Enhancing the form creation capabilities of digital industrial design tools
2018-09-11T09:15:09Z (GMT) by
The foundation of the research is that conventional computer-aided design (CAD) has yet to provide form creation tools that are entirely satisfactory to industrial designers, and that improved tools will redress the present shortfalls. Three interconnected strands of research are reported in the thesis. Emphasis is placed throughout on learning from current practices, in order to identify how digital design tools can be improved to provide better support to industrial designers' form creation processes. The first research strand comprises a series of design and modelling experiments, leading to a definitive set of customer needs for form creation. Documentary evidence is collected and analysed on the modelling activities associated with blue foam, conventional CAD, and the FreeForm® virtual clay haptic modelling system. Strengths and weaknesses of each modelling medium are identified and discussed. Taxonomies of modelling tools and charts of generalised sequences of form creation are constructed. The second research strand comprises a case study with Procter & Gamble, which establishes recommendations for how FreeForm®, as a virtual material modelling system, can be most effectively integrated into commercial new product development. The third research strand comprises a concept design project, which delivers eleven proposals for enhancing the form creation capabilities of digital industrial design tools. The main conclusions reveal that conventional CAD fails to provide satisfactory sketch form creation with both two-dimensional and three-dimensional representations. Furthermore, sketch form creation, which is characteristically speedy, loose and explorative, must be allied to constrained and dimension-driven form creation if digital design tools are to satisfy industrial designers' needs. The alliance of these two contrasting form creation approaches is suggested to be especially challenging. Two distinct directions for digital design tools are identified by the research: (i) improved emulation, or implementation, of the manual activities involved with non-digital media; and (ii) new paradigms away from 'real world' emulation, which supplement designers' cognitive modelling and draw upon existent design and communication skills.