Post 8: Specifications & Constraints

For my final project, I’m making a sort of desk ornament composed of a flat base, a center shaft, two rings surrounding the shaft, and wires used to suspend the rings from the shaft, as well as some hanging planets. My specifications and constraints for the project are listed by importance below.

The first specification is that I want the planets to be able to orbit about the center shaft. I imagine this will require a bearing at the top of the shaft, but I will have to work out a way to run the wires through the bearing so they don’t get all tangled up in the middle.

Spinning Icons - Free SVG & PNG Spinning Images - Noun Project

The second specification is that I want the planets to look somewhat realistic. If the final product is near the size that I picture, the planets will be very small, so it will take a great amount of detail to make them look how I want.

The third specification is that I want the planets to be sized differently. I will have to make the larger planets less dense so that all of the planets on a particular ring can orbit about the center at the same rate, without irregular wobbling motion.

24,984 Small Size Icon Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

The fourth specification is that I want the base and shaft to be perfectly stationary. This should be fairly easy to accomplish, but it is still an important specification.

The last specification is that I want the whole system to be nearly silent when in motion. I don’t want the bearing and wires making noise. This is because space is a fairly silent place, and if this is going to be a desk ornament, I wouldn’t want any whirring and clacking to distract me from whatever I’m doing at my desk.

Silent icon Vector Art Stock Images | Depositphotos

The first constraint I have is definitely time. As I’m sure most if not all of the ME students in this class have had a busy week and semester in general, it feels like the work is never ending. Between juggling weekly homework, exams, and especially long-term group projects, I find it difficult to remain happy and healthy while still having time to spare to work on something new.

Timer Icon, Transparent Timer.PNG Images & Vector - FreeIconsPNG

The second constraint is skills. At the moment, I’m planning on making the base and shaft out of aluminum or steel. I have worked in a woodshop in the past, and I’ve used the machine shop in the Idea Forge for projects before, but I’m not totally confident about how I’ll make my design. It will take some learning and planning.

The third constraint is supplies. I know I can find a place to buy everything I’ll need, but there are usually complications that come up like price, delivery time, poor compatibility, etc.

Office-Supplies Icons - Free SVG & PNG Office-Supplies Images - Noun Project

The fourth constraint is money. Supplies cost money, and I don’t have a lot of money. I’m hoping that this won’t be too big of an issue.

The fifth constraint is ideas. I think my base idea is fairly solid, but there could always be a better method to what I’m doing. I guess there’s no way for me to know unless someone tells me, so I’m going to roll with my current plan.

Links: Spin Size Silent Time Supplies

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hayden Moll
    April 2, 2023 9:26 pm

    Hi Michael, I really enjoy your idea, as I’ve always been intrigued by space and how everything in our solar system is connected. I appreciate your specifications and constraints, as they will allow you to settle on a final design. I’m interested in seeing how you are going to check off the sound constraint. Do you have any ideas of how you might do this? Excited to see the final product!

    • Michael Dailey
      April 4, 2023 7:54 pm

      Thank you for the support. I think I can minimize sound in a few ways. I’ll need to make sure the bearing is well lubricated, I’ll need to make sure the strings do not cross over each other, and I need to make sure everything is securely fastened together. It is my last specification, so if it makes a little noise, I’m okay with it, but it would be nice if it didn’t. Thanks again!


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