Author Archives: cstallman

Elliot Goes to the Doctor

There comes a time in every design endeavor when the pursuit of material will drive a designer to look in the most unlikely of places for that certain something that eludes you.

Our need for a pliable and resilient fabric for the casting phase of our final project found Elliot taking a trip to the doctor. The take away is that architecture is a cruel mistress or mister, as it will swing either way you want it to.

Love Doctor

The Crux

A must read –brief– article from the NYTimes that raises many of the questions we’ve approached in our class:

And a link to some design responses to the need to engage user thought, Experience Design:

Forget Me Not


And a –brief– paper on the Caterpillar cord and The Forget Me Not reading light:

Project #2: 009_tall0104

Our final molds in action and the tiles that are resulting:

So far the molds are holding up famously. We’ve wrapped the “inside” aspects with black plastic to resolve a release concern and the effect is a very shiny and plasticized interior, or hub, of our core tile. We had worked on differentiating the “inside” and “outside” surfaces of the tile and this pragmatic production decision carries this surface treatment forward.

















The added benefit of transparency  This has allowed us to greatly reduce the occurrence of voids and the resulting failed pours.









After fifteen casts the mold, both MDF and PETG elements, are doing very well.








Some of the tiles that have been cast: hub tiles on the left under the monitor, core tiles in the center, and the molds on the right.




The hub tile has received the same “plastic” treatment on it’s center element. Here it was purely out of functional necessity so that we could release the cast from the mold without compromising either.


Though the tiles will require some light cleanup, the interior webs of plaster that slip easily into the plastic-wrapped crevices create a very interesting effect. It would be possible, using a ridged form such as the MDF and PETG here and a plastic barrier, to control the degrees of opacity. We’ll try a dry run assembly of our wall and evaluate then whether or not to leave the happenstance membranes.



Project #2: 008_tall0104

The process of building our final forms involved a process of casting all the “pieces” of our iterative tiles in order to vacuum form the various mold sections. Each of these castings, pre-vacuum form, provided an opportunity for further editing and refinement.








Speeding up the drying process. This works great for items which are simply acting as molds for vacuum forming. We did see some hairline cracking which would concern us for final product curing.








The oven drying permitted sanding within 2 hours of casting. Oven drying was done at 225*F. Sanding provides a uniform fit between mated-halves and a variance in surface between the inside- and outside-faces of the core tile.








The four aspects of the core tile’s mold. The top two have been sanded smooth and for the interior of our tile, the hub side. The bottom two are the front and back faces of the core tile and still retain much of the hand-tooled “brain” texture of our earliest exploratory castings. The brain texture has undergone a level of refinement in that each stage of vacuum forming (two prior to this final) removes a level of micro-detail.













Given the sheer number of vacuum form iterations we’ve gone through we began reusing sheets to reduce costs. We noticed that there may be a brittling effect to this so beware the fragility of reused PETG.








Even the reused PETG provides a clean final form. the plaster here is waste.














The PETG form is then nested in MDF to which it is glued into a solid assembly.










The voids between the PETG form and the MDF armature were then filled with an expanding poly foam insulation. This effected to lock into place the PETG parts which would allow the  core pieces to be cut apart for post-cast disassembly while maintaining a consistant realignment.









The mold for our hub tile clamped to glue the PETG and MDF components to each other.

Project #2: 007_tall0104

Moving toward a final mold system for casting.

We are taking casts from each element of of our explorational foam forms and using the vacuum former to create PETG shells. We will then be using these plastic shells as the primary molds for production of our final system.





Project #2: 006_tall0104

Working towards a structural hub; our tile-b.








Inside the a hub mold.




































I rushed taking it out of the mold and lost two of the strong-back arms.