It’s the job of our designers (working in concert with our Project Managers), to prove to you why we do what we do. Using the tools at our disposal (Rhino, Sketchup, Adobe Creative Cloud, AutoCAD, etc. and sometimes even a pencil), we will do just that.
When a potential client comes to us for the first time, it is a bit disconcerting for them to spend a lot of money on a project that likely has never been done before. It’s not like buying a bag of onions at the grocery store. It takes us educating the client and earning their trust. This is where design plays a crucial role.
Why did we use plastic instead of wood?
Why did we galvanize the steel first?
Why shouldn’t there be a slide right next to the monkey bars?
Why are there only chocolate donuts?
For every action we take in design, there is a reason for it, often based on experience. It is our job to educate you as to the decisions we make, and why they are good for your project. After we do that, little by little, we start to earn your trust.
Our ultimate goal is to earn your trust.
A conversation becomes a sketch…becomes a digital model…becomes a package of shop drawings…becomes an amazing project that will knock your socks off.
So, once we earn your trust…well…that’s a mighty fine bag of onions.
A concept starts as an idea…
Ideas don’t grow on trees! They’re like delicate little baby birds that you need to hold gently in your cupped hands and sing to, and nurture until they gain strength and take flight. We’ll help you feed your little baby bird of an idea. We’ve got worms!
When it comes to designing a project, there are several ways we can collaborate. You can provide us with finished blueprints, rough sketches, a vague gesture or simply a thought and we can work with you from there.
Ideally, we like to get involved early so we can help tailor the design and fabrication to your budget, ensuring the maximum impact for your money.
After all, we understand how wide – ranging costs can be. Either way, our staff designers are here to help make ideas, at any stage of development, into reality.
Design Development is when we “flesh out” the design…
We pick colors, choose finishes and finalize the look and feel. It’s like taking a blurry picture and snapping it into focus. The clouds part and white doves fly out of the rendering and then everyone just stands in wonderment with their jaws dropped.
Well, that’s what we strive for, but don’t expect it to happen every time.
A vast majority of our projects require some sort of engineering. It might be structural, mechanical or electrical. They calculate worst case scenarios for each element where structural integrity of the element or scope impacts safety, functionality and reliability.
They ask themselves important questions such as –
“Can it stand up?”
“Will it still be standing after a windstorm or earthquake?”
“Are you guys crazy?”
Do you REALLY expect me to stamp these drawings?
Once they are satisfied that they have all the answers, they will stamp the drawings to certify that the design meets the codes and regulations for the area in which it will be installed.
On occasion, scale models are created to help a client better understand the way a single element will function within a space.
This might mean an image rendered in the latest 3D modeling software or a hand-sculpted clay model that can be scanned via computer and used to produce a full-scale version.
We work with you, from the onset, to customize the design process to do what is most appropriate and effective for your project.
3-D printing is a method of additive manufacturing that uses small beads of resin to build up layers that will form a part or component. With a build envelope of one cubic foot, our 3-D printer is an excellent tool for rapid prototyping and testing design concepts in real space.
Beginning with a virtual model built with the aid of a computer and design software such as Rhino or AutoCAD, our operator must determine the best method for printing…whether supports will be needed or if the part can be rendered in halves and put together later.
Unlike a copy machine, Fuse Deposition Modeling must take things like structural supports and gravity into account. For this reason, we often incorporate tabs into the printing process which are removed after the part is completed.
Unlike 3-D printing, which is an “additive” form of rapid-prototyping, CNC, or Computer Numerical Control, is a “subtractive” form of manufacturing. We place materials such as wood, plastic or foam on a five-by-ten-foot bed which are held there by a powerful vacuum underneath. A series of eight interchangeable cutting bits are switched out automatically as the patterns are separated from the source material. Before any of this can happen however, our CNC operator, again working from “cut files” created by our design team, must determine the appropriate bit size, tool path and feed rate the machine should follow. That information is then entered into the CNC machine’s dedicated computer and the program is initiated.
Both the 3-D printer and CNC router allow us to test concepts and designs in real space then refine and perfect those designs before the first production parts are even ordered. This is just one more way that technological advances in manufacturing have helped us to become faster and more efficient in what we do.
A shop drawing is a drawing or set of drawings produced to explain the details of fabrication and/or installation of the elements to our folks who are building our projects. Dimensions, manufacturing conventions, and special fabrication instructions are included on the shop drawings. It should be clear to fabrication personnel what will be manufactured from the shop drawings alone.
The nuts and bolts of how it works
The client then has the opportunity to review these drawings prior to fabrication to make sure we’re creating something that will knock their socks off…