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Engineering Design: A Project-Based Introduction, Fourth Edition by Elizabeth Orwin, Patrick Little, Clive L. Dym

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CHAPTER 2

DEFINING A DESIGN PROCESS AND A CASE STUDY

How do I do engineering design? Can you show me an example?

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HAVING DEFINED engineering design and some vocabulary, we now define a process of design, that is, how we actually do a design. This may seem a bit abstract, because we will break down a complex process into smaller, more detailed design tasks. However, as we define those design tasks, we will identify specific design tools and methods that we use to implement a design process. Keep in mind that we are not presenting a recipe for doing design. Instead, we are outlining a framework within which we can articulate and think about what we are doing as we design something. Further, it is important to keep in mind that our overall focus will be on what we will identify as conceptual design, the early stage where different design ideas or concepts are developed and analyzed.

2.1 THE DESIGN PROCESS AS A PROCESS OF QUESTIONING

Imagine you are working in a company that makes diverse consumer projects, and your boss calls you into her office and says, “Design a safe ladder.” You wonder to yourself: Why does anyone need still another ladder? Aren't there a lot of safe ladders already on the market? And what does she mean by a “safe ladder”?

It's not a big surprise that a whole bunch of questions immediately come to mind. Typically, design projects start with a statement that ...

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