Categories
New Making Projects

Exploring possibilities with the 3D printer

Although in many ways this course was for me an exploration into combing materials to create new structures, new forms and new textures, it was also  about exploring the possibilities and limitations of the 3D printer. 

Before this course I had never attempted to use a 3D printer, its rigid style of formatting data into a physical thing was unsettling. 

I had always believed that the 3D printer lacked the organic and natural flare of craftsmanship. 

During the exploration period of this course I found myself drawn to the idea of natural forms and organic shapes which were closely inspired by artists such as Antony Gormley and Margaret O’Rorke who had played with this idea and transcended it through there use of sculpture. 

Antony Gormley
Margaret O’Rorke

From being inspired by this I then discovered the possibilities of organic shapes and forms that I too could create using 3D software. 

I converted simple primitive shapes into their wire frame version which I immediately took note of its similarities to a cell like structure. 

It was this organic scaffolding that I believed to be too complicated for the 3D printer to create without using support material. 

The slight over-hangings of the shape itself was also a worry of mine, would the print fail? Would the PLA droop down causing residing gaps which would deform the shape? 

Many Failed Attempts

After many attempts at printing this simple form I began to notice the changes that occurred with each iteration of the print. Although all attempts were programmed on the same file, not one iteration was the same, they were all unique. 

This could be for multiple reasons but I  believe that there is something organic and natural about this event which I believe to be quite interesting. 

To further enhance these already organic prints I combined it with a plaster mixture to explore the ways the two materials would react to one another.

The plaster in its most liquid state merely leaked through the holes of the wire frame and created a puddle beneath the structure. However as the plaster began to thicken it linked itself on to the frame creating  a thin coating which can be seen taking shape of the actual frame it self. 

With the combination of 3D print and a traditional practice I was able to further explore the possibilities of creating an organic form. 

Categories
New Making

Generating Architecture

I began with an idea of structures, architecture, and computer-generated forms. While the term “Hybrid Materialities” (as the assignment was titled) might suggest something essentially material, my interest quickly changed from the immediately tangible to the again, more structural. To me, it became about understanding the 3D-printing process to the end of more efficiently being able to implement it into my own design process; to see what could be automated, refined, or streamlined. 

Initially, given my inexperience with the tools, I looked at concepts varying from fashion and the likes of Iris van Herpen, to the massively extensive work of Neri Oxman. What I ultimately found most inspiring (also given the scope of the assignment) was this idea of varying structures and I was particularly inspired by a NASA-hosted competition calling for conceptual 3D-printed habitats. What structures and conceptual forms can be inspired from this indeed very futuristic tool? How could the device be used in earlier parts of the design process (concept generation) rather than towards the final stages? Surely enough, the competition demanded more thorough analysis and proposals. Yet the very idea given by NASA of how a different aesthetic can be generated, or shaped, from the tooling that the printer offers, is interesting. The 3D-printing revolution has been anticipated for some time however its effective use is still limited. In the design process, its actual use is indeed very effective within the rapid prototyping stages, yet I wondered, given the tone of the assignment, whether it could fit elsewhere in the design process equally well. 

I began by sketching out a selection of shapes. Very few parameters existed at this point in terms of how they looked and even in terms of their probability. My idea was to make shapes, or “typologies” as I ended up calling them, that left the 3D-printer with having to “fill in the gaps”, or generate support structures, to use the more technical term. Within the popular CAD-program Rhino I interpreted the loose sketches and tried to stretch the limits of actual probability further. By leaving obvious cavities in between groups of objects, I envisioned how new structures would generate, signifying movements or patterns within say, a building or a structure. Going back to the source of inspiration, being the Mars architecture competition by NASA, one could imagine using these artefacts as guiding visuals.

After making a broad range of objects in CAD, I exported each one separately to then import them into Cura (the software for printing on Ultimaker 3D-printers). Initially, I had planned to evaluate the generated support structure back in 3D, counting polygons etc., however I discovered that wasn’t possible. Instead, I opted to evaluate them visually. Criteria for evaluating the shapes were quite informal, meaning I basically looked at them and analysed them visually. What had happened to the shape? Why did the support structure look like that? As the technician in the laser cutting workshop pointed out to me, the groups of shapes ordered in space, going against gravity as it were, would generate far more structures. All but left for the designer is then to interpret them, and assign them meaning.

I find that the patterns created by the printer is interesting from the perspective of spatial design and say, urban design. The models signal movement and ways of creating a unison structure or form through techniques that appear intuitive and logical. The structures are optimal in many ways. For future work I would like to see what this aesthetic, or conceptual design language, could potentially look when applied to actual product design.

Categories
New Making

Folding Fabrications

In the New Making course I was exploring digital fabrication using hybrid materials. At the beginning of the course, we were asked to choose either a traditional craft practice or a material and explore either by looking at the hand or machine techniques or processes that are involved with it. We were also asked to investigate how it can be combined with digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing, CNC milling and laser cutting. For this project, I chose to explore origami.

Origami is a traditional Japanese craft of paper folding. The idea is to transform the flat sheet of material into a finished 3D sculpture using folding and sculpting techniques. Originally, the structures were achieved through trial and error method. However, nowadays it is possible to create complex forms using mathematics to produce pre-engineered crease patterns. 

In theory, any flat material could be used in making origami, although the only requirements are that the material needs to be flexible and it should hold the crease and remain its shape after folding.

I decided to choose this craft because I’m very fascinated by the idea of transforming laminar materials into complex 3D structures.

Initially, I experimented with a variety of materials, which included cartridge paper, tissue paper, polypropylene and textiles. The aim was to try making a simple paper crane structure from the materials, without the use of any other fabrication techniques either than folding the material by hand.

As a result, I found out that the polypropylene sheet that I used was too rigid to fold comfortably, and the textiles and tissue paper were too soft, that they couldn’t retain the folds and the overall shape of the structure.

Subsequently, I became interested in the idea of manipulating fabric using digital fabrication, specifically 3D printing. I began thinking of ways to make support for folded textiles and how to make them retain its shape.

Then I tried to use a hot glue gun as a form of a simplified 3D printer to create the support for origami, as both methods create solid plastic material, though hot glue gun method is much faster and more energy-efficient. The accuracy of the hot glue gun, however, was much lower than if I were to use a 3D printer because the nozzle is larger and the material is extruded at a faster rate. Even then, I still got some useful insights on how the fabric would behave when 3D printed and what the distance should be between each block.

After that, I created multiple 3D models of origami crease patterns using Autodesk Fusion 360 software and then prepared the files for print in Cura. I let the printer do a couple of layers, paused it to add the fabric, and then resumed the print. This way the fabric is trapped within the 3D printed structures. As a result, I got a 3D printed enhanced fabric that is now easily foldable into origami shapes.

To further develop the project I explored 3D printing on pre-stretched textile material. However, all the prints were not as successful as I hoped as I could not get the fabric stretched enough so it wouldn’t be moved by the nozzle when printed. Even still, the fabric did bend when it was released.

The next step would be to further develop the idea of self-folding origami structures.

Categories
New Making

Exploring Dialogues using Material Flexibility

In my task to explore hybrid materials, I decided to focus on making use of acrylic and string. My task explored the creation of hybrid materials whilst incorporate flexibility into a material which is normally rigid and fragile. I then built upon my previous sewing experiences and use sewing as a joining method to explore and experiment with.

I chose to work with acrylic due to its natural rigidity, and its ability to create contrast through laser cutting which incorporates flexibility into an otherwise brittle material. With laser cutting, I created living hinges which allows for a large variety of movement based on the selected cuts. Using the laser cutter also allowed me to create the necessary holes used for sewing which would normally be created by a leather punch.

I then began experimenting with combining the materials in unique and interesting ways which create intriguing dialogues between the duality of movement and constraints. I the first range of pieces which I produced had a limited the range of movement and the complexity was low. Hence I moved on to create pieces which incorporated more dynamic movement through a larger number of combined components. 

It proved to be a tricky process to sew the pieces together as the hinges had a natural tendency to lay flat, whereas I was attempting to restrict their movement by forcing them into odd shapes. It took many attempts of trial and error to create the desired stitching within the pieces, whilst ensuring that I do no exert too much pressure on the hinges.

I also created pieces which captured the movement of the hybrid materials and allow the user to understand the material’s flexibility simply through the material’s static shape. Therefore, I created this structure which is sewn to an acrylic base with a living hinge top piece which highlights the multi-directional flexibility of the hinges without requiring physical touch.

The exploration of Hybrid Materials over the past 6 weeks have been filled with my own almost child-like enthusiasm when I was able to interact with materials in ways I could not imagine. It has provided me with valuable experiences in research, brainstorming as well as hands on prototyping. Although the results of my Hybrid Materials do not currently have any real-life applications, the number of possibilities for further exploration seem endless and certainly could have real life applications in the near future. 

Categories
New Making

Sewing through Glitches

In the first six weeks of the New Making course, we were tasked to combine a form of digital fabrication with a traditional crafting method. I chose to combine 3D printing, specifically relating to printed glitches, with sewing.

Initially, I tried different ways to combine the two mediums. I did this by either pre-printing holes into the print and then by using a candle to heat up either a needle or a piece of metal wire and melting a hole through the already formed plastic. 

For this exploration, I took inspiration from Matthew Plummer Fernandez. Fernandez takes objects and uses a 3D scanner to digitize them. He then digitally repairs the mesh and prints the finished product. This work explores the transformation from a physical to a digital and back to a physical object. 

Using this as an inspiration, I 3D scanned a theatrical pin badge. I then used MeshMixer to reduce the resolution of the scan by reducing the triangle count. In my continued exploration, I have used the reduced resolution version of the scan. 

To ‘fix’ the 3D printed glitch through sewing, I looked at different ways to stitch over the eyes of the pin. For my first try I pre-printed holes and used thin black thread to sew over the gaps. When sewing in a straight the thread would not stay taught, therefore going in different directions was more successful. The aesthetic created by sewing over the eyes has radically changed the mood of the piece. It is no longer a replica of the original pin but has become a new piece in its own right. 

To develop the use of sewing over the eyes, I looked into different stitching techniques. I looked into cross-stitch and tried it with unusual materials. I stitched through a piece of wire mesh using thick wool. Placing this behind the eyes created a very different aesthetic to the previous try. 

Finally, I created a print of the pin which included thin scaffolding over the eyes. This was then used to weave through to fully cover the eye area. I first tried using thick wool, but it was too strong and broke the delicate strips. It worked best with thin thread that could be evenly weaved through all of the gaps. I think this is my most successful experiment because rather than just adding thread to a 3D print, I have actually adapted the print to allow for the sewing to be effective.

Categories
New Making Projects

A Stitch in Hyperbolic Space

I find the hybrid materiality aspect of this course fascinating, even if it was a little hard to get my head around at first. I was really interested combining both traditional and modern techniques and experimenting with their outcomes.

I knew I wanted to experiment with crochet as it is one of my most favoured crafts, but also because it is one of the only traditional handicrafts that remains unmechanised due to the complexity of its stitches. I love the juxtaposition between this craft in particular and digital fabrication.

I originally wanted to work with cork as I love how versatile material it is, but it ended up just crumbling and the more reinforced cork I could get was unsuitable for laser cutting so I decided to experiment instead with 3D printing and laser cut MDF & acrylic.

I began working with the 3D printed shapes, experimenting with winding and slipping the yarn round the shapes but the fastening was never secure so I settled with attaching the yarn to itself surrounding the shape with a slip stitch and a single crochet.

For the purposes of clarity, I refer to crochet in the American terminology as I feel it is the more clear naming system. British terminology refers to the number of loops pulled through on the hook to create the stitch; whereas US terminology refers to the number of loops on the hook at the beginning of the stitch. So US single crochet (SC) it is the equivalent of the UK double crochet (DC), US double crochet (DC) is the equivalent of UK triple crochet (TC) and so on.

I first began with this shape, placing single crochet stitches on the 3D printed frame and moving around the shape. Then I wound yarn in and around the posts. I found it quite interesting. It reminded me of an old style coffee table my gran used to have. Minus the looped yarn round the legs of course.

I continued with my exploration of the 3D shapes with the single ring. I again attached the yarn with a slip stitch and enclosed it completely in single crochet stitches. I continued in a round with this shape rather than slip stitching the end of the row to the beginning and then beginning a new row. Instead, I continued in a round without stopping, drawing the shape outward to create a bowl-like shape. I liked this as it was quite similar to the way a 3D printer creates a shape.

The 3rd 3D printed shape I created with very small sections so used a thread to crochet in and around the form which, as I crocheted I thought it looked like the centre of a flower so decided to crochet single, double and triple crochet stitches to form petals and created a 2nd layer of petal like shapes in front with double crochet. Due to the fine nature of the thread, the finished experiment was not as effective as I would have liked.

After experimenting with the 3D printed forms, I began playing with the laser cut shapes. Again I found attachment of the yarn needed to be around the object in order to properly secure it. For each shape I stitched around the form, trying variations of stitches to create differing shapes shown below including single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, double treble crochet and puff stitch (five double crochet stitches in the same stitch and closed together with a slip stitch.

I preferred the look and feel of the laser cut MDF in conjunction with the crochet yarn to the acrylic, however it was brittle by nature of the thickness, and by laser cutting the thin material it weakened it further; causing some parts to snap. The laser cut acrylic was much more sturdy and supportive throughout my experiments so I experimented further with the acrylic pieces than I did with the MDF ones.

No matter which material I used, it always gave me a solid structure to stitch around and added a secure base to the crochet which would have otherwise been limp even when done in the tightest stitches.

One of the most interesting experiments was when I decided to create an elongated tube off acrylic stars, I chose to use a smaller star in the centre and used single crochet to keep the resulting fabric tight together. I especially liked the way the shape of the fabric changed when the stars were twisted. It’s a lovely piece to look at.

During my explorations I became fascinated by the work of Christine and Margaret Wertheim who created the crochet coral reef. Unfortunately I cannot link any of their images without paying a fair usage fee however their work can be viewed here.

Their work concerns a response to global warming and the bleaching of the coral reefs using crochet to form hyperbolic space. Hyperbolic space is commonly seen in coral, sea slugs, lettuce, the way the brain is formed and other such natural occurrences. For centuries mathematicians have struggled to recreate the shape until in a project in 1997, Dr Diana Taimina discovered how to recreate this geometry in the medium of crochet.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjfxea056blAhVIzhoKHVFbDf0QjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Faeon.co%2Fessays%2Ftheres-more-maths-in-slugs-and-corals-than-we-can-think-of&psig=AOvVaw2eXgyWsoQdLecnPazow6bZ&ust=1571522415781369

The Wertheim twins took this discovery and used it to create the organic shapes of coral in yarn. I was deeply inspired by the work of the two sisters and it prompted me to finish my work in this flavour using the hyperbolic space shape.

In this part of the final artefact I attached three of the experiments adding the hyperbolic space theme through curls running along the sides of the yellow triangle.

This main piece of the final artefact was created with one of the large acrylic circles stitching loops from chains and working in a round in the same way I created the blue ‘bowl’ I worked on this one completely freehand, with no plan and no uniform stitches. One of the things that the Wertheim sisters noted was that their mistakes, missed stitches and freehand work created more organic and real looking work and I carried that into this piece.

Categories
New Making

Fly club wrist band

Introducing the fly club wrist band; a wearable wrist band that allows people attending fly events to create a personal souvenir to remember the events they have been to, by allowing them to choose their favourite DJ playing. Attendees can do this in the form of a little ‘pin’ that they choose on arrival and insert to their wrist band for safe keeping.

Where did the idea come from? Well I started by doing some background research on fly open air, looking at things like dates, locations and line-ups, to see if anything would be changing from usual, and to see if anything sparked initially in terms of ideas.

From what I could see, it was basically the same, Hopetoun house May, Princess street gardens September. However, the only thing that had changed was the days the events were held. The first couple of years, fly was held over one day, usually a Saturday. But since the last event, fly have started hosting it over the whole weekend, presuming due to growing popularity. This is where my first idea stemmed from; all these events, now two days at a time, now even more DJ’s, making it increasingly harder to be able to remember key parts from the events that people enjoyed, such as who they enjoyed the most. Initially I had thought about digital ticketing and redesigning what we would perceive as a ‘ticket’ but this strayed a little too far from the souvenir aspect I was looking at bringing.

I researched into existing festival souvenirs, and quickly found that most souvenirs given at events like this, come in the form of ‘merch’. Collectable things like clothing, mugs, bags. All which had nothing to do with the actual event they had just experienced. This is what I wanted to try achieve; something that would create a memorable link between the two for the user. Creating a more immersive experience both at the event, and looking back. I ended up landing on the idea of wrist bands.

Wrist bands are something used a lot of events like this, however always over looked as just a way of keeping track of who has bought and ticket and who should be attending the event. Most commonly made from a material called ‘Tyeek’. Which is that weirdly strong, paper-like material you get stuck on your wrist at event and spend ages trying to rip of when you get home. For one, its destroyed when the user has to rip it off, but then the memory of it is also destroyed when it gets thrown in the bin and disposed of.

So I looked in to a material that would allow users to use it over and over again, very common one that came up was silicone. Which works great for my ideas as; its flexible so allows for once size fits most, durable, weather resistant and is very cheap and fast to produce. However, one thing that was missing, how does this differ from any other wrist band? How does it create a souvenir? How does it give data to fly club? As well as wanting to add this element into my design, I also really wanted to make use of the wasted bottles and litter that ae left at fly events. Having previously researched into brands such as 4ocean. So many bottles and cups are left over every year, so using this in the new product is also such a good proposal for fly club’s reputation.

This is where my idea of the ‘pins’ came from; they serve a dual purpose. They allow the users to customise their bands by choosing one based on their favourite DJ and inserting it into the holes on the band, and also allow fly to analyse data such as popularity of the DJ’s, through the bar graph style dispensers which would be at the entrance to the venue.

The pins are colour coded to a DJ, to allow people to customise their band aesthetically, without having a physical connection to the DJ playing as this would not be very nice looking. The pins slide into holes on the band and stay there well due to the properties of the silicone.

Through attendees taking one of these pins at each fly event, they begin to build a band of memories for this great event, while also helping fly club with data analysis, while simultaneously making a dent in our fight against global warming.

Categories
New Making

Pocket of Memory

Pocket of memory is a portable origami shaped structure which gives the user the possibility to collect little glimpses of their favorite times at the Fringe Festival. The structure is composed of 3D printed parallelograms with inlayed fabric layers. The layers are composed such that they create a sleeve within the 3D print. This sleeve is the “pocket” where the memories are stored. While developing the product, I  did a series of experimentations combining different fabrics and 3D prints. Trying out different types of fabric was necessary in order to understand which type adheres better to the 3D print. The printed parallelogram shapes are not connected to each other initially. Instead,  they are held by the added fabric, creating a fish scale appearance. To create the pocket, I cut through sections of a single layer of fabric within the parallelogram sections.

Fringe visitors are constantly being given information both verbally and visually, making it difficult to retain single memories of their own. Taking inspiration from the project ‘Dear Data’ and how the two artists make their weekly data set, I have chosen to approach the human scale data gathering path. Contextualizing human scale data within the Fringe Festival, I have decided to represent the personal locations of visitors through the flyers or tickets collected during their visits. It shows, in a non-obtrusive way, where a person has been and what they have liked about their stay. 

Categories
New Making

Light Up My Fringe

Souvenirs can so often be unsustainable objects of loose relevance to an experience with little to no function; Light Up My Fringe is an attempt to change that through a personalised, reflective and functioning product.

Aimed at developing young people’s skills of reflection, the product is a rotating light that the user interacts with by punching holes of different shapes into the side panels, before construction. The holes punched correspond to how the user felt about the different shows and experiences they had that day, creating a unique, personal souvenir with meaning.

One of the key things required to hold memories of experiences is reflection and this product is designed with that in mind. The Edinburgh Fringe festival is an incredible experience and encouraging children to engage in the present and in looking back will only enrich their experience and the memories they hold. Self-packaged and with the option of local manufacture thanks to its simple design, this product is a new take on sustainable souvenirs.

Categories
New Making

Emotional Technology

Connecting the worlds of psychotherapy to technology is a delicate balance to reach, however, the realm of our emotional health is rarely touched upon by the powerful tools we have the power to create. My project is creating a system to use user gathered data following how we grow and change emotionally, and then bring it into the physical world, as if holding up a mirror to your own habits.

The writing sections focus on your past, then your current mindset, and your aspirations and worries for the future. Using prompts and professional therapist workbooks you can work to understand yourself through writing.

The writing forms the emotional tracking, the habit tracker helps the user work toward their goals. With the option to privately connect with a professional so you can ‘check in’ and know you are headed in the right direction.

The key to this system is that a physical product responds to the user’s emotional journey. This is modeled to respond to how well the user follows their planned journey, growing with them.

Categories
New Making

ENCOUNTER

ENCOUNTER is a personalised souvenir which transform intangible experiences of the Fringe Festival into solid memories through adjustable algorithmic patterns. Taking up the shape of an abstract trophy, each stack correlates to an event that visitors wishes to remember. Encounter is designed to establish quality connection between the user and their precious moment, an experience recorded in a unique manner.

Through the use of interactive screens which will be placed in various locations throughout Edinburgh, visitors will be able to design their own souvenir!

Creative Technology

By utilising algorithmic modelling and visual scripting, various forms can be made through the adjustments of dimensions from data collected.

ENCOUNTER introduces a new making process, 3D printing, an emerging paradigm that allows the urban metabolism to be rendered sustainable. It does not only involve a different way of producing goods, but also contributes to the development of a green urban economy.

Coupled with magnets on the surfaces of each unique stack, visitors can channel their creativity by the different ways of stacking patterns.

The souvenir will be available in black and white colours. After the printing process is done, the souvenir will be shipped to their respective addresses.

Categories
New Making

Data-Driven Embroidery Souvenir

When we go away for a holiday or festival events, then we will probably come home with a few souvenirs, then never touch it again. Following the assignment context that aims to consider the complex entanglement of digital information and digital fabrication processes in material practices and material culture in the context of the Edinburgh Festival.

My design started by asking a question that how might we design a festival souvenir that beyond mass-manufacture, and focuses on carrying memory possibilities.

The Data-Driven Embroidery Souvenir design explores the design of using data embroidery as a new medium of personalized in the context of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe souvenir. More precisely, the design creates visual data patterns and embroiders onto personal items to present data in a personal context. The project challenges the traditional three-dimensional souvenir, encourages sustainable lifestyle and aims to translate digital data into a tangible textile as meaningful souvenirs.

The visual pattern example here is based on the map route and the visiting duration per shows, it states that sharing family activities and time in the Festival. Additionally, the representation of Edinburgh Castle will be presented in any the Festival Fringe embroidery pattern as a symbolization.

Keywords: sustainable, souvenir, data, embroidery, Edinburgh Festival Fringe