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Digifacture: Industrial Design and Advanced Manufcaturing - A New Relationship
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A new technology recently became readily available in the field of advanced manufacturing and the question of how this manufacturing innovation could be applied to the design of objects arose. Existing manufacturing methods require either time consuming handcraft skills or costly and restrictive industrial methods such as injection moulding or sheet metal pressing. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Lasering Sintering (DMLS) technologies enable rapid manufacture of objects in high performance materials using 3D CAD models and are predicted to challenge traditional manufacturing systems. The SPK bowl emerged out of research into the extent of suitability of SLS and DMLS technologies as alternative manufacturing methods. The SPK bowl provides a unique solution that maintains the ability to satisfy the dual functions of a container and an appealing visual object. It is an object that could not be made using any other method. Exploiting the inherent peculiarities of the SLS technology enabled me to uncover a design solution that would be virtually impossible using other methods. The SPK bowl is significant as it represents an outcome from a practice-led research investigation into a new manufacturing paradigm. The Selective Laser Sintering technology can generate final (market ready) objects direct from 3D CAD models providing designers and manufacturers with a new method for evaluation when considering manufacturing options. The SPK bowl also provides a platform for the development of new objects that can now be distinguished from existing products, therefore creating a new typology of product.
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