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Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

Hi All,

TLDR: I'm looking for any suggestion on online courses, books, presentations, videos and basically anything that can improve my product design game (especially if it includes the golden ration).

Since always I loved constructing (and disassembling upsidedown) stuff, and always had to design the thing and make it beautiful/cool/appealing (guess got it from my mom who is an artists) and not only "practical" (as much as a "thing" built by a 6 year old can be practical).
Since I've graduated (not so long ago) as a mech. eng. I always strived to work at jobs that provided me the opportunity not only to develop/construct, but also to add my own flair and design to whatever it is I'm working on.
Recently, I've landed a job where the design part is much more significant, and although I'm confidant in my skill (as well as the employer) I feel that I want and need to hone my skills even further, so that the design process would be much more fluent and mature.
I'm planing on an continuing to a Masters degree in industrial design, but for the time being I want to start learning by myself, so if anybody has a suggestions on anything that might teach me how to be a better product designer, please share.


RE: Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

I don't really have any suggestions, but I can tell you that after several decades of designing machines, to me there is nothing more beautiful than a mechanical device that does exactly what it is intended to do, every time without fail, with minimum input, maximum precision, and elegant simplicity. If a sleek appearance truly adds to the function that's great.

A few years ago I volunteered as an adult mentor with a local high school competitive robotics team. The robotic vehicle we built was low, fast, powerful, robust, reliable, and did all the jobs it was supposed to do. The frame was built of extruded aluminum tubing, brushed aluminum plate, and clear plexiglas. A very nice looking little mechanism. I walked in one night and they had painted the whole thing in the school colors, black and red. They were so proud of it. But to me it looked hideous. They had destroyed the beauty. It became a running joke every year now.

RE: Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

Quote (JBoggs)

It became a running joke every year now.
At least it runs... plenty of schools created one that didn't. wink

Dan - Owner

RE: Industrial Design Methodology (self learning)

There are numerous texts focused on DFMA which are worth reading, but honestly the best advice I can give is simply to immerse yourself in design work at a large company with well-defined/documented product development and support processes....and bounce around for a decade or two. Not to knock smaller companies, but they tend not to spend much time/effort/money analyzing parts to pinch every penny or ensure that the product functions in every extreme. A spin on an old saying - They build products stout bc lack of analysis leaves them in doubt. To become really good at design you need to know every nuance of every part - the minimum requirements for every part and assembly to function and under what conditions those minimums are actually more expensive than a better solution. You need to complete the DFMEAs to understand potential failure modes, run the heavy analysis ala FEA & CFD to understand intricacies of how ever part functions and where its strengths/weaknesses lay, and work with manufacturing/suppliers to understand the costs/difficulties of cost reductions and other improvements. Working on a research or new product development team is fun and will teach you high-level theory but product support/sustainment/cost reduction is where you really learn engineering design - how to reduce part counts, simplify assemblies, how to effectively minimize material without negatively impacting cost. IOW, the nitty-gritty of material science vs physics. Forewarning, it tends not to be fun or glorious work.

Having worked with many industrial designers, I would not knock your plan to pursue a MID but I would caution you to understand the difference between engineering and industrial design. If your plan is to stay in engineering you might see no benefit for the effort and expense.

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