Design Engineering can be recognised as either a subject with many diverse areas or as an umbrella term for a number of distinct disciplines.
What holds the subject together as a meaningful and relevant discipline is the Design Process. This starts by recognising a need or an opportunity and then working logically through a series of steps to reach a final solution.
The Design Process describes a way of working in which students can identify a real problem to solve and an opportunity to make a difference to the users of products. They use their knowledge and understanding to devise a method, realise it practically, and then evaluate the end product.
Design draws on knowledge and skills from many different subjects and in return provides an opportunity for these subjects, particularly the sciences and art, to be applied in useful and attractive designs.
The students should be able to see the relevance of the activities undertaken in this subject to the outside world of designing and to improve our lifestyles and environment.
For the first tasks, students are given a strip of acrylic which they can shape into a project of their own choice.
During the process the students will learn some 3D sketching skills, modelling in card, using computer assisted design (CAD), and finally, how to make their design in the workshop by marking out, finishing edges, drilling, and bending their piece.
A second longer project introduces a simple electronic circuit which interfaces a simple water sensor with a transistor switching LEDs to create an output. Students will develop a design for a plant pot stand in plywood and will use a variety of hand and machine tools to build their project.
There is plenty of scope for students to develop a personal project whilst becoming much more confident with the important key skills used in designing and making.
The project, base on the theme 'artificial intelligence' involves designing and making a robot using a micro controller. Students will build a circuit and then programme a chip to send commands to a range of output devices on their projects. They will then develop more sophisticated programs to make their robots lifelike. The students are also required to design a case for their project including features to make their device fulfil the brief. Students will be introduced to a new material, polypropylene, which they will use to make their product more durable. They have to model a net and ultimately develop a folded body for their robot.
The Architecture project involves students working on a brief to design a new museum space based on research gathered from a tour of some of Cambridge's museums. The students will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the purpose of museums and the needs of a variety of users who might enjoy the attraction. During the project, students will develop skills in CAD using AutoDesk and gain an insight into the world of curation. As well as modelling their designs on the computer, students will be able to make a 3D realisation of their idea in the workshop.
Bridge design is becoming an increasingly important aspect of modern urban development. Feature bridges can become an iconic centre piece to a city as well as a vital communication link. Students will develop their CAD skills to design a new bridge for a specific brief developed by the students after researching the topic. The course includes some fieldwork around Cambridge to help the students understand the context of the project.
In 3D Design, students will develop a household product from a specific theme. Recently, the students have worked with the theme 'sound and light'. This course will give students the opportunity to write their own brief and to develop their skills in designing and making gained from previous years. Students will be expected to consider a range of materials and how to problem solve to reach engineering solutions for shaping, forming or joining problems. Students will consolidate their understanding of different circuit designs to create very exciting and original outcomes.