ALP – Week 9 – Lotus inspired fan design

14 Jul

By Guan Rong

This week was my theme’s last week in Ningbo with the company we were interning with, Daye.

This week, our mentors / teachers confirmed our directions for us, and our wild exploration and expansion in search for ideas got fine-tuned.

I never knew constraints and boundaries could be so refreshing! The previous few weeks had been spent generating ideas in a very open playing field, where almost anything and everything could go. The most recent focus was to come up with fans that looked beautiful and elegant, like art pieces, so people would want to display it as a center piece rather than chuck it to the side. Hence we ended up in quite a hilarious process of sculpting beautiful / sleek designs, and later on then worrying about how it can become a fan. We’d primarily identify the most elegant designs, then later crowd around and say, ‘hmmm how do we make this into a fan?’ or ‘Ohh this is nice! Hmm. But wait, where does the air come out from?’ Hahahaha then try and find somewhere we can make a slit so air can come out from (like dyson bladeless fans) heh. Ok I’m digressing, but yea all they wanted was a beautiful design, that complied with our previous focus of being sleep friendly (Sensual look, hypnotizing / beautiful motion, quiet, natural wind alarm etc.).

Last week, Professor Ying, design head of 浙大 told us he’d like for us to focus on a lotus inspired design. Suddenly the walls shot up around us and we were constricted to such a simple, single source of inspiration. How do we come up with 20+ designs from just a single lotus flower?

01_lotus
But who knew, this new challenge proved to be very refreshing indeed, as we had to approach idea generation from a very different angle. For example, we would reduce the lotus into its basic form, symbolic shape, or just use the curvature of the closed bud, arrangement of petals, skewed shadow of the flower, or anything at all as inspiration. Here are some examples of lotus inspired designs we found on the web that displayed some of these techniques.

02_lotus_inspired_designs_from_web

Eventually, within 2-3 days, we did manage to generate many many designs and concepts!

On top of this, we also did some prototyping, buying different fan motors and trying to see how certain designs / wild bends / twists in the fan blades will affect things like noise and air flow.

Discussing usefulness of this fan having 2 rotational axes

Discussing usefulness of this fan having 2 rotational axes

Making crude prototype of dyson fan blades

Making crude prototype of dyson fan blades

Sealing blades above air vent of fan

Sealing blades above air vent of fan

Testing air flow and noise when blades are bent sharply

Testing air flow and noise when blades are bent sharply

Testing entrainment effect (Chun Yong: Hmmm my long silky hair is barely moving in the breeze. Alvin: Huh? It’s on?)

Testing entrainment effect (Chun Yong: Hmmm my long silky hair is barely moving in the breeze. Alvin: Huh? It’s on?)

Taking apart the fan to check out the motor (Michael: How to make this 9999 times more powerful? Nono not enough. 99999) Maybe he’s causing the typhoon.

Taking apart the fan to check out the motor (Michael: How to make this 9999 times more powerful? Nono not enough. 99999) Maybe he’s causing the typhoon.

All in all we had loads of fun, and also a lot of blood sweat tears trying to rhino complicated designs with tough curves as well. But of course we learnt a lot along with it too!

We’re starting to head towards homerun soon as our return to Hangzhou will mark the 2/3 point and we will have only another 5 weeks from then to get everything in place for the final exhibition! Must make the best of these last few weeks here, both in learning and playing/traveling/exploring!!

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