New Approaches in Glass Investment Casting- Creative Practitioners Researching and Innovating in the Field of Digital Fabrication

Article English OPEN
Matthias, Gayle ; Jorgensen, Tavs (2014)
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Subject: digital_artefact | glass | comp_arts | digital_tech

This paper describes a research project aimed at delivering innovation in a combined ‘sphere’ of digital fabrication and glass investment casting. The project has established an entirely new method for creating glass casting moulds directly from three-dimensional computer drawings without the need for a physical mould pattern. The method developed is based on Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) technology using a three-dimensional printer, a process commonly known as ‘Rapid Tooling’ (RT). The method developed has a number of significant advantages compared with conventional investment casting techniques. The project was instigated as a joint initiative by a glass artist and a designer aiming to explore this research space by combining our tacit knowledge of materials, making processes and digital design technologies While the paper includes a narrative concerning the development of the moulding process,(including a number of technical details) the central argument is rooted in research/innovation methodology. The project, which is on-going, has developed approach based “emergent methodologies” (Bolt 2007), and employs central elements of “reflective practice” (Schon 1983). However, other methodologies, such as empirical testing were also employed during the project. In order to facilitate a way to effectively logging the various data from these investigations, we have developed a database template for a ‘rich media’ research journal. This research tool will be presented in the paper. Another main argument of the paper is based on our position as creative practitioners undertaking research and innovation in an area that could previously have been seen as the preserve of specialist engineers or material scientists. Our contention is that this is a position which enables us to contribute with different perspectives, knowledge bases and approaches in the innovation process, and we argue that this is a key part of the foundation for the success of the project.
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