The Royal College of Art continues to be at the leading edge of design and is recognised worldwide for its design innovation. Its strategy over recent years has been to invest in new technology across all its campuses, creating a range of new courses focusing on the crossover between design, science and technology. Course programmes are focusing on robotics, wearable technology and smart materials.

The Technical Services Department at the Royal College of Art provides students with access to the latest tools and techniques to support their research projects.


3D Printing and robotics offer significant advantages to the creative industries. The RCA offers many design courses in one building but were looking to further their workshop offering to include robotic machining. The RCA wanted to ensure that their students had access to the latest tools and techniques including computational design and digital manufacturing. The RCA already had a 5-axis robotic system in place but were looking for a new system to support the increase and demand of their student population.


The solution needed to cope with the demand from more students and the variety of design projects – from fine art, to architectural model making and even fashion and shoe design.

CNC Robotics designed and installed a 7-axis robotic system incorporating a rotary table with an electro-spindle for drilling and milling. In addition, a vertical wall-mounted frame was incorporated to allow for wider scope and range to maximise the potential types of products and models the students designed.


Integrating a robotic cell into a workshop that all the RCA students use means this tool becomes as integral as all other traditional tools. This system supports the RCA’s production and innovation culture and allows students to undertake prototypes that they can present at their final show.

“The robot gave me the perfect opportunity to sculpt the garments and I am still amazed how accurately it works in the space given, moving so human like that it is hypnotising to watch. Seeing the block of material transform to the outcome of the rough cut and then the outcome of the finishing is a phenomenal experience. The possibilities 3D manufacturing has could potentially revolutionize the way we manufacture garments.”

Anna    MA Womenswear

“The RCA are the world’s number one art and design university and they possess an intuitive approach to innovation. Combining creative techniques with new robotic technologies enhances the performance across a wide range of industrial applications and ensures that the RCA continues to excel in world leading design.”

Jason Barker     CNC Robotics

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