The new touch board teamed up with conductive paint opens up a huge range of interactive possibilities by turning touch into sound. One of the main problems with electronics projects is ensuring that there is a good deal of creativity going on. We usually address this problem by engaging students in the design of casings and product design which is fine, but look at the touch board and you’ll see that creativity is needed from the outset. The results don’t even need to look like finished products. Use a touch board for proofs of concept (remember you can use conductive paint on paper) or in a final product. If you are looking for electronics with more creativity then here it is.

The material used is 4mm acrylic (3mm will be OK) and the processes are: laser cutting, heating, dome blowing, trimming, laser cutting (again). The range of creative possibilities are huge.


Bowlo project

Sometimes the constraints of a process or material give birth to the most creative ideas. The ‘Bowlo’ project incorporates a range of processes and there are opportunities to be creative with each one. Students design and make a fruit bowl that works as an aesthetic piece, but also functionally. The bowls themselves are dome blown acrylic. This produced an effective bowl, but it just isn’t stable on the table. Students need to work out a way of making them stable so that the fruit does not fall out. There are a few ways this can be done. Watch the video to find out.

The material used is 4mm acrylic (3mm will be OK) and the processes are: laser cutting, heating, dome blowing, trimming, laser cutting (again). The range of creative possibilities are huge.


3D Board

Nothing helps you develop your ideas quite as quickly as a 3D drawing board. Designed specifically for students, it is completely intuitive and produces high quality perspective drawings in minutes. Use it to help your students develop mulitple ideas without investing too much time. This is a real boost to the design process and even students who normally struggle with drawing will find it easy to use.


Vaccum Forming

Vacuum forming is a good way to create a seamless plastic form. The body of a toy car is made by taking a holey, rigid mold of the car’s shape. You want to then place it inside the vacuum forming machine. A sheet of plastic is draped over the top of the mold covering all the edges and angles. Then the lid is closed and locked, and the machine is activated, causing the interior to heat up to a preset temperature. The plastic sheeting will soften to the point where it becomes flexible. The machine then forms a vacuum, pulling the plastic down around the mold.


Injection moulding

Injection moulding is a widely used industrial process and the majority of plastic products are in fact injection moulded. The 25H injection moulder is a bench top version of the real thing giving students practical insights into how the process works.


Strip Heating

Bending plastic sheet is a great way of turning a two dimensional piece into a design object. Used widely in industry this process has found powerful application in the classroom. The process of strip heating is simple and very forgiving. The key to the strip heater is the highly localised line of heat that softens just a line of the plastic making folding easy and accurate.


Low Temparature Casting

Flamefast have made low temperature casting available even to primary school children with this unit. There are no hot external surfaces and all puring is internal. Have a look at how easy it is to use.


1210 Vaccum Former

A snappy look at vacuum forming with the Clarke 1210. note the use of the trimmer at the end of the process. This is really necessary when using 1.5mm HIPS.


25H Injection Moulder

This is a great process for the classroom. Students can feel the resistance of the moulten plastic as it enters the mould. Cooling time is critical to get consistent results. These are issues also delat with in industry.


Plastic Welding

This is probably the most difficult plastic forming process because the variables are mostly manually controlled. With practice the right amount of heat, speed and pressure can be applied. In this demonstration 2 sheets of 5mm polypropylene are welded together. The resutant piece really behaves like a single unit.



Here are a few mini projects for forging explained visually. Forging is a cold metal work process because the metal is heated to within the plastic range where it can be worked through force.