Don't get it twisted, Injection molding is tricky Part 1

Don't get it twisted!
If your injection molded part is not what you expected then there are many things you may not of considered in the design stage as well as the fact it is such a complex process where many aspects can affect the part and it is hard to get it perfect first time.

Different thickness sections of a part will cool at different speeds.  A thinner section, such as a rib will cool quicker than a large thicker surface.  So a rib cooling quicker can twist or bend the section of the part that is yet to be fully solid.  This obviously creates issues, as you want a part that is the same as the CAD and therefore needs to be analyzed before the manufacture stage to see if you could have issues with the design with a software package such as Moldflow from Autodesk (which is free for students).

A lot of the time you don't want to sacrifice the designed-in ribs and thin sections as they are normally therefore a reason.  Therefore a part will be overcrowned.  By running Moldflow analysis it is possible to predict how much the part will bend in the injection molding process.  With this information you can then reverse the bending so ideally when the part does bend, it bends into the correct position that you want.

In a perfect world you would just want a constant thickness part.  To achieve this practically you need to core out sections.  Cored out sections reduce the thickness of features.  Coring out is explained as well other techniques on Protomold's website.  Where you can also get quotes for injection molding for prototypes (which is good for students to estimate costing for course work!) 

For help with ribs and bosses, Protomold give a way a free Cube.

Next week: Honey I shrank the Molding, Injection molding is tricky Part 2


Street Art

When we think of street art, mostly we think spay cans and marker pens.  However there are some street artists that take a thinking outside of the box approach to street art.  This post is just to show that there are alternatives to the ugly graffiti done by people who are not trying to make the street look better, but just purely damaging property.

"Yarn Bombing" may look like a Granny gone bad with her knitting needles, but actually it has now become a form of street art.

While Banksy uses stencils to speed up the time it takes to put up his work and Shepard Fairey uses pre-printed posters to plaster up on walls, Max Zorn makes semi transparent pictures using brown packaging tape and then takes the pre-prepared images out on the street to stick them up as a sticker.  The video below shows the process of making the art.

Check out more at http://www.maxzorn.com/

Another street art project I like is the Favela painting project which not only makes art, but creates jobs and helps the community.

If all street art was this positive, there would never be complaints or any painting over/destroying.  Growing up in Bristol where there is a strong street art scene I have been lucky to see some excellent painting from Bristol based artists and regularly visit the Weapon of Choice gallery for street art.


Project feature on BikeHacks

A Cycle trailer Project I did a while ago has been featured on this website:  http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2012/07/not-just-your-average-cycle-trailer.html

Here is a taster of what the feature is about...


Why do side projects?

fter my last blog post about doing personal projects in your free time with an emphasis on Graphic and Web design, I thought I would expand on it and write about why do people do side projects, both paid and for free.

After seeing my friend Emily's Fairy Letters side project, that she is carrying out in her free time whilst working at the design consultancy Seymourpowell and selling using the online homemade gift store Etsy here I wondered why people want to side projects.  You work so hard at your job, only to come back and work some more.  So I wanted to look at some other designers who do side projects and why they do them.

Maybe doing something like this is similar to being a part time eBay seller, however you still need to find the time to manufacture and package these home made items.  A lot of people these days have an eBay account14 million in the UK alone and 223 million users in the world compared to the 17 million users worldwide on Etsy.

So why do people do side projects?

For Fun?  For the extra money?  To fill spare time?  For exposure?  To do what YOU want?

Jessica Hische a Designer and Illustrator who creates daily illustrative initial caps for free personal use.  This is not a side project to make money as she gives away her work so she must do it for fun, however with that comes exposure and personal promotion.  I do like her free to use caps, there are many to choose from and they look great, I have used they a couple of times on this blog post.

Another ex-Brunel designer that enjoys side projects is Duncan Shotton.  I met him when he was working at Kinneir Dufort and I was unsure whether to do a BA or BSc in design, and he has since helped me with applying for jobs and with my CV.  Duncan used to work for the design consultancy Kinneir Dufort but is now moving to Toyko.  In his free time working at Kinneir Dufort Ducan designed the Key cloud.  The Pecha Kucha video of Duncan explains about the Key cloud and about personal projects and I think it shows that he does it for the fun.

onclusion to this post is that I think people tend to do a side project for fun, to do something different from the design work they do as a paid job.  Where they set the brief, the deadlines and the working hours.  No doubt it is tough, and that is shown in Duncan's Pecha Kucha video above, but it is fun.  We just want to have fun and enjoy ourselves.  If that can also get us money and exposure as well as take up some free time, then that makes it just the more perfect.


Graphic Design

Graphic Design and Product Design has a lot of crossovers and with a similar process and a final product, we are very similar.  In Product Design we have to do our own Graphic Design for branding, layout and presentation.  Some Product designers will even freelance Graphic design as well or just even do it for fun.

KJ, a Product Designer for Braiform, has an extensive Graphic Design gallery on his Deviantart profile, all freelance or personal work done in his spare time. 

So, I could try to become an all-rounder and be a product, graphic and web designer, or just end up being low skilled in a lot of things.  I am however currently trying to learn web code, with the end goal being to create my own website so that I can put my own work on it ready for graduation and getting a job.  However my pace is slow as I have a lot of other more important things to do and trying to squeeze it in is hard.  I feel I have got to grips on HTML, but CSS I feel is harder and I have spent less time on.

The front end Web Design tends to fall under Graphic Design meaning some Graphic designers can web code too, allowing them to offer more services and the skills for self promotion.

Joe Kozak and I went to college together and both did Product Design, however he went on to study Graphic Design.  I am jealous of his web design skills that enable him to make regular updates and new personal websites.  

Maybe I feel this as my design course does not teach web design and only touches on Flash.  Self promotion I believe is such an important thing, showing what you can do, and that you are out there, I feel makes you more employable.  I know that you can get jobs without even leaving a trace of yourself on the web, or in print.  But I know I am not that type of designer.


New Designers

I am now back from my trip up to London to go to new designers, it was great to see the guys from Made In Brunel and was a nice surprise to see a picture of the installation that my team and I created for the show up on one of the Brunel boards.  I preferred the Brunel stand layout this year to last's as I thought it definitely flowed better.

The One Year On exhibition that showed work from designers that were exhibiting at the show last year was inspiring, showing excellent work.  I really liked the wood/concrete lamps that reminded me of my wood/ceramic dish brush I designed.  I like the flush transition from soft, sanded wood to rough concrete.

As New Designers show not only Product Design and Furniture, but also Digital media I went to check out the Brunel work again to see my favorite media project, by David Paliwoda, and the winner of Brunel University Digital Media most outstanding project award.

I love how this imitates claymotion so well and could accelerate and modernise claymotion films.  It is an amazing dissertation that is a must to watch. 


Heading back to London

After coming back home to Bristol for 2 weeks for a much needed rest, I am going back to London today until Sunday to go to New Designers and see friends.

I have tried to make the most of my time off, whilst trying to sort out accommodation in Portsmouth for my job at SMR Automotive.  I have been riding my bike when I can and catching up on all the films I have missed out on.

I forget how nice of an area I live in, where I am so close to the center of Bristol and so close to the country side.

As I have only been commuting by bike and haven't done any distance I decided to go for a ride along the Avon cycle path and see where I ended up.  The Avon cycle path keeps you off main roads and follows the old Bristol to Bath train line and the Avon & Kennet Cannel.  It rained through the whole day but not even my smile could be washed from my face riding and splashing through all of the many puddles that were scattered along the canal on the path.  I ended up riding past Devizes and back home, 66miles in total, but it far further down to the the bumpy tow paths.  Had such a great time I decided to ride to Chew lake the next day.  Only 31.6 miles this time but I needed a rest and the route has far more hills.

Anyway in 45 minutes I will be on a train hurtling towards London!  See you at New Designers on Saturday.