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A Dip Into Product Design

Apr 7th 2016 | 473 words

I have to share this weekend project I've been working on. So if you haven't caught on by now I'm a huge car nut. And I was on the lookout for some automotive performance gauges. And after looking at prices and functionality I just said to hell with it, I'm building my own.

For the non car people, here is what performance gauges look like in the car:

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Learning how to 3D model

So after the initial brainstorm on how I wanted them to look I had no idea on how I was going to make them. The logical thing was to learn how to make 3D models. After some research I found that Fusion 360 from AutoDesk is a good fit for an engineering program that I can work with. It has a really nice learning curve. So go check that out! They also have a pretty awesome YouTube channel that will teach you how to 3D model like a boss.

Product Design

This is my first time making something in the real world. Websites and dashboards are kinda different than this. So after some brainstorming I decided to make them hollow (#becauseilovedoughnuts). It makes the gauge slimmer and it has the added bonus that you can see the road through it, so it's not a very big obstruction. Plus it makes it look really clean and sexy if I might add. After a few months of weekend hours spent on this I got to a point where it was ready to be made into a prototype. What now?

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3D Printing

I stumbled upon ShapeWays and found that making a plastic version of my model would cost next to nothing and it is really precise! A week later I got a real gauge from the USA and now it's time to move onto the final assembly!

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Electronics

For the brains of the gauge I decided to use an Arduino as the base platform. It makes it really easy to read sensor values and display them on an LED ring or strip. It took me a zero to no time to get used to the Arduino ecosystem. I have to say that my education is in electrical engineering so it made it kinda easy.

arduinomega2560_r3_fronte

Next steps

The glass is currently being engraved and I get it some time next week! If this post has enough interest I might follow up with some final assembly shots and stuff, but if this was a shot in the dark (trying to get web developers excited about product design) then I just lost 30 mins of my life writing this.

Peace out, Z