Tell me a bit about what your business does:
I design and create a wide range of custom products ranging from military simulation training equipment, custom architectural features (unique gates and screens, stainless bench tops, letter boxes and garden sculptures etc), electrical appliances and enclosures down to promotional beer tap handles.
I have facilitated the laser cutting of small timber designs and large outdoor steel animal shapes for a very talented indigenous artist. I sometimes reverse engineer and make obsolete parts for older vehicles. I recently spent a few weeks CNC machining steel tooling to make a unique thermal battery product which is very exciting technology. I pretty much design and make whatever my clients can think up.
What skill set would you need if someone was looking at becoming involved in this type of business (uni student, tafe students etc)?
Experience in manufacturing is probably the most important aspect of being an industrial designer. To know how each part you design will be physically made helps with decisions on materials, structural integrity, cost and time. An Industrial Design degree would be the best way to get the theoretical, technical and practical knowledge to become an industrial designer. Tafe qualifications in CAD/CAM and CNC Engineering are a great way to start. Degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics and Robotic would be a huge benefit as technology evolves.
How does 3D printing benefit the consumer? What’s next in the pipeline with this technology?
It’s quick. I have been able to produce 3D printed parts in a very fast turnaround for my clients; often within the same day. With the materials available these days, the product’s physical properties and colour can be produced fit for the purpose, whether it be for simple aesthetics or mechanical testing. For prototyping and testing, it is hard to beat as you develop a new product or idea. It is a much more affordable way to have a prototype in your hand than traditional methods such as machining. 3D printing technology is evolving at a rapid rate with consumers now having access to industrial grade materials in their own home. There are many bureaus available to make your parts from carbon fibre reinforced filament, nylon and various metals. It’s fun keeping my finger on the pulse.
What are the biggest impacts on your business?
I have been able to work from home rather than have to set up a workshop to produce many of my jobs. I have two 3D printers and often run them overnight to keep up productivity. Some larger prints take several days to finish. I can take a part off the printer, measure it, check it, test it, tweak the design and reprint it as required at minimal cost. I have been able to help happy customers with custom parts for their hobbies, vehicles or inventions. I love a happy customer.
Tell us about the ‘Harry Potter’ set?
I was living in London and applied at a temp agency for some landscaping work. When they read in my resume that I had a film and TV background, they gave me some work with a company called Filmscapes. On my first day, I found out I was working on the set on Harry Potter 3. I hadn’t read the books or seen the previous two films so didn’t really know anything about it. I’m not one to be star-struck, but I regret not taking a selfie with the cast members because they would be great keepsakes to show my kids now that they have seen some of the films. At least I have great memories of meeting the legends such as Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Robbie Coltrane etc.
My job was landscaping with the Art Department: mainly laying turf, applying moss, installing ferns and trees as required for sets both outside and inside. It was sometimes very intense work to remove and re-lay an entire sound stage with fresh turf overnight, collect bracken from local forest early in the morning, make plaster rock walls look real and change leaves on trees for various seasons during the shoot.
At other times, it was dreadfully boring; waiting for a lake to freeze (literally), waiting for the sun to come out or the rain to stop (in England!) or picking up cigarette butts from entitled directors and heads of departments. I think my fondest memory was having a sword fight with Daniel Radcliff – he had a wand so I pulled out a pocket knife. It was all fun and games until I got yelled at for threatening to kill Harry Potter.
Shout out your favourite local business (restaurant, café, pub, service)
I have so many favourites! I can’t choose just one so would like to give a shout out to my good friends at Murray’s Brewery, Pasta Di Porto, The Crest and Newcastle Brew Shop. All of them do what they do really well.
What’s your favourite thing to do during down time?
I love to launch my tinny off Boat Harbour Beach and catch a feed of fish. Sometimes I take kids or a mate, sometimes I prefer to go alone. Either way, it is relaxing to be on the water checking out the beautiful coastline, whales, dolphins and seals and hopefully a fighter jets blasts past overhead now and then.
Bright Design Co
Dave Eggins, Director
Boat Harbour NSW