Research Tech

Margaret Garrison

Repetition for Design and Production

Project Overview

My project as the Research Tech was developing methods of repetition to design, make, and create products. I spent the year creating traditional cutting boards, and 3D printed zippers, and playing around with the tools in dfab to further my designs. I focused on creating these pieces through prototyping and developing systems and work flows to be as efficient as possible. The most logically process for me was to create one design, and then come up with a layout sheet with specs of the product, material information and the construction instructions. This would ensure that my designs were consistent with one another.


Project evolution / Process / Challenges

Originally, I thought I wanted to develop designs that I had created for small batch production. I wanted to outsource and using the dFab resources and community to create prototypes for these products. However, I quickly realized that using designs I had worked on during my Senior Year no longer excited me.

Cutting Board VariationsCutting Board Production 2018










I spent the first semester spending time in the shop making cutting boards and selling them on my Etsy store. It became a production that was meditative because of the repetitive process.

In the Spring, I began developing an over sized zipper and accessories for a collection to show at New York Fashion Week. Similar to making the cutting boards, I developed different prototypes for ways of attaching the zipper teeth, and a logical work flow for efficiency. Once I created this system and tested out each component of the zipper printing the pieces just became a matter of time management. 

I also worked to develop bracelets for this collection. Using methods of assembly with bolts and hex nuts, I used the same process of prototyping to create a final product with different colorways and builds.


The impact of the Digital  Fabrication studios, and community at MICA

The dFab studio informed much of my work as a student, and as the Research tech I continued to feel comfortable making mistakes in the shop and experimenting with new tools. The faculty at MICA were an invaluable resource. The amount of knowledge that Ryan McKibbin can share and teach has greatly impacted my approach to problem solving as well as technical information. Having the creative buzz of students around the shop kept me motivated to work and push myself as well – a rare kind of culture that I missed after graduation.


The takeaways

I still continue to teach people the process of making and creating things from a sketch into the real world. I currently work at the Stanley Black and Decker Makerspace, and being at MICA has instilled in me the confidence to be able to support makers and creative people. It has taught me that communication in the workplace looks different for everyone and one must be adaptable to be successful.

Margaret Garrison


Stanley Black and Decker // Towson, MD