY a fan you want. Work with organizations for children with autism to help them express their feelings.

What are your major takeaways? What did you learn / discover?
In this project, I experienced the process of 3D printing. Since the beginning of the semester, I have been full of curiosity about 3D printing. At first, I thought 3D printing was just putting models into software and printing them on a printer. Later, there were failures. Only then did I realize that different values should be adjusted according to different shapes. In this way, it can be printed successfully. I also know about some cultural differences in colors. In China, red is a very happy and festive color. But in the West, I found that red seems to be a heavy color in the West. In China, black represents death and misfortune. But in the West, black is a serious feeling.



CMCI Student, CU Boulder | Designer in the future | Full of passion and patience | Paint and 3D printing.

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Yuan Zhuang

CMCI Student, CU Boulder | Designer in the future | Full of passion and patience | Paint and 3D printing.