Practical Prototyping. Part 2: 3D
Part 2 of the Series: Cardboard and Foam - Working in 3 Dimensions
Pencil and paper can take you a long way. In this medium you can draw things out just as you envision them, but that can become a limitation. While on paper you can create images and words that describe how something might work, you still need to discover if it will work, and if it does work, how does it feel in reality. Reading that sentence, you may be thinking that there is no way to fully answer these questions without a fully functional prototype. While that is true, we often think we are ready for a full blown prototype long before we really are. Materials like cardboard and foam can bridge the gap between paper, and even higher quality prototypes.
Practical Prototyping. Part 1: Pen & Paper
In my last article, The Value of Getting Your Hands Dirty, I talked about the importance of working with your hands. I sincerely believe that it is vital for engineers to compliment their technical tranining with practical experience. There is no replacement for the insight gained from knowing something first hand and observing it with your own senses. This applies far beyond engineering. Professionals in all careers should know the ins and outs of the true substance of their work.
The Value of Getting Your Hands Dirty
When I was a kid, I was never afraid of working with my hands. If I wanted to make something, I jumped right in. I would try to build everything from an elevator to a tree house, to a surround sound system made from an old stereo. Often my dreams were bigger than my abilities, but I learned along the way. It was this learning by failure that I helped me gain so much from looking back.