This is the transcript for the video Our Facilities: UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building (DAB)

Luke Chess (00:00):

I think we’d probably start things now. I’d like to welcome you all to this presentation of the facilities tour and to our tour guide, Greg Martens, who you can see on the video there as well. I’ll just hand over… Sorry, I should introduce myself. My name is Luke Chess, I’m the marketing manager for the faculty. But you’re not interested in hearing from me, you’re interested in hearing from our facilities experts. So I’ll hand you over to Greg Martens now to take you through the faculty tour.

Greg Martens (00:31):

Thanks, Luke. Welcome, everybody my name is Greg Martens. I’m going to take you through a faculties tour or a faculty workshops tour through our faculty design, architecture, and building. To begin with, I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands our city campus now stands. I would also like to pay respect to the elders, both past and present, acknowledge them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land. [inaudible 00:01:07] be recorded. We will only record audio and screen share, we will not be recording any input or video input from you. Any further information that you provide during the session is optional and will be captured by UTS, for teaching and learning purposes, for staff involved. To share questions and responses that may be important with the broader community and to build an online text catalog of questions and answers to the benefit of other prospective students. By taking part in this session, you understand and acknowledge that your information will be used for the purposes detailed above. For this, the recording of this session may be published online in addition to an online text catalog of questions and answers.

In being involved, you’re consenting to the recording being publicly available, You may withdraw your consent for this at any time by contacting the contact below. If you do not wish to be involved and be recorded as part of this webinar, you may contact UTS at instead to discuss any questions you have.

At the end of this session, we’ll have a Q&A. I would like you to… Just so we can keep things moving smoothly and efficiently and to catch up a little bit of time we’ve lost. I’d asked you to put your Q&A questions at the bottom of the screen as shown. Thank you. Okay, as I said, welcome to DAB Workshops. My name is Greg Martens, I’m the fabrication workshops manager. Today we’re going to look at six workshops that are housed in the faculty. I’m going to give you an overview of what they are, what sort of facilities they have. Also, just to give you an indication of what students do make. So you will get an idea of if you do join us at DAB, these are some of the things that you may be making during the course of your degree.

The practice of making it in DAB is integral to your studies in design and architecture and built environment. Making 3D physical models helps you as the designer with design thinking, conceptualization, development, and finally your design solution. It also helps with communicating to others what your design intention is and put it into context for the situation and or the environment. It also will help you understand how materials perform, what you can do with them, and what you can’t. What they’re suitable for and what they’re not suitable for. It will help you to decide if the material is correct for the design application you’re using. Your introduction to DAB workshops will start in week one of your first semester at UTS and will continue on a regular basis throughout your degree. Over the course of your degree, you will develop skills that will help you support, that will [inaudible 00:04:33] as a professional designer.

To begin with, I’d like to start with the fabrication workshop. This is our largest workshop in the faculty. It is an analog workshop, which has various equipment, including woodworking metalworking, spray painting, vacuum forming, hand fabrication. Processes using plastics, plywood timbers, and modeling foam. Some of you might be familiar with this type of workshop if you study design and technology at high school. Very similar environment but just on a much bigger scale. All students have the ability to access this workshop, we ran a comprehensive induction program at various levels. So depending on which pieces of equipment you need to use, you will be inducted accordingly. The main students who use this facility are our product design students, our interior, landscape, and architecture students. We do occasionally get some of our Vis Com and fashion students down here as well.

So you might be thinking, what would I be making in the workshop? I’m going to run through a variety of models that students have made. This particular assignment is with our first-year product designs, where they design a kitchen timer. So they would select a famous designer. With that concept, they would analyze the designer and understand the design of their style. Design a kitchen timer and make a steady. We call these appearance models. So they don’t actually work but they give the end-user an idea of what the product is going or their designs going to look like.

Some of our second-year interior architecture and construction communication students build small structures, to understand the design of what they’re proposing. 3D models are very valuable in trying to understand and communicate to others. Generally, models are used to support your design, which would normally you draw on a piece of paper or it can be a computer model or you’d print out your design. The 3D models that you actually physically make help tell the story of your design in an incredible way to others. So this particular job, this particular assignment is looking at construction of houses in their second year. So these are all made from balsa wood, lightweight materials. It examines structure and these models again will be supported by 2D documentation.

Some of our other students produce large-scale replications of city environments, furniture, landscape. Architecture students in a very graphic way represent an environment in the landscape. Our first-year product students were asked to design some footwear. But given that our recent situation where a lot of students are working remotely, these were actually produced out of cardboard and paper and various other bits and pieces that they might find around the home. So model making can be in many different formats. Some of our students actually get involved with large format models, constructions. Some of our students have been involved with VIVID in designing and making installations for the yearly VIVID Festival. Hasn’t been able to occur the last couple of years. Our first-year architects, which we have a cohort of some 240, 250 every year, embark at the end of their first year on building an amphitheater. This is all down in the fabrication workshop.

Luke Chess (09:27):

Sorry, can I just get you to pause just for a second? My apologies. Someone in the chat is saying they’re unable to see anything on screen. I’m seeing it. Could someone else in attendance on chat let me know if you’re able to see it? Everyone else can. So I’m sorry, who… I think it was Jeff. Yeah, Jeff, mate, the problem is at your end. My apologies. Okay, sorry, Greg. Keep going.

Greg Martens (09:50):

Okay, no worries. Thanks, Luke. So the amphitheater, it starts down in the fabrication workshop, where The length of timber are all chopped to size according to design. We then bring that up into our level four courtyard area and the students start assembling it. So this is a major finale for our first-year students in architecture. It’s quite an exciting project that does involve everybody. We do quite a number of risk assessments, it’s an actual construction site. So we also take the students through the health and safety requirements that would exist on a construction site.

We have a space called our Soft Model Workshop, which is adjacent to the fabrication workshop. This area is where students would come in and do final assembly of some of the models that you just saw previously. This space is available, you don’t need to be inducted in this space. But it helps support any overflow in our fabrication workshop. Some feverish moments can occur when assignments are due. So I think the environment that you see here, students are busily at the final part of preparing their models for their presentation. We also have a Digital MakerSpace down on level two. Our Digital MakerSpace is a student’s self-service space. So in that space, we have 16 3D desktop printers, three laser cutters, a UV direct substrate printer, CMC computerized matboard cutter, and two 3D handheld scanners. So in this space, the students come in and actually operate the equipment themselves. They undergo a comprehensive induction program, which introduces them to this sort of technology. We also have student mentors that work in the space to help students operate, uploading files, and getting the settings all correct.

Our students we believe in a peer, P&P sort of collaboration so that everyone starts to learn together about this sort of technology. Our students, product design students, interior, landscape, and architecture are big users of this space. We do have this visual communication and fashion students coming in. Fashion use laser cutters to actually laser-cut fabrics. But also, to print on to accessories in fashion that they might be developing. So what would students be making? Eloise Cleary is one of our recent product design graduates where she 3D printed a prosthetic system. So it was a foot shoe system for minor amputee people, such that they can wear elegant footwear that normally they possibly wouldn’t have been able to wear. But this was all 3D printed down in our Digital MakerSpace.

Our master students, a final presentation model for a structure in outdoor area. All those layers that you see representing the steps have been done on a laser cutter and then stacked and glued together. The same with our landscape architecture students, the profile or the contrary of the landscape. Using materials like cardboard or plywood or balsa wood have all been laser cut and then finally assembled to form their final model.

Our Vis Com students were asked at one particular time to reimagine nature but reimagine nature in the form of a digital context. What would that look like? So here we have a cloud which has been laser cutting in paper, very fine small square holes. The change in color and shape represents the size of the hole that the laser cutter has been able to perform. Then on the other side, we’ve taken insects, bugs cutters and examined them or the students have examined them and interpreted that in a digital way.

Next, we have our advanced fabrication lab, which is a research and teaching, and learning space that has quite high-level industrial equipment. So in that space, we have four robots. We have our KUKA KR 120, which is a seven-axis robot. We have a smaller KR 10. It’s sort of like the baby of the KR 120. We also have our two UR 10 collaborative robots, which we are on trolleys. Those particular robots actually go into the classroom, into the studio space for students to begin to understand the processes and methodology in advanced digital fabrication. We also have a CNC router, which can machine up to large areas like two meters by 1500 of all sorts of things out of foam or plywood or aluminum. All this equipment involves developing 3D computer models to enable this equipment to operate.

What are some of the things that they do? With our robots, we have various end effectors. You’ll notice on down here on one of the robots, we’ve got a large spindle router. So this particular shape has been machined out of a large block of foam from a computer model that one of our masters students had generated. These particular parts have been 3D printed. Again, from an elective. We’ve also got some various roof structures that have been represented in or machined in foam on our router.

Some more examples of what the students do in the digital fabrication lab. We’ve got two of our collaborative robots here in studio, where one has a scanner on it, which is scanning the surface of the vacuum-formed shape here. The other robot is printing shapes to fill those cavities. So one robot’s scanning, that information is being taken. The other robot will interpret that information to print into those cavities. We have some students down here printing in clay for an assignment they were completing for out at Sydney Olympic Park. We’ve also got our collaborative robot here, 3D printing an elastic sort of structure. So you can see some hanging up the back here, so they’re flexible structure. So we were printing in an elastic material. Over on the right, we have our big KR 120 had metal defamation. So a series of copper panels were indented by the robot. Then we’ve joined them all together to form a structure.

One of our product design honors students designed a chair for his final assignment. He took empty PET bottles, dish-washing, soft drink bottles. The soft plastic that you quite often find in kitchens and laundries. He’s recycled those, he melted them down into blocks. Those blocks were joined together finally into a chair. I’m just going to play a short video just to show how he took all those blocks of plastic to achieve that nice smooth contour of the chair. So this is our KR 120 with a spindle router on the end, machining those blocks of plastic to achieve a contoured area so that you could actually physically sit on them.

Next, I’m going to move into our textile print workshop, where students explore screen printing and dyeing of fabrics and yarns and all sorts of things. This particular space primarily supports our fashion and textiles students in screen printing onto fabrics and paper. We also have a dye cooking station where yarns, fabrics, any sorts of materials can [inaudible 00:20:40] with a variety of dyes and inks, where we change their color, and sometimes their structure. Again, we have a comprehensive induction program for students to come in and it supports fashion and textile. We do also have our visual communication and product design and interior students come in here. So in the instance of visual communication, they might be screen printing onto paper. Our product designs might be screen printing onto fabric for some furniture. Our interior architecture students might be doing something again, for an interior environment, where they’re bringing a fabric in.

So what do students make? This is one of our third-year students from women’s wear. So the image on the left represents the stencils or the artwork that the student-created. So that was then brought across onto a screen. They’ve been screen-printed down in the print space. Then they will take it up into the sewing area, where the student has finally created this lovely jacket as part of their women’s wear fashion subject.

Other things that can happen in the textile print space? Carry bags as an accessory, menswear, unique design of fabric for a jacket or a pair of trousers, shorts. We also have a yearly competition where we do a scarf and tie, where the students would screen-print their fabrics. Then develop that into either a headscarf or a tie for handing out to people. We also have adjacent to our textile print space, a knit lab, where we have 16 knit machines, which are the traditional mechanical knit machines. We’re not using 2D knitting needles and hand knitting. This is for quite high-volume knitting. So again, it supports primarily our fashion and textile students. So this particular outfit on the left is entirely knitted in our knit space. The student on the right there is examining various types of knit structures and methods to determine. So these are little sample pieces that they would work through in the conceptualization stage. To build a style board on what they’re thinking.

We also have our sewing workshop and our sewing studio up on level six, which again is a space that supports our fashion and textile students. So for those students who are thinking of studying fashion with UTS, you’ll be spending a lot of time in this space right from week one. But it has 24 industrial sewing machines. We have associated equipment, buttonholes, over-lockers, baby lockers, steam irons, industrial steam iron. So it’s sort of an environment where it would be a small production facility in a clothing factory. Adjacent to the sewing studio is a sewing workshop, is our sewing studio. Where students can work independently on their collections throughout their studies.

What do students make? These are some examples from our fashion and textiles on a student’s final collection. So the students start right from the very beginning, they start from what you could call a blank canvas. Some of these students would begin down in the textile print space, where they would print up their fabric. Once they’ve got a length of fabric, they would then bring that up into the sewing studio, where they would develop their patents. They would drape over mannequins to get the correct fit. Eventually, it’s all sewn, pressed, and brought together as a final garment. All done in-house by the students. Again, just some more examples of what our students have been able to create.

I’m just going to share with you a couple of examples of concept visualization and prototyping. This involves current digital thinking and equipment. So in this particular situation, we’re using a variety of technologies to produce an object. It might be a part, it might be a stand for a table, it could be a piece of sculpture. But this process it can be achieved in one day. So we’re always looking at new ways of visualizing and conceptualizing. So in this particular situation, we take a large block of foam where we shape it. We then scan it and then finally, we 3D print it. So in this aspect, we’re not using any predetermined drawings or computer models, we develop all that along the way. I’ll just show you a quick video with how this works. So our laser cutter is cutting a template the student has created. So we then place those templates onto a block of foam, where in the fabrication workshop we would shape that foam. So again, of using the analog, the bandsaw, they’re also using some hand tools, some sandpaper. To quickly foam-shape the design that we’re looking at.

So we’re then going to take a 3D scanner. So we’re actually scanning the shape that we’ve just generated. This is going to give us a 3D model of that shape. So this is what is first seen we drop this into the software for the scanner, we start cleaning things up. So now, we’ve got a 3D computer model. So we would take this 3D scanned shape and we would then drop it into a 3D software like Rhino, where we can start to manipulate it even further. So we haven’t had to build a computer model in a 3D software program. We’ve scanned it and then brought it in. So then we can start manipulating, we can start changing the shape. At this point, we’re going to start taking the shape, so we can now 3D print it.

So in Rhino, we drop it into additional software like Grasshopper, which slices that all up into those various label layers. We then bring that into our advanced fabrication lab and finally, 3D print the outcome.

Another piece of technology that students are starting to get involved with, I understand, is called HoloLens2 I’m not sure if anyone’s aware or heard of augmented reality. But this allows students and academics to understand in real-time, the design of all sorts of things. So as an example, our fashion students model their concept in a 3D software called Khloe 3D. Our architecture students might model something in Rhino, our product design students might model something in SOLIDWORKS. So once I’ve got this 3D computer model, we then bring it into HoloLens, so we can actually understand and see what our design is in real-time. So it also allows our academics and our students to work together. So each person would wear a headset, we’d begin to see the design that we’ve modeled up appear in front of us. Then we can start to manipulate it and change it. It allows for real-time design evaluation, design development, and then that is automatically saved back to the computer model. So I’m just going to show you a bit of a brief intro.

Speaker 3 (31:49):

Hello, everyone, my name is Trent from AFL. I’m going to show you some simple operation of the HoloLens. To open the menu of the HoloLens, just raise up your arm. You can see the little window logo here, click on it to see the menu of the HoloLens. You’ll see there some app. Open on the app of the HoloLens. On the right-hand side there’s a little button called all apps, click on that. You will see a lot of applications you can use. To close the menu, just raise up your arm again, and click on the logo. Open it back, click like that. In the bottom, you have three important buttons, one for recording, the one you see highlighted at the moment. Left-hand side camera and the right-hand side is to project your content on the HoloLens to a wireless screen.

Some basic operation of the HoloLens include click on air. Tap to hold your two fingers and close it until you hear a click. We use a lot in the hologram app I click on the hologram. When you are inside of the hologram app, so to open the menu of hologram doing [inaudible 00:33:07]. Now, if I click on model it will open up the menu of all the models that I saved before. For example, I want to open the simple model three, I just click on that one, using that app again. Now, you can see I have a lot of [quip 00:33:27] sitting around. To click on one play, again, doing an up. So you can see that all of the [quip 00:33:35] will fly around. Now, you can use your finger to move the [quip 00:33:40]. You can use two fingers at the same time to scale the model up. Then you can also rotate it and put it back here in the right side. You can also move this one around, click that up. Again, using a lot of air taps in order to use and move everything inside the hologram. Thank you.

Greg Martens (34:30):

So you can see model-making is not just a physical thing. We have a variety of digital technologies that also helped you build your models as well. Really exciting stuff. That’s the end of my presentation. Thank you and any questions?

Luke Chess (34:55):

Okay, thanks, Greg. There are a couple of questions already in the Q&A section. Both of them really relate to student access, so perhaps you can answer them both at the same time. There’s a question around access for construction project management students and whether they have access to all the workshops. Likewise, for product design.

Greg Martens (35:21):

Yes, all students have access to all DAB workshops. While some workshops might be more aligned to a particular course, that doesn’t mean that any other student can come into a workshop. So as I mentioned before if a product design student needs to go into the sewing workshop because their particular project involves sewing something. They might be doing a piece of furniture and need to do some upholstering over a chair or a stool or something. The student can go in, they need to be inducted on how to use the equipment. But it’s all workshops for all students. No workshop is designed exclusively for a particular course. Everyone has the opportunity to use any of the workshops.

Luke Chess (36:17):

Yeah, fantastic. One thing that wasn’t covered there but it’s probably worth mentioning, Greg. We also have a large array of computers available for everybody to use.

Greg Martens (36:30):

Yes. The computer labs are scattered throughout the building. Our main computer lab is on level three. It’s a 24/7 space. I think it only closes for about three hours each night for cleaning. There are labs in the architecture spaces, architecture studios. There are computers up in the animation area, there are computers in the general common areas. They’re scattered throughout the building.

Luke Chess (37:09):

Yeah, excellent. Michael also has a question regarding laptops for the bachelor of design. Michael, any laptop can be used really by students. The recommendations certainly for the more graphic intensive laptops is that you just make sure you have sufficient RAM. But really, software is available for either Mac or PC platforms. Yeah, you’ll get by with pretty much any kind of laptop. Greg, correct me if I haven’t got all of that right.

Greg Martens (37:43):

Yeah. Students have their own laptops, whether it’s an Apple or a PC-style tablets. Yeah.

Luke Chess (37:58):

Yeah, great. There’s also a question around access to workshops during COVID. Now, I know that we’ve made great efforts to make workshops available to people as much as possible during that period. I believe even now, students have in the kind of harshest of lockdown conditions, students still have some access if they need it. Are you able to elaborate on that for us, Greg?

Greg Martens (38:19):

Yes. It’s on a case-by-case basis. The building is still open to students, the university it’s an educational facility, it’s a public university. We’ve had to put in quite strict guidelines for access. We are starting to open up some of our areas. I know in our photographic areas, for our third-year photography students, to come in and use the photographic studios. We’re also working with our product design academics for our honors students to come in as the semester progresses. Whilst they’re only at early conceptual stage of what their capstone project might be. We are working through processes and protocols where students will need to come in. Also, our fashion students, our honor students, there will be a time once we get towards the end of session, where they’ll need access to the industrial sewers and associated equipment. So it is possible, we can’t allow everybody in at the moment because we’ve got to have social distancing protocols in place. The primary thing is that we create a safe environment and community for everybody.

Luke Chess (39:53):

Of course. On that, I know that some classes that have normally required say a product type to be made have amended assessment criteria and looked at other ways of setting required work. So yeah, we’ve done our best as much as possible. We are, of course, hopeful that as the year continues that will be opening back up. That for next year, we will have close to full access to campus. There’s a question around visual communications. I’d encourage you to attend the visual communication information session to get more information on that. All sessions will be recorded and available on our website from next week. So if you’re unable to attend it, you can view the recording. A question on access to the workshop, Greg, into the evenings to work on projects and early mornings. I know that as we get close to assessment time, under normal conditions, the workshops become almost a 24/7 enterprise. COVID aside, is access pretty open to students?

Greg Martens (41:15):

Most of our workshops are Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. Our fabrication workshop it’s got highly skilled equipment and also, quite dangerous equipment in there. So there needs to be technicians in that space at all times. We do have our soft model workshop, which we open up after hours, which is for light construction and assembly. Our fashion studios, particularly for our honors students who have been with us for four years, do have access after hours and on weekends. As do down in our textile print space. Our advanced fabrication lab is not accessible unless you’re doing a particular subject, which is required to engage into the space to use the equipment. If you needed something produced in that space, it would be done as a bureau service. Where you hand your file in and the technicians would examine that and organize for it to be routed or printed or whatever needs to be done. Our Digital MakerSpace does open on weekends during peak periods and also after hours. As I said, we manage that by putting student mentors in there. None of our workshops are allowed to be run for just total free access. It’s too dangerous.

Luke Chess (42:58):

Of course, yeah.

Greg Martens (43:00):

But we have many systems and processes that we put in place, we have a booking system. So once you’re inducted into a workshop, you then have access to make a booking to come into that space.

Luke Chess (43:18):

Excellent. I will just refer people in attendance here to the chat, I’ve just posted. It’s very difficult in these conditions to see all of the equipment in action. But we do have a short YouTube video available and I’ve just posted the link in the chat. Where you can see some of the equipment in operation and get a bit more of an idea about how it works. I think Greg’s got into a lot more details on that YouTube video does. But if you just want to see how the robot actually moves around and that kind of thing, it’s available in that YouTube video. I’m just checking the rest of the questions. Yeah, there is a question around the materials that are used in the workshop. Do they need to be purchased themselves or is everything covered in terms of modeling materials and the like?

Greg Martens (44:11):

The workshops provide the basics, so things like sandpaper, glues, paint, nails, screws, those sorts of things. If a course requires a particular material for the student to use, we will purchase that on behalf of the student. But generally, if the student is wanting to use plywood, they need to purchase themselves. We just don’t have the facilities to store all sorts of materials. So we do support some of it but then the more specialized materials we don’t support, the students need to supply those. So our Digital MakerSpace has a variety of materials that can be purchased. Our fashion area hands out basic things like Calico and some ribbons and shoulder pads, depending on what the subject is. Students do purchase a pretty comprehensive toolkit at the beginning in their first year in product design and fashion. These toolkits, once you own them, you’ll carry them on for many years after, especially if you go into professional practice.

Luke Chess (45:34):

Excellent. Thanks for that. There’s a question regarding COVID restrictions. Michael, COVID restrictions, our COVID arrangements are changing daily, as you’ll probably appreciate, depending on New South Wales advice. It’s too difficult at this stage to advise regarding masks and vaccination status and so on. However, there are regular COVID updates on there’s always a link on the front page of the UTS website, Please do refer there for the latest COVID information. Paul, how many students are enrolled in year one product design? I can’t give you an answer to that off the top of my head. It’s a popular course. There are a range of tutorials and studios with smaller numbers to facilitate one-to-one learning. Our lectures may have a larger number of students.

Greg Martens (46:30):

Can I actually answer that?

Luke Chess (46:34):

Yeah, sure.

Greg Martens (46:35):

Product design has between 100 to 120 first-years.

Luke Chess (46:40):

Great, okay. So there’d be a lecture where you might expect to see all of those but then also broken down into smaller classes for individual learning, yeah?

Greg Martens (46:50):


Luke Chess (46:52):

Bachelor of fashion and textile, what are the class times roughly? I’m not sure either of us can answer that for you, Tally. But the fashion and textiles information session we’ll be able to answer that. Lastly, in terms of fashion cost, what sorts of workspace areas out there for research and designing? Well, we’ve seen some of the sewing workshop and the like. Is there anything else that this attendee ought to be aware of, Greg?

Greg Martens (47:17):

There is a free access space outside the fashion and textile area, which is 24/7. Depending on the students, some students have a little setup at home or in their residence. Some students also do purchase their own domestic sewing machine, so that they can work after hours. Unfortunately, we can’t have the sewing spaces where the equipment is open 24/7. It’s a health and safety issue and we do need to have staff present or suitably qualified people if we were to go all night. It just becomes unsafe, especially when you’re an assignment student. When you’ve been burning the midnight oil and you want to come in and use the equipment and your eyes are hanging out of your head.

Luke Chess (48:13):

That’s not a good sign to be using the equipment. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Folks, it is one o’clock, and the less I have to run to another session and moderate. I’m sure you guys do too. But thank you for your attendance and your attention. Thank you, Greg, for persisting through the early technical difficulties we had. We hope to see you next year studying at UTS. Thanks very much.

Greg Martens (48:39):

Thank you and I hope to be able to see you in one of our workshops next year.

Luke Chess (48:43):

Yes, indeed. Let’s hope so, fingers crossed. Okay, thanks again, everybody. I’m ending the session now. Thank you.