New Making

Cactus Fever

Hybrid Materialities

Starting with hybrid materialities, I was really interested in the idea of combining old and new techniques to create something a bit different. I explored the idea of laser cutting a surface of wood onto which I could then embroider patterns. I looked at making an object, originally starting off with the idea of a lampshade and then moving onto more of a plant pot, where I could combine a number of embroidered wooden panels.

I created two plant pots as shown. The first with finger joints was done by adding one at a time as I stitched along the top end and then the bottom, to then fill it with a simple pattern or rings around it or red and white. Using the stitches along with the finger joints when fitted correctly, ended up creating a surprisingly strong piece.

The second pot was done by individually embroidering a pattern on each panel to then be joined at the end. Due to an error, only seven panels of the octagon were printed, so I decided to make a feature oft the missing one by adding a touch of the more traditional with a more complex embroidery with hand drilled holes. Although initially meant to be glued together, the panels were again stitched to one another with a contrasting purple to make a feature of the joints.Again, the design proved to be much sturdier than initially expected, demonstrating the value of more traditional craft methods in combination with new techniques.


Scaffolding glitches

Inspired by the pots done previously, I wanted to make some cacti. This project looked at use of Gcode, support structures and glitches, where I was inspired by the work of Emerging Objects and their Gcode.clay where they use a series of controlled errors to create intricate interesting forms.

I wanted to print a cactus and its spikes with support and without, so the intention would be to have the unsupported spikes droop and create something new.

Unfortunately as can be seen the spikes were designed far too short, so support structure wasn’t actually needed, however an error occurred anyway with the second print, leading it to be unfinished with a mess of extruded filament on top – an error very akin to a cactus with a flower on top. However, I tried another design which required more scaffolding, with the succulent as shown.


Parametric design

Using computational design in order to create design families by altering dimensions through a set of generative parameters. Again carrying on the theme explored so far, I looked at creating a base cactus that could be altered to create a family of them – squatter, thinner, spikier, longer spikes, etc. Allowing a decorative series to be created from a single initial setup.

Using Solidworks and design tables, I initially tried to alter dimensions of a complex cactus design, however the resulting iterations didn’t show much change in the design. So I took it back to basics by working with lofted rectilinear shapes and by applying alterations to certain features at a time I gained a far better understanding of how the design tables worked. Slowly, through experimentation I moved back to creating cacti, the end result being quite successful, albeit without any thorns.

Final Artifact

The three different explorations of material and technique came together very well in the end. Combining the previously created elements, the final piece was a potted cactus garden.

New Making

On the Road to Iterative Design

I decided to pursue an exploration around the form of a toy car, after having read about Matteo Ragni’s project, and the TobeUs exhibition “100% TobeUs: 100 designers for 100 new toy cars”. The project gathered 100 designer friends, each starting with the same block of wood to create their own design. The resulting cars made up the collection of 100 artefacts, each unique in their own way. Iterations of sorts, this got me thinking about the nature of the item (a toy car), and the creative freedom tied to products for children (in their shape, colour, material,etc).

As an object traditionally hand-crafted out of wood by an artisan, the idea was iterate around the form using CAD and 3D printing. Following tradition, the design first began with a block of wood, in the wood-workshop. Plywood was sandwiched between two other blocks, using the woods layered aesthetic to mimic some racing stripes. The form was sculpted using chisels and files letting the process shape the final outcome. Contrasting the craftsmanship associated with wood, the wheels would be 3D modelled and printed from PLA.

The initial wheels were modelled on Solidworks and printed, serving as the basis for further exploration. This mainly took place within Cura, where the ability to generate support structures was used to “fill” in a hollowed wheel model. This created the rims of the wheels automatically, with the ability to iterate quickly. As well as creating wheels with distinct looks, each support structure had varying structural integrity, leading to wheels with different levels of stiffness. A wheel was then designed as the embodiment of this notion of stiffness and springiness. To explore these structures further, a new car was modelled. The shape is essentially the top surface of a car, and was designed as free-floating. Once again in Cura, the support structures then “filled” in the shape. The resulting lines efficiently conveyed the idea of movement, while also resembling a roll-cage.

As a continuation of this, and as a method of iteration, the car was parametrically designed using Design Tables within Solidworks. The use of design tables gave way to a variety of designs, ranging from forms that resemble actual cars, to more abstract and futuristic shapes. Using design tables highlighted the importance of planning and forethought in regards to the modelling process. Several issues arose, where finishes such as fillets and chamfers would cause errors in the geometry; this was fixed by applying such finishes to each iteration individually. Returning to wood as a material, these designs could be appropriately CNC manufactured, with the wheels 3D printed. More playful in appearance, they step back from an over-functional/realistic look, and return to the original stimulus and context, that is a toy car.

The two final artefacts reflect this departure away from, and back to a play-thing. The first one is more of a sculptural item, printed and then cast out of aluminium, with the supporting beams designed to reflect support structures from the FormLabs printers; the silhouette for this was based on a Citroen Dyane.

The second artefact, or collection of artefacts, are the series of wooden cars parametrically designed, creating a family of products.


Chains to Constellations

Grow, constellation


by Yifu Liu


Inspired by the Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec drawing style, the constellation of my design life looks like an organic creature. And I believe it is a perfect choice to express how I feel about my own design Life, which nothing is certain and things are in organic orders, almost grown together. I drew very freely with the markers to express the feelings and connections behind these relationships. The type of players are so random and true, for example, my classmates, who are always the first one to be critical on my new ideas. Passion, which is more abstract and deeply rooted in my design life. unfortunately, social media is something that affects your decision every single day…
#After discussing with tutors, the constellation was too complex in terms of characters and it was constructed self-centered. In the second model, I tried to emphasise the relationship between human and abstract meanings in different colours to build up layers. It is also helpful to show the value co-creation. However, I felt it lose a sense of natural and fluence of relationships. On the right, I filtered all the players and made a very simple and direct drawing about all the human relationships happening inside my design life.


New Making

Time Prison

Time as a prison

by Yifu Liu


Taking this design as the final part of the project, I wanted to use all I have learned from last 3 weeks. It is really inspired by the “Collide”, using the support as a metaphor to express time or space travel.

From the massive sketches, I have been through a deep thinking about the relationship between time and different cultures. In general, I want to express the conflict between the vulnerability of time and the eternity of time. Time is so fragile that goes really quick and you can never stay in the moment forever. On the other hand, time is like a prison where everyone is born inside the frame of time and nobody can escape. Once I made my point clear to myself, I started to think how to use support or other material to express these 2 qualities of time. Is it wire? Is it transparent Acrylic? In the end, I decided to use a floating watch and a special support structure to produce a metaphor of prison.

In Cura, I tried all the support structure and decided to use Lines, which could be a fairly risky decision. Not all the surface is getting the proper support. As a result, there are a lot of glitches happened while printing, like cirrus dropping down both inside and outside, which I think it’s beautiful. However, I have to clean the inside, because there is no relationship between these glitches with the context. Surprisingly, the holding element was gone during the printing, so I have to print a separate piece and use super glue to glue it.

Finally, I spray painted it in Chrome, because it was the ideal colour that I can find in the ECA shop. The colour makes the piece look like a piece of metal, which represents the long-lasting and strong. In contrast, the shape looked thin and breakable. The contrast matches the conflict that I mentioned.It could become a working design if I put more effort in it later on, and I would like it to finish a single rotation in years, because the technology can help us track the time precisely, no point making another functional watch. I think people feel something when they notice the clock actually travelled some distance after years.




New Making

Low Poly Mask

Inspired by the low poly glitch in the object below (cocktail base), I decided to try to explore this angular aesthetic more within the context of digital making. At the same time I was also interested in trying 3d scanning. Therefore, for my final artifact I made a low poly mask of my actual face.

After scanning my face I processed the 3d information on Skanect, and meticulously carved away at the model in 3ds Max until only what I wanted was left. I purposely made the mask unsymmetrical both as a practical consideration (parts of the scan were very rough) and as a  A E S T H E T I C  choice.

Then I fired up Meshmixer where I did some digital sculpting just to remove glitches like large pits or high bumps (especially around the edges), and then decimated the model (turn into low poly). I played around with the decimation settings for a bit before I got the size and distribution of the polygons just right. I made sure that the polygons were large enough to clearly show the faceted aesthetic while keeping just enough resolution to still be able to recognized the face on the mask as my own. To get it to actually 3d print I had to give the mask volume, so I took it over to Rhino and 3d offset a 2mm thickness.

I then printed it on an Ultimaker 2+. I would have rather done it on a 3 that way I could simply dissolve away the support structure instead of painstakingly chipping away at it piece by piece by a chisel. Speaking of support structures, the support structure for the mask produced some very interesting coral-like web structures. From what I can tell this is caused by the extruder scrapping by the support as it moves between them, slowly building them up like stalagmites in a cave. This may be attributed to the fact that in a bid to speed up the 2 day print time I dialed down the support density to 10% and a ‘line’ in fill pattern which created these large gaps for the plastic coral to develop.

Finally here is the final thing in all its glory and splendor. Originally I wanted to cut holes for the eyes and possibly paint it, but seeing it now I think it is perfect as it is. The low poly aesthetic works to convey both a sense futuristic abstraction and bone chilling eeriness, making it a great death mask.


All in all this project has tough me a lot about technology, experimenting and just having fun with making. which unfortunately for University projects are not always the case. I can use the skills and experience from this to make even cooler and wackier things.

Chris Chong signing out.


New Making

New Making

The first half of the current semester has been focused on experimenting with new technologies and exploring the unconventional oppurtunities they posses. The project was split into three subsections – Hybrid materiality, Scaffolding glitches and Parametric design – the aim being to explore their potential through ideation and experimentation.

Hybrid Materiality

Beginning  with hybrid materiality I looked for a problem I could solve that also allowed me the opportunity to explore the topic. I decided to try and design something that would organise my laptop charger in my bag. Designing around the dimensions of an existing product posed a challenge.

 I began by sketching initial ideas and how I hoped it would work and realised there would need to be two independent parts. I designed the parts in illustrator with the knowledge I would be cutting on the laser cutter. Knowing the thickness of the material I was using allowed me to create joints of the correct dimensions to house parts when it was eventually assembled. Holes for nuts and bolts were considered to make the assembly as easy as possible. The hybrid materiality aspect was explored through the use of an existing product and housing this in a new structure, as well as the merging of materials; nuts and bolts, ply and acrylic. 

I enjoyed the creation of a three dimensional object using only a two dimensional software and the challenge that posed visualising the final product. I gained an understanding of how to merge materials and objects into one product succesfully.  


Scaffolding Glitches

Scaffolding glitches was the research into the support structure, infill and other tools a 3D printer uses to print a model correctly. Our research looked at exploring and exploiting these traits through experimentation.

Ideas for this mostly involved the failure to add support and how this could have an effect on the final print. I moved away from this and looked and celebrating the support, creating a set of floating steps and allowing the printer to insert support where it was required.

Through printing the part and making cuts in the support I realised the support had a hinge like quality and allowed the treads to move independently on a variety of different planes, Something to explore in future projects.

Parametric Design

Parametric design is based on numeric value, altering dimensions in a way that will distort or change the size and shape of the object. To begin I looked at softwares that offered the ability to design parametrically, opting to try the design tables in Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD. I struggled at first with OpenSCAD but after watching tutorials began to create forms and shapes and was comfortable editing their parameters. Design tables in fusion was a little more restrictive, although I was more comfortable with the software I felt it was less capable of creating the kind of output OpenSCAD did. My Experiments in Fusion were the altering of sizes of a nut I had previously drawn. I played with angle and base size and ended up with an abnormal but aesthetically pleasing part.

I made a variety of different forms in OpenScad changing the parameters to alter its shape. Exploring parametric design gave me a means of creating original spontaneous forms that can be made either manually or based on data collected.

Final Outcome

As a final step I wanted to create an object that merged different elements of the three design tasks. I opted to make a sculptural lamp/ form that was based on a shape I created parametrically.

The object used different processes to design and manufacture. For the design I used OpenSCAD to create the form. This form was then made in Fusion and split into 13 fins. The fins were then saved as dxfs in illustrator in preparation to be laser cut. A housing for the fins was required. I chose to create this in Fusion 360 with the size of the acrylic being considered then 3D printing one for the top and bottom to hold the fins. This part needed to revolve on a central acrylic pole to show an almost ghosted version of the form when spun on the acrylic axis.


After assembling, adding a base and an LED the form can now be appreciated when revolved, showing the parametric form in a pleasing ghost like style.

Reflecting on the assignment as a whole, I have developed a greater and deeper appreciation for new technologies and processes as well as traditional craft and assembly. I have a better understanding of what it takes to translate an initial digital design idea to a final three dimensional object.  I have gained skills that I can apply to future work and add interest to the work I produce.