The Design


In a mere 10 years, engineering and industrial design fields have gone through two revolutions, first a 2D-CAD revolution and thereafter the 3D modeling revolution. This has been possible with the rapid increase in PC computing power.

Presented here is some of the work I have done in 3D. I am using formZ RenderZone software at home in my Macintosh and ProEngineer software at the office in a NT4 workstation.

I have created 5 aircraft models over a period of 8 years. The very first one was the Swedish motorglider Windex 1200C (designed by Olof Ridder and Harald Unden) my learning project. The other 6 aircraft modeling projects have been more ambitious including engines and instruments and details down to the bolt and nut level. A typical model file size is 6.4 Mb (500000 polygons). A 2400x1600 size rendering typically takes about 20 minutes in my Mac clone PowerTowerPro with 466 MHz G3 processor (XLR8 upgrade card).

Click the pictures to view the project or a bigger picture size!
Model of Windex 1200C
Motorglider Concept JT-8Nostalgia Motorglider JT-10
JT-5JT-9electric gyro
Model of JT-5 AutogyroAutogyro Concept JT-9Electric Autogyro JT-9B
Autogyro variations A Hovercraft designed and
built by Hannu Taupila.
Folk Music Instruments

For about 25 years, I was employed by Labsystems, a company producing laboratory instruments and consumables, now a small part of an international giant, the Thermo Electron Corporation. Throughout its entire history, Labsystems has been a very innovative company, as can be seen by making a patent search in the USA , in Europe or by using Freepatentsonline.

Some twenty years ago the big old drafting boards started to disappear from our product development offices when computers and CRTs replaced them. The era of cheap 2D-CAD arrived when a PC with Intel 80286 processor and Apple Macintosh II with a Motorola 68020 processor was born. At Labsystems, AutoCAD was the choice of the PC people and ClarisCAD was used by the Macintosh group.

The era of 2D-CAD lasted some 10 years before a new revolution took place, the 3D-CAD. While the 3D-CAD had been already around in the seventies in big air space companies (using main frame computers), the economically priced 3D-CADs only became possible when PC processor power reached a new level, the Pentium and PowerPC. At the same time a new method for making prototypes emerged, stereolithography. Suddenly we had a 3D printer (link 2) to output our creations in only a few days, even very complex ones, as real plastic pieces, a tremendous advantage over the laborious machining method.

Pictured below is a collection of some current Labsystems products to whose development I have contributed by doing the engineering job of mechanical systems and, for some of the products, by designing the outside shape as well, the "Industrial Design." All of the three design generations are shown: a product designed using a drafting board, some made with 2D-CAD, and in the foreground the small PEN pipett was designed using a 3D-modeling program.

3D programs suitable for product design used to exist only in UNIX workstations just a few years ago. Now economically priced Windows NT workstations are fast enough to handle even complex modeling tasks. Parametric feature-based modeling programs are the choice for product design. The once-complex user interfaces are getting easier every year. Programs like ProEngineer, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, IronCAD, DeskArtes and others are available and prices are going down to acceptable levels.
Pictured above are two Labsystems products I have modeled using ProEngineer software. The models were transferred to my Macintosh in STL format and then rendered using formZ RenderZone software.

D-modeling Links:
auto*des*sys, Inc.(FormZ)
Home of ArchiCAD by Graphisoft
Carrara & Amapi
Computer Graphics World
POV-Ray - the Persistence of Vision Raytracer
Rhinoceros - NURBS modeling
Vertex Systems Oy
CAD Directory

Comments Great Web Page!!! I found your intro on 3D modeling just great. Got me so interested that I now am using Rhinoceros to do a lot of 3D design. I am building a Little Wing Gyro, and have had to model quite a few of its mechanical systems to fit my requirements. Virtual modeling makes the actual construction much easier because the end product can be visualized. I am a practicing engineer and have found much else on your site very useful. At any rate, your efforts are much appreciated.
Scott Mathews, El Paso, Texas.