Glomus (2010)

Glomus (2010)

The advent of the Makerbot in 2009 – the first sub $1000 3D printer – promised a seachange in our understanding of 3D printing. In response, a group of ten third year Industrial students envisioned the Makerbot as a creator of prostheses for broken objects in a scenario where broken, abandoned, unused or unloved artefacts would not only be repaired but also enhanced with a printed prosthesis. Their manifesto is compelling – their proposition is that the act of making increases the intimacy and sense of ownership between the user and the product and thereby enhances its perceived value and extends its lifespan. In other words, you have invested in the product, and you have invested something more valuable than money – you have invested time, thought and care.

They capture this philosophy in a lifestyle scenario where, for instance; cutlery bought second-hand is personalized and becomes your own with newly enhanced handles, sunglasses found discarded on the street are taken home and given a new lease on life and the eternal problem of the wineglass with a broken stem is solved by revitalising it with a replacement.

Interestingly, this project moved beyond the course brief of recycled@home and created a process of re-making which allowed objects to be repaired@home. It is a scenario that uses new technologies to reassert emotional bonds between people and products. Ironically, it is the new technology that connects us to what we used to do – repair, rejuvenate, reuse and recycle – and the group has achieved it with a visual integrity and empathy for the obviously low-resolution capabilities of the Makerbot.

They foresee a future where domestic 3D printers “would be widely used and available in every household. An accumulative online database of default digitally modeled prosthetics could be produced for people to access in order to mend their broken items; similar to modern online databases like the Wikipedia community, where all parties will benefit through information sharing.” (Glomus, 2010)

Essentially, this would break down existing manufacturing processes and mean that production takes on some of those guild-like qualities and becomes more akin to the creating and fixing practices of a bygone era such as darning socks and mending furniture, but though digital means. It also highlights the translation between both physical and digital as a means to inform and deepen our understanding of design.

Materials and Processes –Closeup

Software:  SolidWorks

Hardware:  Makerbot Cupcake CNC Kitset 3D Printer, general workshop prototyping facilities.

Project Level:

Completed as a coursework project for IDDN 341 Production Materials and Processes.

Course Coordinator: Ross Stevens

Students: Gina van Berlo, Christoph Brautzsch, Anindita Candrika, Justin Davies, Lulin Ding, Luisa Fonseca, Tenzin Heatherbell, Cody Law, Stewart McGregor, Daniel Starkey

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