People ignore design that ignores people.
How would you design your idea from your mind to mock up models and 3D visual without the fancy software and machines?
Imagine you haven’t got access to the university resources and you’re not working in a product design agency yet.
That’s what we’re going to achieve right here and it brings us to how the idea of a product called the Dyson Glider began…
#1 START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
I had this idea for a new Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. It was an idea for a product I had for sometime now.
The reason I didn’t take action was due to my brain narrating all kinds of stories, which slowed me down for a while:
I haven’t got SolidWorks software
I haven’t got the materials to make the prototype
The machines are expensive
My laptop is too slow
I haven’t got the money
A mysterious guy appeared and became my Mentor. He coached me to grow my mindset stronger and see life in a different way.
“Its not what you need but what you already got that will take you as far as you want to go. If you live in the past…you sacrifice the future. Live in the present and use whatever you got right now…”
With that, I got to work, using whatever I got at home…
#2 THE INSPIRATION FOR THE IDEA…
The reason I wanted to design a Vacuum Cleaner with a sporty health vibe to it is because of my passion in sports.
I have always loved football and use to play football a lot…
I would have gone pro but I loved designing what’s in my mind and see it all come to life.
I love solving problems, feeling the idea in my hand evolving and seeing the finished result on my table.
What got me thinking is the challenges we all go through when doing chores.
I wondered how doing the usual cleaning chores such as vacuuming can be more expressive and fun.
My inspiration came from these Roller Skates that I seen in a kids party…
“It’s a beautiful and a graceful sport and it’s a chance for people to really enjoy using their muscles and being fit” says instructor Trish Alexander.
Personally, that’s what Dyson is :
Why not make it enjoyable, fun, and expressive as well?
Here’s my initial very rough doodle sketch with the speech bubble, “Express Yourself…Do…Do…Do…”
It’s not a master piece but it’s a start to get the idea down on paper:
3. BRIBE YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP
Dyson Vacuums don’t come cheap but they are great in doing their job. I couldn’t buy one or break apart one of my mums vacuum cleaners.
She was already keeping an eye on me for busting her favourite kettle for an idea I had. I needed some bits and bobs.
It got me into a lot of trouble as I would do this often with other appliances and stuff around the house.
I had to find an old vacuum cleaner and get my friend to use it.
I kidnapped my friend.
Well, kind of bribed her with some delicious meals.
My friend started to do what she hates the most which is hoovering the floor. She’d use the old vacuum cleaner and I’d write what I’m observing.
She was fantastic. Helped out a lot and was fun too.
Except when I made a joke she had to do the same for the rest of the rooms and we got a pretty big house.
My brother was quick to suggest to have his room done first. Not a chance 😀
As my friend started hoovering I began to see what problems I can solve with my design. I never really saw these problems clearly when my mum or when I was doing the cleaning.
I looked how we can make the process of cleaning fast, easier, fun, expressive and comfortable.
I documented the user ability, body posture, speed in detaching the pieces of the vacuum cleaner, picking up pieces it didn’t clean – and anything else that would annoy the friend.
#4 DEVELOPING THE DESIGN CONCEPT
I’m working with what I have and I started with using my own shoes to test out the spaces, the user experience and the type of material to use.
Picture this- a shoe that is a vacuum cleaner.
There’s no handles, no cables, no attachments and it’s just you wearing the vacuum cleaner as a shoe to clean the floors….
Just by looking at the activity you get to work all your body. You’re also warming your body, stretching your core mid section, your legs, butt, hands and even your abs.
Throughout the process I used my social network to consult an engineer who at first had some doubts on my Dyson Glide concept.
The more he saw the product evolve and being tested on people – the more he became confident on the product concept.
This lead to the initial concept sketching.
I’m not going to go into the detail specifics because it’s a long list and also, I just want you to enjoy the visuals that says it all….
ADD ON FEAUTURE ONE
You can see I’ve added Interesting elements to the sketch below…
On/ off button on the back… reduction of bending
- Form is commercial
- Sock for any foot size
Rubbish part in the front, allows user to know exactly what they vacuumed…
The Motion Feature
The idea of the motion from side to side is a smooth way of moving when wearing the Dyson Glider. It was influenced by the crumb sweeper.
The Rolling Ball Feature
Additionally, on the sketches below is the ball rotation acting as a creative way of transportation and the whole foot covered.
It’s fun, and captures a novelty essence.
The idea influenced by the old computer mouse. Its easy to slide the vacuum shoe cleaner on the floor and gives anyone the balance on the floor.
The Flip Flop Shoes Feature
The idea influenced by the comfort of the flip flop. It’s simple and minimal in design. Very comfortable too…
The Clipping Pegs Feature
The idea was influenced by the clipping mechinism of pegs that you hang your clothes with…
#5 CREATING YOUR MOCK UP
The next stage was to begin visualising the clipping idea on a real shoe.
I didn’t know if the clipping mechanism is going to be strong and secure when transporting within a room. I had to have a go and try.
First the visual images that gave me some inspiration for the attachment mechanism using pegs…
I started to tape quick mock ups to shoes so I can get an overall feel of the idea of something attached and part of the shoe.
Clipping vs Snapping Onto Shoes
Now we are getting there.
We still need some work because we want to see if the shoe vacuum cleaner named as the Dyson glider is strong enough and secure.
That’s when the snapping idea comes into play…
The snapping idea needed to be tested many times to really know if it will be strong enough to be secured on the shoes.
I did that by using different plastic materials.
#6 ERGONOMICS AND FORM DEVELOPMENT
These are fancy words which just mean we make sure the design works for
people whenever they interact and use the product.
There’s no use if the design looks great but is uncomfortable to use and isn’t efficient for the customers who buy the products.
I started thinking about how the Dyson Glider will complement the strengths and abilities of the user.
It’s time to show some leg 🙂
Instead of forcing customers to adapt to the product, we take into consideration of their age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior experience, cultural expectations and goals to make the design comfortable.
Another challenge was to ensure the manufacturing process is efficient.
Even though I haven’t got a budget to manufacture a prototype and knowing that is highly unlikely Dyson will say…
“Hey, Weaam! We’ll pay for the design, manufacture it and get it out there,” I still had to think about the manufacturing process.
The model still didn’t feel right so I had to tighten the form.
Here’s some more flirting 🙂
We can see the model is getting refined with an oval shape. Height is being increased and wood piece is inserted.
It’s allowing a customer to put all their weight on it.
#7 MODELS FOR DIFFERENT FEET SIZES
Different types of feet were tested on the model to identify the interaction between the model and the foot. The Photographs demonstrates a foot size of 4, 6, and 9 (UK size).
The idea of the ‘bump’ (test) on the back demonstrated to me that it is a clever way of solving the foot size issue.
Overall there were a number of models to underpin the main form, and significant ergonomic matters.
#8 TESTING YOUR MODELS
The sheet of paper demonstrates that a person with a size 11 foot can actually fit on the model as well.
This test was influenced by an engineer consultant because he had doubts of my idea. Issues such as the centre of gravity, the balance of the arch of human feet which does not contact the ground when walking.
I wanted to prove scientifically the foot’s main weight area.
The main weight areas were the front and heel of the foot as the Engineer Consultant informed me.
The middle part of the foot (the arch) barely had contact with the paper.
By having a natural bump that locks into the arch of the foot makes the results of this test reverse. I finally validated the idea to the Engineer Consultant which went successfully well.
The following model felt comfortable with appropriate scale and form to it.
I even got the engineer to try the model on.
#9 FORM (DEPTH, HEIGHT AND COMPONENTS)
The other important elements to take care of within the design. The fitting for the filter and other components such as the motor.
#10 ADDING THE FUNKY WHEELS
One day, an idea came to me when I looked at the iron plug. What if I can get the Dyson Glider to glide smoothly without wheels.
Like an iron that moves smoothly when ironing a shirt.
I then experimented with Teflon furniture glides, washing up sponges (felt) on different surfaces. The Teflon glided smoothly on carpet floors and the sponge glided on laminate and wooden floors.
I wanted to go further with this idea and did more research on Teflon.
#11 RESEARCHING TEFLON
I came across a manufacturing book which explained in a simple way about using Teflon. I found some interesting information:
- The actual material is called Fluropolymers
- Low Friction
- Superior resistance
- Non stick
- Resistant to stress and cracks
- Very expensive material
- Many use it as a coating on surfaces
After researching the properties, I decided to use it as a coating due to its high cost in material.
I also researched a material called PTFE Felt. It lead me to existing products that use the material and helped me to its properties. Like the snooker table green cloths and other billiard tables.
It was definitely a light bulb moment that got me sketching ideas around this concept.
Usually this material is die cut, however there are other manufacturing ways to shape this kind of material.
I started to expand the concept with detailed sketches; considering the ergonomics and semantics…
#12 FILTER AND BRUSH DEVELOPMENT
I made the decision of selecting this type of filtration due to thoroughly understanding how it fully works.
I had an understanding that this type of filter does not follow the Dyson principal of lifetime filtration, however to a certain degree the filter’s function reflects upon the Dyson principle in the simplest way e.g. cyclone basic design.
Nonetheless for this concept this type of filter works sufficiently for its purpose.
It still includes HEPA filter.
If I had the opportunity to reverse engineer a handheld Dyson – then maybe this concept would have been taken on a different design path.
I also considered the the On/Off button.
13. BATTERY DEVELOPMENT/ SOCK PLACEMENT
One of the things I’ve been interested in is wireless charging. I’ve never liked to have lots of leads especially with my laptop and mobile phone.
It would be great if I could find a way to make the charging process effortless for the customer and make the shoes devices easily stored.
I was inspired by the Nokia charger.
I like Nokia, because of its simplicity and innovative design.
Also, the idea in how the charging of the mobile phone is effortless. It’s cool futuristic aesthetic flare caught my eyes immediately.
I implemented the feature into my charger design…
Inductive coupling: examples of products that use this technology are an electric toothbrush, Splash power mat etc.
The way it works is bending wire to create coils amplifies the magnetic fields.
There is a primary winding that is usually in a main body of a product, and a secondary winding which is connected with a battery.
When these to coils connect they induce a current that recharges the product. Also this is how transformers work….
#14 TESTING THE FULL PROCESS OF THE PRODUCT FUNCTIONS
I went through the whole process from start to finish identifying any ergonomic and semantic issues that the customer may experience.
This task was essential at this stage of the design process…
I was in the zone and focusing how user will interact the product. It wasn’t about achieving fancy photography.
Instead it was asking tough questions like:
How will the user feel?
Is it designed for errors?
Are the tasks simplified?
Is the mapping right?
I repeated this task so many times to not miss anything and as a result, the kitchen was a mess!
The thorough testing paid off because I could feel free and as I put on the shoes; I could walk in the customers shoes.
By repeating this task over and over again, I became a user.
- Simplify the structure of tasks
- Make the mapping right
- Exploit the power of constraints
- Design for error
- When all else fails, standardise
#15 SECOND TRIP TO CURRY’S
I visited Curry’s again to look at the Dyson product in more detail. I wanted to get an overall feel of the Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner.
I studied the Dyson Visual language on the handheld vacuum cleaner because I wanted to capture the brand identity through the aesthetics and ergonomics from this product.
Elements such as the geometric shapes, the split lines, the small details were all studied and analysed through primary and secondary research…
Key words from analysis:
- Ergonomic considerations
- Engineering essence
- Geometric harmony
#16 REVERSE ENGINEERING
It was my lucky day!
I didn’t have to break my mum’s vacuum cleaner!
I found a broken hand-held vacuum cleaner, which was an opportunity to understand how hand-held vacuum cleaners really work.
I know its not a Dyson, but its still a vacuum cleaner.
The internal components were researched and understood thoroughly.
- On/off switch
- Motor and suction fan
- LED Lights
Manufacturing details such as:
- Springs were also researched
Again – I didn’t have fancy white background so I used white material surfaces that I thought would be appropriate in the reverse engineering section.
It helped with the product not clashing with the floor.
The white packaging helped with making the vacuum cleaner components more visible and clearer when I began analysing.
#17 TECHNICAL INSIGHT AND CHALLENGES
As I mentioned in the beginning, I knew I was going to face some challenges because I wanted to solve different technical issues without having SolidWorks and any CAD software.
Instead I used Adobe Illustrator, paper, pencils and cardboard.
I created small tubes with tape and newspaper, cutting card shapes, and cutting model 8 in half.
I used my mobile phone again which sometimes has a mind of its own.
It allowed me to visualise and understand the internal parts in the simplest way possible.
I was getting pretty excited while my mum looked at all the mess that was on the table.
Anyway, I began to visualise components in 3D in my mind.
I began to sketch the reverse engineering tasks to help understand how things could be fitted together.
With laptop fired up and Adobe Illustrator ready I began to start etching out the details….
Designing On Adobe Illustrator:
When the Dyson Glider is pressed with the foot, the button will hit the on/off switch to begin activation.
The Switch channel needed to be altered to suit the design because the basic existing switch was rectangular and it had a straight channel.
To refine and ensure the components will function in a technically correct manner, I used illustrator to achieve this.
Issues were identified such as the filter and the motor must be centrally aligned to have efficient air suction and flow.
(This was certified by the engineer consultant).
This meant that aesthetically the main body had to be modified again.
Also technical motions were refined on illustrator by snap shots as shown above.
This ghosting technique allowed me to scale the components correctly.
Extra height Modification was needed.
Had to balance other foot with the same height…
New models were created. Below is model 9.
I was checking that internal components can fit in main body. Main body increased in height…
With Adobe illustrator I added the visual Language to make the Dyson Glider pleasing to the eye.
I also added and developed the details.
#18 THE FINAL MODEL FOR DETAILS (MODEL 10)
The final model allowed me to refine and focus on detail. This was the step forward to create the refined illustrator visuals.
Model was made from:
Card board, Packaging felt, Cut brush bristles form old sweeping brush, assembled together with glue gun (without the gun), soft felt from packaging, and finally the finger ring from an headphone wire.
#19 THE CUT OUT MODEL:
It was time to add more details to the technical illustrator sketch.
I added the name of the components, their materials, how the components will be manufactured and how the component’s function…
Manufacturing details such as the ribs, the bosses and the wall thickness were thought through, but weren’t included.
Brief manufacturing detail description:
There will be a number of 1mm ribs that will support the main body’s structure and strength; bosses designed to close the main body securely and the wall thickness of the main body.
Many of the other components will be 1.5mm/ 2mm.
Front View Of Filter
Elements that I modified on the existing filter design
When twisting the mesh cover off the main filter part, I designed small embossed lines to allow the user to grip the part comfortably.
- Designed brush to help the user to clean the filter properly
- Designed pull out handle to allow the user to pull the filter with ease
Front View Of Front Main Brush
Bristle placement is simply designed.
Two sides embossed ‘bits’ are designed to locate and allow the brush part to snap fit onto the rubbish part.
#20 REFINING THE DESIGN
Device design for the other shoe ( right foot)
Back View/ Front View:
Sock Design/ Plan View/ Bottom View:
Back View/ Front View:
#21 OVERALL CONCEPT WITH SOCK:
Charger plate and sock location can be screwed to the wall to act as a low or high shelf. Its home could be in the kitchen or in a store room, user preference.
The only element that i didn’t design here is the cable. The design concept will use the exact cable as the Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner’s charger cable.
The following Image demonstrates how to use the Dyson glider…
I couldn’t resist asking a member of my team to create an instruction guide book. You’ll probably notice, It needs amending but I really wanted to show what can happen if there was an instruction book.
(Reflects on early research in the document)
Why Dyson Glider? (Quick Assurance)
- Can allow you to do more than one chore at the same time.
- Will reduce psychological distress between you and you partner.
- It is a fun and energetic way of vacuuming.
- It is easy to move around, lightweight, and easy to store.
#22 COLOUR SCHEMES
Dyson Glider has an original colour theme; however it is designed in 2 other colours as well…
#23 CREATING THE 3D DESIGN WITHOUT SOLIDWORKS CAD
I didn’t have the software nor the money to buy the software.The solution was to outsource the work by using a website called Fiverr.
It’s not easy letting go of your hard work for someone else to interpret your sketches and detailed illustrations.
My other concerns were:
“What if they don’t deliver in a very high quality?”
“How do I communicate if we’re a world apart and make sure the job is done?”
“How could I communicate in a way the 3D CAD designer can do the work?”
“How do I entrust my work to a stranger?”
These were just normal fears.
If I was in a job I’ll need to work with a team which is fine by me as I like working with people, listening to their suggestions working together to achieve a goal.
It’s why I enjoyed playing football.
It’s not about one person but working together, knowing each other strengths, languages even without talking to win a game.
So in a job a product designer will need to create in a language that the team can put their input in, and we can communicate our ideas to the company we work for and the manufactures.
#24 HIRING SOLIDWORKS CAD DESIGNER
I didn’t look for what most companies look for which is a degree and years of experience.
Instead, I looked at the individuals’ skill level, example of portfolio revealing 3D SOLIDWORKS CAD designs and if I can work with the person.
Character is also important. Reliability and communication promptly.
I registered with Fiverr, a website that has millions of talented people who can create and design for only $5.
Sometimes it’s more when you want further work but still, it’s very competitive.
I had to go through many Solidworks 3D CAD modellers and find many who could achieve the desired outcome. It took some time as I had to go through different SolidWorks Designers after sending a message on Fiverr.
There was one potential CAD modeller who responded immediately from India called Praveen.
I did look at other modellers but also checked out Praveen’s work too.
I chose Parveen because he already read about me on LinkedIn.
He took extra steps to find out what I was doing and why. He showed he cared by asking questions without trying to pitch.
#25 OVERCOMING COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE
Next was finding a more efficient way to communicate, because Fiverr had a few restrictions that didn’t work well for both of us.
We both agreed to communicate via Yahoo and to use Fiverr only for payment arrangements for the work he was going to do.
#26 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 1
I sent the Illustrator visuals to Praveen so I can see samples of his work using my designs. These were the first samples he sent to me:
According to the CAD Engineer, this is how he begins the process with an exploded view…
#27 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 2
To help Praveen to create the Solidworks model to scale, I created rough sketches that included every feature in the model with dimensions.
The sketches sent separately to ensure that Praveen focused on every detail feature.
Since I don’t own a printer let alone a scanner I had to take photos of sketches. I used a black bin bag for background and my kitchen light as spot light.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention this was done at 3am.
So I had to think of something quickly, because Praveen was waiting for my reply. These technical drawings are not perfect, but they got my message across.
Sometimes its not about doing things pretty, you just need to get your message across efficiently and ensuring that you and the other person understand.
I knew these rough technical sketches would come in handy, because after sending them to my CAD Modeller, In a couple of days the Dyson Glider SolidWorks model Transformed quickly.
#28 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 3
At this stage I knew Praveen understood the concept.
However, to work efficiently and to ensure that all upcoming alterations were to be completed correctly, I created modification sheets.
Praveen had an engineering background which was helpful when it came to fittings for instance, the Teflon/ felt plate slide mechanism.
#29 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 4
The modification strategy was used again to ensure essential detail was accomplished.
The SolidWorks CAD engineer sent drawing of the model, which helped me to analyse the model as a whole CAD model in different views.
#30 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 5
Minor changes were made…
#31 SOLIDWORKS CAD MODELLING DEVELOPMENT: MODEL 6
Final detail changes were required…
#32 BRIEF SOLIDWORKS CAD DYSON GLIDER MODEL TRANSFORMATION…
#33 BRIEF RENDERING DEVELOPMENT
Testing different backgrounds…
Finalising image quality…
#34 THE FINAL 3D RENDERS CREATED ON PHOTOWORKS 360
After the work was done, I thought I’d send extra payment as a thank you for the excellent work Parveen did…
WRAP UP – Final Thoughts…
The journey for the Dyson Glider has been amazing and exciting for me.
From the beginning I faced challenges of being limited with not having SolidWorks or any 3D software to solve the design problems.
Nor did I have a warehouse full of materials I can just walk in and the engineering equipment to create prototypes.
The key is to use whatever you have.
Adam Taha was right and he was the one who kept encouraging me while at times I panicked.
That’s the amazing thing about the world we live in.
The world is full of people with different talents, expertise knowledge and skills. That’s the real magic we sometimes take for granted.
To get anywhere in life it takes help from other people too – a team. In doing so, I found that I learn much more too.
Imagine what you can achieve with a positive attitude and thinking out of the box…
My thanks to Praveen who did an amazing job. His technical knowledge, skill and his smooth communication helped with the Dyson Glider Project.
He did awesome work and in a very short time too.
I’ll be calling on you very soon for other projects.
Now, what about all those ideas you got?
Why not use what you already have to bring whatever is in your mind to come alive.
Inspired by the article? Sign up for blog updates. It’s Free!
Product design projects finished 3D CAD Design and step by step journey journal in getting a job sent to your email inbox. Just sign the simple form below...