How To PAD: Examples (Real Design)


The last post showed how to take a simple camera – really any camera, even a cell phone camera – and with a little care in shooting and some basic Photoshop, make a 1:1 scale print of a part.  Really, think of it like it’s a 3-D scanner like they use for making parts with a 3D printer.  Or the Star Trek Replicator.  Yeah, think of it like that.

Well, here’s what you can do with that.

I started with a basic part out of 1/4″ steel, like this.  I thought it was pretty slick at the time.


Then, a little later, handed the same image to Clark Sopper.  He used that image and was able to make this:


That’s the kind of stuff that a real Product Designer can do.  Besides gorgeousness, it weighs less than a pound.

So that got me thinking.  I had a dash on the bike that was, to be extremely generous, pretty basic.  Here’s a shot of that.


I had practically hogged that voltmeter bracket out with my teeth, since I don’t have any real machine tools.  I asked Clark what he thought. He said to draw something up.

Once again I used PAD to mess around with shapes and layouts, got the mounting holes lined up and printed out some tests.  When I got down to the final ideas I spray-mounted them to foamcore and actually mounted the meters on them to see if I liked them.  Like this.


You can see the holes printed on the little ears.  I took this image and sent it to Clark.  He worked his magic.  At this point I don’t even remember if he sent me a final design, but I would have been totally cool just letting him do his thing.  I’m a big fan of standing back when you’re working with someone more talented that you are, and letting them work unencumbered.

Here’s the teasey photo he sent me at one point.


Cruel.  Talented, but cruel.

Here’s what I got in the mail a few days later.


What you can’t see is the relief behind the each round opening.  The bracket is about 3/8″ thick to give it strength and some feel of mass, but that would have made mounting the meters hard.  He just cut that away to about 1/16″ around the holes.  The little table in the “saddle” was his idea for the mounting for the LEDs.  Now it’s coming back to me…  I really wasn’t even sure what I was going to run for LED indicators – at least one, maybe three, so he didn’t drill out holes.


This was the rough fit, and then this was how it looked on the bike, with the final mounting holes drilled and the LED mounted.


You have no idea.  NO idea how hard it was to actually drill little holes in this jewel of a part.  I think it took me a week to screw up my courage.  And another three days to actually make the holes.  Fasting, virgin sacrifices, prayer to the Gods of Speed and Motorcycle Yumminess, all of that.

Of all the stuff on that bike I’ve rigged, made and put together?  This is by far the Pinnacle of Yummy.


So yeah, PAD was a great way to work out in my mind what I liked.  I was sure it was going to fit, it let me play around with designs and shapes, and it was precise enough, and had enough information to hand off to someone who knew what they were doing, and take the design to the next level.  You know, the level of Actual Design.

Once again I want to thank Clark for his amazing work.  …and I couldn’t have done it without PAD.  Well, I could have done it, I suppose, but why would I?


One response to “How To PAD: Examples (Real Design)

  1. Pingback: How To PAD – xOoterpod Gets a Motor (Example, With Precision) | The Electric Chronicles·


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