Digital Modeling

Digital Solid Modeling has transformed how we design products. It's ever more important for engineers, designers, and creatives to understand the process of how products are made, and the limitations of those processes. I took this class as part of my Da Vinci Concentration to dive deeper into the prototyping world.

This set of projects represents work completed in Digital Solid Modeling in 2017. The class covered SolidWorks, KeyShot, 3D Printing, concept development, and time in the product lab. The class provided an opportunity to see all phases of product design, from concept creation through to final prototypes.

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Phone Case

This project description was to create two different form variations of a product exploring size, look, and feel. The product needed to explore ergonomic factors and produce a final prototype. Exploring concepts, I decided to explore negative space, daily human interaction, and being useful. From the mood board picture, the theme of a natural flow exists, repeating a pattern or a feature. What is something people use and hold everyday? A cellphone. A phone case had to be ergonomic and user-friendly. This was a form project focused on SolidWorks design. Therefore, a key component was creating a case template that would fit a phone. A few iterations were printed on a MakerBot printer, as shown below, to create a case with the correct thickness and dimensions. Weight and flexibility were the main issues in these prototypes. The prototypes needed to be thinner in both the shell dimensions and the extrusions on the back.

To incorporate form I used water as inspiration. As a swimmer and someone who spends a lot of time in water, this form was unique to me. The two cases mimicked the natural rolling waves of the ocean and one single droplet creating ripples. The wave back has individual protrusions to create a lighter case and experiment with the aspect of negative space. The droplet case has rounded edges for easy gripping. This project was also an exploration into the capabilities of KeyShot renderings. A video can be found here. Images can be found below.

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Speaker Rendering

Our class worked together on this bluetooth speaker project to understand the application of SolidWorks from a manufacturing perspective. We were tasked with taking apart, modeling, and re-building in SolidWorks a bluetooth speaker. Each class member was tasked with designing a unique part, and had to work together to ensure fit and cohesion across the assembly.


After completion of the virtual assembly, each student was randomly assigned a brand to create a new bluetooth speaker according to each student's respective brand language. I was assigned Nike, and began brainstorming ideas that would work with Nike’s athletic, vibrant brand.  The mood board led me to various ideas for the active user, but the concept that stood out was inspired by the bubbles on the Nike AirMax shoe. After a solid black initial design, found in the slides below, class feedback helped to redirect my design to incorporate some key Nike features, including the orange highlights and the athletic, durable, portable style meant for an active lifestyle. The final speaker design was small, and was support by these bubbles to absorb shock and provide a speaker to fit the active lifestyle of a Nike customer.


The slideshow below depicts KeyShot renderings of both the individual piece of the torn-down speaker and the assembled speaker in a situation. The slideshow also depicts the brainstorming, concept generation, re-design and modeling processes of the Boeing speaker. See a video rendering here.

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Office Peg Board

I've always loved my trinkets. As a kid, my brothers and I had huge boxes of legos, all color-coded that gave way to hours and hours of creating, building, and tearing down. This is the perspective I brought to making an office toy: something that lent itself to creating, building, and reshaping. I chose to create a marble peg board for a desk. It includes image holders, a pencil rack, and a quote on the wood "Inspiration still works." The pieces were modeled in SolidWorks and created using a laser cutter.


The PDF below presents needs, themes, inspirations, and issues encountered throughout the design process. It is a combination of images, SolidWorks models, and KeyShot renders. See a video rendering here.

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Lamp Design

Part of a Digital Solid Modeling class, the task was to balance form, function, and shadows to create a useful lamp.  For inspiration, I turned to my passion for music and musical notes.  With a ten foot long LED tape light at my disposal, I focused on line work, using Saul Steinberg for a reference, with an organic shape and hidden light source.  Possible themes included a map, skyline, portrait, or musical inspiration.

Of the concepts for desks, pendants, and wall hangings that were generated, the wall-hanging proved the most feasible in the two-week timeframe and was easily mountable on any wall.  The final product was laser-cut wood that was offset and layered and hide the LED strip. Four layers were used and the one used to hide the LED was painted black to enhance the effect of the downlighting and the outline.

The slideshow below has a mood board of inspirations, concept sketches, SolidWorks models, prototypes, and KeyShot renderings alongside actual images.