Design process and principles

Design Process and Principles

Understanding the Problem

  • A design brief is the starting point for any engineering design project. It outlines what needs to be achieved, the constraints, and the functional requirements for the solution.
  • Research is a critical stage in understanding the problem. It involves collecting data about user needs, current solutions and relevant technologies.

Concept Generation

  • Brainstorming, sketching, and model making are all methods used to generate concepts in the idea generation stage.
  • Testing feasibility helps to determine if a concept is practical to develop further, based on cost, available technology, and materials.

Design Development

  • Design specifications are detailed instructions on how the solution should function and look. These include technical constraints such as size, weight, and materials.
  • Interactive design involves making changes and improvements to the design based on feedback and testing results.

Model Production

  • Engineers use prototypes to test and evaluate designs. These can be physical models or computer simulations.
  • CAD software (Computer Aided Design) is used to create technical drawings and 3D models of the design.

Evaluation and Analysis

  • Engineers use testing and evaluation methods to check if a design meets the design brief and specifications.
  • Analysis can include testing the physical properties of a design, such as strength and durability, or considering economic factors, like manufacturing cost.

Final Design and Presentation

  • A technical report is often required to document the design process, showcasing the final design, documenting the steps taken, and discussing the tests performed.
  • It’s crucial to master drawing techniques. Clear drawings can convey design details effectively to others, reducing the chance of misinterpretation during manufacturing.

Ethics and Sustainable Design

  • Engineers must consider the environmental impact of their designs, aiming for sustainable solutions by minimising waste, reducing energy consumption, or using renewable resources.
  • Ethical considerations can involve the social impact of a product or solution. This includes ensuring their designs are safe, reliable, and won’t negatively impact users or the public.

Remember, design is an iterative process. You may need to loop back to previous steps, refine the design, and retest it. Balance functionality, costs, aesthetics, and user experience to achieve the best result possible.