LED Lighting Design

May 20th, 2010

This is the latest CRS ICE LED Par Series Product Design that we worked on in a series from Par 20 , Par 30 up to a Par 38.

Par20 ICE LED Light

Par20 ICE LED Light

There was a handful of technical designers to make these lights final, we had a hand in the sculpted shape of the profile.

However we also assisted the whole project to serve as project management to make sure suppliers, engineers and files got sent out in time for Light Fair in Las Vegas this May.

Have a look at the youtube video, we assisted getting the proper files exported for CGI and also collaborated on the storyboard layout and music creation for final production.

ICE PAR20 LED YouTube video

ICE PAR20 LED YouTube video

See YouTube Link Here:


iPad vs. HP tm2 Tablet

May 20th, 2010

So I’ve been debating the purchase of some new technology for the industrial design work that we engage in each day at our office: 1. an iPad or 2. a tablet laptop?

Here at IDWS we create ideas for new products with sketches, mock up prototypes, freeform 3D CAD modeling with Rhino3D and realistic renderings with HyperShot HD (now upgradeable to KeyShot). Therefore I wondered if the iPad would be a useful option or would a tablet laptop work for us to communicate our ideas to our clients.

So I choose to look into the Hewlett Packard HP TouchSmart tm2 Notebook PC and Apple iPad to compare both.

Now all of this started because I have an app on my Apple iPhone called SketchBook Mobile from Autodesk, and this little tool fits nicely into some of our work in getting ideas out on the fly. So that was the guide to looking into the new Apple iPad, because the larger screen size would be beneficial to drawing more objects using the SketchBook app for some of our product designs.

The touch screen Hewlett Packard HP TouchSmart tm2 Notebook PC.

HP tm2 Tablet

HP tm2 Tablet

But when a friend of mine was showing off his new tablet computer, it suddenly clicked that the SketchBook software could also work on the 12 in. laptop tablet screen too. So now the conundrum: which hardware should we get in order to sketch on the screen, and create ideas just as freely as we do with markers, pencils and paper?

Furthermore, just as I’m looking into all this, I see this full page ad campaign in the Globe & Mail about how Adobe wants to reach across the aisle to Apple (if you have not seen it yet Google: “Adobe loves Apple”). This full page ad is in defense of Adobe’s software, to which Apple is not willing to adjust its hardware, i.e. adding more horsepower to run things like Flash web content.

If I went with an iPad, I would prefer if it offered some new options instead of being an oversized iTouch device – that still does not play Flash, load 3rd party software or have peripheral device slots like USB.

On the other hand if we purchase a TouchSmart tm2 it could do multiple tasks; as it is both a computer and a tablet. Moreover using the HP tablet means I wouldn’t have to wonder if there was ever going to be a 3D app available, as it is helpful to be able to review some of the CAD files we’re building with clients.

As a result, I think Adobe has the right point of view here, and that is if you’re going to spend money on a computer-type device you should be able to use it the way you need to use it, and not be forced into the limitations of what the hardware of the device is capable of delivering.

Taking this line of thought and putting it into action, I finally walked into Future Shop to look at the TouchSmart tm2 tablet, and was surprised with the ease-of-use because not only was it a computer but also a touch screen device! So why hadn’t I jumped on the tablet bandwagon when they first came out? Well I can’t answer that, but I’m now realizing the potential of the touch screen computer, and these tablets I’m sure will soon replace the traditional laptops I’m used to.

Just like on the iPhone or iPad, the HP tm2 can do things like writing notes “writing” not typing – as it comes with a stylus pen (or one can use their finger, however the stylus has much finer ease of use). Subsequently using any of these new features, brings a unique way to how we can or will do daily computing.

I can truly “write” an email (in my own hand writing) and then this little HP has the software to convert it into text if I want – or I can send it out with my personal touch.

The Apple iPad  strength is content consumption, not creation.

iPad tablet

iPad tablet

A further advantage the tm2 also has voice recognition to operate the computer… just like the iPhone; this computer will actually listen to me! It can open files on command, as I speak it types, and can send emails all with the onboard microphone. To add to all of this, the tm2 comes with a fingerprint scanner for added login security, a web cam, stereo speakers, USB slots and a HDMI out and a few more benefits.

Keeping in mind my needs are slightly different than the original intent of the iPad I’m sure. Add to that the tm2 lacks the many thousand apple apps I use on my iPhone; however I’m sure that just around the corner Microsoft will adopt desktop apps to compete effectively.

Nevertheless in my comparison, I was blown away by this little tablet computer. So I bought one, and when I got it unpacked I purchased Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and started to utilize the freeform drawing capabilities that were offered just as we would use in the iPhone app.

Despite the fact that you will have to pay a little bit more money than one would pay for an iPad, it definitely gets you many more wow factor tools for computing, whether in the creative side, or the technical side of business.

Just as Adobe says, we all might love Apple products, but we also like choice and openness in all platforms regardless of the hardware or software limitations at hand to get our work done.

This is the third contribution of my monthly blog for Design Product News.


Thermoformed Plastic Boss Design

April 26th, 2010

Many electronic products are held together by machine screws (into bosses) and snap fits. Such features are designed into the latest release by model train specialist Bachrus Inc., designed by IDWS.ca (featured on the cover the May 2010 DPN edition )  as this fastener technology is used for final assembly.



The model train controller product has some nice architecture features built into the electronic housing to help the form fit with the function – the outside that is seen in the creative exploration of shape and style. As the goal here was to wow the end user and add value to the product line, but with that said the inside was meticulously engineered to give that outer appearance a good first impression.

Here I’m focusing in on the architectural structure of the product’s boss designs. Because to get those right means that there is added strength without added wall thickness – as surface blemishes due to sink marks in the plastic show up more with an increase in plastic. As well, wall thickness uniformity is important to cycle times and generally the ribs and bosses are based on a 60/40 percentage ratio. So there are some minor tweaks that can make a design even better if you find the right source.

As you’re probably aware, Googling this topic will drop a great amount of resources onto your screen and a handful of fastener manufacturers’ documentation is there to sift through. However, I thought I would compile a little bit of information on the topic here in a handy, easy-to-access blog report.

The preferred thermoforming machine screw, which is engineered for plastic, is a thread forming screw like the EJOT PT cross recessed raised cheese head style screw – sourced in many places such as the Fabory Catalog. The key advantages of this thread forming fastener are many:

1. Is that it works in all types of thermal plastics.

2. It gives a maximum resistance to pull out with its 30° thread profile and narrow thread pitch.

3. Finally its recessed thread root design gives optimal material flow into the cavity recess between the threads on the screw as it cuts into the boss. This is highly desirable feature on very small screws like a KB 22×6 Pozidriv EJOT PT machine screw (Ø2.2 mm x 6.0 mm).

So once you’ve found the perfect Machine Screw, the structural design of the Boss to receive the PT EJOT thread forming faster is a bit more than a tube profile with draft. Companies like Acument, of Sterling Heights, MI, give some general guidelines online to create the qualifiable boss design you will need (see the chart below or look at: www.acumentnorthamerica.com/products/brochure/pt.pdf ).

ffp final 44

Machine Screw

Acument recommends to keep-in-mind that specific applications need to allow for various molding conditions, tool design, weld lines, and proximity to any injector gates, etc. will affect the boss.

With all that said though, the laboratory testing and in the field applications have produced great results for product designers to rely on, instead of the educated guess approach or the simple tube with draft.

Also a designer needs to notice the different recommendations for the inner diameter (i.d.) hole size for the screw – as it is dependant on the specific thermoplastics being used in the product design. As each plastic has its own molecular composition, some polymers are prone to cracking under expansion stress, while others are more capable of resisting those pressures when the screw is driven into place. Knowing your product material early on in the design process helps you create the optimal boss dimensions.

The surface finish on the final part might be high-gloss and capable to reflect subtle changes in the surface. So in a micro level, this is where form meets function in the design process because it’s truly here that the devil is in the details - and it will show. So go ahead and get the right boss design built into your parts and you will be on your way to making great designs.

Chief Design Officer - Board Room Level

March 19th, 2010

In light of my recent blog in Design Product News, I mentioned how Ford Motor Company is getting things done right from a design, engineering and technology point of view - in that some of their latest vehicles are fun to drive, look great and have built in technology gadgets for the latest hand held devices.

But I also mentioned the efforts of some companies board rooms and how they are starting to add a Chief Design Officer along side the CFO and CEO positions.

Design importance of a product line plays a critical role in competitive balance sheets and if companies want a greater return on investment for the share holders - cost efficiencies have to go toe to toe with nice looking products too.

And that is where I think the Ford Motor Company has recently seen some success in the market share in this latest recession. Ford started early to change its approach to what it was going to offer consumers and that has started to win back buyers.

So as mentioned in the DPN Blog, the success of products designed here at idws.ca have always been the results of a CEO or President who has a passion to make their product look better and work better in order to outperform the competition.

So if new design styling is what you think your product line needs, bring that realization to the next meeting and start being innovative, creative and effective on getting Qualitative Design into production - and if you need a little help give us a call.


Go to the Industrial Design Blog at DPN

Design Product News Magazine Online Blog

February 17th, 2010

designproductnewsI am excited to announce my occasional blog about Industrial Design in Design Product News Magazine also known as DPN Canada.

This month I have written on the importance of ” Styling a product for Marketability “ and the role Industrial Design has in helping merge the ideas of Engineering Functions with the Marketing Team’s dreams… to create a visual & tangible result to work from. Where we work from Sketches to Clay Models, then move into Rhinoceros 3D to sculpt the finished look for Rapid Prototyping & manufacturing.

See the full article online at:  Design Product News

Niagara Industrial Association

January 25th, 2010

Doing business in the Greater Niagara Area has many benefits.  There are a handful of businesses for developing, engineering, manufacturing and marketing a product, companies like General Motors and John Deere have known this for years.  And now new companies and industries in electronics, LED lighting, Consumer Products and emerging technologies in renewable energy from companies like Samsung for Wind Turbines and Mining Companies look to Niagara.  Which if you can do business in the area, it offers some great attractions from Entertainment at Casino Niagara , world class Golf courses like John Daly’s Thundering Waters, and our world famous Ice Wines from our tender fruit farms around the Niagara-on-the-Lake area have impressed guys like Wayne Gretzky to do business here - No.99 Estates Winery.  And finally the awe of power is a sight to see at Niagara Falls, which is always just a short drive from any place in the Niagara Peninsula. We have access to international airports, with Toronto Ontario to the North and Buffalo New York to the South.

Visit the Niagara Industrial Association for more info on the area.


Smart Phone - Smart Design ??

November 23rd, 2009

Smart Phone Isometric  Smart Phone B Blackberry Update

Are smart phones in need of something more?

Stripped down to a basic geometric shape - the iphone is pushing the market into an early 1960 Braun or Bauhaus look - simplified styling!

But do all smart phones need to follow suit?

Apple is in this groove but how long will it last, what is next down the pipeline for the electronic housing design in 2012 or 2015?


Espresso Machine Industrial Design

November 17th, 2009

bosch_sm  saecoodea_sm

Design is becoming more challenging in Espresso makers, just compare the Saeco Odea and the Bosch Machine.
Both have similar colour schemes Black ABS type finish with Silver / Stainless over mold features.
While one machine might appeal more to some, it all comes down to you.  Which one would you like to put onto the counter?
Design plays a unique roll here on our visual senses, as both machines are engineered to make the same drink…
The Industrial Design behind the styling becomes a sole reason on why some might buy one over the other.
So encourage creative design in your business, you’ll never know what might happen when you put an artist along side product engineering!

CMTS Manufacturing Technology Show

October 23rd, 2009


Machine Design

With a tour around the annual Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show ( CMTS 2009  ) we stumbled upon the DMG Gildemeister - a German Product line of manufacturing equipment.  With an eye for detail these guys have sights set on making the competition envious.

No longer are CNC Machines or Injection Molding Machines going to be covered by a sheet metal concept to finish the product off, as Engineers will combine their machine assemblies with creative cover concepts from Industrial Designers - to create a first impression WOW factor !

The combination of both math and art, — these two fields ( Engineering and Industrial Design ) work together to push the envelope of product development so that the Marketing Department is proud to show of the latest and greatest.

Look up ’ DMG online Journal ‘  for more company info or contact us see our website.

Large Image Link: http://www.idws.ca/id/DMG-CTX-GILDEMEISTER-LG.jpg

Marketing Video

October 2nd, 2009

    neptune-home           Marketing a Product

Here at IDWS we helped Ophardt Hygiene design one of their new product lines… Neptune.  From Concept Sketches and Chavant Clay Models we sculpted and shaped out the new look for this Ophardt dispenser.

But from there we also helped to create a Trade Show / Marketing Video in our Design Studio, from the draft storyboard and film editing to the final production.  The creative process from Industrial Design to Product Marketing.

The video takes a fun approach to the product development process in a unique sketch like format.

Watch the YouTube video at the Ophardt Link or for more information contact us at www.idws.ca