Tag Archives: colander

please no!

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So I’m designing a colander- no secrets there. I found this on a blog and just about had a heart attatck-

Ten Unusual Uses for a Colander.

1. Grease splatter reducer.
2. Warm a serving bowl.
3. Berry storage.
4. Bathtub toy scoop.
5. Play accessory.
6. Craft template.
7. Bug tent.
8. Wind chime.
9. Lamp shade.
10. Holiday display.


I wonder if I should be consider making my colander bath freindly, bug compatible, splatter reducing and kid friendly. Argh. I guess its a common thing for a designer- the dismay of finding how people use your design and not how you intended it. I guess you can never really design to adress these things, they will always happen. Prehanps this raises the need for a bath toy that resembles a colander, a grease splatter protector based on a colander or a berry storage device…


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week 4

Week 4 again saw much advancement for both of my projects.

My first colander mock up (which I had made in wk.3) now needed insides. I ventured to the workshop and approached Paul for some help. Over the next hour of so we managed to vacuum press styrene over the top of the outside shape, to form a ‘bowl’ shape on the inside. This sounds fairly straight forwards, however we had to work the machine backwards in effect… thanks Paul J From here I cut the new bowl from the sheet so it sat snugly on top of the outside shape. I was really impressed with the overall look of the object- although it was very simply put together; my project was now taking shape. I proceeded to drill holes into one side of the colander (discussed previously).

From here I went to the sink for some serious testing. I first washed some spinach leaves with a normal colander, and measured the amount of water the process used- 3cups. I then proceeded to complete the same task with my colander- 1cup. I love it when these tests prove my theories right… makes my project all worth while. I filmed this process and added it to my accumulating prototyping file of footage.

From the video I came to several conclusions:

  1. The height of the colander was too tall; it was difficult to manage such a tall object within the sink. It was also difficult to align the tap for the same reasons. So the colander needs to be shorter, perhaps wider…
  2. The washing and the draining can over lap. They need separated areas of some sort
  3. The sheer size of the object was too large and difficult to handle.
  4. I may need to make the colander with a handle of some sort, so that the tap can be turned on/off/down when using it
  5. I like the wash and drain idea. The movie proved that this idea has merit

I have now begun to sketch from my conclusions and will endeavour to create more mock ups during week 5.

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Week 3

Week three has seen major developments for my major project. The Project has now been split into two defined areas- the colander and the holey water vessel. These two areas have now become separate from each other and have different paths to follow.


I continue to generate ideas for the colander, aiming to reduce the actual amount of water that is needed for the processes involved with the colander, as well as catching its own water for re-use. This week I ventured to a sheet metal manufacturer to have a mock up completed of some initial ideas. Before visiting the sheet metal manufacturers I completed several CAD models in solidworks roughing out the shape and overall dimensions of the external surface of the colander. I decided to get the outside shape made for several reasons- I wanted to get an overall feel for the object, its size and weight when completed in metal. I also wanted to experiment with the inside workings of the colander, and complete many solutions. Had I had the complete colander made, I would not be able to change and ‘tweak’ the workings.

I was fairly impressed with the response I received and after visiting a Somerville sheet metal factory on Thursday and I was able to pick up the model the very next day (and at a very reasonable price). The mock up was completed from 1.7mm galvanised sheet, a material commonly used to complete watering cans and like.

The model I now have is a nice representation of the work I have completed over the last 3 weeks. The overall size feels slightly too large, however I am sure it will change and evolve over the next few weeks. Because of the limitations of sheet metal work, the manufacturer was only able to produce the colander with straight sides, where previously my CAD models showed bulging and rounded sides. I like the straight sides better in hindsight, they are clean and simple. The model brings up the issue of holding the colander, and I may need to look into handles or such as the idea progresses- potentially the colander could be fairly heavy when full of water and items for washing.

During week 3 I also explored alternative ideas for the colander. I produced a quick model of a two sided colander- one with holes and the other without. Where in my initial ideas the 50/50 hole approach existed within one body, here the holes and non are separated into 2 separate bowls/areas. The two sides of the colander are joined in the middle via a hinge which allows them to flip over and form one enclosed vessel. I created this idea from a plastic doughnut container. I demonstrated on film how the process worked. First, the objects were placed in the side with no holes. A small amount of water is added and used to wash the contents (by hand). Once sufficiently washed, the contents are flipped over into the opposite container with holes and the water drains away. Here it was easy to drain the water away- by flipping the sides to form one enclosed form, I could shake the entire colander to effectively remove excess water. The colander could then be placed on the kitchen bench with the non-holey side down, with not excess water spilling onto the bench as it does with a regular colander. Whilst this test worked, I felt that the outcome was not as simple as others I had previously proposed. The outcome I am aiming for is simple, elegant and functional, and does so with no moving parts, electronics etc. This example relies on a hinge, which is something I generally want to avoid.

From here I need to add the inside workings to the colander and conduct tests. Next week I hope to have achieved my first completely working prototype, and a strong direction in design including form and function.

The Holey water project has also advanced this week. This project is based around a vessel that captures water when waiting for the hot water to come through. One finger sits within the vessel to feel the water temperature. I see this project heading in many branches based almost entirely on materials choices.


In red I have highlighted the process of designing the standard Holey design. As I am applying this design to many materials and process, I will develop standards that must be present throughout all outcomes. These standards will be based around proposing a new grip for the human hand when holding a vessel one handed, with potential weight, and whilst testing temperature. Although the form may change due to demands from certain materials and process, the grip and function will stay constant. I plan to take measurements based on hands and come up with a set of average measurements covering all ages/shapes/sizes.

In blue I have highlighted the 3 major materials and process groups I am going to approach with my design. I have begun establishing contacts within each area and will endeavour to consult these contacts in terms of individual design requirements based on materials specifications. Plastics see the object become potentially mass manufactured, produced at little cost in large quantities. Mass manufactured items can often sell at the low end of the market. Ceramics sees the object being produced in medium batch size by hand, meaning that the outcomes will all differ slightly. The outcomes will be more desirable as a kitchen gadget, and bought from kitchen ware shops. These items will be desirable both on a practical level and for reasons of appearance. Blown Glass objects are produced by hand and are created as one offs. Whilst they may be based around the same idea, they will all be unique. Because of the precious nature of glass, these objects would sell at the higher end of the market, being desirable as art works rather than practical items.

Plastics- I have established a contacts with the company ‘CL’ who deal with plastic injection moulding. Charles Land is the Managing director at CL and has considerable knowledge and contacts within the area. I am soon to have a tour of the factory.

Glass- I am fortunate enough to have a close relationship with glass artist Leisa Wharington who has had over 25 years experience in glass blowing. I have begun discussion with Leisa about creating the holey forms, and she has many suggestions and ideas on processes and outcomes.

In green and branching from plastics is the idea of a holey water attachment. Here I want to explore developing a version of the holey water that fits universally to most household cups. These could be potentially produced from plastic and once again mass manufacturable.

For next week I hope to define the grip standards via taking measurements and investigating ergonomics and Anthropometrics

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week 2 in reflection

Week 2 has been much more productive than the previous week. Instead of bogging myself down with sketching and development on the ‘page’ I have begun to concentrate on what I am good at as Soumitri suggested. So I have thrown myself into model making in both projects- colander and cup.

I went back to my idea development of the holey water cup in semester 1 in the Rapid elective. I became frustrated with sketching my ideas here too and turned to modeling the item to find answers. I again turned to modeling and had my Mum (thanks Mum) to throw 5 pots in clay. I let these pots dry and then manipulated them with the grip of my hand. This process revealed the many ways in which a cup can be held one handed, and I explored alternative grips in comparison with the holey. The grips were interesting; however none offered the security in grip as the holey. The Holey model wraps the entire hand around the cup and then locks in the grip via an opening on the side for a finger. This system feels comfortable to hold and most importantly, feels secure. As I advance with this design I will have to address the issue of capacity and increase the amount of water being captured. This will inevitably increase the weight of the object, which is why a secure grip is vital. From here, I will make further models around the holey idea, and work on capacity.

The colander project also advanced within week 2. This project also moved away from sketching and into model making. The fist model I created was from the colander at our house. I simply covered half of the inside of the colander with foil so that the water could not escape. When held at an angle, this also meant that the water would pool in this area. This idea is based around the idea of using one small amount of water which is trapped in the colander (held at angle). The contents are washed around using this one amount. When washed, the colander is then tipped to the opposing angle to allow the water to drain away into a holding container beneath. The captured water is then re-used. I filmed the washing of snow peas within the colander and my idea worked. From here I purchased a plastic water jug which I cut and formed a taller version of the first trial. The reason for making the model taller is so that the water will flow off one item and then onto another beneath it. I also filmed this trial and made several conclusions:

– The vessel was to tall and obscured the view of the contents when tilted to one side

– The vessel was too narrow and restricted hand movement within when washing contents

From here I created paper models to try to solve the issues I had with the second trial. These models became flatter and wider, and have two raised sides- one for washing (no holes) and one for rinsing (holes). The process of making paper models was rapid and a nice way to experiment with my findings.

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A Major reason to get going

So Semester 2 (MAJOR PROJECT) is well under way and my first week was full of reflections on Semester 1. I find all this reflecting seriously painful- i would just prefer to get on with it.

Which is what I am doing now.

I have just watched my Mum throw me another 5 pots, which when semi dry, i will manipulate with my hands. From this task I am wanting to review the ways a vessel can be held in one hand whilst one feels the temperature of water within. So ‘Holey water’ is my first avenue of design which looks at the waste of water when waiting for the hot to come through. My second project is based on the design and re-design of the colander. Boring perhaps? Not for me 🙂 The colander will catch its own water and have a new operating system which requires less water for the same old process- exciting I know!

I’m off to do some model making from found objects in order to work out my colander.

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