Prototype to Fabrication: What can exciting design accomplish?

Since the day we arrived, the class of 2017 has been feverishly learning new ideas, ways of thinking, softwares and hardwares. While we are doing this, many of us are learning to live in a new city.  A question we have been faced with since any of us had even heard of ITP is regarding what it is or how to even describe it. However, I think our mass production class has given me the term to describe it. The adjective I will be giving out now to describe ITP is “New”. Everything is new to me. Each day I am learning something new or thinking in a new way. Truly, nothing is old, it is all cutting edge, and you can always feel the energy of our minds collectively pushing to understand these concepts. The way sin which thinking about prototyping and fabrication has pushed my brain to new levels of conceptualization – coupled with the use of Fusion 360, is unbelievable to me. I have been looking at the manufactured world so much more differently than before. I can able to analyzing and understanding the things that surround me so much more that I ever have been able to. We all know the feeling of connecting with nature – connecting with the natural elements is uplifting for the soul and mind. I would contest that we can apply the same logic to city living – connecting with the non natural elements in our world fills me with a similar peace within my mind and soul. Perhaps it the elements of understanding that can make one feel whole within their spirit and mind.

My final piece I came to make in Fusion 360 was simple, but incorporates elements of art, social need, and personal practice. From the beginning of this course, I knew I wanted to make a product that would serve a cause and serve as art. My original idea in full was as follows:

Leaver: An injected molded plastic box with a leaver attached. Used to make change for the contributor and collect a portion of a one dollar bill which is placed inside.

It’s funny how a good name can make your mind go down the rabbit hole. It was really the name that made my mind run wild. I thought to myself that a charity box that acts like a slot machine (you actually pull down a lever) with a name like “Leaver” was too genius not to model my project on.

And so I went trying to manage learning new and complicated software with a complicated design idea.

However, as I attempted to make this in Fusion 360, I can’t say it felt like the right thing to be doing with the amount of time we had to prepare this. It became clear to me that perhaps I should be thinking with the KISS principle in mind – something that that been repeated in our class many times (and many Autodesk online tutorials!). So with this new approach, I boiled my idea down – I took away the lever aspect and took away the dollar bill aspect. In the end I realized I was left with something so simple, so iconic, and in dire need of an update –  the piggy bank. Taking inspiration from Jeff Koons Balloon Dog sculptures, one of which is displayed on 5th avenue only a few blocks from Tisch, I aimed to make a unique stainless steel piggy bank. I will make it clear that the intention of this piggy bank, which I have called The Pig, is to collect money for charity – and hopefully this fashionable and progressive design re-do of a classic ceramic piggy bank will inspire people to start collecting their loose change for charity. I do not expect The PIG to change the world, but hopefully unique designs can excite and inspire people to do good.

I feel very fortunate to be working with CAD for the first time. Being able to construct objects, shapes, and forms is incredibly inspiring. I found myself orbiting around my sculpture and being enamored with its design elements for long periods of time -designing in 3D software is an incredibly unique and inspiring practice.

To be continued…

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Prototype to Fabrication Week 2: Making It

Chapter 4: Injection Blow Molding

As was my thought process when entering this course, it is not only extremely intriguing to understand how objects are made, but it is also extremely important. Injection Blow Molding caught my eye immediately for this reason. I was impressed by the simple nature of it, the injection molded preform is lowered into the old then blown into like a balloon. and yet such a simple process causes very serious and large scale implication for our planet. The book is right to highlight the pop bottle as it’s main focus for this section of chapter 4, I would imagine they are ubiquitous with this process. Injection Blow Molding is used to make an incredibly large volume of plastic bottles that “litter our urban landscape,” and the damage that this process creates is certainly part of our educational zeitgeist. Everyday I am aware of the backlash to this type of product. On the design side, I was especially impressed by the Injection-Molded preform that is inserted into the old – often the most ingenious of processes are the most simple. 

photo 1The preform mold and the finished bottle side by side.

Chapter 6: High-Pressure Die-Casting

Die-Cast cars, part of my childhood growing up. It sounded cool, they looked cool, they felt cool. I had no idea how my Matchbox or Hot-Wheels cars were made and it is extremely interesting that the process is in the name to begin with. Now that I think about it, a lot of products use their procession method in their name to make them sound very industrial and special:

Cuisinart “Forged Triple-Riveted” Cutlery

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Forged-Triple-Riveted-18-Piece-Cutlery/dp/B003D3N67K

“Die Cut” Baseball Cards

 http://media2.cardboardconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-Topps-Finest-Baseball-Careers-Die-Cut-Derek-Jeter-215×300.jpg

photo 2Illustrated diagram showing the production of one side of a die-cast mold

Chapter 7: InkJet Printing

I was very happy to read in this section that Lefteri acknowledges InkJet printing for its DIY capabilities. The edible menu printing made me think of my own ink cartridge hack of widening (destroying) the holes on the bottom chip side of the cartridge. It made for some messy art projects and misfires from the printer – but the results were very cool looking. One thing the book does not make note of is the high amount of cartridges that are disposed of in landfills each year. Similar to the Pop Bottle, these items are made in incredibly high quantities and are not made to be reused (easily*).

*Refilling printer cartridges is a criminally underused practice. It should be sought after to have consumers buy one set of cartridges over the lifetime of their printer.

.photo 3This edible menu is an interesting example of DIY art/product production.