This year one of our apprentices had a ‘problem-solution – design to manufacture‘ project to undertake for his college course. He had been asked to choose a specific problem in the workplace, and then come up with an idea to overcome the problem. Following this, he had to design a solution and then take the design to tooling manufacture to show the end product was valid and could prosper in a real life situation.
The problem defined was regarding a CAD programmers workstation; the aesthetics, the ergonomics and functionality of the area. He firstly tackled what it was that a CAD programmer needed – desk, chair, computer, screen, etc. Next was to work on designing an aesthetically pleasing workstation; going through many current designs and concepts, picking and choosing components he liked to create a rough design idea for his final design. Following this was the ergonomics of the workstation, deciding on the optimal heights and sizes for the average human, making sure the screen and chair height were correct for health and safety guidelines. Along with many other key decisions making sure the applicant would be comfortable, have ease of access and remain highly functional.
Once the primary stage of the design was complete, sizes/measurements had been gathered, the next step, CAD creation, was to begin. The creation process was achieved through Freeform Technology’s in-house CAD system – Siemens NX. He began putting together the workstation, concentrating on the sizes and measurements gathered, while also trying to keep the aesthetical values in mind. This stage of the project took around 3 days to complete with help from our general manager to guide him through the software. The image attached to this article is a screen shot of his final design.
Following the completion of the design and CAD creation, the product had to be manufactured. The apprentice had to decide on a few different manufacturing options, considering time, cost and availability of the processes. He decided that 3D printing was the most time and cost effective process for him to produce the project and showcase its abilities in a scaled down version.
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