In our final post covering the participants of Generate-GrabCAD Quadcopter Challenge, we spoke with finalist Christian Okermann, a freelance mechanical engineer hailing from Bremen Germany.
|Christian spent many years as a mechanical design researcher (structures, robotics and electric vehicles) before deciding to move into freelance work supporting local production and sustainable technologies.|
|We caught up with Christian to discuss his participation in the Generate-GrabCAD challenge, learn more about his design and see what impressed him about using Generate.|
What got you interested in the Generate-GrabCAD Quadcopter Challenge?
I’ve used various topology optimization programs for my design projects but unfortunately, these programs are traditionally very complex and expensive. So the prospect of using a powerful tool like Generate for free was very appealing. It was clear right away how easy it was to use the program compared to the others I’ve encountered. Generate has set the bar high for topology optimization software.
How would you describe your design process?
Designing is always an iterative process. First I started by creating a huge, but rough design space to get a basic idea of how I wanted to shape of the quadcopter body to look. I then used a more complex design space with additional details to improve the original model. The third iteration added even finer details like holders and attachments. Using Generate, I was able to get through each iteration much more quickly than I would have expected.
How did Generate help you create your final design?
Using Generate really helped me understand how a mechanical design should be shaped in order to created the optimal structure. It is also very easy to tell which areas of the structure are receiving high loads and need improvement.
I definitely would not have been able to make my final design without Generate. In a standard design process, your mind focuses on regular geometric shapes like rectangles, straight lines and circles. This is how we are taught as mechanical engineers in the standard manufacturing process. With additive manufacturing, the designer gains the freedom to create optimal, organic shapes. To me the combination of optimization and 3D printing is the future of product design. Designers need new tools like Generate to unlock the full potential.
Any final thoughts?
I see programs like Generate as a means to open up your creativity and help find the optimal design for a given mechanical problems. Of course, you still need experience to make a good mechanical design. hen you use something like Generate, you simply create better designs in the field of lightweight construction (which also saves resources). It opens up an entirely new design process.
Learn more about Christian:
A pioneer of generative design, Jesse founded Frustum, Inc. in 2014 to usher in a new paradigm of CAD. Recognized for his expertise, Jesse served as a Columbia University (MSAAD-2010) Researcher & Professor, teaching generative design and programming to hundreds of graduate students. Jesse also worked as a Senior Optimization Engineer at Autodesk Research for Additive Manufacturing and Aerospace applications. His work included leading the Optimization of the Airbus 2050 concept plane. As CEO of Frustum, Inc., Jesse has enjoyed growing a profitable and innovative company by establishing strong relationships, commercial agreements and OEM partnerships.