Kelly Sant, 2011
The design of a novel application to produce complex 3D geometries in high performance polymers and elastomers using soluble digitally printed moulds.
Researcher Kelly Sant is joint Area Leader for Plastics, she teaches a range of specialist skills with an experimental approach to materials to students studying BA(Hons) Design and Craft. Developing novel materials, applications and sustainable manufacturing techniques is of particular interest to her as a designer and maker.
In 2008 Sant received a grant from the Faculty Research Support Fund (FRSF) to design her application, a technique enabling an archetype of form previously impossible to reproduce cost effectively.
Traditional moulding and casting techniques are suited to making shapes that can be achieved using a limited number of multiple mould parts to overcome a certain level of undercut and complexity of form, beyond this, one would need to create an assemblage of shapes each with their own mould and fabricated after casting. Sant's hybrid application allows the casting of complex forms with hollowed internal structures and multiple undercuts in one cast, including shapes that which were not possible to mould in the past - even with the use of internal cores.
After two years of research and development with her commercial partners, Stratasys Fortus, a leading US manufacturer of FDM technologies (Fused Deposition Modelling) her application is working. Sant’s research focuses on concerns and enquiry into the ‘Material Connections Between Humanity and Object’ through practice-based research and making "My research questions are concepts I’d like to see for real, even if the bigger aims are way off in the future, my collaborations aim is to actually make, this has really pushed me and my collaborators."