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The Processes of Making


Before the process of making can take place, the maker requires a detailed plan of the object to make, a list of materials and a step by step plan showing in what order things should be done and the tools and equipment required at each stage..

Doing this has two advantages, the information can be used to get the resources ready at the time that they are needed and parts can be identified from a list or drawing and checked for marking out or what is to be done to them.

Selecting and checking

The material that is to be used needs to be selected for its suitability. The weight that it has to take, the properties or the finish that is required can determine whether or not one piece is suitable or should be replaced. Material size would require checking. A lot of preparation can be avoided if at the design stage, the use of standard or stock sizes is considered.

Marking Out and Coding

One of the most crucial stages of making is to ensure that materials are accurately measured and/or marked. It is a pointless exercise to continue with cutting or processing the material if the measuring or marking out is wrong. There is a craft saying; measure and mark twice, cut once.

The code or label for each piece is a helpful method of identifying each part and its relationship to others. Use the correct tools for measuring and marking. Avoid pen where possible as this may permanently stain or contaminate some materials and their surfaces. Ensure that each component has your name on it or is labelled. Small or granular components can be sealed in a polythene bag or container.  Consider special requirements for materials prone to property changes if stored incorrectly. For example, apply a light coat of oil if there are ferrous metals included.

Processes of manufacture

Try to identify all materials that require the same process and organise your working area to carry that process out. If one part requires sawing then identify all the parts that need the same process and do them at the same time. If making is done in this way it ensures a more economic use of time and resources. It will follow that work surfaces do not get cluttered with unnecessary equipment and will lead to an improved and safe working environment. Try to think in advance of activities to ensure equipment and safety measures are given due thought. 

Jigs or Patterns are prepared and marked out at this stage.

When repetitive tasks are to be carried out, use jigs, patterns or measuring devices to check the quality and accuracy of the parts being made. If checks are made on a regular basis it will give confidence to things fitting and working properly rather than having to keep trying parts together.

The plan that you have produced before making will allow you to concentrate upon the manufacturing processes and avoid problems of sequence.

Working with other students there will be times when, because some machines, equipment and tools are in short supply, you could be kept waiting. Develop a plan that makes allowances for such circumstances and plan alternatives to overcome such difficulties. Specific time other than in lessons can be made available on a regular basis to accommodate reasonable needs and requests.

Whilst manufacturing, it is important to ensure that pieces are not lost, mislaid or suffer damage. Take personal responsibility for safely storing work. If parts need to be left overnight then ensure that they are put away at the beginning of the next day.


Finishing processes can be time consuming. Watching glue, paint or varnish dry is a comment often made to indicate poor organisation. Try to anticipate these time consuming processes.

Preparation of material to receive its finish is a crucial stage of making. The visual impression of a product is very important and not hard to achieve if carried out correctly. This process is not to be seen as only needing to be carried out at the point where the product is completed. Some areas that would be difficult to finish properly once assembled should have the finish applied beforehand and care taken to protect those areas. Those awkward bits and corners can be more successfully finished before they are put together.

Cleanliness when finishing is important. Putting a final finish on your work when the environment is dusty will just cause further work.


Adequate time must be allowed for the product to be tested (against the specification). Some tests may be needed whilst the work is in progress. Remember to make a diary of events, difficulties, how they were overcome, changes to plans, recording of tests and present them in your coursework folder presentation. Products are not only tested by consumers, but also during the process of design and manufacture. A small part may need testing separately before it is amalgamated.


Evaluations are mainly based upon the success of the final product and the processes that lead up to its final completion.

The specification set at the early stages of identifying the need is compared to what has been made. An evaluation should also contain comments relating to the time when it was being made and whether procedures, quality assurance, processes and organisation could be improved.

Further guidance sheets and resources for carrying out an evaluation are normally available from staff.

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