modem + router

here is a modem & router project i worked on. my goal was to consolidate a modem and router into a single unit featuring a simplified user interface. with regards to the final shape, i chose a nautical theme. i wanted to convey a forward sense of movement and navigation in a cutting edge form that embodies the latest in communications technologies. any relevant thoughts and suggestions are appreciated !

Nice work! I really like your final design from all your preliminary sketches.

I would love to see an exploded assembly before I make any comments on the overall design.

You’ll have to excuse ip’s sense of humor… I believe it is on the dry side…


Nice work. Good form exercise and I think you selected the most compelling design to model, though the thumbnail sketch has a bit more motion to it.

I had been sketching some wireless routers myself for a friend who was working on a project. It got me thinking about how stuck these things are in commodity land, yet most of us have one. Their are no “trophy” options, as their are with blenders, and toasters and such… nothing at the kitchenaid mixer level. Imagine if you had a router that was so beautifully sculpted and crafted that you WANTED to have it out in the living room on a shelf.

Did you do a 2D layout first and them build a 3D?

What programs were used? Alias? Rhino? Renderer?

:smiley: I’ve been accused of worse.

Seriously though, I am not looking for ripping this apart solely on the fact that it doesn’t appear manufacturable (which it doesn’t based on a 3 minute assessment). I am trying to push them a bit to actually think this way. I remember going back to my University days, we visited a large profile design studio in Chicago. I remember sitting there as a group of aspiring designers and having virtually every designer in the studio telling us that the one thing that was lacking from virtually every student’s portfolio are exploded assemblies of their designs (especially at the 3rd to 4th year level). It stuck.

Basically, he was looking to ensure that all the students thought about how the product was made.

The irony is that I have the same complaint about most of the portfolios coming through. Very few of them consider manufacturability. You don’t have to have every detail thought out…that’s for engineering. But having a competence…at the very least a consideration…for how its made adds to your value as a designer.

there is a problem with the base…
Otherwise I don’t see much of an issue? I think the point is whether a design is “luckily” manufacturable, or did the student consciously make it so. This is something that is important to be aware of.

Yup, that’s where I saw the issues as well. There are ways around it all to keep the design intent, but having thought it out a bit so you don’t get torn apart and have the design thrown out because the ME says it can’t be manufactured is a worthy skill to hone.

your sketches are fine, very consistent in style and presentation.

I like also the degree of completeness of your design: all connectors, buttons and icons, lights, parts, seams, etc.

IP is correct, some thought to show manufacturability or actual fit of internal components takes a commodity electronics packaging project from styling exercise to actual industrial design: a subtle yet fundamental difference.

To debate with our colleagues, I don’t see much difficulty with the base. It’s very similar to the new Dell monitors, a splayed foot zinc casting with a plastic skirt. There’s room enough for a vertical mechanism and cable routing. I think the beautiful metal faceted fascia will be close to unmanufacturable as shown.

thanks to everyone for all of the comments and criticism so far, some valid points, particularly on the manufacturing.

i built this model in solidworks and rendered it in hypershot. i did use some of the sketches as underlays and reference in solidworks. i don’t currently have an exploded view of this but i am working one up. i have an old friend at cisco who gave me some typical dimensions for the integrated circuit board around which i built the design.

with regards to the manufacturing of this, the brushed metal finished plastic bezel (ABS+PC) is one piece injection molded. attached is a sketch showing a simple core/cavity setup for this.

this bezel snap-fits onto the main body. the main body can be manufactured in a number of ways. since it has natural draft from it’s angular shape, it could literally be injection molded in almost 2 symmetrical halves(top to bottom). however, the foot would have an undercut problem, so the foot would be a separate part which also snap-fits around the neck like protrusion that houses the phone and power socket. if anybody has other suggestions on how this could be manufactured, i’d be very interested in hearing them.

bennybtl/ip : what exactly is the problem you see with the base ?

again, thanks for comments and criticisms, all are appreciated !

The problem I see is the undercut you mention and you’re right in that it would have to be a separate piece that would fit over the circuit board protrusion. The point IP was making, though, was that based on your presentation boards, it wasn’t apparent that you had considered this (the large body would mold as two halves, split down the middle with the “foot” snapping in from below, but there is no parting line, for example) I know that this is nit-picky, but a crabby engineer could easily shoot this down as being unmoldable as you show it, and you’d be left to stammer and explain your way through it. Not a place that you want to be.

Food for thought, otherwise good work, I like the “sail” form language and this is definately a product area that is “stuck in commodity land” How can anyone expect to gauge the relative quality/performance of these products? I’m a nerd, and I have a hard time shopping for a good router.

Another issue is that if you have a modem you do not need a router if you are only going to have one computer on the network. It is a wireless router then it is fine for multiple nodes ('puters). I like the overall form and it’s relation to a sail. In SW you may try inserting some cat5 cables to the back, I think that it might takeaway from the form and give it a H.R. Giger look.

bennybtl : i understand the presentation boards don’t communicate the manufacturability of the design and an exploded view would certainly help. i have had my share of arguments with engineers regarding manufacturability, believe you me ! it is hard to gauge the relative quality and performance of these products other than their inherent communications technologies. one focus of this design is the space saving footprint. it not only combines a modem and a router, but it shapes them in an upright form taking up less space on the surface it is located on(most modems and routers i have seen on the market are long low forms taking up more surface space).

simon_four_fingers : that’s a good point about the cat 5 cables coming out from the back of the router. it’s challenging to determine how the cables will interpret the form and vice versa. i tried to keep the sockets low and close to the ground plane of the design so they would not stick out so much. i had considered having a choice of different ‘support’ shoes for the modem router, each one being wider/bigger and accommodating more cat 5 cables, however, this would be expensive and non-space saving. maybe some cable tidy loops on the existing foot/body could help the cable arrangement better…

One thing that I would suggest is that our router and modem is next to our DVD player along with the other components by our TV. The reasons for this is that we what Cable internet and that is the closes place for them. Looking at your design Ii don’t know if it would really work in my entertainment unit in my living room. This is something I think this category should think about. I have a desk top a laptop and my laptop from work and my wife’s laptop from her work. Clearly this is an important part of the family.

I would suggest looking at the router/modem as an appealing piece of electronics in the house or a piece of furniture. I know the furniture part sounds weird but it is going to be part of our lives.