Surprise Me: Computer Aided Design, Iteration and Materials…Posted: March 17, 2014
Today, I completed my computer aided design modeling. While it has taken a number of days to produce the components, this has been an important process. It has given me the opportunity to consider factors, such as; what I need to modify to make the design function, the overall aesthetic and balance of the piece, potential material choices, the internal systems and how they fit together, wall thicknesses. Having produced CAD models, there are still a few issues I haven’t completely resolved. While I have a good idea of how the pieces can fit together, and be opened and closed, I’m still not sure if they can be manufactured in the way I’ve designed them. One of the ways I’ve thought about ensuring the base and lid remained closed during use is by using well positioned magnets, but this idea may still develop.
I can now use my computer models to produce in-context boards to show how the design will function, along with features boards to explain how the piece could be used. The next stage was to apply materials and textures to the models, to give a more accurate representation of how the piece will look in reality. This gives me a good chance to experiment with different materials and finishes without having to take the leap into production. Often the outcome can be so realistic it is hard to tell whether an image is a photograph of a real piece or a rendered virtual model. On this occasion, I was keen to see how the piece might be made in aluminium. I am keen to avoid unnecessary finishes, such as chroming, as this process can have potential negative implications on the environment. I will continue to use CAD in an iterative manner. Over the next couple of days, I hope to produce a 3D printed model of my design in corn starch, this will give me my best idea of the true scale. It will also allow me to carry out some basic user tests. In a commercial environment, this model would be useful to present to a client to demonstrate my design intentions.