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Pepper Mill

The pepper mill project was an introduction to the relationship of material and form studies. The design formed from the use of a mortar and pestle as a means to crush and grind various seasonings and spices. Formally the pepper mill consists of a tapered cylinder that references the form of the pestle. The body lends itself to be conducive to sand casting out of zamak, a zinc metal alloy. The body is accompanied by a walnut pommel to provide a intuitive means to actuate the internal grinding mechanism. The material’s weight and gentle taper give the piece a defined hand. A substantial amount of the weight is located in the zamak casting to provide a stable base when in the hand and on the table.

Incorporation of 3D modeling software such as Solidworks and Rhino were crucial to the pepper mill design. In order to make the pepper mill, first a model of the grinder was needed to allow for the pepper mill to find a balance between formal presence and functionality.

The prototyping phase helped to refine design decisions and get an understanding of how scale and weight would affect the usability of the pepper mill. Testing of different form factors and weight properties allowed for a beautiful balance in the hand.  A Sodium Silicate sand core was created to reduce the amount of post process machining of the casting as well as create the necessary internal cavity.


A match plate was constructed for the casting process; being careful about the placement of parts to deal with draft, parting lines, undercuts and location of the sprue, runners, well and vents. The alignment of the pattern piece in the mold was in such a way that the parting lines would be machined off as a chamfer on the foot of the pepper mill giving a slight reveal.

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