Digital interactions, our 1st year at DJCAD, 2014-2015

There has been great enthusiasm for digital fabrication at DJCAD Make since we opened in September 2014. In our first year, it was very interesting to see how students from different departments engaged with digital technologies. Some of the most exciting projects to come out of DJCAD Make saw students working successfully between traditional and digital making techniques, utilising the excellent workshop facilities across DJCAD.

One of the first examples of a student working between contemporary and traditional techniques was Hazel Wyllie, level 3 Digital Interaction Design. Hazel used a combination of 3D printing, slip casting, laser engraving and woodwork to create intricately manufactured salt and pepper shakers.


Edges salt and pepper

Edges, Hazel Wyllie

Hazel was given the brief to look at ‘sharing between two people’.

Hazel states that:

“Using salt and pepper shakers, Edges creates a subtle communication between the diners and the waiting staff. The two ceramic symmetrical shapes fit perfectly together and can be moved freely around the base. This allows diners to discretely display if they’d likealittle bit more privacy at their table.”

Hazel’s first prototypes were made using folded paper. She then used Solidworks to remodel the object as a very accurate Computer Aided Design File (CAD) file for 3D printing.  This file was printed using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), resulting in a very sturdy, accurate 3D model. Hazel then slip cast this 3D model using porcelain with the help of Sean Kingsley at the General Workshop. One very interesting aspect of this process was that the minute ‘stepping’ on the FDM 3D printed model was replicated in the first porcelain prototypes. The final pieces that Hazel produced were glazed, covering this ‘stepping’, but it was interesting to see how accurate the slip casting process was at picking up these tiny variations on the surface.

This project really utilised the making facilities at DJCAD and set a precedent for how digital making could be successfully intertwined with traditional making techniques.

Megan Falconer, level 4 Jewellery Design explored a combination of silversmithing, casting, wood-turning, laser cutting, 3D scanning and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling with remarkable results. Megan has a great page on her website documenting the process:

Megan Falconer

Megan’s work is a perfect example of using the right tool for the right purpose and combining methodologies to create a well crafted, finished piece.

The hammer heads were created at DJCAD’s foundry with Roddy Mattieson where they were cast in bronze. The moulds for the hammer heads were cast from rocks that Megan collected. A nice touch is that Megan laser engraved the GPS co-ordinates of the place each rock was found on the individual hammer handles.

Megan then worked to create vessels using traditional silver raising techniques, where a single, flat sheet of silver is heated and hammered into a rounded face. Megan made a set of three silver vessels using this method, finishing each one by texturing it with strikes from the bronze hammers. These hand raised, silver vessels were left with rounded bases, meaning that they were not able to stand alone and therefore required support. Megan decided to 3D scan three stones and use the Roland MDX-40A to mill a copy of each stone out of smoked oak. This CNC milled wood, would become the stand for the silver vessels. Using photogrammetry ( to scan the stones, the topside and the underside were scanned separately and joined in Rhino 3D.

Megan Falconer process images

The silver, hand raised vessels were then 3D scanned using the Sense 3D scanner. This produces an accurate, life size scan of the rounded underside of the vessels. In Rhino 3D, the scanned vessel shape was used as a cutting tool to boolean split a section from the main 3D file, leaving an exact indent in the surface of the rock. When milled in the machine, this indent allowed the silver vessel to sit neatly into the surface of the finished oak piece, providing an exquisite combination of materials and textures.

This is a brief overview of the huge amount of student work that came out of DJCAD Make during 2014-2015.

2015-2016 coming soon!

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