Zest for Leisure

The next industry run project, an interesting brief, a great opportunity, a lot of work and only 24 hours to do it.

The brief:
To design one of the following:

  • Garden Planter
  • Garden Arch
  • Piece of furniture

For one of these Markets:

  • Family Focused
  • Convenience Gardeners
  • Garden Prouds

We were informed that the design must consider flat packing, easy assembly and would primarily be made from pine wood, due the company’s standard materials.

How it all went:
As this was an independent design project, I decided it as best to try and combine each of the products to produce a full range of products. First off I wanted to see what the company were already producing and how I could develop the aesthetics to fit it with a new market.

z4l products
Figure 1

From this, I put together my own sketches to develop a range, based on form or combination of function through one product.


Figure 3

As shown here there was a drive to develop something that was new. An innovative idea, that look different to the standard garden furniture would add something to the market place, and hopefully engage with buyers on new level.

Using locally sourced materials.
From this I then thought about how slate is very nice and upmarket materials and that using this, could help to aim the product at the ‘garden proud’ market, having something that looks pleasing and long-lasting.
So how would Zest 4 Leisure obtain such slate? Through Welsh Slate, a company based in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. Where high quality slate in quarried and can produce refined looking slate as shown below. This could be used to create nicely tiles sections in my design.

weslh slate
Figure 3


Presenting Ideas:
From the quick presentation that was given to the design team of the company, it was agreed to go forward with a modular design, that could incorporate all 3 products, with a range aesthetic.

A late night and a final concept:
Thanks to the late opening times at the university I was able to stay late to process that days research and develop a final concept. This was the outcome that was reached:

Figure 4

As you can see the design uses the ranged aesthetic, with each piece consisting of pine wood and slate. The range is: a fold away seat (middle), a raised planter bed (either side of the seat) and an archway (either end). The archways were the focal point of my design, with the image below showing how it consists of 3 panels with embedded slate. These panels are slotted together using a Mortise and Tenon joint and allows for flat packing. The top panel on the arch could also be used as the bed panel for the raised planter making it a more sustainable and more cost effective design.

Figure 5

Upon reflection, time was definitely my enemy on this project. As you can see I was unable to produce a fully developed flat packing range for all the products, nor was i able to produce situational image to show how the chair would work using ropes, and how the raised planter would be stabilised using correct fixtures. However, this project has been thoroughly enjoyable and a great insight into a different company with different values and products to others I have worked with. In the long term, given the chance, I would like to develop this idea and find out whether or not it would be plausible to manufacture for the market.


Figure 1: Hortweek.com. (2016). Zest 4 Leisure go double decker at Solex. [online image] Available at: https://www.hortweek.com/zest-4-leisure-go-double-decker-solex/retail/article/1401504 [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: Image Authors Own

Figure 3: Welsh Slate Products. (2017). Slate flagstones and floor tiles – Welsh Slate Products. [online image] Available at: http://www.welshslateproducts.com/slate-flagstones-and-floor-tiles/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Authors Own


24 Hours of PDR

This was quite the experience! Given a brief, deliverables, a chance to win some cash and all to be done in 24 hours.

The brief:
To design a piece of wearable technology for release in Q1 of 2019. This must fit the market of one of 5 options. The group I was in decided the market of “Crime and Punishment” would have the most scope for a new design will a lot of idea already in place after the first hour of design.

The deliverables:
Were very flexible, giving us the freedom the design what we want. As it was only 24 hours, it was more to see how far we could push each other and a design within the time limit.

The prize:
£300 cash or an escape room day out for runner up!.

How it went:
So to start with our group, Callum, Todd, Mathew, Natalie and I went for crime and punishment as the brief, to develop this new wearable tech. Withing the first few hours, ideas were getting sorted and detailed market research was done to see where the gap in the market was. The main outcome was that rehabilitation was the key to bettering the life of convicts post prison sentence.

The research identified that housing each prisoner per year was approximately £32,510, which does not include court fees and labour fees, which can round this amount up to £90,000. Another figure that adds to this, is the amount of time, prisoners re-offend which again, adds a further £30,000-£90,000 a year for the housing of prisoners, standing at 59% of all UK prisoners will re-offend within the first 12 months of release.

Money gif
Figure 1

So it was obvious, Rehabilitate, Reeducate and get them back into society with a better mindset to helping the community and repaying the money that it cost to put them in in the first place. This will even stop the re-offence of a prisoner and save those high costs.

So how do we do this? More Research! This showed that prison life was distracting and lacked the necessary requirements for sensory stimuli and motivation. This was due to the many hurdles faced on the inside, with the high amounts of noise, leading to the lack of sleep, self worth and any determination to better themselves.

Figure 2

The solution:
Develop a wearable product for prisoners that can help them regain independence to motivate them, providing them with a way to reduce background noise and increase the chance of reconnected with society. So concept sketching and further research was done to define what we could class as wearable technology and how we could implement it into prison life.

Call Sketching
Figure 3

Figure 3 shows a sketch and development sheet, of a variety of wrist bands, ear clips, watches and similar that use current technology to store music, educational works and personal information. The device will allow the prisoner (on good behaviour) to upload all of this, to provide a reduction of background noise through music, personal motivation through messages from the outside and rehabilitation exercises buy listening to educational resources to make them better suited for society upon release. All of this will aim to reduce the amount of the re-offences that occur and save over £30,000 a year buy not having to house and provide labour for each prisoner.  This, in turn, may also reduce any over population that prisons may face today.

Interim Presentation:
From this presentation, we were informed that the research behind the idea shows excellent grounding and that the feasibility of this project was sound. However we needed to go back to drawing board in terms of product complexity, why does the prisoner need a band or watch to listen to music, why not simplify the design and re-imagine the headphones for prison use.

Final Design:

A new style of headphones, made from industrial, durable foam, with not externals components. All of this produces a simple to use design that can incorporate downloading software that is not weaponlizable.

Inmate Headphones
Figure 5

To make sure that prisoners can’t use the software in any illegal way, all the information would pass through a regulated VPN (virtual private network). As mention previously the materials used are light weight but durable and all of the components with be contained withing the device. This will stop the product from being used in a malicious way, with the internal components being inaccessible for any purpose other than what they are intended for.

So… The Outcome:
Runner up. Our team came 2nd, with information from the PDR team that the decision between us and 1st place team team was a difficult one to make.

Upon reflection this has been an incredible opportunity, being thrown into a brand new project with a daunting 24 hour deadline, pushed myself and my team to produce a prize winning outcome. The best part of this, was seeing what can be done in 24 hours. By pushing myself and my creative ability, the short timeline and interesting design processes really helped in producing a well thought out, and surprisingly plausible, design idea.

From this, I aim to start every new project with a new vigorous approach, applying a solid 24 hours to developing new concepts and a wide variety of ideas that can then be taken forward for the remaining time of the project. For this, the research sections should be done with a team of different minded people to produce an even wider variety of concepts; things, that on my own, would not have been thought of.

Figrue 1:  GIPHY. (n.d.). Free Money GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [Online Image] Available at: https://giphy.com/gifs/916t1VsCg2qoo [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].

Figure 2: 14 Tips for Jumping entrepreneurship hurdles (2014). [Online Image] Avaiable at: https://www.inc.com/14-tips-for-jumping-entrepreneurships-hurdles.html [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

Figure 3: Image Authors Own

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Edited from: Man behind bars sitting in jail cell (u.d.). [Online Image] Available at:https://www.videoblocks.com/video/man-behind-bars-sitting-in-his-jail-cell-jcsboeb [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

Another Summer of Industry

I was very lucky to be invited back to work for an automotive company this summer and got pushed out of my comfort zone quite a bit. Compared to last year; where CAD analysis and tool design was what I was tasked with, this year was all about creating a database and costing algorithm to determine the costs of the new tools when manufacturing parts for new vehicles. I was still able to further my CAD skills and understand the more complex functions that certain CAD packages have; however that was not my main focus of this summer.

As I said, databases and calculations:

  • The Task:
    • Compile a database of previous tooling cost
    • Include the amounts that were given at each stage of the design
    • Include any extra costs that were needed.
    • Use this information to deduce a simple algorithm that can determine the cost of future tooling.
  • The How:
    • Working with different departments in the company, UK wide and internationally to source the data I would need.
    • Find a common factor of all tooling information to create the calculations.
  • The Outcome:
    • A final, simple to read, easy to find excel document with all previous data.
    • A simple to use excel calculator.

So it turns out this was a success, but not without it difficulties:

One of the main things i learned over summer, was the need for quick, reliable and effective communication between departments that could assist in all of the tasks that need doing. The information was easily sourced when quick responses were made between colleagues and understanding how to effectively communicate the correct information was also crucial. As incorrect information could have easily thrown out my calculations.

Thanks to the job I was able to travel around the UK on a handful of occasions to attend meetings that would benefit my work. This included a trip to Washington (UK) to source and understand the information around assembly units in the automotive industry. Another trip was down to Llanelli in south Wales, again to understand and source information in regards to Hot Stamp (Press Hardening) manufacturing.

(Unfortunately images and information from my work can not be shown on this site, Please visit: http://www.gestamp.com/home.aspx . To see the company).

At the end of my time their, I was given the opportunity to give a presentation to the managers of the commercial team and the director of the engineering team. This felt like an honour to be able to fully discuss how successful my work had been over the summer and how it will be a positive impact on the way that they cost tooling for future projects.

From this, I will keep in contact with everyone I got acquainted with during my time their and build a connection through social media (using LinkedIn). This will hopefully help in my future endeavours to obtain a job and further develop my own skills and knowledge of how the industry is moving forward and how I may one day have a place in it.

#Big Ideas Celebrated

Today was great, 2 nominations for awards for our micro business Blank Canvas!

This competition celebrates the work done by 16-25 year old students, showcasing the best entrepreneurial talent. From Cardiff Metropolitans’ very own CSAD, there were 3 candidates that reached the final from a long list of entries, including our very own blank canvas. The day consisted of: a variety of open talks and key note lectures from local business people and entrepreneur celebrities, an exhibition of each finalists work, judging, competitions, award and prizes.

As I was the only one from Blank Canvas who could attend the event, it was up to me to show the best qualities of our business and where it was heading. Unfortunately I did not have everything on hand, like a model or business plan; but using our presentation and team t-shirt, I was able to pull off a very successful day that ended in our business getting nominated for two awards: Most innovative business idea and best presentation. This was very interesting to watch, as most of the award, the nominees were put up on the board and the audience would help by voting for their favourite, as you can see below, our business was came 3rd and 4th in these categories. I was so grateful to be a part of the final, let alone these awards:

So to summarise the field module “Mind Your Own Business” opened up a field of opportunity for myself and my group and I have learned much over the course of this project.

By the end of the day I had accumulated a lot of good contacts, for if or when I start my own business one day. Thanks to Big Ideas Celebrated for a fun and beneficial day.





I’m Back!!

What a summer, had a great time off and working for industry!! but now it’s time to get my creative hat back on and get designing!!

In the first week back we’ve been given a lot of information including our brand new brief, which was a bit of a “throw under the bus moment” as we suddenly realised the depth of work that would have to be done this year!!

That’s all i need to say at the moment, and more will come shortly!! I am very much looking forward to  this year and what it will hold.

Awesome Experience!

Gestamp Tallent were amazing to hire me for the role of “Trainee CAD Engineer” for the time we had off university over the summer. My role was to inspect the incoming CAD designs for the car parts for the upcoming models of the next few years. I had to inspect each parts carefully, looking at the material grade and thickness for each materials; I also had to view and refer any changes for the parts that may not have been possible to manufacture on the press machines. Things I was looking out for were:

  • Sharp radii on corners
  • Depth of part
  • All holes that would need punching
  • Correct material specification
  • Correct material thickness

Another area of my work, was to collaboratively with the design engineers and create accurate CAD models for a new press design. This included:

  • CAD modeling.
  • Press machine research.
  • Knowledge of how they are made and what they do.
  • In depth insight into industrial design and manufacturing.
  • and so much more…

From these design and CAD models we were able to take forward a final design concept for manufacture at the end of the summer, producing a total of 5 new press layouts and a variety of different press die designs, including the press bed and cam punches for the tool design.

Approaching the end of the summer, my “Sensei” on all things CAD design and engineering, was teaching my the importance of surfacing on a CAD package even asking me to design the full tool for one of the new parts we had just approved.

The whole summer was very enjoyable. Learning all of this and taking part in an industrial process and design industry was truly inspirational for a career prospect. I aim to take all of what i have learned and put it into practice with my work at university.

I am unfortunately unable to provide any specific names for car companies or provide any photographic evidence of the job due to confidentiality. If you would like to learn more about the company, the link here will take you to their website for more information:


However i can provide a video on the processes they go through at Gestamp including hot press and cold press systems: