During my minor, Advanced Prototyping, I did several smaller projects. Within every project, I learned new high-fidelity prototyping techniques like 3D-modelling and -printing, welding, milling and turning, and more. I designed and built my own lamp and silver earrings, and with a partner, I designed a watchtower for a park in Rotterdam. On this page, I’ll show you the results with some background information of 3 projects: Lightstyle, Signature, and Lookout Tower.
Lightstyle - Through The Looking Glass
This first (individual) project I did, was Lightstyle. For this project, we had to pick one of the 6 chairs that were chosen for this assignment. This chair would be the inspiration for the design of a table lamp. The only restriction was that we had to use a lightbulb.
I chose the Cube Chair by Radboud van Beekum chair. The main elements that inspired me were the layers and different silhouettes of the chair, and the contrasting materials that were used. I visualized some information about this chair in the A3 poster below.
By exploring different materials, different types of light and different prototyping techniques, my final design came to be. This process started with tiny sketch models made from scraps of reused materials. These first prototypes can be seen below. I chose the sketch model in the lower left corner to further develop.
I wanted to challenge myself by using glowing sheets of perspex in my lamp. This in itself is not a challenge, if I were to use LED strips. However, we were only allowed to use a lightbulb. I also wanted to make a minimalistic and clean design, like the chair it was inspired by, and I wanted it to me relatively easy to replace the lightbulb. Those were to extra challenges.
I ended up using turning and milling to make a reflective, aluminium enclosure around the lightbulb. This enclosure was attached to two matte perspex sheets. The sheets were shaped like one of the silhouettes of the Cube Chair. I tested out different types of frosted perspex to find my preferred light transmission. Semi-enclosing around the perspex sheets I put sanded, bended aluminium with a hole at the exact place and size of the round enclosure of the lightbulb. The perspex sheets were attached to the metal with a wooden board to add some warmth to the otherwise cold design, and to play a bit more with contrasting materials.
The images below show a SolidWorks render of the lamp, my final presentation setup that shows the entire prototyping process, and some more pictures of the final lamp. The lamp is turned off in these last pictures to show you the aesthetic and functional properties of the design itself.
During the second quarter of the minor, one of the projects was to design a Lookout Tower. With a partner, we had to pick our own location and specifically for that location design a lookout tower between 5 and 15 meters high. I worked with Laura Arkesteijn on a Tower for park around a lake in the north of Rotterdam.
Just like the Lightstyle project, we started with some general research about the context, whilst creating lots and lots of sketch models. We went to the location multiple times, analyzed ergonomics, and we individually visited lookout towers for inspiration.
After we chose our general design direction, we had to make a timelapse with a 1:100 model. This timelapse was to show our vision about the use of the tower. You can see the result in the video below.
Below you can see our final presentation setup. You can see our entire process, from sketch models to our final models, and you can see where we got our inspiration from (a collage we made about the identity of Rotterdam). Below that, you can see our final 1:500, 1:100, and our 1:20 models a bit more closely.
Signature - My Personalized Earrings
For the Signature project, we had to design a wearable for ourselves. I decided I wanted to learn how to work with silver and make my own earrings. I decided to make my own earrings for three reasons:
- I have multiple piercings and I thought it would be cool to make earrings customized exactly to the placement of my earrings and the shape of my ears
- I have always wanted to learn silversmithing
- Due to sensitive hearing, I wear earplugs during dance classes when the music is turned on. However, when the music is turned off and I need to hear the instructor, I tend to take out my earplugs a bit. In this situation, my (custom-made) earplugs are prone to falling out. I wanted to design something to prevent them from falling.
The first weeks of the process consisted of doing lots of research about jewelry and silversmithing, interviewing a silversmith, sketching as many ideas as possible, experimenting with clay, and making models of my actual ears to experiment on.
The first models of my ears I made, were made of gypsum. However, due to shrinkage and flexibility of the molds, these we not true to size and shape. Therefore, I decided to make 3D scans of my ears with and without earplugs. Due to my small ears and the properties of the scanner, this took a few tries, but in the end, I got a few realistic 3D printed models of my ears. I used these prints to experiment on with different shapes and materials.
As to making an ergonomically designed attachment part for my earplugs, I experimented with clay to see what would fit the plugs and my fingers best. After I decided upon the general shape, I also scanned my earplugs to make perfectly fitting 3D printed parts. Furthermore, I made a final impression of what I wanted my earring(s) to look like.
A silver smith advised me to use the lost-wax process to make my earrings, because with a 3D printed mold, I could use this method to design something exactly fitting my ear. How I did this, is shown in the images below.
My final earrings are shown in the images below. The right one ended up working well in holding my earplug in place. However, because my left ear only has two holes, the left earring was unstable. Therefore, this one did not suffice. Still, I think they look cool and the entire process was something I have been wanting to try for a long time.