Research advantage provided by the ClayTools system.
Dr Warren A. Reilly the owner and founder of Cadalyst, initially purchased the ClayTools during the experimental phase of one of its research projects. The research was the comparison of digital and traditional methods of defining three dimensional space.
By combining the power of the ClayTools system and the flexibility of SLA and SLS manufacturing processes, the researchers were able to remove the restrictions of dimension-driven CAD and any subsequent limitations of fabrication by casting, machining and fabricating.
Allowing participants in the research to begin modeling any imagined form, without the need to consider physical size or orientation in space, the researchers were able to isolate more of the thought processes of designers and artists and determine much more about their decision making processes, which was the underlying goal of the research.
An unexpected result.
As a result of comparing the digital and physical methods of creating the same forms, the ClayTools system revealed itself to be a highly intuitive approach for defining complex shapes and assemblies.
Designers were able to create many different objects within the same file and experiment with allowing the objects to clash together or be partially separated, all the while interactively scaling, texturing and orienting them. This meant they could concentrate on translating their thoughts into 3D space without the consideration of how the object would ultimately be made.
By assigning a scale (usually based on cost) this freely formed object could then be given physical dimensions by Rapid Prototyping for customer approval and analysis. This could not be done in the physical world at all. All designers and artists working directly in the physical world, must determine a material and scale before starting and had to consider the influence of degrading materials and gravity with every decision. This was revealed as a constant compromise to their creativity and ideas.
By using the ClayTools system to capture those free thinking ideas up front and then translating them into practical physical limits later, a hybrid approach to design began to emerge. This method not only puts designers and artists back in touch with their creative ideations, it allowed them to capture them into space and be subsequently ‘printed’ directly into physical reality.
In the event that larger scaled versions were required, existing technologies such NC scanning and machining in combination with casting, moulding and fabrication could be driven directly from the RP model and the CAD file.
Reduction in time to market with an increase in accuracy.
Time to market for most design customers is paramount and in the world of sculpted forms, this is further compounded by the need to accurately preserve the subtlety and proportions of the original ‘approved design’ inside the final deliverable. This was no problem for the ClayTools system. Clients can sit alongside the designer while the Tug tools, Scale and Repositions are used in real time to ensure the client feels they have had some direct input to the final compositions.
Because of the absolute speed and accuracy of ClayTools, even Cadalyst clients who demand a traditionally created, hand formed clay artifact are pleasantly surprised by the speed and ‘apparent’ confidence shown by the artists launching into a work that may take 400 hours to complete. Little realising that 100% of all works being created by Cadalyst now begin in ClayTools, and that the artist had already completely captured the composition in as little as 10 hours within the software, before reaching for the first lump of clay.
Because the digital model is also 100% interactively created by the artist, without any typed dimensions, this CAD model has all of the individual touches and style of the artist and now acts as a permanent guiding model that the artist constantly uses to keep the artwork aligned with the customers demands. No iterations of concepts and no need for major rework due to ‘creeping’ proportions or scale.
Irreplaceable Tool in the design flow process.
Within Cadalyst Consulting, the ClayTools system now has an irreplaceable position at the front of their design processes, directly behind the paper and pen. Its open architecture allows for any inclusions or influences to be directly imported into the models, ensuring that any standard interfaces are preserved in the final products.
Evolutions of existing product styles are seamlessly preserved by importing any existing CAD data directly into the working file allowing a unique combination of parametric driven CAD surface models and the subtle touches of a designer working interactively with it using their hands, their judgement and their imaginations.
This case study was written for THINGLAB by Warren A. Reilly of Cadalyst Consultancy Pty Ltd.
Copyright belongs to Cadalyst Consultancy Pty Ltd.
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