Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mecha-style stand for Bose speaker Challenge

Just got accepted for the Bose Speaker Challenge over on Instructables.

The project was designed and rendered in Fusion 360. The challenge was to design two panels (on opposing sides) for Bose's Educational Speaker Kit for students

As  you can see, I decided to go with a Mecha look.

The kit comes with translucent panels. And the back panel has LEDs that can be controlled via a phone app. I tried to get the render to show the glowing effect. It worked somewhat, but I still need to learn a lot about rendering emissive and translucent materials.

The lonely speaker-mecha wanders the desert looking for student interaction.

I wanted a design that would appeal to young kids. The Bose Build Speaker Cube kit is designed to teach about sound, electromagnetism, programming and assembly. That sounded like it's for younger students, so I also wanted to make sure it was very sturdy and very stable. I designed a very wide base and made all the parts super thick. It should hold up to classroom use for several years.

I also wanted to make sure teachers could print it easily, so I made it a single piece per side. Each side can be printed flat with a minimum of supports. The shapes should print easily without anyone having to tweak the printer settings. Teachers have plenty to do besides getting a delicate design to print correctly on the school printer. And students should get an easy success on their first try.

I tried to balance the level of detail with an engaging look. There are a lot of strong basic shapes, but not much surface detail. The strong visual massing and classic mecha shapes should trick the eye into thinking there is more detail than is really there.

The mighty mecha is at rest now, but could suddenly stand up and walk away in a cloud of dust and wall of sound.

Hopefully, the wide base will make it stable for kids to play with. The speaker weighs close to two pounds, so I wanted to make sure it didn't get top-heavy and topple over.

I learned a lot in this design project. Even though I know the basics of Fusion 360 I found myself getting bogged down in the sheer number of objects. I might have made a mistake keeping every object separate until the last minute. That made the object list cumbersome to navigate. But I learned to manage them on-the-fly from the design canvas much better than before.

And keeping them all apart till the final build also gave me a lot more freedom to make design decisions all along the process. Of course that freedom (power?) also meant I could get distracted making (too many?) minor changes for hours at a time.

I'm waiting to see what kids and teachers think of it, but overall, I'm happy with the result - both from a CAD standpoint and as a usable design for young students.

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