rapid? prototyping…

At the end of day two of the Rapid Prototyping course, this was the drawing that I had completed, showing two pendants. They’re both specified to be in 1mm material, with the ‘outer’ quatrefoil shape 9mm in diameter, so all up both ‘pendant’ designs are pretty small pieces.

And to clear up something in case you were wondering, these were designed with the gypsum colour printer in mind that resides at the campus where Nicole works in the US. (Or a laser sintering machine, if you happen to have one lying about the place.) See, the bails are not joined to the body of the works, so those of you who know anything about casting, they would have to be sprued separately. They could end up accidentally attached to the main body of the piece at a weird angle due to the vagaries of the casting process if not done carefully.

Via the gypsum printed method (as just one of many direct object printing technologies, where the printed material is the final finished material) the unfixed nature of these pieces would not be a hassle. The bails, once released from the unfixed print matter that holds all of the objects in place while they are being printed, would be ready to go. Just like a bought one!

When drawing this piece I was inspired by the fact that Nicole has kindly offered to reprint our rings with her machinery back in the US,  so we can experience the same designs in a different material (thus making me keen to make something appropriate for gypsum-based 3D colour printer).

The first print of our files was fired off today by the new RMIT wax-extruding machine (more on that soon), which we can have cast afterward, by the caster of our choice! (Nominations of ‘choice’ casters gladly accepted in comments.)

The rings in progress today (some students had theirs done overnight last night) will take 38 hours to complete. My little baby is only accounting for 4 of those, and with maybe six rings being done simultaneously, I could tell you who is taking up the lions share of time, but that would be impolite!

Suffice to say, while it may be called ‘rapid’, this is in name only, and not due to reputation.


  1. We were using Rhino for the creation of .STL (stereolithography) files for printing, then Jason (the technician) would pull the files into another program to check that they would run correctly. I don’t know what that program was, sorry. Finally, the computer attached to the wax printer ran its own proprietary software.

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