Product Design Revision

  • Created by: axnuttman
  • Created on: 31-05-16 17:25


PET (1) - Characteristics: Moderate chemical resistance/Uses: Clothing, blow moulded bottles for beer and soft drinks, electrical sockets, video tapes, insulation tapes/Manufacturing process: Blow moulded.

HDPE (2) - Characteristics: Good stiffness, good chemical resistance/Uses: Crates, bottles, buckets, bowls/Manufacturing process: Injection moulded.

PVC (3) - Characteristics: Good chemical and weathering resistance, hard, rigid, tough, lightweight, can be coloured/Uses: Hose pipes, cable insulation, drain pipes packaging/Manufacturing process: Extruded.

LDPE (4) - Characteristics: Lightweight, low stiffness and rigidity, good chemical resistance/Uses: Detergents bottles, toys, carrier bags/Manufacturing process: Blow moulded

PP (5) - Characteristics: Lightweight, food safe, good impact and chemical resistance/Uses: Food containers, medical equipment, string and rope/Manufacturing process: Injection moulded

PS (6) - Characteristics: Lightweight, rigid, colourless, low impact strength/Uses: Packaging, disposable cups, sound and heat insulation, yoghurt pots/Manufacturing process: Vacuum formed

Other (7) - Examples: ABS, PMMA, HIPS/Characteristics: High impact strength giving good toughness and strength, scratch resistant, lightweight durable, food safe/Uses: Kitchen products, mobile phone cases, safety helmets, toys, car parts/Manufacturing process: Injection moulded

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Epoxy Resin - Characteristics: Good chemical and wear resistance/Uses: Adhesive for bonding wood to metal, plastic to metal

Polyester Resin - Characteristics: Good chemical and wear resistance/Uses: Used for casting (pouring into a mould) mixed with glass fibres to make fibreglass

Melamine Formaldehyde - Characteristics: Rigid, good strength and hardness, scratch-resistance, can be coloured/Uses: Plastic coating for Tableware, decorative laminates for work surfaces

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Elastomers – can be distorted under pressure but will return to their original shape

Examples - are thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), thermoplastic rubber (TPR) and liquid silicon rubber (LSR). Used  for car bumpers and trims, and product grips (over mouldings)

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Joining plastics

Plastic weld – a multipurpose adhesive that joins most plastics 

Tensol 12 – is good for acrylic, it is quick and easy to use, if spilt marks the work, not very strong

Permenant fixings - Rivets, nuts, bolts and machine screws can be used to join plastic

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Fillers – used to reduce bulk of plastic so cheaper e.g. sawdust (increases strength and hardness

Flame retardants – used to reduce risk of combustion, releases agents that stifle it. 

Anti-static agents – reduce effect of static charges that could build up 

Plasticiser – added to improve the flow properties of plastics when being moulded by reducing softening temperature and brittleness. 

Stabilisers – used to reduce the effect of ultraviolet light by making plastic more resistant to being broken down by sunlight.

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Biodegradable plastics -

  • Plastics do not break down easily normally and a lot is thrown away
  • Biodegradable plastics degrade in a biologically rich environment
  • Used for shopping bags, food trays, bottles, gardening, medical and sanitary products. They can be produced from wheat, corn and potatoes.
  • PHAs and PHBs are made from bacteria and it is similar to polypropylene and used in packaging and medicine, it breaks down completely when exposed to micro-organisms.

Oxo-degradable polymers -

  • Additive that causes a short degradation time (less than 5 years)
  • Effects of heat, oxygen, moisture break it down into a fine powder
  • Photo-degradable polymers breakdown when exposed to UV light

Water soluble polymers -

  • Used for liquid detergent pouches and laundry bags in hospitals and melts in contact with warm water
  • The cost of producing biodegradable polymers remains more expensive than conventional polymers, also they cannot be recycled and products made of this have a shelf life of several years.
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Injection moulding

1 - Granulated or powdered thermoplastic plastic is fed from a hopper into the Injection Moulding machine. 

2 - The Injection Moulding machine consists of a hollow steel barrel, containing a rotating screw (Archemidial Screw). The screw carries the plastic along the barrel to the mould. 
Heaters surround the barrel melt the plastic as it travels along the barrel. 

3 - The screw is forced back as the melted plastic collects at the end of the barrel. Once enough plastic has collected a hydraulic ram pushes the screw forward injecting the plastic through a sprue into a mould cavity. 

4 - Pressure is maintained for a short time (dwell time) to prevent the material creeping back during setting (hardening). This prevents shrinkage and hollows, therefore giving a better quality product.

5 - The moulding is left to cool before removing (ejected) from the mould. The moulding takes on the shape of the mould cavity.

Advantages - Fast production, material and colour flexibility, low labour costs, design flexibility, low waste

Disadvantages - high intial set up costs, only solid parts can be made, accurate costing is difficult

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Blow moulding

1. A tube of heated and softened polymer, a parison, is extruded vertically downwards

2. The mould halves close, trapping the upper end of the partisan, sealing it.

3. Hot air is blown into the parison, forcing it out and to follow the shape of the mould

4. The mould cools the polymer allowing it to be released

5. The mould halves are opened and the bottle is released

Advantages - Cheaper than injection moulding, one piece construction, reduces need for adhesives

Disadvantages - Limited to hollow parts, bad for the environment

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Rotational moulding

1) Mould halves loaded with thermoplastic powder and clamped together
2) The moulds are rotated whilst heated until it melts ensuring it covers all the mould
3) The mould is then cooled
4) The mould halves are separated and the product removed

Disadvantages - slow turn around, limited to poly based resins (PP, PS, PC), Material costs are high due to plastics

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Vacuum Forming

1. Plastic placed over mould.
2. Plastic heated to softening point
3. Air in mould removed to create vacuum

Advantages - low cost, good for smooth shapes with additional detail

Disadvantages - deep moulds result in thinning of wall thickness, only simple designs, trimming needed. 

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  • Extrusion moulding is used to produce long, but fairly thin products such as pipes or curtain tracks. Both plastics and metal can be extruded.
  • The material is forced through a die, which contains a hole which is the same shape as the required product. 
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Polymer finishes

Plastics degrade- Unless stabilized; almost all polymers (in particular thermoplastics) will deteriorate in appearance. This seems to be mainly due to the combined effects of oxygen and ultraviolet light. Most polymers absorb UV light causing the chemical bonds in the in the molecular chains to break, thus shortening them. To counteract this process, a stabilising substance that will shield the material from UV radiation is added during manufacture which makes it opaque. There is an extra cost to this application.

Finishes – plastics are generally self-finishing, meaning that once moulded into shape they require no further work. Coloured pigments can be added when the plastic is made, before it is moulded. Screen printing is used on vacuum forming.

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Fibre-reinforced composites (GRP) -

  • A material made of resins and fibres.
  • They have a good strength to weight ratio (they are light in weight, with low density, and are strong for their weight). 
  • They are resistant to corrosion.
  • They have a good fatigue resistance.
  • They possess a low thermal expansion. e.g. reinforced concrete where reinforcing rods (fibres) have been added.

Glass fibre -

  • This glass reinforced plastic – glass is spun to produce a fibre that is then coated to aid bonding to the resin, it comes in a range of thicknesses 
  • A mould is required, which can be made of woods, metals and polymers 
  • “Laying up” is the process and inserts can be added  Can be used to manufacture vehicle bodies, sports equipment, canoes, boat hulls. 

Kevlar -

  • Kevlar is long chain nylon like molecules held together by hydrogen bonds 
  • Used for body protection, e.g. bullet proof vests as it is lightweight, comfortable and flexible 
  • Used for sports equipment, e.g. skis, helmets and rackets as it is lightweight and strong. 
  • Has high strength to weight ratio, low electrical conductivity, high chemical resistance, high toughness, high cut-resistance, flame resistant and self-extinguishing.

Concrete -

  • Can be moulded into complex shapes, it has properties similar to stone, it can be cast on site and is good in compression
  • However is it poor in tension, so it can be reinforced with steel rods to withstand heavier loads.
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Man-made boards

Plywood - Backs of furniture e.g. cabinets, bottom of drawers, panelling – can be flexible for producing curved shapes. It is very strong due to the grain of each ply is positioned at ninety degrees to each other. The plies are glued together with synthetic resin. Plywood is less likely to warp or split, due to this construction.

Block board - Generally used for table tops and furniture carcasses

Stirling board - Flooring for sheds and workshops, also for roofing and shuttering for concrete

Chip board - Knockdown furniture, kitchen cupboards and work tops, usually veneered or laminated for furniture, also used for flooring

MDF - Furniture sides acting as a base for veneers, pattern making for casting

Hardboard - Backs of cupboards and drawer bottoms of kitchen units, can be supplied pre-coated

Advantages -

  • Larger areas can be covered with one sheet as can be made on a larger scale than timber
  • The cost is reduced 
  • They are stable, meaning they will not warp or twist like natural timber due to changes in temperature, and free of defects (knots, splits) 
  • They can be covered in a veneer or more expensive material to improve their aesthetic qualities
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Joining man-made boards

Knock-Down fittings -

Designed for flat-pack or self-assembly furniture, which don’t take ordinary wood screws as they are made from chipboard normally.

Examples -

  • Captive nut and bolt
  • CAM fitting
  • Screw socket
  • Block connector
  • Corner plate
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Ferrous - contain iron, will corrode unless protected, attracted by a magnet.

Non-ferrous - don’t contain iron, aluminium, copper, tin and lead are all non-ferrous. Pure metals – metals in their basic form

Alloys - A mixture of two or more metals. Alloys can change the melting point, increase strength and hardness enhances resistant to corrosion and oxidation.

Aluminium: Lightweight, easy to machine, does not corrode easily, excellent conductor of electricity, strong, used for kitchenware, overhead power cables

Mild steel: Strong. Can be welded, rusts unless protected, used for nuts, bolts, washers, car bodies, panels for cookers.

Copper: Malleable, excellent electrical conductor, ductile (drawn knot wire), used for electrical contacts, domestic pipe work for central heating and water, electrical cable, jewellery.

Pewter: Low melting point, can be cast into detailed shapes.

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Sand casting

1- A pattern is made out of wood or plastic, can be complex shapes.

2- Each half of the pattern is placed on a baseboard, and a mould half box placed over it.

3- Green sand is ‘tamped’ around the pattern forcing itinto contact, this is followed by the backing sand.

4- The pattern is removed form the mould half and the runner and riser gates are then cut into the top half of the mould

5- The mould halves are fitted together with locating pins

6- The molten metal is poured into the running gate, the riser is used to see when it is full. Mould is broken.


  • Complex 3D shapes can be made
  • Cores can be used to produce hollow sections 
  • Automated processes are suitable for longer runs

Disadvantages: 

  • Due to poor surface finish, some machining is necessary 
  • Its not as accurate as die or investment casting 
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Die casting

Die casting -  is similar to sand casting, except the mould is made from alloy steel, gas rings arounf the outside of the die (mould) keep it heated and fluxes are used to prevent oxidation of the  metal. Moulds can aslo be made out of foam cut on a laser cutter. 

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Investment casting

1. A CAD designer creates 3D model of the tool from CAD data.

2. The tool is used to create a wax pattern, using theromo setting wax injection moulding machines.

3. The resulting sacrificial wax ‘pattern’ is attached to a ‘tree’ (essentially a central wax form)

4. The Wax Assembly is coated in liquid ceramic slurry, then a dry ceramic granual layer(stucco) is attached and dried in environmentalluy controleld conditions, a process that is repeated until the investment reaches the requisite thickness.

5. The ceramic shell is final dried then steam dewaxed to remove the wax.

6. The shell is filled with molten metal (a range of metals including stainless steel, brass, aluminium and carbon steelcan be used in the process) using various techniques. 

7. Once cooled, the ceramic shell is mechanically removed to reveal the cast metal mould beneath.

Advantages of Investment casting:

  • It allows un-machinable parts to be cast near net shape
  • It is ideal for low volume production
  • It provides excellent dimensional accuracy
  • It can be used to cast intricate forms with undercuts
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Joining metals

  • Bolts, nuts and washers used where a joint needs to be taken apart 
  • Pop rivets – enable you to complete the joint while only having access to one side of the work, they are usually used for joining thin sheets together 
  • Soldering -  for copper, brass and aluminium 
  • Brazing – works by running a filler rod over a hot metal which melts it, used on copper and low-carbon steel. 
  • Oxy-acetylene welding – for low carbon steel, hotter flame than brazing, uses oxygen and acetylene. 
  • Electric arc welding – used on low carbon steel and stainless steel, strong ultraviolet light emitted need mask, uses a current. 
  • MIG welding: metal inert gas, used to join thin sheet material use gas jet around filler wire to prevent oxidation of material, different materials --> different gas e.g. argon for aluminium
  • Spot welding: uses electric current as heat source 
  • Self-tapping screws - cut a thread in thin steel as they are inserted
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Metal finishes

Ferrous metals- contain iron so it will corrode, they are magnetic, e.g. steel, iron

Non-ferrous metals – doesn’t contain iron, wont corrode, are not magnetic

Alloy – a mixture of two or more metals e.g. brass, stainless steel o Finishes – paint, dip in plastic, dip in zinc 

Finishes –

A surface coat applied to a material to protect and enhance its aesthetic properties. 

Galvanising – is the process of plating mild steel with zinc to prevent rusting, e.g. steel fences. 

Plastic dip coating – involves dipping a heated metal into thermoplastic powder, which melts to provide an attractive coating, e.g. grips for hand tools 

Oil-based paint – provides a waterproof seal for ferrous metals an also an attractive finish, e.g. car bodywork 

Anodizing – involves staining the oxide layer of aluminium with a pigment to introduce colour and reduce corrosion, makes urface more durable so resistant to scratches e.g. mountain bike parts 

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  • Hard woods: grows slowly, over many decades (50-60 years).
  • They are close grained, strong and relatively expensive used in high quality applications and for its aesthetic qualities.
  • Examples are ash, oak, mahogany, teak, birch.
  • They last a long time, they are strong so they will withstand forces, durable, more value for money.


  • Soft woods: grows quickly (10-20 years) it is widely available and used in many applications including building (timber frames), cheaper furniture and paper making.
  • Examples are pine, Douglas fir and spruce. Stock forms of wood: sheet, dowel, veneer 
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Wood Decay

Wet rot - where timber endures alternating wetness and dryness and begins to decompose .Moisture is absorbed into the timber where it will partially dry out, followed by more moisture absorption. This results in the resins and fibres breaking down. A protective barrier must be applied to prevent this happening.

Dry rot - is a fungus that spreads its strands very quickly through woods, e.g. in a building. It is called ‘dry rot’ because of the way it converts timber into a dry, soft, powdery state. The fungus thrives in damp and unventilated conditions. Good ventilation is essential to prevent dry rot from spreading in the first place.

Insect attack -The furniture beetle (woodworm) can be responsible for attacking woods in floorboards, furniture and roof beams. If caught early, it can be eradicated by chemical spraying.

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Shrinkage of woods

Shrinkage of woods occurs as it is dried out and loses moisture. Warping, bowing, twisting and cupping are deformations due to uneven shrinkage.

Seasoning is the controlled drying of timber to increase its strength and stability, reduce moisture content reduces the risk of the timber causing corrosion to the surrounding metal work. And it makes the timber less prone to rot and decay. 

Veneers: is a thin layer of wood that has been shaved off the trunk of a tree, usually hard woods because they are more decorative and durable surface to inferior quality woods e.g. a veneer of yew could be applied to chipboard 

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Glass and Ceramics

Blowing: used to manufacture hollow products such as bottles, mouth blowing is expensive glassware but everyday products use an automated process is used where a ‘gob’ of glass is formed by a cycle of pressing and blowing into a mould

Slumping: glass is heated until it becomes soft, allowing it to take the shape of a mould, e.g. windscreens

Toughened glass: heated to 400*C then rapidly cooled, for vehicle windows and glass doors.

Self-cleaning glass:  a special coating is applied to the surface which is invisible, it prevents droplets settling on the surface by forcing the water to spread out, it interacts with organic light to break down organic dirt. 

Advantages: 

  • More rigid than polymers 
  • More scratch resistant than most polymers 
  • Is not effected by heat 

Disadvantages: 

  • Glass is heavy 
  • High melting point 
  • More easily broken 
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Off set lithography printing; 

  • Most versatile and economic type of printing 
  • Uses four colours – cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) this is four press printing a fifth could be varnish. 

1 - Printing material is fed into the machine as a sheet. Cane produce 1000-12000per hour

2 – Printing plates are produced from aluminium, the image being etched o to the pate using lasers.

3 – The plate cylinder is wetted with a water roller, while the grease-based inks will only go into the regions required. The plate cylinder rotates onto a blanket roller, which them becomes coated with the ink, which in turn transfers it onto the paper. 

Recycled unbleached card:

  • Made from paper and pulp so can be moulded to shape 
  • Doesn’t need to be aesthetically pleasing 
  • Sustainable, made from softwoods which grow quickly 
  • Biodegradable – degrades safely so can be used for packaging which is thrown away.
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Smart materials

Thermochromic pigments: colour pigments that change colour in response to heat, normally combined with polymers. Used for baby feeding products, kettles and hi-tech jewellery. Thermo chromic sheets are used for thermal warning patches, battery condition indicators and jewellery.  

Photochromic pigments: used for sunglasses, and sun-blocking products 
Shape memory alloys: heat treatments give the metal a memory, when stress and strains are placed onto hem they will bend then return to their original shape. Reacts to body temperature in braces to return to original shape, non-toxic, inert 

Liquid crystal display: used for displays on calculators, mobiles, laptops, computers etc. They are carbon based compounds which when aligned in their natural form will allow light to pass through, however when a small voltage is applied the crystals change direction, blocking light. 

Polymorph: a thermoplastic that has a low melting point so it useful in prototyping, it softens at 60*C making it possible to fuse grains together and can be manipulated to create the desired shape, can be reheated in hot water. Similar outcome to injection moulding, can be painted, an alternative is modelling clay 

Flexible MDF: grooves are cut into the material allowing it to bend slightly, meaning curved shapes can be created. Can come in large sizes so large curved wood furniture can be created, stable, no defects.

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Strength – the ability of a material to withstand force without breaking or permanently bending.

Elasticity – the ability of a material to bend and flex when subjected to a force and then return to its original shape when the force is removed, bridges and buildings require a degree or elasticity.

Hardness – the ability to resist abrasive wear, indentation and deformation. An important property for cutting surfaces such as drill bits and saw blades.

Toughness – the ability to withstand sudden stress in the form of shocks or blows without fracturing and to resist cracking when subject to bending forces. 

Brittleness – the opposite of toughness. A brittle material will not withstand sudden forces or blows, glass is a brittle material. 

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Durability – the ability to withstand wear, tear and deterioration over time. Durability refers to both the mechanical properties and the appearance of the material. The term used to describe weathering and chemical attack of a surface, particularly metals in corrosion. Plastic materials degrade, rather than corrode, but generally take much longer to do so.

Stability – the ability to resist changes in shape or size over time. Wood is particularly unstable and tends to warp and twist in changes in humidity. Metals and some plastics tend to gradually deform when subjected to stress over long periods. 

Compressive forces – e.g. tennis racket, how it flexes then springs back again, it is compressed then pushes the object away. 

Tensile force – when there is a force acting on both ends of a material, pulling it apart e.g. tow-rope between cars when one is getting pulled. 

Sheer force – e.g. scissors when force of something cuts through a material, the weight of something pulling it down. 

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Testing properties

Hardness – a file can be run over the material, if it cuts the it is softer than the file, if it does not then is it harder than the file. It can also be tested by a dot punch which is used to create an indent in the material, can use to compare hardness if effort used to create dot is the same for all materials.

Ductility and malleability – place a piece of the material in a vice then attempt to create a 90* bend, if material shows cracking on the outside then not very ductile, if crack shows on the inside then not very malleable.

Tensile strength – the amount of energy required to bend material, place same size of the materials in a vice and apply same load to them, the one bent the least is the most tensile.

Toughness – materials ability to absorb shock, clamp materials in a vice then striking them with a hammer, if brakes then brittle, if doesn’t change shape then tough. 

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3 R's and Design improvements

The 3 R’s: 

  • Reduce – the amount of materials and energy used in manufacturing and the amount it will use in its life. 
  • Recycle – aim to ensure products can be recycled by enabling the parts to be separated, cleaned and used again 
  • Reuse – aim to ensure that materials and components that have already been used can be used again in a new product, e.g. reusable ink cartridges, filters in coffee machines and vacuum cleaners etc. 

Design improvements strategies: 

  • Use low-impact materials -  use recycled polymers and metals, do not use aluminium (uses energy in production) use woods with the forest stewardship council logo on. 
  • Reduction of materials used – make product smaller 
  • Reduce impact of distribution – use recycled materials in packaging, make packaging smaller 
  • Reduce energy consumption in use 
  • Optimisation of product life time – use classic design that will not go out of date, make product reapirable 
  • Optimisation of end of life – make parts easy to disassemble 
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Ergonomics and anthropometrics

Ergonomics - The study of the interaction between the human body, products and the environment and use this in equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Influences colour, lighting, sound, comfort of a product, system or a environment. When evaluating think of weight, children, symbols – easy to understand. 

Anthropometrics - study of the dimensions of the human body, including arm and leg reach. Based on averages delivered from measurements of large numbers of people. Essential to the design and development of products which fit to the body, e.g. chairs and airline seats. 

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Consumer safety

The kite mark is the world’s premier symbol of trust, integrity and quality. Manufacturers having this associated with their product or service will reassure customers and specifies that they have satisfied the most rigorous of quality

The forest stewardship council ensure that wood is sourced from sustainable, managed

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CAD - Computer aided design, drawing up using a computer, 2D drafting and 3D modelling, like prodesktop 


  • Quicker and more accurate than by hand 
  • Can be emailed, copied and modify without redrawing 


  • Expensive to set up 
  • Need to train staff 
  • Virus, power cut or software problems could stop work
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CAM - Computer aided manufacture, machines are used to cut components, e.g. laser cutting, routing, vinyl cutting are examples 


  • Quick and accurate 
  • Machines don’t get bored like humans 


  • Can break and are expensive 
  • Require skilled operators 
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Arts and Crafts Movement 1850-1915

The Arts and Crafts movement was a British and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin, it was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910. 

It was a reformist movement that influenced British and American architecture, decorative arts, cabinet making, crafts, and even garden designs. Its best-known practitioners were William Morris, Charles Robert Ashbee, T. J. Cobden Sanderson and Walter Crane.

Considering the machine to be the root cause of all repetitive and mundane evils, some of the protagonists of this movement turned entirely away from the use of machines and towards handcraft, which tended to concentrate their productions in the hands of sensitive but well-heeled patrons. 

Red House, Bexleyheath, London (1859), by architect Philip Webb for Morris himself, is a work exemplary of this movement in its early stages.

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Art Nouveau 1880-1910

Art Nouveau (French for 'new art') is an international style of art, architecture and design that was most popular at the beginning of the 20th century (1880-1914) and is characterized by highlystylised, flowing, curvilinear designs often incorporating floral motifs. Natural Design.  

Dynamic, undulating, and flowing, curved 'whiplash' lines characterized much of Art Nouveau. Another feature is the use of hyperbolas and parabolas. Conventional mouldings seem to spring to life and 'grow' into plant-derived forms. 

Art Nouveau did not detest the machine age as the Arts and Crafts Movement did, but used it to its advantage. For sculpture, the principal materials employed were glass and wrought iron, leading to sculptural qualities even in architecture. 

Art Nouveau is considered a 'total' style, meaning that it encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design — architecture; interior design; decorative arts including jewellery, furniture, textiles, household silver and other utensils, and lighting; and the range of visual arts.  

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Futurism 1910-1945

Futurism was the first movement in the history of art and design to be engineered and managed like a business. It embraced technological progress and celebrated the potential and dynamism of the modern age. It was an extremely forward thinking movement. 

The widely influential typography of Marrinetti abandoned traditional grammar and punctuation, and format, to create vivid pictorial typographic pages. His work in turn influenced many future typographic designers. 

Futurism embraced all aspects of art and design, and was heavily influenced by the Italian way of life. Everything from painting, to architecture to gastronomy was given the Futurism treatment. 

The movement was inspired by the mechanism of war, which led to war being glorified in resulting works.

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Art Deco 1910-1940

Art Deco was a popular design movement from 1920 until 1939, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film.  

This movement was, in a sense, a fusion of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. Its popularity peaked during the Roaring Twenties.  

Although many design movements have political or philosophical roots or intentions, Art Deco was purely decorative. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, functional, and ultra modern as well. The USA typified Art Deco as glamorous, embraced by 1920’s Hollywood.  

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Bauhaus 1920-1934

Bauhaus is the common term for the Staatliches Bauhaus, an art and architecture school in Germany that operated from 1919 to 1933, and for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. The most natural meaning for its name (related to the German verb for "build") is Architecture House.  

Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture. The Bauhaus art school had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography. 

The ethos of Bauhaus changed so many times over the course of the school’s existence that it is impossible to exemplify its work. It’s most notable examples of work are the buildings at Weimar and Dessau.  

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Surrealism 1925-1930

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the mid-1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. 

The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, including its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects, by freeing people from what they saw as false logic, and restrictive customs and structures. 

Surrealism in design was supported by the notion that objects did not conform to normality. Each design held a surprise and aimed to intrigue and excite the user. In a nutshell, you may say that in Surrealism; you expect the unexpected.  

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Streamlining 1930-1950

Also known as Streamline Moderne, Streamlining was a later branch of Art Deco. 

Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements (such as railings and porthole windows). It reached its height in 1937. 

The style was the first to incorporate electric light into architectural structure. 

The style was applied to appliances such as electric clocks, sewing machines, small radio receivers and vacuum cleaner. These also employed developments in materials science including aluminium and bakelite.  

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Scandinavian Modern 1935-Present

Scandinavian Design emerged in the 1950s in the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden; as well as Finland, as a design movement characterised by simple, uncomplicated designs, minimalism, stylisation, functionality, and low cost mass production. 

The idea that beautiful and functional everyday objects should be affordable to all is a core theme in the development of post-WW2 Scandinavian Design. 

Scandinavian Modern is an extremely popular design movement which remains prominent to the Design world today. This of course was helped by the popularity of IKEA, a Scandinavian furniture store, on a global scale.  

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Minimalism 1967-1978

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features. 

Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. 

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto "Less is more" to describe his aesthetic tactics of flattening and emphasizing the building's frame, eliminating interior walls and adopting an open plan, and reducing the structure to its bare skin. 

The movement was developed in New York and encouraged geometric forms, extreme simplicity and the use of light. Some find the style calming; others view the style as cold and unwelcoming.  

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Memphis 1981-1988

Memphis was a Milan-based collective of furniture and product designers whose work dominated the design scene of the early 1980’s. 

Its bold designs drew on influences from existing and past design movements.  

Memphis could be considered a branch of Postmodernism, but with a much clearer definition of the movement’s ideals compared to the often-obscure ideals of Postmodernists. 

The Memphis Group offered bright, colourful, shocking pieces. The word ―tasteful‖ is not normally associated with products generated by the Memphis Group but they were certainly ground breaking at the time.

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