PDR’s 3D printed design awards

Cardiff product design and research centre PDR has produced some impressive typographic trophies for this year’s Design Management Europe Awards.

Cardiff product design and research centre PDR has produced some impressive typographic trophies for this year’s Design Management Europe Awards.

PDR has been producing awards for the event since its inception in 2007 and this year, decided on a complex typographic design to demonstrate the capabilities of its 3D printers.

Each award features 25 key words associated with the DME categories and judging criteria. Words intersect to ensure the structure holds together but are offset 0.1mm apart to give a raised surface showing the edge of each character.

The 10cm-high blocks were printed vertically using a wax structure to hold them in place and each took more than 75 hours to make, says project engineer Tom Edmunds.

They were then heated in an oven to melt the remaining wax before being degreased and sprayed black, with highlighted text lacquered for extra effect.

It’s an intricate design and one that would have been near impossible to make using traditional subtractive machining methods, says Edmunds.

“The awards always follow the same shape and structure – previously, we used aluminium blocks that were carved using lasers – but this year, we wanted to do something a bit different that would reflect a change in the times and showcase our technology,” he says.

“You would struggle to get the same finish using subtractive machining – the award would probably fall apart due to its complexity,” he adds.

Launched by Cardiff Metropolitan University in 1994, PDR has also used 3D printers to develop implants that help surgeons re-position facial bones on patients who have suffered multiple or serious injuries – the project is on display at the Science Museum’s 3D: Printing the Future exhibition in London.

  • C.Gunter W

    Absolutely stunning! Turning a brick into a beauty with incredibly precise design. Very well executed!

  • John

    The 3D printers capability is amazing. I am impressed by these results. A good thing is that the new generation of printers has a good price. I think in 3-4 years, a 3D printer will be found in a lot of homes…

  • stu

    very cool

  • Ulla

    We’re just seeing top og the iceberg. 3D Can change how global production is organized.

  • cormac

    This is fantastic. Art, technology, aesthetic, function, everything all wrapped up in one and this is just a demonstration really. Absolutely wonderful….lets go wild !! Thanks everybody…the potential is so exciting

  • I went to the Science Museum exhibition and to a presentation about FABlabs. A bit disappointed that there was no-one at the exhibition to explain the design criteria for each model – it just gave the impression that you could make anything with the standard model printer for sale in the shop. Fortunately I didn’t buy that model, it does seem to be essential to have two heads, one for the support structure of wax or dissolvable/breakoffable plastic. Meantime I’ve been able to try printing test-pieces on a local machine.

  • Bud

    This technology is appearing in high school shop programs around the country. A local school built robotic plastic fingers and palm for a handless child that actually worked on a basic level. The space station is using this technology to build tools in space when replacements are needed, seen in a previous atricle. My brother has one in his shop at Stebbins High School near Dayton, Ohio. He worked in high tech space lathe equipment prior to becoming a teacher, then put that technology into his new High School metal shop. Truly the wave of the future,…look out George Jetson!