Industrial Design at the TU/e being my second university degree, I had already completed a number of projects before starting my first year. I was (and still am) a FabLab manager at FabLab Amersfoort. My biggest hobby is building kites, and when I first saw a 3D-printer at work, my first thoughts went to how I could use this new tool to create more interesting kites. Below are some pictures of projects that I completed before starting my degree.
3D printing was something I was initially drawn to because it would allow me to print kite connectors. However, I quickly became hooked and started designing and printing objects that would improve my daily life. One of the designs that I’m particularly proud of is my violin chin rest. I first modelled it in Fusion 360 and then in Blender as I wanted to learn how both programs work. After several iterations, the chin rest was comfortable and I used it for quite some time on my old violin. Recently, someone from Italy contacted me about using my design files to model a chin rest for his son. Of course I was glad to help so hopefully a child in Italy will soon have his custom 3D-printed chin rest!
I also wanted to get better at programming, so I modelled my kite parts in OpenSCAD. All these designs made me more comfortable thinking in 3D and using different software packages. This in turn has made me feel more comfortable in the expertise area of Math, Data, and Computing.
From the age of 12 I’ve enjoyed building my own kites, and in my late teens I started designing my own kites and kite accessories from scratch.
Kite building has taught me a lot that I benefit from as an Industrial Design student. Thinking about how thick the spars need to be, the forces on different parts of the kite, getting a feeling for aerodynamics, all helped me get an insight into the mechanical engineering side of things. This is probably one of the reasons I enjoy prototyping so much, and why I’m good at it.
Building kites also taught me how to work systematically and was my first taste of iterative design; usually your own kite plans don’t fly that well the first time, and you have to iterate upon the design. Now, after 20 years, I’m at a place where my first build usually flies well straight away, but I still liked it better when I had to tweak that first model to get it to fly right.
It also taught me to persevere because building a single kite, from first idea to finished model, can take days if not weeks, months, or years.
I think these are all qualities that a good industrial designer needs, and I’m happy that I can build upon those skills in the bachelor’s.