Digital Prototyping Lab

 

The Digital Prototyping Lab is a facility containing various prototyping machines and a teaching/work space, where individual students can use some of the machines and staff is operating other machines to produce architectural models and prototypes on their request. The use of the technologies is also part of several courses and workshops such as mediastudies in the intermediate school, or workshops within the master programs. In addition the lab organizes a numbers of courses, inductions and workshops varying from instruction sessions on how to use the machines or prepare digital files, to intensive open week workshops focusing on a specific design agenda featuring digital fabrication technologies.

The lab may be used by all students and staff who have completed a DPL induction. Please follow the link on the right to make a machine booking. Non AA members, please enquire via email. The lab currently contains four laser cutting machines, three CNC milling machines and two 3D printers. Its staff currently consists of two members of staff and team of student assistants to coordinate the operations, operate the machines and supervise the students using the lab.

Laser Cutting
The lasercutting machines are around 50 watts with a bed size of 800x450 mm, capable of cutting or engraving 2D patterns into several materials such as paper, cardboard, MDF and cast acrylic sheets up to 6mm thickness. To use one of the machines students need to complete a one hour laser induction given by the DPL staff, where they learn how to safely operate the system. After completion they are given a login for the online booking system where they can book hourly slots up to a certain maximum and for a number of days in advance. The use of the machines is free of charge, students pay for their own material cost or can purchase some materials such as plywood and MDF directly at the lab.

CNC Milling
The lab features two small 3-axis CNC-machines with a working range of 500x400x50 mm and a bigger one with a 1220x1220 mm bed size. They are used for making landscape or site models, architectural models and prototypes and also for moulds used in combination with casting, laminating or vacuum forming techniques. Models can be produced from a range of materials such as MDF, plywood and cast-acrylic. The most common material used is high-density foam (polyurethane) which can be purchased directly at the lab in two different grades. Students are not allowed to use the machines themselves but can deliver a digital file to be produced by the lab staff on a first-come firstserved basis. There is no booking system, students models are placed in a calendar after their file has been checked for errors and they have paid for their material.

3D Printing
The DPL has two ZCORP rapid prototyping machines which build 3d models in an additive process using layers of gypsum-based powder and glue. The maximum build size of both machines is 203x254x203 mm and multiple models can be combined in one print session if their sizes are smaller. The machines are operated by the lab staff and are usually printing overnight, while the manual processes of extracting and depowdering are done during the day. In busy times there can be an additional printing run during the day, usually for models that do not take up more than half of the entire height of the build box.
Models produced using this technology can feature highly complex configurations and/or curvatures and are usually used as representational models and not as prototypes.
For strength and durability they need to be infiltrated after printing which is done using an oven and hot wax dipping station or a spraying cabinet for infiltration with cyanoacrylate.

Technical Information:
Lasercutting machines: Universal X2-660, X660, PLS 6.60, VLS 6.60 (50 Watts)
Laser Extraction systems: Purex 9000/1500i
3D printers: Zcorp 310 plus, ZCorp depowdering station, oven/waxing station, cyanoacrylate spraying cabinet (consumables: ZP150 powder, ZB60 binder, HP 10 /C4800A printheads)
CNC Machines: CamTech Routermaster II toolchanger, Roland MDX-540
Specialist software: Magics, ZPrint, ArtCam, Mayka
Generic software: Rhino, AutoCad
Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Hours for submitting files for CNC and 3D printing:
Monday-Friday 10.00 am – 1.00 pm

 

Opening hours

Monday to Friday
10:00 - 13.00
14.00 - 18.00

Contact

T: +44 (0)20 7887 4116
dpl@aaschool.ac.uk

Machine Booking

The AA has undergone an educational oversight monitoring visit by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and have received its final report, which is available in full at:

http://www.qaa.ac.uk/reviews-and-reports/provider?UKPRN=10008071

The monitoring visit resulted in the following outcome:

The QAA monitoring team has concluded that we are making commendable progress in implementing the action plan from the Review for Educational Oversight.

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