I want to stress that although my current wind-up wooden car is my final product for this project, I see the piece as another model working towards a greater design. As I said, throughout constructing and after completing the model, I saw a variety of elements I could change and improve. I pondered these changes and new ideas as I fell asleep last night and continue to do so now as I prepare to present my final model. While taking pictures of the model at various locations, I have assembled and dissembled the car numerous times. This process taught me more about the design and thus more things to consider when devising the next iteration. During my most recent photographing session, I asked my friend to sit on the car to show off how the side windows also served as handles and to put the concept into context. He too hesitantly sat on it but I reassured him although it would not propel him forward (which, I’m fairly confident in saying, is due to the band being too weak for the way I designed it to work), if he didn’t shake it, the car would support his weight. As he got more comfortable, he began lifting his feet. After a lifting his legs a couple times, the top piece fell out of place and hit his hand. Aside from feeling bad, I was reminded that the structure was not reliable the design should have more secure connections between faces. Better connections, I thought, could also aid in assembly as the stretched band between the front panel and rear axle makes adding the sides to the car challenging. In an effort to resolve these issues, I quickly sketched the following design on my iPad.

Next Wooden Wind-Up Design iPad Sketch

While I thought it would make it easier to put together and stronger, I now see how it could still be difficult to assemble. Locking in the front axle via two front pieces and having those and the remaining three sides secured in between the rubber-band-help top and bottom pieces would be more secure. Attaching the band between the front panel and rear axle, though, might be more difficult. This design does not touch on a more reliable or effective way of attaching the wheels. Currently, the wooden pegs work but they are not very attractive and I think a better means exists.


Sketches by Erdem

Sketches by Erdem Selek

Erdem, my professor, quickly identified my design was getting too complex. Scanning through my sketches and looking at my model, he said the design of the vehicle was distracting and overshadowing the rubber band element of the toy. Thus, Erdem recommended I stick with a simple form, such as the box of my original, cardboard model or a simple cylinder shape. He conveyed he preferred the proportions and feel of my first, cardboard model and that the wooden model was getting too big and complex. He demonstrated the effectiveness of a simpler design through the sketches pictured above, showing that the design put a greater emphasis on the rubber band and its imperative role (whereas the user might look at one of the more complex designs and question, for example, “why use a rubber band?”). With the more basic design, though, Erdem stressed there still must be a sense of direction in the vehicle, that the user should comprehend which side is the front. If done well, a simple vehicle design with relatively nonexistent or hidden mechanics has the potential to spark more interest within the user. That being said, he pointed out I could reveal or hint at the rubber band through a slit on either the top or side of the car. Erdem pointed out these could also function as handles. With a simple vehicle design, as he explained, the vehicle could sit in a room, decoratively, but also serve a functional purpose and, ideally, the user will look at and question the product. What is that box? What does it do? Is it just a box with wheels? What’s inside the hole? Why is there a rubber band? Upon interacting with the box, the user will discover that it is in fact a large wind-up toy.

Based on my model, I’m not sure if I can accomplish my goal of being able to ride on the wind-up vehicle, at least within the product time frame. This is disappointing and unfortunate but, as Erdem expressed, even if the vehicle could not bear a child’s weight, the idea of a large wind-up toy still holds potential for fun. Furthermore, my final product for this project could be the first version, the first prototype, of an eventual model that can transport an adult.