In September 2018, representatives of the Atam Academy School inquired about creating a bespoke Khanda design for their Nishaan Sahib that would be unveiled at an opening ceremony on 13th October 2018.
The Khanda is a traditional representation of the double edged broad sword, which has particular significance due its use in the traditional Sikh Baptism Ceremony.
In recent times the khanda used on most Sikh institutions have been cheaply mass produced and of poor quality.
A standard Nishaan Sahib with Khanda Insignia and a typical mass produced 15 inch Khanda for placing on Nishan Sahibs
As I am an antique weapons enthusiast I suggested a design that better resembles traditional weapons of the 18th century but with a modern elegant design. The school representatives liked the idea. I produced a few different concept designs in 3D.
This was the first iteration of the design I came up with
The second alternate design added some handle guard style flourishes to each side of the khanda and this was the design they ultimately fell in love with.
Once the design was agreed we discussed the potential material and cost implications of producing the khanda. initially we agreed to have the part CNC milled in metal with an anodised coating, which proved to be not only costly but time consuming as well. Another issue was that we didn’t have accurate measurements of the pole attachment, so it did not make sense to spend a significant amount of money on a part that we could not guarantee would fit perfectly. compounding the issue was the fact that there wer enot many companies in the UK that could produce the part on time. The other method that was discussed was to 3D print the insignia in plastic and then coat it with a metallic finish. This seemed to be the most viable way to produce the part in the short time we had, even if it was just a temporary measure for the opening ceremony.
As most common 3D Printers I had access to have small build volumes the part had to be split into 4 parts. I engineered keying joint that would enable the part to be securely reassembled once printed. As the khanda would be installed externally and subject to adverse weather conditions I decided to print the part in ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic filament as opposed to PLA (Polylactic Acid), which is a more common biodegradable filament, due to ABS being more durable and being able to withstand higher temperatures. The parts took 38 hours to print in total.
Epoxy adhesive was used to attach the parts and gaps were filled using common wood filler. The parts were printed using FDM printing, which is the process of melting a 1.75mm of abs plastic wire through a nozzle into layers of 0.2 mm. This meant that the parts had a visible protruding line where the layers have been melted on top of each other. These striations on the surface needed to be sanded out to ensure a smooth realistic finish. the sanding process was the most laborious and time consuming task, due it having to be done manually by hand. I used a high grit rough sand paper and then worked my way down to lower and smoother grit sandpaper.
Once assembled and primed I explored various options for the surface finish. We decided on using metallic paint often used by car enthusiasts. Common sprays only give the impression of metal but these paints have actual metal in the paint giving them a durable finish and even a magnetic property.
I had a few problems with the flourish designs, they were too thin and kept breaking off. I secured them in the end using a drill and dowel joints to secure the armatures. I am working on a new prototype that will make the structure of the flourish design stronger. I am also working on making them modular so they could potentially be swapped out for different handle designs or replaced easily if broken.
I felt privileged to be asked to design the Khanda for the Atam Academy School Nishaan Sahib. It was a pleasure to do and lovely to meet all the dedicated sevadars making the school happen.
I really believe that we need to start putting the same love, care and attention into the design of our cultural artefacts as was the case in our early history, when things were not cheaply mass produced. I commend the Atam Academy for taking the effort and time to create something that we can all be proud of.
the final finished piece.
As part of the Anglo Sikh Wars exhibition project in 2017, we offered three days of creative craft activities and workshops. We thought that the final workshop would be a great opportunity to share some of the 3D technology that we had been utilising as part of our in-house artefact digitisation project. The aim was to get children interested in emerging 3D technologies like rapid prototyping and 3D printing.
3D printing is opening up inconceivable possibilities to design and build all kinds of imaginative objects directly from a desktop 3D printer. We explained via demonstration how a 3D printer works and what types of materials can be used. The children were very curious and asked loads of great questions like “how much do they cost?” and “what is the largest item you can print?”. We decided to create some commemorative medals
thought it would be great opportunity to showcase to the children how 3D printers can be used to produce original objects or recreate lost relics. The SMI team also wanted to give the children something they could take away with them. I designed and printed two keyring medal designs for the Anglo Sikh Wars exhibition that children could paint and take away with them as a souvenir.
It would have taken too long to 3D print 100 medals, so I decided to create the copies of the medal using casting techniques. I immersed the 3D printed medal in a liquid silicone rubber which solidified over 24 hours. The silicone mould could then be used to pour in Liquid polyurethane resin which sets within 15-20 minutes and turns into a solid plastic . The resin cast copies were then cleaned up and primed ready to be painted by the children attending the workshop.
During the workshop the children were able to see the 3D printer in action. They learnt about the different types of 3D printers and different materials that can be used. They also learnt how the technology is currently being used by enthusiasts and professionals in various industries. The children really enjoyed the workshop and were fascinated by the 3D printer.
In addition to the 3D printing, the children present had a chance to try out some paper craft activities by creating 3D paper models of the Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar and the first letter of the Punjabi alphabet which is available to download here and here. The children really enjoyed the workshop and were fascinated by the 3D printer. Here are some of the comments we received from families who participated in the event.
A 3D Printed sculpture of shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh ji who was martyred alongside 12 other Singh’s in 1978 while peacefully protesting against corrupt Nirankari cult leaders, who were inciting religious hatred against Sikhs. When reaching the protest area Bhai Fauja Singh’s Jatha was attacked by cult followers who had prepared stones and bottles of acid. Bhai Fauja Singh and his band of brothers saw no other option but to fight back. They fought bravely and on receiving a gunshot wound to the eye Bhai Fauja Singh tied his turban around his eye and carried on fighting to the end
I wanted to create a sculpture that would show his strength and show him in his gatka pose as he was an avid practitioner of Sikh Martial Arts. A true saint soldier – respect and love to Bhai Fauja Singh !
I have also created these two rendered wallpapers for download – feel free to share and use them on your computers, laptops or mobile phones. Click on the following links to open the wallpaper in your browser and then you can download.
Bhai Fauja Singh Photos
I was commissioned to create an interactive storytelling application for Storyshare CIC which is an organisation that works with communities to chronicle and portray memories of their culture and heritage using digital media.
The 2G(Second Generation) Stories project, funded by the HLF aimed to archive interviews of those that were born in Britain after their parents emigrated from other countries. This is an extraordinary generation who have grown up pioneers. Developed in an unfamiliar British culture, one that their parents knew little about. One where they have had to blend their parent’s Indian culture with a British one and create a hybrid. They wanted to please their parents and their peers. Meet their own needs and those of their family and friends. This often led to struggle and conflict but also sometimes created a more resilient individual.
The Interactive I was creating needed to give visitors at the launch or pop up exhibition events an insight into the intimate interview material by giving snippets of audio recorded from the interviews with the participants. The storyshare team allowed me to go away and freely explore how the interactive could be achieved.
The Interactive needed to work on a touchscreen and be easy to navigate for anyone seeking to explore it, it needed to be eye catching, distinctive and quick. I noticed early on how the photographs taken throughout the project gave a real sense of being in the participants personal space and environment and thought it would be great if this could be used as the main graphical element of the interactive.
The photographs were arranged into random circular buttons on the homepage and I wrote a random algorithm script which would auto scale the buttons up and down to give it an organic alive feel and also catch the attention of visitors and prompt them to click the buttons.
On the participant pages I decided to use one distinct photo of the participant with their bio information stamped onto it and large unmissable buttons for the user to play the audio and video excerpts. The participant information was being sent to me in various packages so i decided to create a database system that could easily take participant information and automatically generate the controls required for the audio and video content. This made the system easier to manage and easily scalable. Extra participants could be added near the launch date without having to do any extra coding.
Really enjoyed working with Dee Patel at Storyshare CIC and I even took part in the project which was a very insightful experience. It was really interesting to listen to different peoples journeys, experiences and advice.
last year I was approached by the Sikh Museum Initiative (SMI) and commissioned to produce a series of interactive 3D exhibits for an exhibition that was exploring the history surrounding the Anglo Sikh Wars that took place in 1845. The exhibition would take place at Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester from 11th March to 4th June 2017 and include a series of 7 expert lectures, outreach events and children’s activity sessions.
My role in the project included working with the SMI team to design the layout of the exhibition space as well as the initial branding and marketing material. I designed a concept for a logo which was further developed by an amazing artist called Kam Singh Samra from Birmingham, his visual design was not only distinctive but was the linchpin for the whole project.
Use of 3D Visualisation to design the space
It became apparent very early on that designing an exhibition to fit in the physical space is very difficult, especially when you are going to be doing most of the work remotely. Therefore in our first visit to the Newarke Houses Museum, the rooms were surveyed to ensure accurate measurements. Read More
Indo-Persian sword 3D model. Slightly curved blade with khanda style hilt. Really enjoyed modeling this one.
I will be texturing and decorating it when I get some free time.