Materials and manufacture have long been a dread of mine as I feel my knowledge with them is scarce and I only know the basics and therefore, stick to them. It wasn't until my final year of my degree in Product Design that I became interested in the making element of a design. As I have mentioned previously I have always loved the exploration and vast spectrum of designs initiation sketching allows me to create and although I have considered technical constraints as my CAD and Solidwork's skills have improved, I find sometimes my designs are not always fit for manufacture. This is because I do not always consider when working on my final design, how exactly it would be made in the manufacture stage and what materials are most suitable. I find this can be a theme with those who have not worked in close proximity with materials and crafted with them. I found some of the peers in my class had considered the materials more than the design itself, while we had worked the other way. There are pros and cons in both methods as it seems you are coming to a compromise but with so many exciting materials and manufacturing methods, especially those associated with green design, considering how the product will be made will ensure for a more successful and efficient product .
After speaking to individuals who had a background in wood and understood the contrainst of the CNC lathe we understood what could and could not be achieved hence why the final design of TOTEM became more curvaceous to suit the CNC lathe. I looked into materials that would also be suitable, focusing on light-coloured woods that would match the pine we would be using for the shapes.
I found beech was one of the best contenders for the TOTEM spinner being a very hard, durable, lightwood suitable for the lathe. Although some sources argued that their are disadvantages to beech as sometimes it can be hard to work or the colour is not always uniform, I found the durability properties overruled the possible disadvantages. As we are creating a 'life-long product', the material needs to withstand 'wear and tear' and so beech suits this need. Their are a great number of beech wood spinning tops on the marking, suggesting that is fairly simple to craft and is suited for the use we intended. As for possible colour issues, our methods of dying are not intended to replicate chemical-based paints and will leave a unique, yet visually appealing finish. If the colour is not as uniform, it will only enhance the nostalgia and traditional essence we had in mind when creating Totem. As for the pieces, I decided to use pine as it is a lightwood but not as light as something such as balsa. Having been used in stackable examples such as Jenga, I felt it would be perfect for our shapes too.
This experience has made my consider in my ideation stage looking at materials first in some of my designs or suggesting materials and how it would be manufactured to determine the feasibility, therefore illiminating the chance for problems to arrise in the manufacture. I believe that first hand experience and understanding is one of the key components to successful design, therefore I want to become more hands-on with materials I want to work with an experiment and learn the craft. I want to continue with wood as it has not only a heritage but that feel of nature and I am hoping learning the craft of wood lathing in the new year will allow my to experience its constraints but more importantly, its possibilities. Experience is more valuable than assumption.
YouTube. (2017). Intorex woodturning machine for curtain rings AV-1000 maquina para anillas de cortina.. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1rFBtcDdoI [Accessed 1 Jan. 2017].
YouTube. (2017). Home Built CNC Woodworking Lathe - First Attempt Hollow Spiral. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waQNoM7Tuhk [Accessed 1 Jan. 2017].
YouTube. (2017). How It's Made - Wood Toys. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGafUauDpH0 [Accessed 1 Jan. 2017].
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