Regarding the previous post, I asked this question on the Core77 discussion forum:
which directly led to this post:
Good discussion. The majority emphasised the value of using models, and the general consensus was there are many tools (sketches, CAD, models) which can and should be used.
My experience and observation here is that solely relying on CAD means any tweaks or changes at the clients request are taking a long time. Not because the CAD falls short- the parametric nature of the CAD used means you can make lots of changes quickly, but the exploration of how to make these tweaks and changes is being done in CAD, which takes so long.
Also the model shop is about an hour away, so lots of explanation is happening over the phone, because what they are trying to do in CAD isn’t translating to the model. For example, a hinge is at an angle that makes the device hard to hold. On the CAD render it looks great but as soon as it is made and held by a user this becomes evident. If more sketch models were made and explored, then these problems would be caught much earlier in the process.
The other issue with CAD is that it can be limiting. There are some things you can’t do with it, or can’t do easily. Some CAD programmes don’t do complex organic shapes as well as others, so you can end up with what the CAD programme provides you with, rather than what you want. When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems become nails. Also trying to explore ideas in CAD means you spend a lot of time trying to make CAD do what you want, rather than just sketch it out.
Sketch models are invaluable because a drawing of an object can convey certain information, but a three dimensional representation of the same object conveys different information. In the film “Objectified” there is an interview with the team from Smart Design who worked on the Oxo Good Grips. They show a box that contains dozens of sketch models of the original potato peeler:
The “Objectified” trailer shows great examples of lots of sketch models: