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Title: Independent innovation through digital fabrication focusing on explorations in reconfigurable pin tooling
Author: Jorgensen, Tavs
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0200
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London and Falmouth University
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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This research investigates how new manufacturing concepts can be developed by individual practitioners and small manufacturing companies facilitated by an increased diffusion of digital fabrication tools and knowledge resources. Within this innovation scenario the study is particularly focused on exploring the early stages of research and development, rather than phases concerning product testing and marketing. This thesis provides data from a practice-based study with a technical focus on the development of fabrication concepts based on an underutilised fabrication concept known as Reconfigurable Pin Tooling (RPT). This manufacturing idea has also been described as ‘universal’ or ‘ideal’ tooling and has attracted interest from a number of researchers and inventors since the mid nineteen century (Munro and Walczyk, 2007). Although presenting potential advantages compared with conventional production systems, the concept has only been used in very few practical and commercial applications. Developments in digital technologies are now providing the technical foundations for developing new RPT systems and applications. The practice element of this study features two strands of enquiry. One concerns the development of an RPT system for the production of glass bowls within the researchers' own creative practice. The other practice strand was guided by interaction with a local furniture company, MARK Product, and focussed on the development of an RPT system for shaping upholstery foam. In combination, the two practice elements served to investigate tools, factors, and approaches that are involved when independent practitioners engage in innovation in the context of digital fabrication. Results from both investigations provide new insights into the independent innovation in this field. Original knowledge contributions from this research include the development of two novel RPT applications with a number of new technical solutions also having been established as a result of this study. Equally, the exploration of the glass RPT concept led to the productions of original artistic output, which is presented as evidence for the creative potential of this RPT concept. Furthermore, the study resulted in the development of a new approach for recording research data in rich II media format via an IOS database template. Conceptual knowledge contributions concern concepts and aspects that are relevant to independent innovators operating in the context of digital fabrication, building on the work of Smith and Von Hipple (2005; 2005). Reflections of this study in relation to S-curve theory (Christensen, 1997; Foster, 1986) are also included. The insights from this research have resulted in a concluding argument which proposes that an innovation toolset, which is combined by several facilitating aspects, can be seen as enabling individual practitioners to shift from operating within an individual innovation sphere to a position where they are able to make a valuable contribution in sectors beyond their own practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Design Practice