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Making Dreams Become Reality
American Inventor Francisco Patino turns to ID Group to create his Double Traction Bike

The ABC TV series ?American Inventor has gripped many people by reintroducing the idea that everyday people can invent a successful product.  For inventor Francisco Patino, who developed his idea for the ?Double Traction Bike, he is seeing his dream become a reality. His invention is a bike that holds an additional seat on the front of the bicycle, so that a second rider can sit and also power the bike with a extra set of pedals.

As Patino progressed through the TV competition, he was given funds to enable him to get expert product development on his idea. So he turned to Huntington Beach-based ID Group for the help he needed. With just 3 weeks to develop the invention into a working, ?manufacturable product, ID Group depended upon CoCreates 3D CAD software, OneSpace Designer Modeling, to make it happen.

?The deadline to complete this project was almost impossible, says ID Groups Design Manager, Jeremy Wilkens. ?We cannot ever claim that we will get all new products done in such a short time frame, but we did it for this one, and we would never have completed it without Designer Modeling.


ID Group is a product design and development studio that has gathered everything under one roof. The company delivers comprehensive product research, design, development services, through to producing prototypes and creating full product assemblies. The company has gained notoriety in everything from highly specialized aircraft interior design, to consumer electronics products.   Clients including Toyota, Lexus, Boeing, Jet Blue, Nike, Bombardier, Airbus and COBRA, often call upon the California studio to aid in the design and development of new concepts and products. The ID Group team is an unusual animal in that it combines high creativity with Industrial Design expertise and excellence.

3D modeling by Designer Modeling allowed the team at ID Group to develop the Inventor's concepts into production-ready designs within 3 1/2 weeks.

CoCreates Designer Modeling is a comprehensive 3D CAD system based on ?dynamic modeling, a unique history-free architecture. The software enables fast and precise design creation, and works well with design teams, especially in fast-paced environments where frequent and unexpected design changes occur. The software found itself in its element at ID Group while the team delivered on its promise to deliver Patinos invention as a working prototype within 3 weeks.

The product development process used by ID Group always starts with product research. As the design team familiarized themselves with Patinos concept, they also researched existing products, examined the physical properties needed, safety standards required, and so on. They also spent the first 5 days testing the original bike, analyzing the ergonomic properties, and then stripping the concept model down piece-by-piece. Their focus was on establishing how they could create a better center of gravity on the bike and improving cone of vision for the riders. The team even went to a store and bought a couple of bikes, chopped them up and created a crude prototype for testing of the new ergonomic concepts and theories they were advocating. After testing, these proved valid and development started.

By Day 8 the team had established the overall visual and physical direction, and had already started creating the more advanced version of the bike in Designer Modeling. The entire bike was created in 3D using the approved hand-sketched designs, computer-drawn 2D graphics, and DWG exports from Adobe Illustrator.

3D model of the 'Double Traction Bike' created using Cocreate OneSpace

Said Wilkens, ?All the initial concepts are done in 2D which are then imported into Designer Modeling and modeled into 3D, which is when the detail design work really gets going. This feeds into our creative process, allowing us the freedom to sketch out what we want in 2D and then be able to efficiently visualize and create in 3D.

According to Wilkens, development started at the rear wheel and worked forward to the front, establishing the entire bike design, in 3D, within 7 days.

?While we used off-the-shelf parts for some elements, such as the pedals, about 90% of the bike was designed from scratch in Designer Modeling. The design data created moved us into having a manufacturable product almost immediately, he said. ?Further, the 3D parts could be immediately shown to the inventor, approved and put into prototyping. It was an immensely fast process.

But, with any product and especially with such a fast-moving project as this one changes to the model were being made almost every minute.

?We built the 3D model from the rear to the front. No sooner had we completed that, we immediately found that we needed to alter the head tube design to appear a little lighter.  Visually we had taken the front end of the bike too far to the ?heavy duty language we were trying for.  If we had been using parametric design tools, that would have been a disaster. There is no way we could have changed that specific part without having to completely rebuild the front half of the design. But in Designer Modeling it was a simple change because of the dynamic modeling capabilities it possesses, says Wilkens.

Jeremy Wilkens, ID Group's Design Manager, working at the company's RP

Dynamic modeling has proved superior for rapidly changing designs as it allows any part of the assembly to be modified without retracing the series of steps and commands used to originally create the model. This forward-looking approach to 3D provides the flexibility for alterations to even the earliest parts of the design without disrupting concurrent design flows and other processes already underway. It also makes the product very easy to use and learn.

?Every day we were adjusting pieces of the design but since Designer Modeling is so easy to use, each member of the design team could make the changes when needed, said Wilkens. ?It allows all of us to model whatever shape we envision, and then also still be able to move quickly with design changes a challenge we face in all our projects.

In order to complete the project on time, ID Group was forced to overlap its processes. For example, the design process started while research was still underway. When prototyping started, design was not fully complete:

?We estimated that it would take 2 weeks to machine the frame, powder coat, paint and test the full prototype. This meant that we were still performing design while machining was underway on various parts. This is far from ideal and we had to lean heavily on our design team, our engineers and also our 3D technology to make it work. Wilkens said. ?Fortunately they all worked to specification, he says with a laugh.

Interoperability of 2D and 3D CAD data also proved important during this project. It was decided that the drive mechanism could be created from an existing product. The team located an AutoCAD 2D drawing file of the desired drive, and quickly imported it into Designer Modeling and turned it into a 3D model. Wilkens clarified:

?We used the DWG files for the drive mechanism as well as some IronCAD 3D models for accessory parts that were imported directly and accurately into Designer Modeling. This made a huge difference to our design time.

As if the team was not stressed enough, according to Wilkens the real sleep deprivation started with the prototyping: ?Prototyping is where we go beyond the original concept into reality, he said. ?The all-nighters started when we were cutting the frame on the CNC mills. We also had our rapid prototyping machine in almost constant use.

Using the 3D model from Designer Modeling, the team could export the fender and seat designs as STL files and load them directly to their Objet Eden 500V rapid prototyping machine. Wilkens admits that they prototyped some parts several times when it was decided that something looked out-of-place or, in his terms, cheesy. For machined parts, the 3D data was run through a CAM system and machined on the in-house Haas CNC machines.

?This is where our company goes further than most other product development companies: the Haas and Stratasys machines we use have accuracy of up to 16 microns. Combined with Designer Modelings modeling accuracy, we can create highly accurate parts overnight and bolt them directly on the assembly. Yes, it was hard work to do this so rapidly, but it was worth the effort.

At the end of 3 weeks, ID Group and Francisco Patino delivered a fully-working, manufacturable prototype right on deadline. Patino won his round in the American Inventor competition, and moved forward to the final round.

?ID Group is an incredible team, concluded Wilkens. ?They are fast, decisive, creative but we could not have completed this project without the flexibility, dynamic modeling tools and team design approach that Designer Modeling provides.

For more information on ID Group, visit www.idgroup-inc.com

For more information on CoCreate, visit www.cocreate.com

For more information about ?American Inventor visit www.abc.com


 


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