Okay, before I start, I need to apologise.  This is a long blog and it has some repetition from the last post.  I need to document my ideas, expand upon them and get them out into the open.  I need to see if I have something I can work on or if it is all needless garbage.

Here goes…


  • 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.  What if it were designed to be made for people who have lost an arm in the war and wish to continue being an engineer in the forces?  Inclusive designs – drill for blind people, it has braille on it.  Could this be for someone who has lost a hand and uses a dentist drill as their finger?
    • The army is a family, a community, a society.  Could the ability to be useful again, within your family, give you fresh purpose?  Like the blades that runners wear in the paralympics, could the drill arm actually make the person more efficient at their job?
    • The material chosen would need to be sympathetic to the human; it would need to breath, move and swell like the human.  It needs to be alive.  Symbiotic, not robotic.
    • Could the texture of the material be that of the missing finger prints?  This could incorporate the kintsugi aesthetic (see below)?
  • 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 at all or they faint with fear when shown the size of the drill.  No need for expensive anaesthetic when the patient has knocked themselves out!
  • 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.  What will you leave behind?
    • This project would give the user a sense of ownership of the product and perhaps form a greater bond with the item.
    • Could it be as simple as giving the product a texture or a subtle soulful looking eye?  The detail would need to be lost until up close.  If it looks too obvious from a distance, it doesn’t invite the viewer into the product; there will be no exploration and hence no questioning.
    • Could it be the noise it makes whilst drilling?  Could that be more tuneful?  Could the drill play a tune based on the speed it runs at?  Could the drill in fact become a musical instrument?
    • Could the colour of the item mean something?  The subtle colour of bone or skin or that of a baby (animal or human)?  Try and instill a sense of responsibility.
  • The drill decomposes unless it is maintained.  It needs to live!  Live dammit!  There is a relationship with the drill and the human.  The human wants the drill to work but it needs maintenance to keep it working.  Could the drill become wrinkled with age?  Could it be fragile?  Handle with care?  Perhaps the subtle aroma of a baby could be emitted from the drill so there is a subconscious link to care for this item, (this has been done in an art installation somewhere, I’m sure I read it and not made it up!).


    • The beauty of decay is something that has been discussed throughout the art world, but not so much within design.  Products are designed to look good new, after that, they are destined to be replaced.  There are some exceptions – a horse saddle…ur…something else…. – but these are related to older practices that harken back to an age when you could only afford one item.  Perhaps it comes down to how the item is made?  Handmade deserves more care, more love?  A relationship to the product and the designer / builder?
    • If the casing decomposed, could it be ‘sustainably disposed of’ and replaced with a new one?  Could the casing be printed from a biodegradable material that has a certain shelf life if unmaintained?  This would suit people who want a disposable item; who want new things quickly.  With your details on file from your first purchase, the store would only sell you a new one if they received the old drill back first.  This can be recased and sold as a recon / reshell.  People who care for their item are provided with a care kit.  Like a shoe care kit.
    • A fragility to the product would indicate that it needs a degree of care when being used.  Would anyone actually use this item if it was too fragile?  Would it become an ornament rather than a functioning item?  Would this in fact ‘encourage’ someone to buy a second drill so they keep their best drill in perfect condition?  What if the drill came with a repair kit…..
  • Could the drill come with a repair kit in kintsugi style?  The brief says it needs to re-use the existing parts, but it doesn’t say they have to be new?


    • The problem with existing drills is that they age terribly.  Plastic only looks good when it is new, shiny.  Scratch it and it looks old……but not good old……junk old.  Damage the casing and you can buy a new one, but by the time you spend on the money on a new case, taken the drill apart and repaired it, people think, should I bother?  The motor and and gearbox have had a battering, so it’s probably not worth it.  Plastic is associated with disposability.
    • If the drill was more expensive, made of age friendly materials and came with an included repair kit, people may actually repair the drill rather than throw it away.  The drill is more expensive to replace so it becomes far less disposable.  The repairs are visual and look stunning.  People actually break things to invoke the need for Kintsugi repairs.
    • Maybe the drill has a revolution counter – mechanical – like an odometer on a car, that tells the user when it needs a service?  A visual indicator to the internals?
  • There is a community that only has one drill.  To charge the drill it needs to be connected to the community charge room – a room filled with exercise bikes that charge batteries via kinetic energy.  To exchange skills, a person can charge the drill battery for a person who will in turn put up a shelf for them.  Brings community and society back to the area.


    • Perhaps this is an old and young society?  The older have the skills to perform DIY but not the energy to charge the battery.  The young have the energy – and are increasingly getting fatter – but not the life skills to complete the work.  Inclusive.  Time strapped families can make their kids work for the rewarded skill by pedaling.
    • A more inclusive society?  A greener alternative to using fossil fuels to charge the battery and a way of exercising people?
    • The drill would need to be suitable for multiple tasks and be very strong to service many people.  Function over form.
  • Could a drill case be 3D printed so a new exterior could be produced for an existing drill?  The company services the internals and then prints a custom case for the old drill.  Integrate with grab cad.


    • Rather than make a new drill, couldn’t the company just service old drills with new cases?  That’s exactly what the brief indicates the company would do – bring in existing components and then put them into a new shell.  It doesn’t say the components have to be new.
    • The case could use the fittings of the current model of drill so it easily fits the parts, but the customer could modify the exterior using an online-maker-tool.  Add company branding, names, specific features (a magnet on the side for holding screws…).  If it is your drill, you may take care of it more.  Plus, you can just do it all over again in 6 months if you wish.
    • As long as the material for the case is infinitely recyclable, the impact is significantly lessened than the need for a new drill.
    • Would this satisfy the need for new drills?
    • Would this breach copyright law?
  • Could it be a future society?  A future trade?  Flood defence technician: Needs to tighten and replace nuts and bolts that hold the dams in place.


    • Nowhere in the brief does it mention a year.  Why can’t a drill be made for a what if… society or scenario?
    • What if in the future, the rain never stops and the sea levels rise.  A future trade would be that of a permanent flood defence technician, heading from dam to dam, fixing leaks.  What would this drill look like?  How would it need to operate?  It would need to 100% waterproof.  It would be functional over aesthetic.
  • Could the company research the most reliable drill and then help repair and maintain that one brand and model of drill?  Is this the most socially responsible design – to only have one drill?


    • There are 1000’s of drills on the market, each claiming to be the best.  Surely, one is the top dog?  The most reliable, the easiest to hold, the most desirable.  Couldn’t the company make, sell and promote spares for this drill?  Market their solution to the best drill as one that already exists?
    • There would be copyright issues here.  Would the greatest drill manufacturer in the world be happy with someone else promoting and maintaining their products?
  • Could the company take an existing old drill (or drill-like object), and update it into a new one?  Like Singer do to Porsche – old shell but new running gear?


    • Are companies allowed to sell old products from existing manufacturers?  Would Bosch allow this company to put new innards into their old casing and sell it as their product?
    • The material cost and damage to the environment has already been actioned for this casing, why make more by building a new case?


  • What if we designed for the more than human world?  What would the drill look like?  How would it be designed?  Is it designed to created less or no impact when being made?  Is it designed to cause less noise or vibrations when drilling?  Are the materials designed to melt back into the earth – like some kind of pulp – or become a home for something at the end of its life?


    • Drills are designed with humans in mind only.  What if we designed for the rest of the planet and its inhabitants instead?  What would a drill look like if it were designed for a tree?  I doubt it would be made of wood – the skin and flesh of a tree – but would it be designed to turn sawdust into fertiliser for tree saplings?

So what do we have?  Too many ideas for a start!  But I think several can be linked together…

The Ideas:

  1. A drill you wear / is part of you.
  2. Origin of the material
  3. Fragile, decomposing, ageing exterior
  4. Kintsugi repair kit.
  5. Community drill.
  6. 3D printed drill shell.
  7. Future society drill
  8. Old shell, new innards
  9. Don’t design and promote someone else’s drill
  10. More than human drill

Can these be joined together…?

6 + 8 + 9 + 4 = Make No More

Use existing shell or innards and repair is made obvious (unique).

2 + 3 + 10 (+4) = Fragility, Ageing and Responsibility.

Highlight the origin of the material, the finality of if and the state of decay of the planet and role within all of it.  The drill makes birds song.

1 (+ 4) = An Extra Organ

A body part drill that is visibly stitched together between human and machine.

1 + 7 = Arm of The Future

A drill that is part of a human designed for a future role.

Spares: A drill for the blind.

The key points seem to be:

  • The relationship between:
    • User and drill: Object and human are separate entities.
    • User and material: Plastic ages terribly; humans associate it with being disposable and infinite.  Plastic outlives the product far beyond its shelf-life……by centuries.  Its ecological effects are infinite.
    • User and Earth: There is no care for the rest of the planet.  The drill is a metaphor for how we treat this Earth – we drill into it and let the debris and destruction pile up around us.

I think I have now confused myself!

I have too many ideas to progress forward!

Any suggestions people?  Any favourites?

How can I proceed?  I think I will have to mind map all of this and see where it takes me.  Create a narrative.

Perhaps they could ALL be linked together somehow………?


One thought on “Overload

  1. Lots of interesting ideas here. Before I read the post in full, I myself was actually thinking about 3D printing. That itself seems like an interesting, innovative solution. This post has helped me to see the bigger picture, not to just focus on aesthetics like I have been doing for the past couple of days.


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