Week 3: Material Choices

Overview

As much as character design or sculpting, material choice can be a huge influence on the final piece.

Vinyl, resin, and cast plastics are popular in the art toy world.  But these are not typical materials we work with at ITP.  We’re going to look at some ITP friendly and non-traditional material choices for art toys.

Display Our Work

Take a few minutes to display this weeks assignment.

Artists to watch

Lou Lou’s Woodshop
Sad Salesman (Eric Althin)
Blamo
Ed Mironiuk
Chika Toys

LaGuardia Studio

Provides advanced digital media services to NYU faculty, students of the arts, and visiting artists. Services include 3D printing, 3D scanning, and project design consultation.

Materials

Material can add meaning to your piece.  Is it high end?  Delicate?  Exotic?  Polished?  Crude?  Juxtaposed (wooden robot)?

Typically, art toys are made mostly from vinyl or resin.  But we have a different list of ITP friendly materials.

Choosing the right material is only half of it.  What material technique or process do you plan to use to work with the material?

Keep in mind, your final pieces can be made up of one or many different types of material, as well as being made with one or many different material techniques.

Natural Wood

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Wood shouldn’t be too foreign for us.  Wood comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and species.  Picking out a species of wood can add a lot to a piece.

Traditional wood working techniques are cutting, carving, sanding, drilling, routing, filing, Dremeling.

David Week’s Studio makes quite a few wooden designer toys.

what-did-i-eat-ephunt – Amanda Visell

Wooden elephant toy sculpture

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Plywood

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At ITP we have a few specialty wood working tools.  These machines require more experience or training to use.

Wood Turning (using the lathe)

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CNC Milling: 4 Axis mill, 3 axis mill

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Laser Cutting and Engraving

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Be warned, it is difficult to “elevate” a wooden laser cut project.  Design, technique, and finish can aid in this.

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Plastic

We use a lot of acrylic, delrin, sheet vinyl, PLA, and styrene around here.

Milled Acrylic Inlay (not laser cut acrylic)

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Acrylic Inlay

3D Prints

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Be warned, it is difficult to “elevate” a plastic 3D print.  Design, technique, and finish can aid in this.

Vacuum Forming

Cut Vinyl
Heavy Eyes Diver and Shark

CNC Milling: 4 Axis mill, 3 axis mill

4 axis milled foosball players
Designed and milled by David Rios

Metal

Most likely aluminum or brass if you are working with it in our shop.  You can mill it, turn it, roll it, punch it, and nibble it.  It can even be 3D printed (Shapeways or Metal infused filament).

3 axis milled aluminum

Turned aluminum toy body

Flat aluminum parts rolled into rounded parts

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Fabric

You can make plush pieces.

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Second Life Toys

Second Life Toys

Felt

Acrylic felt can be laser cut.

Horrible Adorables

Needle Felting

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Leather

Leather can be cut, embossed, laser etched, wet formed, milled, and or dyed.  It adds a high end element to a toy.

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Circuit board material FR4 Printed Circuit Board Material
Def Con Badges

K7 – Pedro Galvão Cesar de Oliveira

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Mini Sam – more images

Mini Sam circuit board

Exotics

I don’t expect most of you to try these materials, but I haven’t seen a lot of art toys made from these materials.  Possible to be one of a few working with these materials.

Cast Concrete

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Ceramic

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Paper/Cardboard

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Mushrooms

In the Fungus Among Us class, we found that mushrooms can be molded into forms with pretty good results.

Mushroom molded into a toy boat form

Home Fabrication Friendly Materials

Resin Casting

Epoxy Clay: Milliput

Styrene and styrene weld builds

In Class Demo

Acrylic Inlay

4 axis mill

Assignment

Pick your material(s), pick your process, and get going.  I want to see a sculpt that is close to the finished product.  Think of it as the first run piece from your 4 piece line.  Don’t worry about finish yet (unless you want to).

You should pick material that is fitting for your piece.  Pick a technique you enjoy or want to learn.


Related Reading/Viewing

Filablend – uniquely colored 3D printer filament

Boldport

Building Beautiful Boards with Star Simpson

BadgeLife

Successful Experiments in Multicolor Circuit Boards

All Natural Robots

Darth Vader Vinyl Cape Replacement

Wooden Race Car Toy Made on a 4 Axis CNC

Milled Acrylic Inlay

Knife Handle Material

Molding Toy Parts Stack Ups, Part 2, Part 3