Our Plastics workshop is part of Digital Manufacturing. 3d printing, laser cutting, 3d milling, 3d scanning, thermo forming, moulding and casting are available.

Questions answered by Specialist Technician Billy Dickinson

What is the most common request you get?

"If I did this... how long will it take?" A vague question that I can rarely answer accurately. The thing about the technology and equipment is it requires digital data, the computers translate this information via lasers and print heads. Only when this data is added to the relevant software can I predict how long a process will take. 

Is there a particular project you remember?

Scent-ography by Amy Radcliffe, it was beautiful, from the very beginning of its generational stages.

Have you ever had to say to a student that a project was impossible?

Never, there is always a way to represent something, the choice is what is the best. As a department our job is to help the students realise their concepts and designs.

Any interesting stories about the workshop/studio and/or its content?

Moving to King’s Cross gave us the potential to reorganise and invest: in staff practices, machinery and technology. When we added the 3D mills, I thought I had all the areas of design, manufacture and material types covered, but this is Central Saint Martins: on the first day, a student brought me a brick made out of potato pulp and Bio-resin and asked me to machine it. I was left scratching my head, thinking: " How am I going to do this?"

I've learnt never to expect the norm at CSM. Students here are taught to think differently, push areas of design and manufacture in new directions. I was naive to think I could categorise and predict what the students here are going to do. The students come here to learn something new, and they are not the only ones, they are teaching and pushing us to discover and experiment too.

How does the workshop fit in with the overall history of CSM?

Digital manufacturing is a new department, and we are still working out the best way to integrate it with the courses. It's been a good start, we are helping the students create and produce some amazing things.

However this workshop is developing, it’s growing and the demand for the facilities is growing too. We are constantly researching and investigating new materials machinery and technologies that could be introduced into the workshops, and potentially this workshop will grow into something quite exciting and dynamic.

What makes this workshop a special place at CSM?

It's where concepts, visions, ideas and individuals are developed and realised.