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Cast Salt and Pepper Mills

This project was completed for a class on investment casting. As part of the project, we were required to design and prototype an object that makes use of the investment casting process. The class took me through the entire design process, beginning with market research, initial ideation, model making, and then on to prototyping and branding, before finally presenting my design.

The process began with thorough research into existing products on the market. What makes some products successful and others unsuccessful? I read numerous consumer reviews of different pepper grinders on the market to get a sense of what users want.

One of the biggest issues people had with existing products was the excess pepper grinds left behind after use.

Keeping this problem in mind, I developed a mission statement prior to sketching or model-making that would seek to address the issue.

I used the internal components of an existing product, since most salt and pepper mills use standard sizes. With these dimensions in mind, I was able to build my design around them.

In addition to the sketches that I did, I also built many different models. Starting with wood, I eventually used 3D printingto quickly make changes to my design in preparation for mold-making. In order to get my wax investment, I made a mold directly from my final 3D print.

After experimenting with many different names for my product, I eventually decided on Equinox. I felt that the name was appropriate, since the equinox is the date when daytime equals nighttime, and this symbolizes salt and pepper.

The final product: a salt and pepper mill set that achieve my design criteria. The issue of residual grinds on the table is solved by simply inverting the design - the grinding end is now facing upward instead of downward.