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Making the Kensui using CAD/CAM

This was my first project taking a piece through from design to final form with the aid of computers. No complex technical computer modelling was attempted and the design was well suited to these methods.
The design started from the fragment"the world o'er"( from Robert Burns' poem, "A Man's a Man for A' That" ), which suggested a globular form for the vessel. The practical constraints of use, that the vessel had to be comfortably lifted in one hand when full of water, had also to be considered.
The finished Kensui, cast in bronze
After revolving/lathing the curve, the form was given thickness, then the lip and foot were added, also by revolving simple curves.
A render from Form•Z

Using Computer Aided Design (CAD)

On a computer the first step is to draw out a profile for the vessel. Now rather than cutting a metal template, as in the traditional method, software (in this case Form•Z from AutoDesSys) is used to "lathe" this line, creating the basic 3D form. This can then be replicated as a parallel surface to form the inside, and extra elements, in this case a lip, foot and lettering are then added to the basic shape. This can be "rendered" as a photorealistic representation at any stage, to help envisage how the design is progressing.

Using Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

The virtual vessel is transformed into a real wax object using a "Rapid Prototyping" machine (a Thermojet) by Dundee by Design at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). This is a process which lays down layers of wax in much the same manner as an inkjet printer, but by building one layer on top of another, a 3D object is constructed in a matter of a few hours. The pouring gate could be incorporated in this process, or, as in this case, added later, and the wax is then used as the pattern for a lost wax casting.
The wax from the Thermojet
Like many aspects of new technology, this process was developed for industrial use, and was originally very expensive and difficult of access. Now however, as I hope I have illustrated here, the use of a computer offers an exciting new prospect for the artist, providing a very flexible and powerful new way to design and make cast metal objects while remaining close to the spirit of tradition.
The same fundamentals of process have therefore been used as in the traditional method: a profile is drawn and the rounded vessel form is evolved from this by lathing. Other elements of the piece, and surface decoration are added, completing the design. The significant difference lies in the fact that the complete concept is "designed" rather than modelled, but evolution follows the same path

A Man's a Man For A That (final verse)

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that)
That sense and worth, o'er a' the Earth,
May bear the gree*, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin' yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that!

*take the first place