Handbook, part 3: mass customisation

productionMoving on from my previous posts on leaded glass and Ben&Jerry,  I have been trying to recreate some of the products.  I had in mind experimenting with some of the qualities and engage with some of the manufacturing techniques (folding, extruding, and casting).

Mass customization could be achieved by using molds (CNCed, 3dprinted, etc) that are ordered through a website, for example.Therefore, I tried pouring sugar and inflating it, much like they do with glass in large factories. I think this will be the process that I will use in the production of my building element, which is the next stage of the project.

I used sugar to recreate the transparency and thinness of glass, as well as investigating casting techniques. Like with glass, I quickly discovered that I can alter the properties of the sugar casts by adding different ingredients to it: glucose delays sugar setting and allows time to sculpt/shape, Potassium bitartrate makes it more opaque but takes moisture out of it and makes it less sticky,  salt adds texture, baking soda makes bubbles that add interests, and so on.  It nicely tied in with the research I have done on glass:

glass composition


As mentioned, many of the ingredients are present in different types of glass, but the ratios alter greatly the qualities of the final product. Other ingredients are just meant to give color to the glass.

The production process differs at 2 key stages, supply + mixing and shaping. The factory in Avrig that I visited during the summer relies on small scale production and crafted products. They do tend to have a higher quality product, however the yield is low and production costs are high. Here are some photos that I took during the summer when I was looking at how they make glass:

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