Where are the prototypes?

I have seens so many comments on software and how important it is to know your stuff on the computer. How important it is to render on the computer well. But you never seems to hear or see people actaully create and prototype these ideas into real work. If you take a really good design firm like IDEO, they work more on the object, and they prototype everything. I agree that it is important to know how to do all the work on the computer, or sketch it out on paper, but I wonder about who has real model making skills? Its not easy, and yet it seems to be tossed aside? A real prototype will always come across better then any rendering. What do you think, are we too into the software design?

A prototype is not a traditional ID model so what are you asking about?

a) Looks-like ID aesthetic
b) Works-like Frankenstein
c) Both
d) Prototype using matched components including gears/electronics/housing/etc

Most ID people make aesthetic models or simple works-like things. They rarely make prototypes. And even most design firms still don’t make real prototypes unless they’re big like IDEO.

Sounds like someone without much of a career. Prototyping is so important, and I agree that young designers are focusing more on layout design, that is what graphics is for. Why do schools even bother teaching 3d design, model making… I would hate to see ID become just a sub-cat. of graphic design. 3D modeling on a computer is like an oxymoron, its still 2D!!! Besides, making the actuall object is the best part of design. And, IDEO may seem like a “large” company, but hearing from them its not. They just do things right, and it makes the company look huge. Bigger than some one man show, but not large in any means. Maybe the fact that they do things like prototyping is a major key to their success. In fact, when you read the book the art of innovation, they make a point of saying when they showed their design process on nightline, it was then that major company’s showed intrest in them. If you cant work with you hands, become a graphic artist. There is nothing wrong with that, but ID is about being able to take a product from point 1 to the end.

I make my own prototypes! After I draw my layouts and do my calculations, I order my electronic components from Digi-Key or find them at the surplus. At uni I have access to simple circuit design software to help me make my interface. It’s an awesome bit of software and you can run it on the PC to make sure it all works before you print the circuit and burn the copper off! We have a little shop where which has leftover gears and such and even though we’re supposed to be using the right gear ratios, we sometimes cheat to get the right meshing. The metal work, if there is any, is the hardest for me. We don’t yet have a laser cutting machine so the detailing metal work means I have lots of cutting 'n filing to do. And I’m usually doing that while I’m sanding the shapes for the form. I’d rather just vacu-form because I prefer to just make it look nice, but sometimes I have to use correct wall stocks and matched materials to make sure my prototype is as accurate as can be and can handle the engineering stresses and loads. I mean, it is a prototype and should behave like one.

Oh right! Forgot to finish the thought!haha We get our resins through our shop. Making the molds is smelly business and I really do dislike that part. But pouring in a nice epoxy, drawing a vaccum and waiting to pop out the parts makes it all worth the while! After the painting and detailing of course it all gets assembled into the final piece!

What kind of solder you use?

Simple prototypes or sketch models of ideas is part of i.d. I’ve found. I’ve also found that A value of ID is exploring a range of ideas for a prob that can be shown through sketches, and, more usefully, protos/mach-ups for the team and client to build from, depart from and/or ideate with.

I’ve been humbled in working with specialists, software eng’s, me’s and business pros to say that much of what they do is beyond my area of training/expertise. And I’ve also been inpired to understand what they do (to a point considering time and resources) so I can understand the design and contribute as needed.

Safe to say that the design of something cool and useful, from start to finish, should be a creative collaboration of a dynamic team(s) with a mutual goal for innovation.