RP vs Workshop: How Modelling Methods affect Early Design Development
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Gary Underwood
Institution: Bournemouth University, UK
Section: Using Technical Tools in Design
has long been established as a crucial part of the Product Design process. In recent years Rapid Prototyping (RP) has played an increasingly important role in this area, within industry and education. But exactly how RP fits within a modern Product Design curriculum, and the extent to which it is utilised, are contentious issues. While some Universities are happy to make use of RP throughout the design process, to date Bournemouth University (BU) has favoured traditional model making skills during the concept testing stage. However, while traditional methods may present a number of advantages over RP – such as more direct scalar and tactile feedback, and a broader understanding of materials – they may also have a detrimental effect on students’ designs. The limitations of producing an accurate model by hand may well be responsible for restricting design development, while the use of new technology may instead encourage a wider range of possibilities. This paper seeks to explore the influence of RP and traditional workshop skills during the concept modelling phase of Product Design. Through the use of a comparative study involving design iterations with different modelling methods, the early design process is examined with particular focus on the experiences of the students themselves. The results highlight the benefits and drawbacks of using RP during concept testing and how new technology can influence student behaviour at this crucial stage of design development.