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GLH: 12 Hours

3.1 Conceptual modelling
Essential idea:
A conceptual model originates in the mind and its primary purpose it to outline the principles, processes, and basic functions of a design system.
Nature of design:
Designers use conceptual modelling to assist their understanding by simulating the subject matter they represent. Designers should consider systems, services and products in relation to what they should do, how they should behave, what they look like and whether they will be understood by the users in the manner intended.
Concepts and principles:
  • The role of conceptual modelling in design
  • Conceptual modelling tools and skills
Aim 7: The starting point for solving a problem springs from an idea developed in the mind. A detailed exploration of the idea is vital to take it from the intangible to the tangible, along with the ability to articulate the idea to others.

3.2 Graphical modelling
Essential idea:
Graphical models are used to communicate design ideas.
Nature of design:
Graphical models can take many forms, but their prime function is always the same - to simplify the data and present it in such a way that understanding of what is being presented aids further development or discussion. Designers utilize graphical modelling as a tool to explore creative solutions and refine ideas from the technically impossible to the technically possible, widening the constraints of what is feasible.
Concepts and principles:
  • 2D and 3D graphical models
  • Perspective, projection and scale drawings
  • Sketching versus formal drawing techniques
  • Part and assembly drawings
Aim 2: The development of ideas through graphical models allows designers to explore and deepen their understanding of a problem and context of use.

3.3 Physical modelling
Essential idea:
A physical model is a three-dimensional, tangible representation of a design or system.
Nature of design:
Designers use physical models to visualize information about the context that the model represents. It is very common for physical models of large objects to be scaled down and smaller objects scaled up for ease of visualization. The primary goal of physical modelling is to test aspects of a product against user requirements. Thorough testing at the design development stage ensures that an appropriate product is developed.
Concepts and principles:
  • Scale models
  • Aesthetic models
  • Mock-ups
  • Prototypes
  • Instrumented models
Aim 4: Physical modelling not only allows designers to explore and test their ideas, but to also present them to others. Engaging clients, focus groups and experts to interact with physical models of products allows designers to gain valuable feedback that enable them to improve the design and product-user interface.

3.4 Computer-aided design (CAD)
Essential idea:
A computer-aided design is the generation, creation, development and analysis of a design or system using computer software.
Nature of design:
As technologies improve and the software becomes more powerful, so do the opportunities for designers to create new and exciting products, services and systems. greater freedom in customization and personalization of products has a significant impact on the end user. The ability to virtually prototype, visualize and share designs enhances the whole design cycle from data analysis through to final designs.
Concepts and principles:
  • Types of CAD software
  • Surface and solid models
  • Data modelling including statistical modelling
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Bottom-up and top-down modelling
  • Digital humans: motion capture, haptic technology, virtual reality (VR), and animations
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
Aim10: The use of CAD to simulate the conditions in which a product will be used allows the designer to gain valuable data at low cost. For example, simulating the flow of air across a car exterior negates the need for a car and wind tunnel.

3.5 Rapid prototyping
Essential idea:
Rapid prototyping is the production of a physical model of a design using three-dimensional CAD data.
Nature of design:
The growth in computing power has had a major impact on modelling with computer-aided manufacture. Rapid software and hardware developments allow new opportunities and exciting new technologies to create dynamic modelling of ever-greater complexity. Models can be simulated by designers using software, tested and trialled virtually before sending to a variety of peripheral machines for prototype manufacture in an ever-increasing range of materials. The ease of sending this digital data across continents for manufacture of prototypes has major implications for data and design protection.
Concepts and principles:
  • Stereolithography
  • Laminated object manufacturing (LOM)
  • Fused deposition modelling (FDM)
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)
Aim10: The increasing effectiveness of rapid prototyping techniques in terms of both cost and speed enables designers to create complex physical models for testing.

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