Noel Wilson is an Industrial Designer who used Rapid Prototyping technologies to realize his innovative design, that turns a typical ‘banana box’ into a compact, foldable lightweight trolley for transporting shopping.
During the time Noel was working at Concentric Asia Pacific where the unit was manufactured. I asked him a few questions about the project and his time working for a rapid prototyping firm.
Q1. why did you chose to use 3D printing for the project?
I was curious, it was easy, and at the time it was accessible. It translated my virtual design into a tangible prototype without me having to screw around in a workshop, all I had to do was push the right buttons then sand and glue it all together. I knew it would give me a uniform professional finish that would take me way too long with any other method.
Q2. Did the process direct the design or the design direct the process?
Because of the simplicity of the design I think that it mostly directed the process, but I did know that the material (nylon/glass) was quite strong when over 6mm thick and built in the right orientation, and that it could give up to 1mm of visible detail, so perhaps it went both ways.
Q3. was there any enviro issues at play in the design, use of 3D printing
I think it balanced out in terms of environmental impact of the method and material, and my available alternatives. Energy saved here, and spent there. Toxicity avoided here, and caused there, etc etc. I would like to try some of the edible rapid prototyping methods, that sounds pretty eco-friendly and potentially nutritious.
Q4. What did you learn about 3D printing from the project
That it is rad. That it makes a perfect partner to CAD, and that it will play a much more significant role in the future of manufacturing due its potential perfection, speed, simplicity and material efficiency.
Q5. what was he most effective use of 3D printing you saw while working for a 3D printing firm?
Craniofacial test models of patients skulls so doctors could practice operating on them. Fluid dynamics models of underwater crafts (scaled down). The occasional clever plastic widgets would spark a wow. Small scale runs of parts were often cheaper to manufacture through SLS than injection molding.
Q6. what’s next on the cards for you?
I’m off to Malawi to work with the age old & original rapid prototyping materials, wood, mud and reeds (I am actually doing design related vocational training). I am also a cartoonist, and will continue developing my design skills & knowledge in the realm of humanitarian development.
O.K. From laser sintering to mud and reeds, sounds like a change of pace towards the slow design movement.