When Quality Pays

Just recently a colleague of mine decided to purchase a couple of clay mice from a renown German clay tool supplier, Kolb. He would collect them in England, his rational was, he was returning to the UK and it would be easier to have them shipped there and receive them quickly and bring the tools back with him. This way they would not be mislaid at the post office during his absence.

On receiving the items he was surprised to find out that they had been milled from aluminum extruded stock, the type of aluminum that is used for double glazed window frames. This type of aluminum is not the hardest grade but being purchased from a reputable supplier and coupled with German craftsmanship, he never questioned it but he did have his reservations. Generally you would never question the materials used or the workmanship, as in all German made equipment it is usually of the highest standard. These clay mice were machined nicely but would they stand up to the use on hard industrial styling clays, afterall they were manufactured for that very purpose. Continue reading When Quality Pays

Peter Schreyer Jumps Ship

As the rumors of the past week filter through, Peter Schreyer of Volkswagen/Audi fame is leaving the German company and heading to Kia to head up the Kia Global Design Operation. For Kia, this must be the coup of the century giving them the much needed credibility that is always hard to deliver in an environment of heavy weight car manufacturers. Kia’s quality and design language has improved dramatically over the last five years and couple this with a ten year warranty and market beating prices it’s hard to find a better deal. Now with Peter coming on board, his experience of Volkswagen’s no nonsense approach to quality materials and fit and finish will no doubt propel Kia to even greater heights. Continue reading Peter Schreyer Jumps Ship

Kolb, TecClay Sulphur Free

With the recent interest rising for sulphur free clays I contacted the new office of Kolb America Inc. via email asking about their offerings for a sulphur free clay. Mark Malewitz was kind enough to forward the link of the website, although I was hoping for a little more in depth account of how the product is actually working in the real world. As we all know the brochure can spin the best product in the world but reality has a way of bringing everything into perspective. On paper the TecClay looks to be everything you would want, sulphur free, light weight, good bonding capabilities, easy to mill. OK, let’s look at all the product highlights as stated from the website. Continue reading Kolb, TecClay Sulphur Free

Saab Design Succumbs to Globalization

It was only a matter of time before the quirky little car company called Saab would be eaten up and put right by it’s domineering owner General Motors. Since General Motors took a 50 percent stake in 1989, Saab thought that this would be the end of it’s monetary problems allowing it to compete more in a global market. Unfortunately the company still lost money but the General was there to step in and purchase the other 50 percent making it a totally owned subsidiary of General Motors. Continue reading Saab Design Succumbs to Globalization

GM, Incentives Once Again!!!

Here we go again, the vehicles are stacking up and after the bravado statement of, “We are weaning ourselves off of incentives and offering value pricing” the summer sell off is underway. General Motors is set to offer six years interest free on most of its 2006 inventory after stating that the sales for this year are down and business is slow. With the up and coming 2007 model year just around the corner we dare not be caught with excess vehicles, is the general concensus. Even existing 2007 models fail to beat the cut, with 3 years interest free being offered. Continue reading GM, Incentives Once Again!!!

Sulfur Free Clay

You may not be aware but as from July 1st 2006 legislation by the European Union has banned several compounds that are currently used in circuit board manufacturing. The main culprit being lead, used in the soldering of circuitry. In Europe, the RoHS, Restriction of Hazardous Substances, will ban the placing on the EU market of any new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than the agreed levels of lead, cadmium and mercury.

What this means in terms to a design studio is, all new computer equipment installed will have less of a tolerance to the sulphur content of the clay accounting for a sooner than later break down of the computer circuit boards due to sulphur contaminant. Although this has not officially been confirmed it is suspect at two studios using sulphur containing clays, they have already reported computer failures shortly after installation. If this is indeed the case then we will find that computer warrantees will be invalid in the studio environment until the modeling clay used is totally sulphur free. The fact that Europe has taken this environmental stand it is only a matter of time before it becomes worldwide. Continue reading Sulfur Free Clay

What Splines are Best?

Over the last few months there has been considerable discussion as to what splines are best, well actually since the Christmas break. This all stems from the clay being that much harder than I can remember, I don’t quite know if the formula has changed slightly due to the fact that the majority of the studios are milling most of their full size models from the get go but it is taking its toll on the wooden splines. Like most people in the industry my splines are on the old side having been made years ago from laminated beech or maple to ensure some sort of stability in the various climates around the world. Continue reading What Splines are Best?

Coping With Fussy Designers

There are times in every studio where you will come across that one designer who has to be involved with every aspect of the modeling process, be it in the construction of the buck to the application of the modeling clay. He will have his own set methods of construction or application probably stemming back to his experience at art school or a previous employment. Now, you may find this to be amusing in the first instance because normally this side of the process is of no concern to the designer. His goal is to see his sketch in 3D form as soon as possible so that the designing process can begin.

For the sculptor this can be extremely frustrating, very little momentum is gained let alone the time to absorb the concept before modeling begins. This form of micro managing impacts the whole modeling process, increasing the man hours and generally the overall length of the program. In todays cut throat business time is an important commodity, the faster the product comes to market the sooner the sales can start pulling in the profit. Continue reading Coping With Fussy Designers

IAD, Rebirth of the Phoenix

Recently it was pointed out to me by one of my sculptors that International Automotive Design was once again plying for business. This once booming Automotive Design House came to an abrupt end in the early 90’s when recession hit hard and one of its largest customers collapsed, the Leyland/DAF truck conglomerate leaving the company floundering. With little chance of securing unsecured credit and revenues falling there was no other option but to sell the company to Mayflower Corp. a major producer of stampings for cars and trucks in the United States. Continue reading IAD, Rebirth of the Phoenix

Spread the Load

One of the hardest tasks as a beginner is to decide what clay to use but once that is set then you have to apply it to some kind of armature. Now that may sound easy but just imagine a full size vehicle, let’s say Sequoia size, the frame work had better be up to the task or you’ll have a disaster on your hands. Just imagine, up to 10,000lbs in weight of steel, wood, foam and clay. Continue reading Spread the Load