My research objective
Triggered by a type of toy car-- plasma car, Professor Dan wanted the two of us to use the same concept to construct a remote controlled "car" by using only one servo. The principle behind Professor Dan's theory is pretty simple: the car moves forward by moving the front two wheels back and forth with the forward impact force generated by the side to side motion of wheels. However, I personally was more interested in how to improve the appearance of the remote controlled car because I was amazed by the software we were using: SolidWorks. So my objective was to focus on 3D design and wished to be able to design complicated and beautiful car model by the end of one month.
With the love of the software, I went on to design different parts of the car. I used many different methods of learning in order to improve my sketching and building skills, namely SolidWorks tutorials, YouTube tutorials, SolidWorks forum and website and National Library Resources. By the end of one month, I was able to do basic sketching, basic modeling, complicated surface modeling and basic analysis and study of models. Here is my WOW progress table:)
|1st Week (04/01~07/01):|
For the first week of my WOW attachment, I was introduced to SolidWorks/. This was also the period of time when my mentor Professor Dan introduced us the idea of plasma car. I used this week to go through tutorials and construct simplest model.
This is one of my sketch in SolidWorks. By practicing 2D sketching, I got familiar with all terms such as dimension, relation. I also got to know an important term: "design intent". This term highlights the importance of "fully define" a sketch-- to define the relationship between lines or entities, such as length, relations (perpendicular, tangent and so on) and angles.
This is another sketch that I have done for the sake of practice.
This is one of the simplest model that I have designed. By using simple features like extruded boss/base, extruded cut and fillet, I constructed this model. It may sound easy, but it took me a long time to complete this. I faced a lot of difficulties when I was doing this, I couldn't adjust the 3D view point properly-- this is especially important if I want to select a line or entity at the back. Some of the language that the tutorial use are very difficult to understand, so I had to ask my mentors for help.
| 2nd Week (07/01~11/01): |
During the second week of my WOW, I started to use different methods to extend my learning.Over the weeks, I constructed most of my models except the hardest race car.
|This is one of the surface model that I have done. It also gives me a glimpse of what surface modeling can do. One of the very important feature for this to happen is spline feature. One can never draw any sexy curve with straight lines and circles. |
By using the loft boss/base feature, I managed to build a propeller with only one 3 features.
This is wheel from my own creation. In order to make a complete tire, I need to
This is an ugly rim wheel I did before watching This is wheel that looks much better.I did it
any tutorial by following a video tutorial which worked!
I have also printed out a this wheel which looks cool! do up a external tire and make a assembly.
So, this is the final product that I came up with! This is a great breakthrough in my SolidWorks skills because I am now able to come up with my own design-- beautiful and compact design.
| 3rd Week (17/01~21/01): during the 3rd week, I started doing my race car (the one you can find in the gallery). Besides, I did some funny little toys such as basketballs before embarking on the project proper.|
A simple gear A spring
Well this ball look just awesome! I was stuck on A nice basketball!
this model because I couldn't figure out how to do
a revolved cut to create this effect.
Okay here is the serious part. I started doing the car after I have brushed up my surface modeling skills and all the necessary tutorials. Here is just a photo montage of what it looks like in different stages:
It all starts with these lines and images Do you have any idea that this is part of a car?
| 4th Week (24/01~28/01):|
This is the last week for my WOW attachment. I continued on my car project and printed out the car.
So this was more like half of a car Finally we can see the shape coming out
So This is the body of my car after 5 days Finally, this is my final product with my name curved
of hard work its body.
After all the hard work, I have finally arrived at the stage of printing and assembling. It took me 10 hours to print the car and 12 hours to wash away the support materials. Here is the picture of the car-- before and after painting.
1 take away for life
WOW is definitely a great experience that I will never forget. Waking up at 8 am and doing research that I enjoy for the whole day till 6 pm, this is definitely the most enjoyable job one could ever dream for. Indeed, doing science research is all about passion and interests. Just as the SUTD publicity banner says: when you have the passion for technology and design, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Being a little engineer and 3D model designer, I had a wonderful time learning in SUTD. The most joyful time for me was when I pressed the "print" button on the uPrint machine and watching my model being built from threads of plastic. Was it a sense of accomplishment? I guess so. I was really proud when I saw my race car coming into reality.
There is one idea that rooted in my mind after one month of WOW: one must never stop trying--I will never know what is my real interest without trying. Before going to SUTD, I have no idea what is industrial design/technology design. I had absolute no knowledge of design and had little interests in drawing a car in my laptop. Life has surprised me again for giving me a brand new area to explore and enjoy myself in. That is why I have decided to embrace whatever opportunities out there so as to find out where my career lies.
2 interesting aspect of my learning
My learning journey was generally relaxing and flexible due to the nature of my research. As long as I had a laptop and software installed, I could start learning immediately. I like this learning environment which encourage self-motivated learning instead of passive learning. It was really interesting as I was no longer dealing with texts and numbers that is so intangible-- I got a chance to step into the world of engineering and design to make my own model. Interesting for many people? I guess not. I believe only the ones that like engineering will enjoy the whole process, otherwise it would be very painful doing the things that they don't like.
Well, another interesting thing I found out was that school life is so much appreciated by the adults. My mentors kept telling me that the time they spent in either JC or Polytechnic was much better than their routine life now. Is working life really that bad? I was not able to feel the same way as they do maybe because I am still a JC student now-- a student who is under scholarship and the financial support of my parents. I did experience some toughness about working life as well. Attachment was indeed very rewarding, but the journey can be tiring at times. Spending 2 hours on MRT everyday just for work is no joke, especially during rush hours when there is not enough room for one more person in the carriage. Sometimes I was so tired that I missed my MRT station for 4 times because I fell asleep in the MRT which have never happened to me before. Another fact of being an adult white collared worker/researcher is that they have very little holiday-- that is 14 days per annum. As a student, I think I had about 60 days of holiday in last year alone...Maybe that is the reason why my mentors all miss their school life?
Well, people have stress worries at different period in life.
3 content/knowledge skills I learnt
1) There is no doubt that I have learnt a lot of 3D modeling skills from the attachment.
2) Self-motivated learning is one of the most important and practical skill that I have learnt. In university, Professors cannot always be around his students. What usually happen is that the Professor will give a trigger and students have to explore on their own for the most of the time. More often than not, the Professor himself may not have the exact answer to students' question-- he is only there to lead the way, but not to show the answer. Hence, it makes a lot of sense to implement this idea of "teach less, learn more" into IP and JC teaching. I had learnt to be resourceful and self-motivated through this one month. I had no idea what SolidWorks can do before I watch tutorial. The reason why I choose to design a race car is because I knew SolidWorks can draw a perfect Audi A8 car model. That was the motivation deep inside my heart, especially when I visited the website of Car Design China. The awesome car model are just so awesome that I couldn't wait to learn surface drawing skills. I should never stop dreaming, should I? I shall go ahead and design awesome cars in the future:)
3) I shall open my heart and embrace new ideas to flood into my head. I read a piece of inspirational quote one time: man's mind, once stretched by new ideas, never remain the way it was. Indeed, it is too early to decide what shall I become in the future. Today I may be interested in car design, but it may just end up being a hobby of mine and not my career because there may be other options that suit me better.
4) Just do what you really like to do. In the past, only jobs with decent salary interests me because I put that as my highest priority when choosing jobs. I have a totally different idea after visiting WOW-- the job that is going to last is the job that one truly enjoys. Just go ahead and shine in your stage, be a star like no other!