How to Become an Automobile Designer

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Transportation design courses are relatively rare among schools that teach industrial design, but those classes are exactly where a would-be car designer should start. Considering there are less than two-dozen transportation design schools in the world and that many people aspire careers as car designers, the car design field is very crowded and competitive. In fact, many schools won’t consider an applicant who does not already have a design portfolio, so some people are ruled out of consideration almost right away.

Choosing a Transportation Design Course

Schools that teach transportation design are scattered around the globe. The most sensible first-choices for an applicant are the schools that are closest to home. However, a careful examination of a school’s reputation might make other options worthy of consideration. Faculty and educational philosophies can also play a part in choosing a transportation design course. Therefore, international study might be necessary.

Some of the most sought-after car design courses are given at schools located near automotive companies. These often have a close tie with the industry and good relations with the nearby automaker. In fact, some of these schools offer apprenticeships and mentoring programs that help students gain firsthand experience in the automotive industry.

Schools that offer car design courses can vary as to how much they emphasize engineering skills versus modeling skills, so prospective students should weigh that information with their own preferences. They also vary as to the amount of equipment available in academic design studios and how often students can access those studios.

Many schools appear at college and career shows, giving prospective students a chance to meet current students and learn more about available programs. Therefore, attending one of these shows is recommended before a student makes any final decisions.

Qualifications

Car design courses require that applicants have talent before even being considered for acceptance. This means that a prospective student must have demonstrable drawing skills and work samples to prove they have a certain amount of ability.

Schools generally want to select applicants with high school design and art experience under their belt as well as solid credentials in mathematics and physics. High school writing credits are also a plus because car designers must have the ability to communicate well on paper. Foreign language experience is also a plus, seeing that the auto industry is globally intertwined. Many graduates will find that their first job after graduation is in a country that speaks a different language.

Length of Study

Students should expect to spend three or four years studying for their undergraduate degree in transportation design. They usually study industrial design for a year before branching out into their specialized courses of study. Advanced degrees are available, which may offer a higher starting salary and greater job security, but not necessarily a better chance for landing a job as a automotive designer.

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The Lead Acid Battery Leads the Charge in Automotive Design

Automotive lead acid batteries used to start car engines, are one of the oldest design of rechargeable battery in existence. The lead acid battery was primarily used for the storage of DC power and used in early commercial vehicles due to the weight and size. These batteries have literally dominated the marketplace for many years ever since their invention back in the early 1800’s and have continued to be an important automotive component to the point were there is one in every vehicle on the roads.

Today, automotive batteries used to start gasoline and diesel engines, are smaller, cheaper and more cost effective than their earlier cousins, supplying greater starting and surge currents than ever before at a fraction of their original price.

Not only does the lead acid battery provide the correct amount of electricity needed to start engines, but they also supply electricity for the ignition system, lights, indication, stereos and other such electronic features found on today’s modern vehicles.

The energy produced by a lead acid battery occurs via an internal chemical process which involves lead (hence their name), lead oxide and a liquid acid solution called the electrolyte. Solid lead and lead oxide plates are submerged within an electrolytic solution that consists of a very small percentage of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) mixed with distilled water. When electrical power is drawn from the battery, a chemical reaction takes place between the plates and liquid electrolyte releasing electrons. These free electrons in the form of an electrical current flow through electrical conductors mounted on the battery and out via lead terminals providing the electricity required to start the car.

As the lead acid battery becomes discharged, the sulphuric acid forms deposits onto the lead plates, but when the lead acid battery is recharged again, the sulphuric acid breaks down and returns back into their separate lead and lead oxide components. Heat is generated by this constant charging and discharging of the battery evaporating the water inside.

This evaporation meant that older lead acid batteries needed to be “topped-up” with more distilled water on a monthly basis but the modern maintenance free lead acid battery is fully sealed against leakage in which the electrolyte in the form of a gel is contained in separate compartments are now used. The result is that these fully sealed batteries can be rotated upside down or positioned sideways in the event of an accident without any risk of an acid leakage. Also these modern batteries have safety valves fitted which allow the venting of fumes during the charging, the discharging and changes in atmospheric pressure when driving at altitude.

The lead acid battery is the only batteries suitable to be used in alternative energy systems but the continuous cycle of discharging a battery into a load (night time hours) and then recharging the battery (sunlight hours) many times over requires a different type of battery as not all lead acid batteries are the same. The most important requirement of a battery is whether it is a Deep Cycle Battery or a Shallow Cycle Battery.

Consider automotive starting batteries. These batteries are cheap to buy but are designed to provide high amperes of current for very short periods of time (less than 10 seconds) to operate the starter motor and turn over the engine. After the car has started, the battery is then trickle charged by the cars alternator. Even on cold frosty mornings the cars battery is only discharged to less than 10% of its rated capacity at startup so automotive batteries are designed for this very shallow cycle service, (100% to 90% state of charge).

As a car battery is designed to deliver high currents for very short periods of time it is therefore made of many thin lead plates giving a large surface area for the chemical reaction to occur. These thin lead plates do not have the necessary mechanical strength for repeated cycling over a period of many years and wear out very quickly after only 200 to 400 cycles. Therefore shallow cycle car batteries which although they work, are not designed for a long term solar power or wind power system which requires a much deeper cycling service.

Deep Cycle Batteries on the other hand are designed to be repeatedly charged and discharged by as much as 80% of their full capacity (100% to 20% state of charge) without sustaining any serious damage to the cells before recharging, making the deep cycle battery an ideal choice for solar photovoltaic and wind power systems, as well as marine applications, golf buggies, fork lift trucks and other such electric vehicles. Although the deep cycle battery uses the same chemical reactions to store and generate energy as their automotive battery cousins, deep cycle batteries are made very differently.

The physical size of a deep cycle battery is much larger than a regular car battery due to the construction and size of their lead plates (electrodes). These plates are made of solid lead usually doped with Antimony (Sb) and are many times thicker than the thinner plates of a car battery. This means that deep cycle batteries can be repeatedly discharged almost all the way down to a very low charge and it is not uncommon for deep cycle batteries to be emptied (discharged) to as much as 20% of their total capacity before energy ceases flowing from the battery.

So to summarise, the lead-acid battery is the perfect choice for automotive cars, vans and motorcyles as it is reliable, inexpensive, and delivers high starting currents but for alternative energy systems, the deep cycle battery is the way to go as it can be charged and discharged many times over to a much lower value.

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Automotive Engineering: A Way to a Successful Career

One of the best courses nowadays is automotive engineering. It involves examining the operating standards of vehicles. It may also comprise of proficiency management, mechanical system, hydraulic system and electrical processes. Since the industry of automotive is quickly growing, there are several people who want to have a degree program in automotive courses.

Some of the degree programs of automotive engineering offer lots of courses in mechanical engineering and automotive design engineering. The colleges that offer this kind of course give direct application and hands-on training for an array of careers in the industry. This course specializes in the field of vehicle engineering and it can be divided into three main fields of study. The three main fields of this course are manufacturing, development and production.

Manufacturing engineers are those involved in making and building different automobiles, while development engineers are those who were involved on the different attributes of a sedan that includes speed, durability and performance. On the other hand, production engineers focus more on the design systems and components of a vehicle. It also involves designing and testing of the vehicles’ parts and includes coordinating tests to make sure that all automobiles meet the national standards set by the government.

Automotive engineers have several responsibilities and job description that they need to comply with after completing all their trainings. As they finished the degree program of this course, engineers can now design the car’s systems and components. They also need to determine the best attributes for a specific sedan or for a future vehicle.

They also need to develop codes and standards for a well-organized manufacturing. Automotive engineers must determine the costs and implement the procedures to lessen the production costs. They are also expected to introduce and develop new strategies and systems for the production of automotives. In addition, they also need to make sure that they follow the government regulations during the process of the making a vehicle.

Aside from developing and designing, they also need to determine the drive ability of the each vehicle. They also need to implement quality procedures and control strategies. When there is a problem, they also need to solve all the troubles in automotive engineering. Lastly, they must conduct statistical analysis as required. All the graduates from this course can have several career options like vehicle manufacturing engineer, operations research, systems engineer, vehicle dynamics controller, performance engineer, noise, vibration and harshness engineer (NVH), emissions controller or research and safety engineering.

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Ford Won The Most Automotive Excellence Awards

Ford has the motto “Ford Tough” and this year the large auto company has proved it. Popular Mechanics magazine has said that Ford has taken the most, Excellence Awards home in history. Ford, for its 2010 version of various vehicles took the most awards home than any other automaker.

The 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, which runs a 5.4 liter V8 engine and has been described as the “new superpower to contend with in the muscle car wars,” by editors of Popular Mechanics; took home the Performance Award.

The 2010 Ford Transit Connect, which is described as a “fresh alternative to a full-size van in packaged to address the pressures of the economy,” by editors of Popular Mechanics; took home the Workhorse Award.

The 2010 Ford SVT Raptor, described as the “most extreme high-speed 4×4 pickup”, produced by the editors of Popular Mechanics, took home the Off-Road Ability Award.

Ford was recognized as being the “best in automotive design, execution and technology,” as far as the 2010 model year vehicles. Ten different categories winning awards has convinced that much.

When looking for the award winners, editors of Popular Mechanics Magazine spent months not to mention miles in these same vehicles in which ended up taking home awards and others like it. Once the “testing” is over, the team of editors nominates vehicles they value for each category and then votes are cast until a winner is named.

The group Vice President, Global Product Development in Fords Motor Company Derrick Kuzack gladly accepted each of the awards on behalf of Ford Motor Company.

Ford Motor Company sells many cars a year and has even had a good reign in the recession so far but now that the recession is lifting many more people will be turning to Ford for their next vehicle because according to Popular Mechanics Magazine, Ford is the best company in several different categories.

Since many more people will be buying cars as the recession ends and new beginnings start to unfold, Paintless Dent Repair Technicians will be in even higher demand then they are now which means that more technicians will need to be trained and sent out into the world to capture those who have once again dented their favorite car due to an accident or something else. Paintless Dent Repair is the fixing of dents and dings in a car in which the pain has not been broken. If the paint is still is great condition, glue-pulling will be used to pull a dent from its place and back into its original state again.

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How to Become a Car Designer – Where to Start

Before pursuing a design career, my first thought was “I want to become a car designer – but how do I start? To those who are asking themselves this exact question, here are a few tips:

TAKE CLASSES

More specifically, take drawing classes at your local college. Take as many classes as needed until you are comfortable drawing objects straight from your head. Take classes like:

– Sketching, Still Life

– Figure drawing (This helps with speed and form development especially with cars.)

– Perspective drawing (I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, perspective is as important to a designer as sentences are to a writer. Learn it-learn to love it.)

More Tips:

– If you sketch in pencil, retrace the same drawing on a separate sheet of paper in pen. Continue with this exercise until you are confident enough to sketch in pen. Most professionals sketch entirely in pen.

– Always carry a small sketchbook (I use Moleskine) or folded copy paper and a pen with you at all times.

– Several times a day, practice by sketching the first object you see in front of you.

– Fill the entire page of your sketchbook- blank space on a page is the enemy.

– For the aspiring car designers, purchase a scale model of a car, set it in front of you and draw it in various angles. Draw is exactly as you see it-don’t cheat by only drawing the side view!

PROGRAMS

Learn to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Painter. This is the standard rendering program for the design industry. The more comfortable you become with these programs, the stronger of a designer you will become.

Purchase a Wacom Tablet. This is also an essential tool in the design industry. This tool is much more efficient than a mouse for rendering and you will be less likely to suffer from carpel tunnel due to prolonged use. Initially, it will be a bit awkward to use, but it becomes more fun as you get used to it, I promise.

PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT

A single project within a portfolio illustrates your design process and presents how you came about your final design. It is essential to have all the correct information that leads to your final design.

Keep in mind that a “design” is always a solution to some sort of a problem. If your design doesn’t solve a problem-then you are just stylizing a product or vehicle. This does not make for a good design.

Scour the internet or bookstores and find inspiration images that relate to the product you are designing. For example, I might look at luxury watches when designing the gauge cluster of a luxury sports car. You can make a similar connection with the Lamborghini Reventon to the F-22 Stealth fighter by looking at its form. Know that design inspiration can be found everywhere; always trying to pull designs out of your head will cause you to blank out.

Creating a business purpose:

Many forget to a company, designers are a luxury. At the end of the day designers must create revenue for their clients and employers. Incorporating a business purpose into your project will show a very complete and well though-out design proposal. The business purpose maybe as simple as, “I’m designing a compact hybrid vehicle for the metropolitan regions of the U.S. that 70% of the working population can afford because economists project the economy to be down for the next four years.” It can also be conceptual like designing future vehicles for the year 2025.

COMPLETING YOUR PORTFOLIO

Your portfolio should consist of 5 to 8 individual projects with each project illustrating your design development process. Each project should consist of the following:

– The design objective (Why did you design this product or vehicle?)

– The business purpose

– Inspiration images (Multiple images that inspired your final design)

– Sketches (Show how your sketches relate to your inspirational images)

– Final renderings in multiple views (The final drawings fully colored in Photoshop or marker shown in three-quarter front and rear views, as well as the side view)

APPLYING TO A DESIGN COLLEGE

When your portfolio is ready, research you chosen Design College and submit your portfolio. There are only a few prestigious design colleges in the world and even fewer for automotive design; so choose wisely.

Tip:

– Always apply for scholarships and grants even if you don’t think you are not going to get either. Applying for scholarships usually require you to submit your portfolio a few weeks earlier of the deadline. From my personal experience, I never ever thought that I would be awarded any scholarship but I applied anyway. I unexpectedly received a scholarship award letter with my acceptance letter a few weeks later.

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The Benefits of Stainless Steel Roller Chains

Typically, roller chains can be found in a lot of mechanically powered systems. For instance, you can find them in a number of environments like automotive industries and agriculture systems. Examples of automotive industries they are used in are bicycles and motorcycles. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the common benefits of roller chains made of stainless steel. Read on to find out more.

Rollers chains are also commonly used in conveyor belts and many other industrial assembly environments. Aside from this, you can find these systems in many other environments too.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Roller Chains

Although these products are made of other metals as well, stainless steel is the most common one. This is because this metal offers a lot of benefits. Some of them are listed below. Please note that this list doesn’t talk about all the benefits the unit offers.

Food Applications

Stainless steel roller chains are quite popular in the food industry for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that the steel offers immense strength unlike other metal types you can find and use.

Therefore, products made of this metal can withstand even extreme conditions. Another good thing is that it’s much easier to clean. For instance, in an environment where food packaging, processing and handling is done, you may need to clean the chain more frequently. This is what makes these roller chains a great choice.

Temperature Resistance

Another great thing about these roller chains is that they can work fine even if you place them in an environment where temperature exceeds 400 Celsius. In the same way, they won’t stop working even if you use them in a place where temperature drops below -20 Celsius. This is what makes it an ideal choice in environments that are not good for other metals.

Corrosion Resistance

They are also corrosion resistant even if used in acidic or alkaline environments. In many industries, these roller chains are used either in alkaline or acidic settings. This is why they are preferred in a lot of industries. Aside from this, it offers quite low magnetic permeability. Therefore, we suggest that you opt for them instead of other options out there.

Heat-Treated

Another good thing about these chains is that they are heat treated for a lot better temperature resistance. Plus, they are put under a lot of stress for testing purposes to reduce the chances of stretching issues or premature leakage. So, as far as safety is concerned, this is the best choice you can take. They can save you a lot of money due to their long lifespan.

Long story short, these are some of the most common reasons why these roller chains are quite popular these days. Although they can’t be the best option for all types of applications, they can work well in many environments. Therefore, if you want to opt for them, we suggest that you give them a go. You won’t regret your choice.

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