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  • Mechanical Design Problem Solving

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Dunphy, Feb 11, 2016.

    1. Dunphy

      Dunphy New Member

      Feb 2016
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      Hi guys,

      I'm looking for help on problem solving,
      I tend to suffer designers block when it comes to starting a new design project, I never really know where to begin,

      Do you guys have any specific techniques for starting a new design? When someone comes to you with a problem how do you proceed?

      Alternatively if anyone knows of decent books on Problem solving techniques I would love to give them a read.

      I'm Extremely grateful for any help on this and thanks for reading.

    3. robertjeffery

      robertjeffery Active Member

      Dec 2015
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      First Question i would bounce back is; are you working in a group? / will need to justify your outcome?
      why i ask this question is... if you are proposing a solution to a group of like minded individuals, as a designer you often need to justify your final concept? and if that is the case then i strongly suggest following things like six sigma design principles, with process like the QFD house, only because people high up love Buzz Word Bingo!!!
      Idea being behind the QFD house is that it chooses the design based on merit rather then a design engineers gut feeling.

      If you work purely independently and no one will ever need to know the theory in how you came to your final design. (This is how I work (probably completely wrong, but so...) start from the beginning and make it as basic as possible..... Bullet point the PDS. Don't go into any detail, you know all the details in your head. from there i just sketch an idea, go down though the list, does it tick them all off??? if not, try something else.

      every design engineer has their own style, that is the flair in the design, being unique. some of my styles are little things like...... if i were to build a quirky roof truss.... i would first decide on, will it be a built in beam? simply supported beam? Cantilevered beam? sometimes no justification depending on the job, choose one. Next i will draw a shear and bending diagram, chances are my final design will mirror my bending diagram. Just because..... that is my style, some times no reasoning. And really a sod off I beam the entire span would win on a QFD matrix because it fits all the PDS, supports roof, readily available material, ect. But you still choose the Quirky roof truss that is in the shape of a beam bending diagram, just because you can......

      Sorry for the long winded speal of no real relevance, but to conclude. if you are designing for like minded individuals, i suggest digging out a book on QFD matrix and six sigma design principles purely on the basis that design managers love Buzz Word Bingo. and if you are purely designing to resolve a problem for your own clients then be creative, it doesn't matter if there are simpler/cheaper ways as that is what makes some ones product unique.
    4. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

      Sep 2010
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      Start with the knowns and work outward.

      Nowadays I mostly design automated production machinery. I start with the CAD model of the product the machine is making. Next comes the nest the product (or components of the product) sits in. Then the mechanisms that do things to the product, starting with the tools that actually touch the product, then the tool holder, then the air cylinder (or whatever) that moves the tool, etc.

      Very often you want (or are directed to) use components already in stock. When I designed a stove for small boats I started with the burner and gas regulator that the manufacturer was already using on a different stove and worked outward from there.

      When I designed a paramotor I started with the chosen engine and propeller and a layout of the basic seat/harness and wing attachment geometry, than started working the structural frame elements around it.

      When I designed lighting fixtures I started with the bulb, socket, and electrical components, then designed the reflector according to the desired light pattern, and finally an enclosure around it.

      Sometimes the design direction will be controlled by another existing design, whether your own previous work, or something else the company made, or the competition.

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