Rotational Moulding DIY Machine
by Andrew Duffy, Craig Tyler
and Edward Harrison

| 19 comments
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Product design students Andrew Duffy, Craig Tyler and Edward Harrison have built a machine for making plastic objects, which is powered by a cordless drill.

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Made of scrap materials, the device produces hollow, plastic products by rotating a mould on two axis while resins harden inside.

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The three young designers developed the apparatus to help them learn about industrial, rotational moulding while studying at the University  for the Creative Arts in the UK.

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Watch a movie about the project here.

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Here's some more information from the designers:

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To have an idea is one thing, to fully understand the process is paramount to good design.

Whilst Studying on a BA honours degree, Product Design students Andrew Duffy, Craig Tyler and Edward Harrison wanted to learn more about a manufacturing process named rotational moulding. It was decided that the best way to learn about this process was to construct a miniature machine.

The D.I.Y rotation moulding machine was built to replicate the industrial process to help further understand its possibilities. The machine was built at no cost from scrap materials and simply powered by a cordless drill. With the use of cold setting bio resins, Andrew and Craig are now able to create a fully sustainable range of hollow plastic products.

The Real Rotational Moulding process is an exceptionally flexible and cost effective method for creating thermoplastic products and components. The rotational moulding process is a high-temperature, low-pressure plastic-forming process that uses heat and biaxial rotation to produce hollow, one-piece parts. Rotational moulds are significantly cheaper than other types of mould. Very little material is wasted using this process, and excess material can often be re-used, making it a very economically and environmentally viable manufacturing process.

| 19 comments

Posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2009 at 1:48 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • s

    Not sure why this is here as it is tool making not design. Its also not original just look at youtube there are a number of machines the same there. Having said that well done to the boys. its good to see that people are still making back yard machines to solve problems in the manufacture of low run objects . i find myself doing this all the time.

  • 3T

    I like it but…some guys from the RCA did this about 5/6 years ago. Anyone know their names? They built one so big they were making chairs and they had proper wired up motors with timer/speed functions, not a drill.

  • http://erratum.ca Fred

    @s

    People making backyard machines to solve problems IS design.
    Any kind of problem solving is design.

    You say you find yourself doing this all the time ?
    Well congratulations to you, what you’ve been doing IS design.

    It doesn’t have to be swooshy, all computer generated and stuff, or even pretty for that matter. There is a problem, you research it and find a solution, draft it up, build it and voilà! You designed something.

    I’d rather see this than yet another chair, blobject, barely useful sculptural vase/picture frame/light fixture/faucet/daybed/whatever. Those problems have been solved for 10,000 years now. These guys have put their design skills to use against different problems, and it’s about time.

  • http://www.asarch.co.uk Sash

    3T you mean mischer traxler? http://www.mischertraxler.com/systems_concepts_th
    same concept but powered by the sun – nice

  • mikaël
  • PeeBee

    Every college / university should, at some point initiate a project like this. it de-mystifies the process of plastic moulding for students who do a lot of their design work on a computer or in a sketch book. It is an insightful process and could become a launchpad for a new manufacturing ideas. It doesn't matter whether this has been done before, what matters is that those students now have a thorough understanding of a process. More of this hands on approach should be embraced!

  • http://www.asdfghjkl.com asdfghjkl

    Why the conversation about whether it’s design or not?

    Surely the commentary should discuss whether it’s good or not?
    If that’s needed.

    It’s a nice home made roto moulded machine. That’s it.
    It’s good to see what’s being experienced in colleges, and not like these guys are taking up space needed by more gricic chairs right?

    Can I get a piggy bank?

  • Nathan

    There was a student at my school who built a CNC router on his desk. I kid you not. It was nearly as pretty as this one, but it worked.

  • http://andrew-duffy.com Andrew Duffy

    Hi thanks for all the comments!!

    Just to say we were not the first and most definately not the last to re create a process!

    We just wanted to learn ourselves about this one. Also we just wanted to show it as we had a lot of fun creating it, and thought we could show people that journey!

    We are all currently starting to push the manufacturing process as we now have a much larger understanding of what can be done.

    You have to know the rules before u can break them!

    • Fanny

      I have a great interest on your impressive design,also the materials you use is very friendly to the environment. Wonderful design

  • andrea

    I was about to post a very critical comment but i read your statement andrew and have to say: good words!
    and good work to!

  • tommo

    it was will smith and tom vaughan that did this at the rca 5/6 years ago

  • bodkin

    well said andrew, there’s nothing more valuable than understanding the processes behind production, the same goes for all creative industries whether it is product design, architecture etc. etc. i’ve long felt that a good many architects in particular should spend much more time actually building things and not just over-elaborately constructing theory

  • J*

    Nice project guys, but I am still completely amazed by statements like this one: “Very little material is wasted using this process, and excess material can often be re-used, making it a very economically and environmentally viable manufacturing process.”

    It is still PLASTIC products/production and although efforts are spent on trying to recycle them, this CANNOT BE tagged as “environmentally viable” in any way. Please please, please. when will we stop this nonsence?

  • http://www.laikingland.co.uk Martin Smith

    Well done Andrew, glad you put it on Dezeen for all to see.
    You made it for the right reasons and it’s important to be playful and to understand how things are made.

  • mahendra shah

    I am soory but say that this is not a designed to be used for real performance. Now this fast developing roto moulded industry its too small thing even for the documentation of old trial of this products.
    Mahendra shah from Nagour(India)

  • Sara

    I studied ID in the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where the only way is do-it-yourself, still none of us built a rotomoulding machine, so my congratulations.
    Also, a question, for what I understand of rotomoulding it has a heat component too. All this machines are made of pine wood. Do you use some sort of special pellet?

  • http://www.dakumar.com/ plastic machinery

    Molding machines are wonderful,they can produce whatever shapes you want.

  • roto_dynamics

    Anyone who is interested in doing this should ignore the inciteful comments. These students have done a great job on this and have probably learnt a lot in the process. If anybody wants to learn more there is an annual hands on seminar at Pen State USA. Otherwise resources are available at http://www.rotodynamics.com/index.php/rotomolding