Archive for February, 2009


Yeah, this should be interesting.

February 26, 2009

First off, let me apologize to any regular readers who missed having a post on Monday. That said, I have a good excuse – I have mono, a fun virus that is going to make my next month pretty crappy. For those worried parties, it isn’t infectious enough to require quarentine or anything – since the virus is transmitted via saliva, as long as you don’t drink or eat after me, or get in the way of a particularly unlucky cough (which isn’t a symptom), or kiss me, you’ll be ok. Plus, 95% of adults are already immune, whether they realize they’ve had it in the past or not. As for me, I have to avoid contact sports due to the threat of rupturing my spleen, and am going to need a _Lot_ of sleep, and will feel generally crappy if I’m awake for longer than 5-6 hours at a time, while feeling exhausted.

This puts a dampener on late night studio – which in the past has been my primary form of getting stuff done. I’m planning on dropping 1-2 other classes to cope, since studio really has to be a priority, and I really need time to get progress made in it, while still having enough time to sleep and hopefully feel relatively human.

As far as studio is going, I’m making some progress – my personal goal for Friday is to have the final form for my toaster nailed down to where I have a control line drawing or a 3d model, or at least a bunch of great sketches of details, and good tight sketches of my other two appliances, accompanied by some study models and detail sketches. I need to make some headway, and I think I can get that finished tomorrow. After that, finalize the forms of the others to the point of the Toaster over the weekend, while starting on the physical model of the toaster – and get it all wrapped up by next Friday. Thats the part I’m slightly stressed about – a close due date when I’m already behind, and when I simply can’t stay up late. I’ll give it my best go.



Just a thought

February 21, 2009

I kinda mentioned this in class, but thought I’d throw it out again here. My brother is getting into management, and is interested in the private Space industry. I would expect in the next 10-20 years, we’ll have everything from quick orbital tourist flights to space hotels – all of which is freaking awesome.

How this relates to design is this – someone has to design all the interiors of these spaceships and orbital hotels – which provides an interesting question – How do you design something for an environment that is completely different from every experience we have ever had? Namely, how do you design a space that some tourist can exist in for a vacation, quick flight, whatever, when there is no down? Humans define our existance with ‘down’ – all products are designed expecting a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. Gravity is a given for us – and a lack thereof is rather disorienting. How much fun would that be to  design… would you pick an arbitrary down? That might ease the transition some – but might make abnormal things even harder to adjust to.

Unless, you decide that the enemy gate is down. That makes things a bit simpler.



Hey, this could actually work.

February 18, 2009

This could actually go pretty well, if things keep looking up like they kinda are now.

1. I’ve chunked the Waffle Iron. I just can’t think of a way to do this that allows enough access to do stuff like, say cook waffles without giving too much access and causing burns like crazy. I’ve decided to move to a small convection oven, for several reasons. First, Safety will be a bit easier – we  don’t need direct access to hot metal plates and elements. Convection ovens heat indirectly with hot air – they require lower temperatures to do the same thing, and I can isolate the heating element and have all surfaces that a child can come in contact with plastics and other materials that don’t hold and conduct heat as well – long run, that means that heat dissapates faster, and if you touch it, less heat is transferred to your hand immediately, gives you more time to react and pull away.

2. The toaster is Rad. Or at least, has some really cool potential.

3. Working on the smoothie blender. Trying to deconstruct its function to make it interesting and cool – still working on that. I’m considering the option of seperating and highlighting the motor-blender connection – spinning gears would be dangerous though, at those speeds, so still working on that idea.




February 17, 2009

And, I’m not out of the fire yet. When working on my schedule today in studio, planning out how to spend my time between now and the due date, I became a bit more optimistic when looking at what time is left – If I follow the schedule, I should be caught up by next Monday – it compresses the form development stage somewhat, but honestly, given the heavy development of function, the form should follow along nicely once I get all of the details ironed out. I plan to hit up the shop and do some study-modeling tomorrow – I’m having trouble sketching due to some weird forms, but once I get something made in the shop out of sign or pink foam, I’ll understand what I’m drawing more, and will have a better clue of what I need to figure out.

Once form is ironed out, Monday is Shop Drawings and some explosions – which means getting down to the nitty gritty on at least one product. I think my toaster would be very interesting to plan out, given the unique form. The Smoothie blender would be really pretty easy to dissect comparatively, so it wouldn’t hurt to look at that one too. After that comes tweaking the form, Building a model, for which we have a week on the schedule – I feel confident that if I can knock out a simple model in a day, in a week I should be able to make the most awesomest form model ever – just seems like an aweful long time blocked out for that, especially when we only need to build one appliance.

After that comes a week for renders, some final tweaks, and making pinup boards.

So, that all doesn’t sound quite too bad. And it wouldn’t, if I was making a family of two appliances. Problem is, I’m just not happy with one of them. My toaster pushes the envelope pretty well – it is unique, interesting, fun for kids. Smoothie maker is functional, safe, and allows for some interesting ways to play with your food. On the other hand, my third appliance, the waffle iron, I’m just not quite sure about. On one hand, I don’t know what other breakfast food appliance I can make, thats fun for kids – on the other, safety is a huge part of my project, and making a waffle iron, essencially a large hot metal plate, safe when someone has to get the waffle off of it, you’re talking about a really hard problem. That is what I’m wrestling with right now, and that I expect to be wrestling with for a while. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Late Post

February 15, 2009

I didn’t post Friday – I have had something this last week, flu-ish with some pretty nasty headaches that have been keeping me from focusing on studio stuff.

From the sound of things, I’ve got some ground to make up – I know what I want to do for the most part, but I’m still unsure of exactly what direction I’m taking my smoothee maker – I’ve got some ideas, but there are some unanswered question I haven’t addressed yet. I hope to get a fair amount of this sorted out before Monday’s studio, when we have some deliverables. Hopefully this will go well.



Quick link

February 12, 2009

The project is coming along – I’ve got some ideas, but nothing concrete yet. I’ve got some ideas to finish out before Friday, hopefully getting to the point of working with forms. 

My Survey kind of flopped – I sent it around to everyone I know with children/sibblings in the correct age range, and only got 4 respnoses – not nearly enough to form any useful reactions off of. In general, it appears that kids in that age range basically do cereal and maybe toast by themselves, and the parents do anything more dangerous than that. Hopefully a few more responses will come in.


And, a quick link. Kids cooking in the kitchen. Looks… odd.


A Direction!

February 9, 2009

I actually have a direction for my project again. I was getting rather caught up in some minor details last night, but I think I have my bearings again, and honestly, I’m rather excited about my concepts. They aren’t quite there yet, but they’re definitely headed in the right direction. Some details:

1. Smoothee blender – This is probably the least developed of the concepts, but has some serious potential. Basically, increasing the fun and entertainment value of a smoothee or juice drink by layering some different beverages in your glass. Not a terribly hard effect to pull off if you know how to do it, the difficulty is making it so easy a 6 year old kid can do it. Current possibilities include: Juices of various densities on specially designed taps to make layering easy, a multi-blender that takes different juices and blends them together in an interesting way,  or some combination of the two – maybe pour in juice, it blends individually, then it layers it? I wonder how that would work…

2. Injected Waffles – Kinda based on an injection molding machine, this would be a contained waffle iron with an injected batter that kicks the finished waffles out the bottom. I’m considering alternatives that wouldn’t require the waffle iron to be vertical, but that would prevent me from using gravity to remove the waffle, which then makes it difficult to figure out how to get it out without sticking fingers in there where there are hot things.

3. Conveyor toaster – This is probably my favorite of the 3 concepts right now – a conveyor belt with a rack to hold the toast, bread, bagel, etc. I’m thinking this could be as simple as a 1 button operation – with some switches to keep track of where the rack is, it keeps track of where it is, and thus knows where it should go next. The toaster would have heating elements wrapped on transparent heat resistant material (glass perhaps? or maybe a heat resistant plastic?), with a window so the kid can watch the food toast. One possibility, is that the conveyor belt only needs to come out of the toaster on one side – since the two sides behave identically, they are redundant and unless necessary for the fun and frivolity, one could be eliminated to simplify stuff.