Designswarm – plastic AM heats up for Utah Teapot
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is an interaction designer & entrepreneur and we recently worked with her on the Utah teapot, which is a standard reference object in the computer graphics community. The complexity of the object lies in the different types of curves that make it up, and therefore make it one of the most difficult objects to learn how to build in 3D.
The original teapot given by Mz-Tek was rendered as accurately as possible by Campbell Orme (www.ineedmydevice.com) and divided into pieces which were then built in Nylon by 3T RPD Ltd using plastic Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. This extremely accurate process allows virtually any shape or structure to be built layer by layer without compromising on design complexities, freeing up the artist or industrial designer from previous design constraints.
The self-supporting nature of the AM build process means that curves, overhangs and internal voids can be easily created, enabling features such as the handle and spout to be built as integral parts without the need for any post-assembly or joins. Alexandra then painted the pieces to make them look as close to porcelain as possible, but in areas which aren’t usually glazed, and ignoring some key areas that should. The ubiquity of this everyday object is forgotten and the object, its process and materials, made to be reconsidered in light of new technologies.
In collaboration with Campbell Orme for Mz-Tek’s Chi-tek project, the Utah Teapot was exhibited in September 2011 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.