Design to connect: an online database providing inspiration for design education and practice
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Bleuzé, Tore; Detand, Jan; Debaets, Patrick
Institution: 1: Howest, University College West Flanders, Belgium; 2: Ghent University, Belgium
Section: Best Education in Practice
How to join two parts remains an important issue in product design and engineering. Many joining methods were developed throughout history, from beautiful wood joints over invisible adhesives to sophisticated welding processes. Design and engineering students must have knowledge of existing joining methods and connections. However, requirements, technologies and materials change and students must be prepared to design new, future solutions. Previous knowledge and experience can preclude new ideas. Therefore, it is important to use inspiration to find innovative solutions. The internet is a major source of inspiration. However, inspiration about joining is not provided yet in a concentrated and easy accessible way for design students and professionals. Besides, using inspiration from similar products lead to design fixation, which can preclude new and innovative solutions. Therefore it is important to consider inspiration from other sectors far beyond your own context. This paper presents an open inspiration database for joining methods and is illustrated with a case study. The database contains already more than six hundred inspirational multi-sectoral applications of joining methods in consumer products, lighting, furniture and beyond. The inspiration database can be used by students during design courses and projects. Students can browse through a visual interface or search on different keywords to find meaningful inspiration for their own design. They can copy, adjust and combine existing connections to create joining solutions for their own design. Students and design professionals can add inspiration to the database and share it with the community. The database provides design and engineering students meaningful joining inspiration in a fast way. Otherwise, it can help students to create the attitude to look at existing products from another viewpoint and learn from the way they are constructed and manufactured.