Class 9 visit to RAW Studios

Essay on RAW – Jared Smith

Peet is a smart man with a cool job: designing. He knows exactly what he’s doing and how to do it. He chose to do design because he loves making new things. He has owned his business for 12 years now.

Here is how his business works:

First, he is presented with a problem, then he works it out. He then thinks of ideas. He takes an idea and tries to design it. If the idea fails, he will retry or use a new idea. If the idea works, he will try to improve it. Once he has a design, he will put the design into a machine which cuts out the wood.

Then the wood goes to get sanded and gets 2-3 layers on it. He can even tint it a colour. Then they assemble the pieces or take the pieces to where they were ordered and assemble them there. He also has a machine for cutting 360 degrees called the robot arm.

Peet supplies his products to many people like Nandos, TriBeca and even FNB Bank. Overall he has a pretty awesome job and is a cool, smart guy.

RAW Studios – Lisa Potgieter

Today we went to RAW Studios. There they design and create. It’s amazing.

When we got there, Peet explained to us what design is. He said it is like problem solving. He showed us that they do not make every piece of furniture different, there are a lot of the same things so that it can be enjoyed everywhere. The table leg can be made in different sizes for different types of tables.

Then we saw how it was made. They use plywood from Finland. It’s a very light-coloured wood, cut thinly and glued cross-over for extra strength. The machine they use, uses suction to keep the wood still. Then a big robotic arm drills all the holes, cuts out the different pieces, and is very accurate: it can leave a 0,1mm space between two cut-outs. They make it very close together so that the wood does not waste.

For 3D objects, they use a different robotic arm. It can cut things and drill things at angles and from the side, whereas the first one can only do it from the top and cut off the sides.

We were then taken to where they sand the wood to make it smooth. They use air-sanders and also use brush sanding, where you place the wood on a belt, and poles with brushes and sandpaper on the tips spin at a high speed to sand it. Then they polish the wood with water-based polish because it is better for the environment.

It was a very interesting experience and a great opportunity to see how this works.


RAW Studios – Sebastienne Rischmüller

design /dɪˈzaɪn/ – (noun)

a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made.

As we got off the bus, Peet led us to the office building. Before we went inside, Peet gave us some insight to what the word ‘design’ means. He explained that designing is problem solving – a way to make life easier.

Inside the office we were given information about the cycle of design.

  • Firstly, you identify the problem. What is the challenge? What are the limits? How do you solve these?
  • Secondly, you explore. You must find out what others have done, then gather materials and play around.
  • Thirdly, you design. You must think up many ideas, pick one and make a plan, then make a drawing or a model.
  • Fourthly, you create. Use your idea to come up with a plan.
  • Fifthly, you try it out. This is the stage where you test your idea and refine it.

We were shown one of the first table legs (a modular that they use) they had made using a system called ‘Epik’. Peet showed us the systems that they use on their computers before taking it to the workshop.

At the CNC workshop we were shown how the CNC cutters worked and witnessed them ourselves. It was very interesting to watch. The CNC cutters are only able to cut from the top. We were also shown the Industrial Robot, or the Robot Arm, as they like to call it. The Robot Arm can cut from any side, and any angle.

They only use plywood, Peet explained, which comes all the way from Finland. They use a method called ‘cross-laminating’ with the wood.

We then went to the main workshop where they sand the already cut wood, spray it, clean it, and pack it. The special thing about the furniture that the produce is that they don’t use any glue. They use the wood as it is.

Walking around in the workshop and experiencing everything for yourself really is fantastic!

We made our way back to the office and watched videos of their furniture – like the furniture Nandos use. It was really beautiful to see it in places other than the RAW office and how they were making use of it. Peet mentioned that they preferred to make office furniture because they want their furniture to work hard and be used every day, which I think is a very interesting way to look at things.

It truly was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot and enjoyed every second of it.