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A desk for an engineer

Or how to use engineering design principles in a project

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The primary purpose of this project to put it as precisely as possible is:

To improve the desk experience for me in a small apartment.

The secondary purpose of this project is to demonstrate and teach engineering design methodology to you crazy folk. To help you reduce the guess work in designing projects.

The tools laid out in this project were taught to me in engineering design methodology and are used for large projects around the world.

This project will follow a procedure as follows, task clarification, conceptual design and embodiment design.

If you have any questions let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas especially in the conceptual design portion, covering the entire idea-space is impossible for a single person (or even a large group).

To be clear this is not for a class (the class is over and yes I made an A, woho! ), it is for my own private use and by proxy yours :) so enjoy and don't be afraid to comment.

So lets get started!

Right now I am in the task clarification phase which consists of the following sub tasks:

1. Product opportunity statement

2. Customer interviews

3. Research

The procedure and notes of each task will be in the instructions section as I complete them.

This section will be updated as necessary, so comeback to check on large scale progress.

  • 1
    Product opportunity statement

    The statement at the beginning has a format, its purpose is to identify the task user and environment. This answers the what who and where which concentrates the focus of the project. Scope creep is a real threat to any project it can make a project literally unmake-able with additions and features that don't actually help alleviate the original problem. Bloatware is an example of this, its just a tacked on addition that no one asked for that has a very limited customer base, only the marketing team thought it was a good idea.  To make a product opportunity statement simply plug in your parameters in to this

    Improve the [task] for [user] in [environment].

    Remember to make it solution independent, the idea is to create a statement that demands a solution, not one that will embody the solution.

    My original statement was, improve the computer and widget production flow for a 23 year old adult male in a limited indoor environment.

    This was to long so I shortened it to,

    To improve the desk experience for me in a small apartment.

  • 2
    Customer interviews

    If its a new product that has never been seen before or a copy of an old product, a customer will eventually use the thing. Even if it is just for your personal use, write down your needs so you can hit all your goals.

    For this project I wrote down what I wanted in a desk.

    Movable, clean, designated storage, expandable (plenty of room on desk surface), durable, clean European design, not white, plenty of leg room, always organized, standing desk with ability to sit down. 

    if you actually interview a customer then observing them using a similar product or several products is the best way to understand how it can be improved. In addition to comments they make watch for minor issues they have and write them down.

    Also this website is a great place to look for feedback, as most likely there is someone who has a similar project and has some suggestions of how it could be improved.

    Next its time to simplify the comments and notes in to specific actionable solution independent items. For instance movable is not an easily quantified action so I will split it up in to if it can fit in to my car as a pas fail test and weight . the reason this is important is we are trying to take the burden of managing all the requirements and simplifying them where we can. Also some requirements are going to be more important as we will see later.

    Movable => lightweight + fits in car

    Clean => this is an aesthetic which is up to the designer however copying good design can help  with this part. 

    Designated storage => organized

    Expandable => variable working surface area

    Durable => Tough (Mechanical engineering definition)

    not white => low light reflection

    leg room =>  open area beneath desk

    standing desk with ability to sit down => adjustable working surface height

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Mike Szczys wrote 06/04/2019 at 16:18 point

Ooof, I would get bogged down in the "designated storage" step of this one. It will be interesting to see how you navigate that. Looking forward to it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Hans Mortensen wrote a day ago point

Yep I have been looking at a lot of options for this, considering things like kizan foam and the like and even vacuum forming. I think this will be the most mentally challenging part of this project. Unfortunately work and summer classes are taking up all of my time right now.

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Michael G wrote 05/25/2019 at 06:15 point

Very cool desk!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Hans Mortensen wrote 05/30/2019 at 18:36 point

Thanks hopefully the one I design is not as antiquated and heavy as that one.

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