A concept sketch is normally used as a discussion tool or a plan and contains just enough detail to get the idea across. A concept sketch can be anything from a quick napkin sketch to a full scale layout. The sketch assists designers in developing ideas and defining the parameters of the project. Concept sketches leave a great deal open to the imagination. Concept sketches are used to identify primary goals. Concept sketches can be created by hand or computer using a variety of techniques. The sketches may or may not be to scale. Relatively little time is invested in a single concept sketch. Considering multiple concepts helps define the best goals for the product.
This stage can be particularly critical for potential investors who may not be accustomed to visualizing an engineering concept. Renderings can be used for marketing of products that are still in the design or construction phase. Rendered outputs range from quick shaded images to photo realistic detailed rendered animations. The best format may be some or all of the following: hand sketches, still renderings, transparencies, film, computer images in various animated formats, internet presentations, videotape, etc.
This stage of the design involves polishing the design. Paying attention to the small details that affect the product’s acceptance. Industrial design helps in how intuitive the product is, in other words how obvious the product fulfills its intent. Some of the issues that affect this are: the appearance, the feel, ergonomics (how the body interacts with it). Many aspects of a product can be affected by these issues.
Detailed engineering may encompass interference checking, determining assembly details, and construction methods. This includes creating final engineering drawings to an appropriate level. The drawing level could be simply a tolerance drawing that just has the information saying “make per the computer model” and specifies the material, tolerances, finish, critical dimensions and other relevant information. At the other end of the scale, the drawing could be fully detailed, mil spec, and geometric toleranced.
This is a functioning model that closely approximates production construction methods. These prototypes are typically more accurate and are made of materials that match the final material.