Tag: design

Design is complicated, but often we try to explain it in a quick catchy phrase. There is a saying: “The Devil is in the Details”. Mies van der Rohe is often credited with flipping the concept upside down by saying: “God is in the Details”. Regardless, it means that if you do not pay attention to the details the design will stink.

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I have always had an odd fascination with Chrysler. The whole story is too long to get into, but it relates to my Mother first seeing value in Chrysler stock and timing the ups and downs like Paganini on a violin, and my days at Chrysler's Highland Parks Tech Center working with Chrysler engineers on secret America's Cup projects in the days of minivans and K Cars.

 

I knew how Chrysler engineers worked and when the merger with Daimler took place I had an UhOh moment. There are great Chrysler engineers, and there are great Mercedes engineers, but that does not mean they think the same way. At Martin & Ottaway we are very sensitive to the differences in world wide engineering cultures and Germans and Americans jointly producing cars? I think not. I ran this by my German Detroit car engineer brother in law and he felt the same way.

 

So it did not work out. And then Sergio Marchionne walked in with Fiat and walked out with both. American and Italian engineers are a much better match and I was encouraged.

 

And then I heard an interesting story.

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My wife posted this picture on my Facebook page. I copy it here because the picture made me think, and that led me right into a patent and copyright approach that I have been toying with for a number of years.

 

First of all, I could not figure out where the picture came from (who owns it), but if I am infringing a copyright please let me know and I will sort things out. Interestingly my idea is an improvement on the concept in the picture, and therefore may skirt copyright issues. Regardless, I very strongly believe in reasonable intellectual property rights.  read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Brilliant Black

My friend Danny had to take his Black Jack wooden inboard Jersey sea skiff to the Sea Bright NJ Marine Police Barracks to get it titled. David's Diesel Jeep Cherokee lease was almost up and it had not yet towed anything of substance. Furthermore, it was a nice day, which made it unfair for my dog Harris to just sit beneath my desk or mooch biscuits from Marianne.

 

So I decided to put it all together and compose it as a "Study in Brilliant Black".

 

 

Three black things and all brilliant in their own way.

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Last year I was contacted by the Philadelphia Section papers chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, who asked if I could make a presentation at a joint ASME, SNAME, SAME section meeting in Philadelphia on January 24, 2017.

 

I told him that, in principle, I would love to do that, but wondered what subject he was interested in. He thought that a presentation on cruise ship power plants might be of interest to the membership of the various societies that might be attending.

 

In our quick discussion I mentioned that this subject is a book size subject and what part of it would be of interest, and he indicated that a more general discussion would be fun. Without thinking about it much further I agreed, but after putting down the phone I became a little worried. read more »

When we talk about efficiencies it often becomes difficult to figure out who benefits from the efficiency. Airlines may be as efficient as they can be (spend the least amount on wages and fuel per passenger moved) but that does not mean that airline travel is efficient for the passengers. They may stand in long lines, be shunted through airports they do not want to visit and fly at times they do not want to fly. In other words, from the passenger’s point of view, each airline flight is often very inefficient.

 

Efficiency needs to be evaluated at a system level and the point of view needs to be defined. In 2009 David JC MacKay (1967-2016) wrote a wonderful book called “Sustainable Energy - without the Hot Air” and in that book he very carefully describes present day energy efficiencies and provides guidance on what efficiencies can be achieved. The book received very high praise and he was appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. However, he made a very interesting error in his analysis.

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It is always important to ask “why” about every detail in every design, since bad design imposes a penalty on every user for the life of the bad design. 

 

Bad design can hang around forever even if good design exists. I often ask “why?” when I am forced to use a badly designed cleat on a boat when we have a near perfect design in the 100 year old Herreshoff cleat.

 

We don't come across enough of these "why's", but I came across a nice one a few days ago.

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This is a Guest Blog by our U. Mich summer intern Sam Edwards.

 

I was handed off progress on Project 114 by a previous intern in the office. He had added in a feature to plot the sections of files that were input to the “Hydro2A” calc engine as well as started the design of a “Marine High School Research Vessel”, or MHSRV. My goal was to continue tinkering with Project 114 as well as to continue design on the MHSRV.

 

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The Maxi Taxi concept describes the advantages of convoying in saving fuel during highway travel. Cars that closely follow each other can achieve impressive reductions in total air drag. Air drag is the leading overall drag component at higher speeds and therefore represents the lion’s share of a car’s fuel consumption at speed.

 

 

Air drag is a complex subject, and the original maxi taxi concept aimed to reduce overall air drag by fitting a number of cars as close together as possible and thereby to create a drag profile that is similar to a railroad train, which is basically a flexible tube that is being dragged through the air. We can achieve a similar effect with car convoys and the cars do not have to be the same, but equal width would be real a benefit.

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Project 114 is an innovative approach to engineering computations that is being developed for SNAME by Steve Hollister. In essence, it will be a suit of basic NAME computer programs that run on an Excel input/output backbone. This approach is quite powerful and runs a careful middle ground between large, canned, NAME program suites and home grown NAME computer programming. This effort is not meant to displace large powerful computational packages, but rather is meant to provide tools for occasional users and to allow a useful and standardized entry point for NAME amateurs, students and occasional users.

 

The project is further described at the SNAME website and at present a hydrostatics, a Savitsky and a basic powering module are available for experimentation. (beta testing?)  

 

In March we were contacted by Monmouth County's High Technology High School and asked if we could place a student for the Spring. High Tech High School is one of the Monmouth County Vocational High Schools with which M&O has a steady interation and is one of the best technical high schools in the country.

 

High Tech wanted Brady Donahue to attend at our office for 3 months of Fridays since he had expressed an interest in vehicle design. Fortunately we had the perfect job for him; to be the first true student guinea pig for Project 114. read more »