2nd Semester IS Interim Reflection

Below is an excerpt from my second-semester interim reflection. I hope this all gives you some insight into my work.

What is exciting to you so far?

I have been enjoying the challenge of designing the churning mechanism for the toilet and coming up with how I will manufacture it. See next question for more detail.

What is surprising or frustrating?

The most challenging, I would not say frustrating, part so far has been figuring out how to build a churning mechanism that is located in the center of the solid waste container. The mechanism is used to churn the solid waste and coat it in peat moss, sawdust, coconut coir, etc. This mechanism is challenging to design because the crank used to churn the waste needs to be detachable, and the crank needs to function from the top of the toilet, not the side. Designing this system in a way that it won’t interfere with the user and stows in the housing for the toilet has been an exciting challenge. The churning mechanism also has to be easy to clean.

What are you learning about learning?

I am continuing to learn about learning from others. I had a great conversation with Tate Staples that lead me to brainstorm how to apply my project to larger infrastructure. Ella Simmons and Dave Chandler taught me how to use a lathe to round the bottom of the hex shaft that I plan on using for the main post of the churning mechanism. I have always been interested in learning how to use a lathe, but it was very cool to be taught by a friend who has a lot of experience.

Where are you recording information, ideas, questions, resources, etc.?  And how do you anticipate using this material, either in this project or in the future?

I have been documenting my project in an engineering notebook in OneNote. I either work on whiteboards, paper, OneNote, or OnShape (CAD) and document all my work with photos, videos, or links. I label, date, sign, and have Leyf Starling sign all of my work, so if I go forward with applying for a patent in the future I have documentation of all my designs.


  1. Hi Mirella,
    You have progressed from the one-hand reader you designed in STEAM by Design. I am so happy to see you still designing and creating solutions to perplexing problems.


    1. Hi Mr. Schaefer!
      STEAM by Design greatly inspired me and taught me the process of creating a product like this! If you ever need someone to talk to the class or any help with a project let me know. Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters all these years 🙂

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