Design for servicability and manufacturability
In a perfect world, a machine should be easy to maintain and service, even to a novice. This will never happen of course, but there are a few guidelines and case studies that will help you.
There was a time when problems were easy to solve. Want some food? Make a sharp pointed stick or sharp rock to spear a deer or marmot. Need to get around? Once you figure out how to make a wheel, sticking two of them on a flat bed and calling it a cart isn't too tough. Now, thousands of years after those first design challenges, humans are still making new things, finding new opportunities, and solving new problems. As we have grown more complex in our application of technologies to problems, and we find each new challenge more complicated than the last, how can we ensure that our problem solving strategies are up to the challenge?
Blue Collar Design
Since most industrial designers work in the realm of mass-production, it might be a good idea to introduce some different avenues of design thought. What are the differences in design mentality for people like carpenters, plumbers, and even landscapers? Can your work in CAD benefit from the lessons of the construction industry?
The Makings of a Maker
In the past, we've covered drawing technique books, modeling supplies, and even teaching techniques; The kinds of things that a designer uses to get the ideas. But sooner or later, your ideas have to find physical form. And unless you're going to be printing your models out in SLA for your customers, you'll have to come to grips with machining sometime. So you marker-paper jockeys, let's take a little machine shop brush up.
Labor Saving VS Saving Labor
If, as a kid, you ever had the good fortune to read about Homer Price's exploits in Centerburgh USA, then you are already primed for this post. If not, you're in for a question that might shake the foundation that your design ideals are built on: Now that we have more people than we know what to do with, why are we still making labor saving devices?
If Everybody's Somebody, Then No One's Anybody
As designers, our profession is on a cusp. And we don't mean a nice flat peak or anything; this next few years in history will likely be remembered as either when things got really exciting, or really bad for designers. There are a lot of factors contributing to the point we are balanced on, but one of the most important ones may be this: So far, none of our machines can have kids. This won't be true for long.
Waste: Who Needs It!
We have devoted a lot of posts to talking about the importance of designing to allow for recycling and reuse or disassembly and repair. But there's a whole other side to the waste problem that doesn't get a lot of press. Manufacturing wastage and cutoffs are a very significant part of the worldwide waste dilemma. Just because most factories, and therefore most waste, is located in far-off countries, doesn't mean that we can start combating it with how we create products.
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Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team