Conference Paper presented to Engineering and Product Design Education Seminar

A Traditional Approach to 3D Printing

Julian Lindley, John Beaufoy, Richard Adams, Stephen Mcgonigal

Product Design has, since the 1980's, developed beyond the remit of the traditional realisation of the object or product. That is Design is seen as a problem identification and solution methodology which can be applied to several contexts and needs (1). However there is still a need to be able to understand and realise an object. That is the knowledge of materials and how they are processed into components. Also in the last few years the possibilities for rapid prototyping and manufacture through 3D printing machines has become financially possible and creatively opens up new possibilities. Objects can be manufactured which were impossible a few years ago.  We have taken a pragmatic approach which utilises the possibilities of 3D Printing to understand the complexity of manufacture through a design and build project. Whereas most student projects conclude with propositions few are carried through to validation. Although the more engineering based programmes do build and test prototypes, complexities of design for manufacture are usually left unresolved.

Students are challenged to design, manufacture and assemble a working model of an Alarm Clock. Each component has to be designed against an understanding of a material and production process and then prototyped on a 3D Printer. The final product is then assembled from these prototype components. Within this construct students learn about component design and product assemble while also negotiating the compromises needed between design and manufacture. There is rigour in the realisation of the final working models.

The paper concludes with a reflection of the value of this project against the learning curve of student experience as training for the product design profession.

printerhack lab

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hack labclock

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Images 1 and 4 credited to Michael Hardie, Graduate 2014 University of Hertfordshire for both the design and the images.