Hello world! (Cheesy, huh?) As a summer student at CAROBOT Learning and Research Organization, I was tasked with following a modified engineering design process to develop a new car design for the CAROBOT SwissCHEESE Education kits.
Step 1. Identify Needs
The first step in the modified engineering design process is to find the customer’s needs. Through discussion with my superior, I had come up with the following list of needs:
Step 2. Establishing Car Specifications
The next step involved creating a list of metrics that helped us quantify our needs.
Then I came up with a list of marginally accepted and ideal values for our metrics.
By acknowledging the constraints, I could move on to the next step.
Step 3. Generate Product Concepts
Now came the fun part: producing design sketches.
Concept 1 was the idea of a modular car where certain parts could be exchanged for others. An idea with this concept was the use of slide-in feature where the base carrying the Arduino and breadboard could be slid into a frame. However, this idea was later dismissed because sliding parts are prone to wearing out.
Concept 2 was a minimal design with only the core components attached on the base. These core components included 2 motors, the Arduino and SwissCHEESE boards, a breadboard and a caster.
Concept 3 was the opposite of the first concept; instead of keeping the flexibility that comes with using multiple parts, the compartment design only would work with components of similar size. The pro of having such a design would be a more rigid model, where parts must stay in the confines of discrete sections.
Concept 4 was based on a DIY car called the Donkey Car. This design would make the car much sturdier in exchange for more material.
Concept 5 was popular with some of the board members. The concept gives the person assembling it creative freedom to place components where they want to. Furthermore, this is a multi-layer concept. The first layer holds the battery, the second layer holds the microcontroller and other electronics parts, and the last layer for customization.
A final idea was the use of having a sleek-looking car that would have hinges to open the cover. However, the costs would increase because this is a 3D printed design.
Step 4. Select Product Concepts
I chose concept 2 because of its simplicity, only the base, and two caster attachments needs a laser cutter. Concept 5 was a popular contender, but the hexagonal shape caused the breadboard and battery to jut out at odd angles.
Step 5. Test Product Concepts
For the chosen concept, I designed the parts using Solidworks and Draftsight.
Note: The caster is not shown in the diagram below as it was difficult to find a solid model of the specific caster used.
Step 6. Set Final Specifications
From this model, I noted a few weaknesses. The edges were sharp, and although the board looked aesthetically pleasing, the contours on the sides restricted where the user could place the motor attachments. For the last model, I added a servo slot to the base, rounded the edges, and removed the contour on the sides.
Step 7. Economic Analysis
The cost of the new car is much less than that of the earlier one due to less material being used. That is because the earlier model had two layers, compared to one layer for the new model.
Step 8. Assembling the Car
Some of the parts in the earlier design were no longer needed, and this resulted in assembly time decreasing. The size of the new base board is around the same as the earlier one.