Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week 9&10

Week 9 &10
In the past two weeks the teams have been getting their prototype parts back from the DAAP rapid prototyping center and have begun the fabrication process. Now they are becoming experts in, sanding, applying primer, bondo-ing, sanding, finishing, applying more bondo, sanding and some more sanding and some more painting. A dirty job but someone needs to do it.

Along with sanding and finishing, the teams are finalizing their presentation boards. This is a tedious yet extremely important process. The students have to develop presentation boards that will condense their entire process from research to final concepts into one model and two 40”x60” posters. It is not easy to sift through all the research and development information and pick the few items that really tell the story of why their product solution addresses key user needs of their target market.

Our final critique will be on Monday August 30th. Due to the Euro-Bike trade show, all our great sponsors and industry collaborators will be unable to attend. In their place we have several top designers from the Cincinnati area who are eager to give expert critiques. A full recap will be given next week along with some sweet images of the final designs.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 8

Week 8
Week 8 was just completed and we have good progress on all projects. Each team is really putting the pedal down. Components are being replicated in CAD environments and models are being built. In this phase we are working out the details. Details that include how exactly will the battery be attached to the frame, how will panels be fastened? What material thickness should be used for vacuum forming? And a million others.

Also, mid-week we received two very special packages from Rob Cappucci of SRAM. As one of our main sponsors SRAM has graciously donated components to outfit our prototypes. James Sloss and Emanual Carrillo picked the packages up from my house and barely got them to their car before opening. They were like two kids in a candy store. Thanks a lot SRAM your support is much appreciated

Our students are using all resources available to them in our college’s rapid prototyping center and model shop. We have students setting up to use laser cutters, CNC mills, vacuum formers and welding equipment. It’s great to see them taking advantage of UC’s great equipment and picking the brains of those supervisors who oversee them. We even have one team that has completed fiberglassing their frame. It looks a little hairy but I think a gallon or two of Bondo will be the cure. With that said if you own stock in “Bondo” look for your margins to go up in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 7

After each team selected 3 solid directions, they began the process of concept validation. To do this they presented their concepts to market specific stakeholders and had them evaluate each as they related to their original design requirements. In this phase students prepared interview guides and ranking tools to best capture the users views.

Quite often the findings from this phase alter what designers thought was the final directions and a hybrids of key attributes from a concept that meld to ultimately create the final direction. This was the case for all our teams. The results are have been veryexciting and each team is pushing forward to complete their final designs, semi-functional prototypes and presentation boards. Below are examples of our validation process.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Week 6

Week 6

In week six our teams reassembled and conducted a review of each team members final three concepts. Their goal was to pick three final directions to present back to the individuals they interviewed in the research phase. This exercise enables our students to work with potential users to get a better understanding of which direction would be optimal. Many times in this phase we begin to see that not one single concept should be the final direction but rather a hybrid of two or all three. Also during this segment, students refined their presentation material to enable their participants intuitively interpret their concepts.

To determine the final three concepts, students used several methods of ranking as well as discussions and debate.This process can be very tedious and has the potential to hurt feelings. In selecting the final three concepts our designers had to have thick skin and put user needs in front of personal bias. While things could have gotten nasty during this process, it seemed all was well in the land of e-bike design…….I think.