The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.


On arrival at Euston this week I went straight to Waterloo, met Alastair from RapidformRCA and caught the Eurostar to Paris.
We had arranged to visit a French company specialising in postproduction techniques for rapid prototyped products.
Alastair had arranged to spend just one day in Paris, learning as much as possible about their services and finding out about licensed use of their products. I had arranged to stay for the rest of the week in order to do some practical work. The company is based in a technical college and we spent Wednesday in the classroom learning about the treatment of Z Corp pieces that allows them to be used as durable finished products. This includes ceramic and glass coatings, infiltration and curing that allow their use as moulds for glass blowing and casting, low temperature metal casting, thermoforming and rotation moulding. The ceramic coating also comes in another version that can be cast. It is incredibly versatile, can be coloured, is food safe, acid and alkali resistant, provides a gas barrier etc.
There seems that to be a vast number of potential applications, and the company are still only at an early stage in its development.

Thursday was spent in their lab, casting and spraying ceramic materials. It’s a straightforward procedure. I would like to have had some of my own designs to work with, but it was not possible this time. I used children’s plastic moulds of cherubs and numbers instead! Even so, I learnt the basic technique, which I can pass on to students at College.

During our trip the French train drivers were on strike, with the Metro drivers joining them on Wednesday. It made for a difficult taxi journey to Gard du Nord for Alastair in the evening, arriving just 10 minutes before his train left. Monsieur Sarcozy is in for a fight but I think there is no way a country can afford to pay workers to retire at 50. Though I hope he isn’t a French Mrs. Thatcher.

Friday morning was spent checking my notes and wrapping up my samples, followed by a slow drive with Gilles to the railway station. The Eurostar was smooth and quick, arriving back at the newly refurbished St.Pancras station in two and a quarter hours.