School of the Arts, English and Drama

About us

Hub 3: Fine Metal, Wood and Woven Constructed Textiles

This hub houses a comprehensive range of facilities for the production of artefacts relating to fine metals, wood and woven/constructed textiles. 

Working directly with materials, students learn the art of construction through making and refining their work. Tradition works hand-in-hand with innovation with a mission to challenge convention and create relevant and innovative design solutions. 

An outstanding range of outputs can be achieved in the hub, from jewellery and fine metalwork, to woodwork furniture, plastic prototypes, laser engraved projects and incredible woven textile samples.

Fine Metals and Jewellery Workshop

This workshop is a highly versatile area where students can realise their design ideas in an engaging and dynamic learning environment.

From the production of fine metalsmithing and jewellery, through to experimental pieces in method, material and concept, the outcomes are as varied as our students aspirations.

They could be casting jewellery, bronze medals, small sculptural pieces and component parts to make larger pieces. Constructing works from aluminium, bronze, silver and gold. They could also be making from paper, concrete, textiles, designing on computer for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.

Equipment

  • Industrial machinery
  • Extensive jewellery benching
  • 4 gas hearths for the annealing, smelting, soldering and colouring of metals
  • 1 gas forge and forge area for the shaping of metals in their heated state
  • Raising and planishing room for the forming of metal objects
  • Fine metal casting facility
  • Mould making facility with wax and resins
  • Enamelling room with three kilns and a range of enamels for application onto metals
  • Technology room with CNC routing, ceramic printing, and Mac Pro workstation for creating computer generated 3D shapes in wax, wood, carving foam and acrylic

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.

Metal Workshop

The metal workshop enables the cutting, shaping, manipulation, assembly and welding of various metals in sheet, rod, tube and sectional form.

In this facility we predominantly work in steel that can be easily rolled, curved and bent. Steel can be worked to a far greater level of dimensional accuracy than wood and can be joined by being screwed, bolted or welded together using our MIG welding set. 

With the guidance of our outstanding technical staff, members of the School of the Arts are able to produce models, mock-ups, and full-scale prototypes in a variety of materials and finishes.

Equipment

  • Morgan Rushworth treadle guillotine shear   
  • Electromotion pinch roller     
  • Keetona press brake   
  • Okay chop saw         
  • Holroyd C5 tube benders      
  • Axminster RTC 7030 sheet metal worker       
  • Specialised Sip Topmig turbo 195 MIG welder     
  • Oxyacetylene welding
  • Fume extraction system
  • Dedicated metal work benches
  • Selection of cutting and folding tube and bar bending equipment

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.

 

Wood, Assembly and Finishing Shop

The wood, assembly and finishing workshop enables the manufacture and construction of highly finished working objects at both a large and small scale. 

The area houses an outstanding range of equipment for members of the School of the Arts to use, and accompanied with our technician's tuition and expertise students are enabled to produce professional end products.

Processes and methods of fabrication that can be accommodated include bending and laminating plies of wood, cutting, drilling, sanding and planing of materials, assembly and gluing up, and the joinery of components using mechanical connections and the use of fasteners. Finishing techniques include painting, sealing staining, oiling and waxing. 

The quality of projects produced in this workshop are so high, that many of our students have gone on to win industry competitions, briefs and start their own businesses.

Equipment

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.

Plastics

Our hub houses a plastic workshop which supports hot and cold processing, shaping and forming for a variety of thermoplastic materials. 

This facility houses a variety of thermoforming processes that have been developed to change the shape of thermoplastic sheet by exploiting this property. These include vacuum forming, line bending, drape forming and presswork.

Typical materials used include cast and extruded acrylic (Perspex), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), high impact polystyrene (PVC), polypropylene (PP) and expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam).

Plastics can be cut using our traditional woodworking tools, such as the bandsaw, jigsaw, pillar drill and router. However, within the facility we have a dedicated plastics Varga circular saw and Hegner fretsaw to allow for straight and curved cutting with fine pitched blades to reduce the melting and chipping of the material. 

Equipment

  • CR Clarke 750 FLBH vacuum forming machine
  • CR Clarke 200 FDH fan circulated oven                  
  • CR Clarke 1220 hot wire strip heater / line bender                      
  • CR Clarke 1000 element strip heater line bender                          
  • Varga VA1 plastics circular saw         
  • Hegner multicut quick fretsaw          

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.

Laser Facilities

Our state-of-the-art laser cutter can cut and engrave materials to a high degree of accuracy, and produces a self-finished polished edge.

The flat bed laser cutter, housed within the Weave Workshop, can be booked for cutting or engraving a great range of sheet materials and fabrics. Members of the School of the Art will receive one-to-one tuition from technical tutors to produce creative work. 

The user is first required to produce design files using Illustrator. The laser can then be used to cut through a number of materials such as paper, card, fabrics, MDF, plywood and acrylic up to a depth of around 6mm thick. It can also engrave and raster (etch) the surfaces of the materials.

Through experimentation there is potential to work with thermoplastics to create repeated two-dimensional parts through the laser cutting process. These can then be augmented by thermoforming to produce three-dimensional forms. 

Equipment

  • CadCam FB1550 flat bed laser cutter (50W)
  • LS6840 carbon dioxide flat bed laser (40W)
  • Ethos software

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.

Weave Workshops

We have a number of expert facilities for the production of woven textiles.

All members of the School of the Arts have access to our woven textiles facilities. The equipment in the workshop is impressive and includes:

Yarn preparation machines

This equipment is used to prepare yarn for the dyeing process or general yarn preparation:

  • Several manual hank winding machines
  • 4-head hank to cone winding machine
  • Warp winding machine

Warp preparation machines

The following equipment can be used to produce warps for hand looms:

  • vertical warping mills
  • warp spreaders, each of which enable the production of warps for hand looms.

George Wood floor looms

Our floor looms are used for the production of small scale samples of woven fabric.

  • 13 x 6 shaft mechanical George Wood floor looms.

Mechanical George Wood dobby looms

Our mechanical George Wood dobby looms allow for more complex designs and large scale samples or lengths of fabric:

  • 11 x 16 shaft mechanical George Wood dobby looms
  • 1 x 24 shaft mechanical George Wood dobby loom

Electronic dobby looms

Our electronic dobby looms are particularly suitable when large repeat lengths are being woven:

  • 6 x 24 shaft electronic dobby looms

Jacquard Looms

The School of the Arts owns two outstanding electronic jacquard looms, which can be used to produce highly complex designs.

The Eltext Dataweave rapier loom is an electronic industrial loom, which can be used to rapidly produce intricate designs in the form of large samples or lengths of fabric. The process uses Scotweave design software.

Our Tronrud engineering TC1 jacquard is an electronic jacquard used for research purposes by staff and postgraduate students. It is a hand loom which can produce jacquard designs using a wide range of yarns.

Equipment

  • Eltex Dataweave rapier loom with 1200 hook
  • Bonas electronic jacquard (using Scotweave design software)
  • Tronrud Engineering TC1 jacquard

Technical expertise

A talented team of staff with high levels of professional subject specific skills and experience in the area of craft and design. They are practitioners in their own rights with enthusiasm and passion for their disciplines.