Hacking the Machine

So, here are a few snaps of the resulting work. In the first image you see a student experimenting with the machine, allowing the clamped frame to loosen the styrene, and as the heat softens the material it sags and pulls away from the frame. As it cools it retains that shape. The following two images are sample pieces from the studio, after cutting and shaping.

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Yes. Let them Hack

Vacuum

The conversation about the LA experiment with iPads prompted me to finally establish the blog. Time has been a problem, but I have also hesitated to avoid talking without clear focus. This article and subsequent discussion cleared a path for me. The concept of hacking reminded me of one of the “form exercises” that make up my design studio that I am currently teaching. We are working now on what we call planar flowform. It is a project to yield an abstract object from thermoformed plastic (polystyrene or Spectar®). We use a vacuum former to produce these projects. It is not a project where you conceive an idea and proceed to physically construct it. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The construction is improvisational, really. Then the object is to find “the grain in the stone” after you are left with a thermoform. Hacking comes into play because what we want is for the students to “turn the machine inside out” in a way, experiment with its capability, figure it out from a point of ignorance. They discover with abandon then. More students results coming up in the next post.

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