Mr Bubbles?

So I may have been a little rash with my judgement of the brief – I still stand by the fact that the deliverables and marking criteria are way too heavily BSc focused and we are being unwittingly shepherded down a BSc tunnel – but there is hope.  Perhaps the idea is that we have been set the unspoken challenge of finding the BA in the BSc brief?  The tighter the focus, the harder we have to look to find our way out; to deliver anything other than another drill.  If the proposed fictional company were so socially conscious, then surely they would say that there is no need to make another drill; there are enough on the market already.  Their USP is to be environmentally respectable, but this is just another marketing ploy to allow hipsters to buy (another) ‘new’ drill.  

This should be my opening line to the viva:

“…I feel for these reasons that there is no need to make a new drill and argue that the brief is unnecessary.  The company should spend its time and ‘environmentally friendly’ energy promoting existing products instead.  However, for the purpose of this brief, and the need to be marked, this is what I shall present…”

We need to have fun with this brief.  Take it apart, find the gaps and burrow into them.  I feel as though we will be thanked come the end of year show.  Rather than having 40 semi-identical drills to mark, there will be variety.  That can only be a good thing.

Where then are the holes?  The places of freedom?  For me, it comes down to the society this drill is being made for, the year it being made, (past, present or future), and the target market (it says a professional trade person, but seriously, this can be any trade).

Rather than rushing into a design, I feel it is safer to explore these options first, to really find the scenario that this ‘drill’ is targeted towards and hopefully, a design will present itself.  Its all about setting the scene, finding the narrative.

To ensure I can evidence my research into the existing market and so on, the forthcoming blogs will be peppered with product research, marketing blurb etc.

The history of the drill:

Bow Drill.  Hand crank geared drill.  Electric drill.  Cordless drill.

The bow was replaced by the gears and handle, the handle and human power replaced by mains electric, the mains replaced by the lithium battery………which still needs to be connected to the mains to recharge.  

End of the history of the drill.  Exciting times.

Very much like the glue gun project, the bulk of cordless drills on the market – not that the brief says the drill needs to be cordless, it just says it has an 18v battery pack, we don’t have to use it on the drill – are ALL THE SAME.  

A drill that can be cordless.

Yawn.  They look like a ‘gun’.  Not the best shape for drilling in reality.  The direction of force needs to follow the line of the drill but all the force goes through the handle, a fair way below the chuck.  Not great design, but it looking like a gun does help the marketing department.  If I wanted to go down the ergonomic route I would put the handle and trigger behind the motor, inline with the drill bit, but this is boring.  I’m pretty sure Black & Decker did it years ago and it barely sold as it didn’t look like a gun.  

I think this says: Ergonomically hold the drill right at the top and ignore the rest of the handle as it is there for decoration.

One of the biggest changes is the materiality of the casing.  Previous generation electric drills were metal as it was more prevalent within industry.  It was strong, and felt weighty in the hand – a sure sign of quality.  New models are plastic.  Why?  It is cheaper to make.  It will be lighter to use over long periods of time, so from a practical point of view, it makes sense.  Holding onto a drill that is twice the weight will end up causing fatigue, but is this such a big deal?  As with everything, the body becomes conditioned to it, you become stronger to allow you to hold the drill for longer.  Health and safety has taken over.  Always a good thing……?

One strong arm.  Commitment to the job.

The beauty of the metal casing – or almost anything other than plastic, even blue foam……wait, let us not go nuts here(!) – is the way that it ages.  Metal, in this case (pun intended), grows a beautiful patina with use.  It displays its scars.  It can be repaired as strong it has always been.  Plastic?  Not so much.  You build a visual and tactile relationship with the material and then and then become attached to the object.  No other drill will be like yours.  A plastic drill that bears these scars?  Not admired in the same way:


“What’s that old s**t drill you got there, Frank?”

“You need to get a new one!”

There was a phrase I mentioned earlier: the metal case ‘grows’ a patina with age.  I think this is the difference.  The drill grows old with you.  Maybe this is an avenue that could be followed?  A drill that is designed to age?  Plastic only looks good when it is brand new.  

Enough of this random ramble!  Onto some other, more focused rambles!

Idea: A drill that you wear!  Really build that relationship with the tool!  It becomes part of you.  First step on the ladder towards becoming a cyborg?  Designed for people who never put the drill down in their job.

Like this handsome fella:969cdf754c962d962cbb6e359cdd4f97

Scenario: In an effort to save money, NHS dentists use significantly larger drills to bore into their patients teeth.  Patients are either too scared to come in to see the dentist or they faint with fear when shown the size of the drill.  No need for expensive anaesthetic when the patient has knocked themselves out!  Money back in the bank.  Job done.

Looks safe to me.

Idea: In an effort to make people aware of the origin of oil – which forms the basis of plastic and is made up of dead animals and plant matter from the age of the dinosaurs – the texture and colour of the drill is that of tiny bones.  Could it even be made of bone?  Think about what you are using.


Scenario: The drill decomposes unless it is maintained.  It needs to live!  Live dammit!

I have nothing concrete I am committing too as yet, just researching and waiting for inspiration to unravel itself.  

For now, adieu.

Viva La Revolution.  (

Never Conform.


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