Friday, May 14, 2010

Crazy Excel Creation

First let me start with this; it is required to draw pretty pictures to become an industrial designer. My penmanship in this regard is...not impressive, and this late in my life, that ambition sometimes seems more delusion than passion. Attempting to draw proves to me how far I have to go and how slow changing my skills toward the visual arts has been and is going to be. Disappointment and dread is unfortunately a part of the struggle to gain new skills...and sometimes, we avoid what is difficult by dipping into something less imposing...say cleaning up, playing a video game, blogging or programing complex spreadsheets. Below is an example of what happens when I loose the battle against procrastination.

The impetus came from a pet project for a microcar called the Isetta. One of the many constraints to keep an eye on is the packaging; to be more specific, the effects regulations have on said design and ideation process. As only an amateur (at the moment), I find the blend between stylistic expression and regulation/reality almost unimaginable...and a mountain of failed sketching attempts and one book later an insane Excel spreadsheet born of frustration and procrastination came to be.

As you can see, all parameters of seating position, posture, cabin spacing, center of gravity, turning radius, U-turn performance, jounce intrusion and basic size specification have been calculated in. Not all factors mentioned in H·Point had been folded in when I stopped working on the spreadsheet, I fear I had gone too far already.

Oh, worth mentioning are the tabs on the far right labeled Rhino. These sheets generate "macro" instructions that converts "graph" data into rough 3D wireframe in order to evaluate a given package in 3D. Again, one could follow through to a more robust 3D object with windows, body and interior...maybe even pick up Objective-C to build an iPad version to share with budding and practicing designers in order for the black art of regulation interpretation to become a fluid, visual and dynamically updated experience for every market's own package constraint to neutralize Global car design package headaches? Nah! Better to support unified global automotive regulations. Well, I must back to the drawing skills.

Um, but I have to admit...this wasn't my first time with the heroic procrastination. There was that one project I tried to teach myself aeronautical engineering. I'll have to leave that for another post.