Thursday, May 20, 2010

bubble project

So Jarod and I have been busting our butts trying to get things figured out for this collaboration of ours. We're learning a LOT about what it's like to work with fabricators... so far lots of frustration! We're in this weird limbo between "make or buy," which I learned in my Production and Operations Management class (I'm also a business major) is the most critical decision a manager can make. Well... it's not an easy one by any means!

We've got a budget for materials built into the grant, but since we've yet to get any kind of quote from fabricators, we have absolutely no clue if we can even afford the prototype! For weeks we've been perfecting a version of this digital 3D sketch-up model (pictured above), from which a mold will be cut, using a CNC router. Then, from the mold, we will have a number of plastic tiles vacuum-formed into the shape. The tiles will be aligned and set into a grid system (built by us) to form an undulating blanket of sorts.

Ultimately, we would like to have over 300 tiles made... but that will require further funding, so for our purposes this summer we would like to have at least 4 made by the time of our presentation in August. That's not too much to ask, is it?! Let's hope not! But just in case... we have decided to take matters into out own hands for the time being. Until we get some kind of estimate, we will continue to work on building the mold ourselves. This process involves bouncy balls of varying sizes, plaster galore, and lots and lots of patience. But at least it means we get to make a mess... there's something very satisfying about that...

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