Cutting Edge project image
We have been doing some pretty exciting research here at Medalta this year. Some know Medalta as an artists residency program, some know it as a National Historic Site and others know Medalta for its community programming.
Before it was any of this it was a pottery factory. In fact, Medalta once produced 75% of the Stoneware in Canada. We know a thing or two about making things. Today, we are deeply engaged in making things and more and more we are engaged in the idea of how to make things better.
Recently we have partnered with Medicine Hat College and Streamline Automation on a research project funded by the National Research Council of Canada. The purpose of this project is to apply Streamline's innovative software and hardware solutions to traditional ceramic fabrication.
We are about half-way through this research and have come up with some interesting solutions. We're excited to show you some of the cool things we have been working on.
What if we can use Streamline's routing and wire cutting machines to develop foam models that we can then make into plaster moulds? Foam cutting is relatively inexpensive, it allows us to work on a larger scale and it is compatible with the digital toolset many contemporary makers are familiar with.
In partnership with Medicine Hat College we have done a fair amount of 3D modelling in a variety of software. Fusion 360, Inventor, and Rhino have all been used. We are looking at a variety of tools that would work for artists at all career stages.
Rendering of a vase case mould - Medalta
Rendering of a four-piece case mould - Medalta
Through Medicine Hat College we have the ability to rapidly prototype our designs in order to test the feasibility of the process.
What we hope to achieve at the end of this project is a pathway that incorporates the digital processes that Streamline's equipment offers into traditional ceramic practices.
Below left, we 3D printed a case mould to test the viability of producing this at a much large scale in foam.
Below right, is the plaster mould created from the 3d printed case mould.
3D-printed case mould - Medalta
Plaster mould created from the 3D-printed case mould - Medalta
At the end of this project we hope to have a pathway to incorporate the digital tools into traditional ceramic practices.
Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project. Soon, we will be conducting a survey to better understand where we should direct our research.
Report courtesy Medalta in the Historic Clay District.