The Art of Engineering Metal

Photo: Antonio Cerruto

If product design brings to mind only computers, housewares or vehicles, think again. The art of the engineer gets full expression at Stanford, nowhere more exquisitely than in Mechanical Engineering 298: Silversmithing and Design (formerly Art 165).

Students in the sought-after class learn the techniques of investment casting—sculpting wax molds that are melted away to create anything from a necklace to a soap dish in bronze or sterling silver. This ring by Antonio Cerruto, '12, MS '13, offers one glimpse of the aesthetics that go hand-in-hand with manufacturing at the Product Realization Laboratory ("More Than a Machine Shop," March/April 2011). Students have been known to spend hundreds of dollars on materials.

The longtime instructors Amanda Knox Sather, '98, MA '99, MFA '03, and Sara Shaughnessy, MS '04, PhD '08, founded RedStart Design in San Francisco.