Prototyping an idea – fast!

Prototyping an idea - the paper prototypes from Mcor's ARKe 3D printer.

This is how prototyping happened.

Update on the post below:

October 2016: three units were 3D printed in paper in colour on Mcor’s new 3D printer, prototyping them to check whether the holes through the length of the units could be cleared easily and how best to do that. The design of the units was moving towards what I wanted. Mcor’s ARKe technology offers high deffinition colour and our Anarkik3D Design package has some exciting ways to crisply colour surfaces by using coloured objects with complex curves and boolean subtraction. Serendipity is a delightful element in Anarkik3D Design which can be explored and played with as unexpected results can be easily saved, used or deleted. The undo/redo button is one of the best features of digital design and modelling packages as these two functions mean that we can work in a risk free environment and I make full use of the play and experiment elements while also considering the constraints of the different 3D print systems and the different materials available.

Having prototypes means that I can both test how well my knowledge of the systems, materials and processes is helping me to be both pragmatic and exploratory, and also encourage me to push boundaries.

I am now waithing to receive a number of 3D printed units to make the final piece for an exhibition in January 2017

Quick sketch for prototyping so as not to lose the initial idea

Quick sketch for prototyping

July/August 2016. Prototyping a solution:
I was involved in a mundane task when this idea came to the fore, a solution to a concept that has been rattling around in my head.  So mid task I did a quick sketch so as not to lose it. But I was so excited to develop it, see if it works that I down tools and switched on my 3d modelling programme.
Quick model at prototyping stage 2

Quick model at prototyping stage 2

Within a few minutes I had a rough 3d digital model I could 3d print. We have an Ultimaker2 3D printer in our office which is used on our courses to demonstrate the principles of 3d printing.

The digital model was processes/sliced in Cura and its g-code sent to the printer. The model printed in about 2 hours so while it was being printed I finished a couple of tasks but was pretty fidgety!

Next stage in prototyping,: creating forms

Next stage in prototyping,: creating forms

Anyway with the completed model I tangibly tested my idea and it worked great, helping with the next stage of designing to get the size right and the form more interesting and aesthetic. This second model was also processed for 3D printing out using Cura and printed in white PLA.

Design in Cura for processing for 3D printing

Design in Cura: processing re 3D printing

This prototype was then used to decide on the details to make a more finished piece.

3D printing prototype on Ultimaker2

3D printing prototype on Ultimaker2

Having a tangible object helped with decisions on the cord, as the piece is a bead of sorts, and also on design features. Getting back on the computer I also have ideas bubbling away to create the variations.

Objects printed with the extrusion method used by the Ultimaker can require supports to be built for overhangs – as my model did. As a jeweller I have the bench, tools and expertise to produce a good finish on the bead, to remove the supports and file off the rough bits.

Next I will 3d print enough pieces for a neckpiece and take the design to the next stages where I can play around with all the components and proportions while ideas are fresh and excitement high. No waiting for pieces to come back from the printers! Also the quality of the print is sufficiently good that I could use the pieces in the final wearable neckpiece.

This is exciting for me to go so quickly from idea spark to solutions and be able to then concentrate on designing. It is a long time since I last worked this way. I am so pleased as it proves the value of our haptic 3d modelling package, Anarkik3D Design, for concept generation, for fast prototyping,  for designing variations faster and being abl

D printed prototype

3D printed prototype

e to afford the time and space to get immersed in exploring and playing to go into more depth. For me this is very important as running Anarkik3D, managing Touchable Universe and setting up Anarkik Creations leaves too little time for getting back into being a designer maker.

Prototyping success: Now designing forms starts

Prototyping success: Now design form starts

Having the use of the desktop Ultimaker2 3D printer is a huge advantage in the design process as having tangible objects to handle and use for testing quickly provides the wherewithal to select best solutions.  Being so handy and there, on the desktop, I feel my designing and development is staying fresh.
I am though also a great believer in ‘mulling’, letting my brain get on with making connections between new input and ideas and all the other stuff that has gathered there over the years. This new neckpiece is the next exploration in the series of wearable neckchains started in the mid 90’s that taps into the different materials and techniques I used as a jeweller, such as titanium, niobium, steel, aluminium, silver, gold felt, silk, laser cutting, casting, anodising. Although I did know about 3d printing in early 1990 it was financially out of my reach and finally when I stared designing for it I struggled with the computer aided design (3D CAD) programmes available then. Not being able to digitally explore and play within these programmes and with 3d print technologies was a big issue for how I work as my ideas come directly from what my materials, processes and tools enable me to do and combine through play and pushing boundaries.

So this is how prototyping  happened using new technology!

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