So you've been working in Illustrator, or some other design package, designing something cool and you want to do a quick mock-up to test the scale and functionality out...
...The idea may be in the early stages (or too large) to warrant a 3D Print, so perhaps consider using cardboard?
Having worked in concept generation departments in a few companies now, as a Design Engineer, I can say that these sort of 'quick & dirty' prototypes can really engage a team to make a decision, highlight a few critical functional/aesthetic flaws - or even just have some fun, as with this unapologetically retro BoomBox designed and built with my friends at Bare Conductive.
CONDUCTIVE PAINT AND WORKING UI/UX CONCEPTS:
You can just stick on some paper layout buttons - but in actual fact - Bare Conductive Paint (and the new Bare Conductive Touch Board on Kickstarter) allows you to make each of those black 2D buttons a programmable user interface - pumping out all sorts of sounds, via amazing surface-mounted speakers.
- Check out more Design Modelling ideas on my Instructables page or website.
- Take a look at the Conductive Paint and/or Speakers.
- Check out the UI/UX Controller Board - now on Kickstarter!
As well as helping some great friends out with this BoomBox, this is a pretty good demonstration of how to create impact quickly with a scale model. Sure you can add weight and other complexity later on, to make it more realistic, but really being able to feel the concept take shape in a matter of hours is really exciting for any creative team.
Hope the Instructable is clear and some of the design tips are useful.
Let me know how you get on!
Step 1: Print Out Your 2D Concept
Typically 1:1 is a good scale if possible, though arguably architectural buildings should be smaller (though Shigeru Ban would perhaps say otherwise) - and sometimes tiny things can benefit from being scaled up, e.g. Sub-Atomic Structures.
Note - Don't trust a basic printer to print to perfect 1:1 scale!
You may find that when you do print, you may need to first draw a scale line in the programme you are using and then measure this when it prints - this can help you scale it up, e.g. by 102% to correct it if needed. Also, you can be quite economical about printing - as shown, there was no need to print a second speaker, as both were identical.
2. You will need:
- Cardboard. Ideally the 'single corrugated' kind. (Amazon Boxes are great).
- Cutting Mat (large than your piece - A2 is perfect).
- Spray Mount Adhesive*.
- Glue Gun.
Suggested Design Modelling info on Tools/Links, here.
*Please use in well ventilated areas and put down newspaper to protect surround area, as aside from being bad to inhale the fumes, you will have sticky floors for ages and your parents/tutors/flatmates will hate you for it.
Step 2: Spray Mounting
TIP: DON'T SPRAY TOO MUCH - it will leave the cardboard tacky and costs money.
Wait 30seconds and see if it sticks, if it does (lightly), that's fine. If not, remove and spray a little more.
Cut out the front shapes. Duplicate as necessary.
NB - Spray Mount is not the same as Photo Mount. The latter is permanent, the former is more like a Post-It Note. If you have neither, you can use masking tape - folder back on itself to make a 'loop'.
Step 3: Create Sides of Boxes
TIP 1: First cut out a large strip of cardboard (e.g. 80mm), then use the speaker to measure (scribe) out the wall dimensions, as shown. It sounds like a trivial thing - but this sort of referencing (as oppose to endless measuring) is what makes the modelling fast.
TIP 2: The Handle is 25mm wide, but this is convenient as it is the width of my ruler. Again - saves time and is accurate.
Step 4: Pro-Cardboard Technique (how to Get Really Nice Edges on Your Models)
However, if you are looking to do something for Industrial Design or a smaller scale, which people will notice, I have demonstrated a way to create a 'Lap Joint' in cardboard by carefully removing a 'fillet' of the corrugated card and one of the outer layers.
Check it out below:
Step 5: Building the Boxes
PIC 1: Creating the 'filleted' edge of the cardboard as show, using the metal ruler (plastic will not work as well).
PIC 2: Applying the glue to the 'lap joint' created. Doing one panel at a time.
PIC 3: Holding the joint in place, while drying. Also worth pressing the edge down on the table - it avoid burning your fingers and gives a more even edge than trying to hold it. If you are doing curved edges, perhaps use masking tape to hold really complex assemblies. The key is to do a little at at time.
Step 6: Assembly
Once you are happy with the layout, peel-off the print-outs and admire you handy-work!
I added a few details like the volume knobs, by using the Curved Joint technique, below.
Remember to leave a 'tab' to complete the cylinder!
Step 7: Pro-Tip: 'Shadow Gaps'
You can finish these off with some of the strips you might have removed from the previous filleting, or could cut new ones out - it's worth noticing that cardboard usually has two 'sides', a really nice finish and a slightly rougher finish. You can either aim to build everything with one facing externally, or you can deliberately put the inverse to create a subtle contrast, without it being distracting.
Finally, I have added a 'service hatch' at the back of the BoomBox, to fit the electronics in. Frankly, you could meticulously plan all of the wiring out beforehand, but personally, I find it simpler to 'freestyle' this, to fit it as I need it. After all, it's only a cardboard prototype - it does not matter if the wiring inside is a bit rough!
Step 8: Painting With Bare Conductive Paint + Touch Board (User Interface)
As for painting - this is where I hand-over to the guys at Bare Conductive, who carefully painted the designs on the box and wired up their new Touch Board - pumping out tunes through the Surface-Mounted Speakers inside the BoomBox. Though frankly, this is where you can really go wild and explore all sorts of new user-interfaces with the paint. If you can do a 'Dot-To-Dot' picture, you can create a Bare Conductive circuit: Good Luck!
- You'll find tips and tricks on on painting on the Bare Conductive website.
- You can get the Kickstarter Touch Board and Surface-Mount Speakers to power your ideas.
- And of course, more Design Modelling projects.