Precision machined trophies for Core77 Design Awards

May 7, 2020

Each year, the industrial design website Core77 hosts the Core77 Design Awards, where it “celebrates the richness of the design profession as well as the insight and perseverance of its practitioners.” Aimed at both students and professionals, the Awards cover everything from furniture to commercial equipment to packaging.

One of the most unique aspects of the contest, now in its eighth year, is its trophies. These special prizes function as both traditional trophies and working molds, allowing winners to duplicate their trophies in plastic, wax or even something like chocolate. This effectively allows design teams to give an individual trophy to each member of the team — very diplomatic!

For the 2019 edition of the awards, the responsibility fell to 3ERP to fabricate all 36 trophies, which we were able to turn around in just a few weeks. Here’s how we did it.

2-in-1 trophies

Since the spectacular Core77 trophies are designed to functional as molds, we went about the task as we would a typical rapid tooling order. That meant firing up the CNC machining centers, using a high-quality aluminum alloy, and applying precise finishing procedures. When complete, the hollow underside of the metal trophies could function as a mold for molten plastics or other materials.

However, since the trophies were also supposed to be aesthetic pieces in themselves, we had to make sure the two-in-one items had a perfectly smooth and presentable finish on the top side. This meant a lot of hand-polishing was required to give that professional mirrored appearance.

In this sense, the trophy project was fairly unique. We’re used to carrying out precision CNC machining for metal prototypes and end-use parts, and we’re also experts at CNC machining metal tooling for molding applications. But we rarely do both at the same time.

The step-by-step process for creating the trophies involved:

  • CNC machining the general shape of the trophies from an aluminum blank
  • CNC engraving the text for each unique trophy
  • Hand-polishing the trophies
  • Sandblasting the trophies.

Deserved winners

Recipients of the 3ERP-made Core77 trophies include the Microsoft Device Design Team (for its Xbox Adaptive Controller), Barber & Osgerby (for their “Bellhop” light fixture), GE Appliances Industrial Design (for its “Wellness Kitchen” concept) and many more.

We delivered the CNC machined trophies to Core77 a few weeks after receiving the order, and the organization is now delivering the unique awards to the 36 award winners. Congratulations to them all!

Need a decorative product made fast? Need reliable metal tooling for injection molding? Get in touch with 3ERP for a fast quote.

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