Design Approach

Project Details
Process Flow
Design Approach
Lean Manufacturing

The design approach we have followed in this project is the same approach that is taught throughout the mechanical engineering department at the University of Idaho.

  • Our first step was to define the problem.  We traveled to Boeing's facility in Spokane and toured the facility.  We witnessed the problems first hand, and talked to the engineers and operators about the problems they were having with the current system.
  • The second step in our design approach was to brainstorm possible solutions to the problems.  Working as a team, we used one idea to build a better idea, and eventually came up with several workable solutions.
  • After some solutions were identified, preliminary sketches were made and preliminary prototypes were generated.  Our first prototype consisted of a Lego model that represented our ideas surprisingly well.
  • We then generated solid models of our ideas using SolidWorks.  These models allowed us to assemble the components and test their feasibility without spending the time and money building actual models in the shop.
  • Once the preliminary solid models illustrated the feasibility of the ideas we generated physical models.  These are good visualization tools that allow us to further the development of the designs.  
  • Several of the feasible concepts were presented to our customers for their input and final selection.
  • Once a design concept was selected, we began generating solid models of the final design, complete with every component.
  • Once the models were complete, fabrication and assembly drawings were generated.
  • A detailed budget was created.
  • Components were ordered, steel was bought, and a detailed fabrication and assembly schedule was made.
  • Following the schedule, the fabrication, assembly, painting, wiring, programming, and testing were completed.

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Last updated: April 30, 2002.