Always Look Up

 

After a busy week of work I was lucky enough to visit Salcombe over the weekend as a belated valentines gift. Unfortunately for me I didn’t have my usual camera with me so it was time to adopt the trusty old iPhone. Throughout the day I found it to be a much more capable camera than I first realised. Nearly the only feature I was really missing was the amazing 50x optical zoom. I was relishing every second of a quick coffee shop pit-stop to get the photos into the VSCO app and uploaded to Instagram.

During the day the weather kept yo-yoing between heavy rain and summer sunshine. But that gave some of the shots all the more moodiness. Salcombe has an extensive waterfront and a naturally sheltered harbour as it lies on an estuary. As a result the town has a remarkable nautical heritage and the architecture really reflected this. The photography opportunities were all over the place, from the vistas of the estuary to unsuspecting side alleys, every time I turned a corner there seemed to be a charming new detail. 

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During this trip something I came to realise is the amount of beautiful details we must walk past every single day by hanging our heads and muddling through. Many of us desire exotic trips to experience the astonishing sights we see on instagram, but we have lots of captivating places all around us, it's time to go out and explore, taking the time to look up and notice the unexpected details that surround you in everyday life.

If I had to sum up Salcombe in a couple of words it would be ‘nautical charm’, I’ll be sure to head back in the summer with my usual camera to capture some of the shots my trusty old iPhone couldn’t.

Until next time, Alex

 

3D Printed F1 Car Pt.2

 

Nearly eight whole weeks, and about forty hours of printing have passed since my last post on this project. After some persuasion with a set of needle files and a hammer, as you may have seen from the image above, I have successfully 3D printed the F1 RC car designed by Daniel Norée

I settled on a two tone colour scheme, both colours were PLA from Colorfabb. The Lilac reveals the seductive curvature of the car while the black was practical, elegant and matched the tyres. Even just sitting on the side in my bedroom, the body work of the car is so aerodynamic it looks as if it’s moving quickly. I’m incredibly excited to get it wired up with some electronics and out on the open road; or on a rainy day the kitchen floor!

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During the build the only minor (colossal) hiccup was my ill-fated attempt to print the tyres. To cut a rather long story short, I ordered a spool of Ninjaflex and for love nor money couldn't print it. For anyone that doesn't know what Ninjaflex is, rather than printing in a hard plastic as a printer usually does, it resembles a rubbery type of material, perfect for the tyres of the car. No matter what I tried I got a dreaded clicking noise from the extruder, confirming it was jammed. After a series of attempts to unjam and modify my printer so that the Ninjaflex would print, my patience buckled and I ordered the tyres instead. 

After three years of owning my dinosaur of a printer, it never fails to astonish me what it can produce. The idea that in the not so distant future people could just press print to create toys similar to this for their children is fascinating. I recently purchased a Nerf gun to fuel my curiosity and it definitely presents an exiting printing project for the future. 

Until next time, Alex

 

Making Everyday Beautiful

 
 

For Christmas I was fortunate enough to receive the much hyped Dyson hairdryer. Since receiving it I’ve had a multitude of reactions from family, friends and colleague’s, at their discovery of me receiving such a gift. The most common one being ‘doesn’t that cost £300?!’. The short answer to that question is yes; yes it does (gulp). I immediately spring to it’s defence and interject ‘yeah but it makes me smile!’. You can feel an eerie silence of confusion and they seem to follow up with ‘Is it actually any good?’.

I put it on my Christmas list not only for the seductive and slightly playful piece of product design it really is, but for the significance a hairdryer has in my daily life. It is a product that I’m using for about 10 minutes every single day, that accumulates to around 61 hours a year! For something that is such an essential tool in my everyday life I ‘need’ it to be the best version it can possibly be, meaning I took the plunge and added the Dyson to my Christmas list. On the whole the Dyson is lighter, quieter, extra precise and a heck of a lot more elegant than your average hairdryer.

 
 

Recently I watched a TED talk by Tony Fadell titled ‘The first secret of design is … noticing’. He talks about a way in which we as humans learn, it’s called habituation. Sometimes it can be incredibly helpful in learning new skills quickly. Other times it can work against us, and we won’t notice things that need improving in our everyday lives. I have somewhat adapted this idea into a philosophy for buying new products.

This is me noticing my regular hairdryer and saying ‘you aren't good enough to be spending that amount of time in my life’. I have a similar method of justifying new gadgets to myself, I describe them as ‘tools for creation’, I’m sure we’ll get to that when I treat myself to a drone.

As to whether this is my justification of desiring overly expensive everyday objects or I have a point, is your choice. But what I can be sure of is that it’s a pleasure to use!

Until next time, Alex

3D Printed F1 Car Pt.1

 
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Gone are my student days of using my trusty 3D printer for purely academic projects, I decided it was time for it to be liberated!

I recalled seeing a project by Daniel Norée called 'Open RC' and fantasising about attempting to print its many components one day. Upon checking his Thingiverse page I found he had recently added a new edition to the project, the Open RC F1 Car. The files create a Formula One styled RC car that, aside from fixings, screws and electrical's, is entirely 3D printable.  

 
 
Fully Assembled Open RC F1 Car. Image courtesy of Daniel Norée.

Fully Assembled Open RC F1 Car. Image courtesy of Daniel Norée.

 
 

The longevity of the product that the designs create is its most appealing asset. One of the awkward aspects of traditional RC ownership is the sourcing of new components for repairs. Any concerns about a spirited driving style are quickly eradicated through the ability to quickly print new components!  

 
 
 
 

I began this project a couple of weeks ago and have so far printed the chassis and an array of small components. The fact I will have a brand new RC car at the end of this project is filling me with all of the excitement I need to accelerate my progress!

Until next time, Alex

 

Why Product Design?

 
University Of The Arts London, Central Saint Martins

University Of The Arts London, Central Saint Martins

I am lucky in the sense that I have never had to sit down and think about what exactly it is I would like to pursue. In the case of design it has been a passion of mine I have continued to follow. Throughout Secondary School I was fascinated with technology and the idea of making things for myself. I have always been a visual learner and communicator, so naturally it was the Design Technology course that captured my attention. I was intrigued by the constant play between digital and physical and the combination of those tools as a means for story telling. This constant variation in the content I create to communicate ideas is just one of the reasons I chose to be a Product Designer. 

Thanks to my teachers, particularly during my time in sixth form, my skills were constantly being challenged. I vividly remember spending evenings after school in the Design Technology workshop completing my models. At weekends I would sit at my Dad’s laptop learning Photoshop to make sure my design portfolio for university applications would stand out.

University offers arrived; after much portfolio guidance, interview preparation and encouragement, I was fortunate enough to receive an unconditional offer to the BA Product Design course at Central Saint Martins. An accomplishment, including graduating from the course, I will always be truly proud of. 

Until next time, Alex