Cutting-edge technology makes prize-winning cutting edges

Joseph Hofer is an award-winning industrial designer based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He was intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing but wanted to take it outside the realms of the aerospace and medical industries where it is most often used. In his own words, he was seeking to create “something more human as a product, something understandable. Something people could see in their lives.”

Hofer started by considering how some common household items are made, leading him and his team to come up with the “pair knife,” a design that combines the two most commonly used kitchen knives: the paring knife and the chef’s knife. In the stainless-steel design, the smaller paring knife is shaped to nest inside the larger chef’s knife. The design of the chef’s knife has a double purpose: in addition to storing the paring knife, its handle is shaped to suit the way professional chefs hold knives, which also helps home chefs learn to cut properly.

Turning the vision into reality was possible because of Hofer’s partnership with Mohawk College’s Advanced Manufacturing Resource Centre, where additive manufacturing technology — better known as 3D printing — was used to produce the innovative knife.

Two fourth-semester Mohawk students worked on the project. They particularly enjoyed having the ability to optimize the designs for the 3D metal printing.

The knife has already won a Designlines Award for showcasing the potential of future technology and has also been awarded a 2016 European Design Award. Hofer Studios is investigating larger-scale production of the knives.

Industry: Manufacturing
Partner(s): Hofer Studios

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