It´s about form and function

This project was about developing my visually communicative skills and understanding of form and ergonomics. The task was to design a reciprocating saw for a specific user context. I wanted to challenge myself by designing a saw for a user context that usually is very function driven, and to see how focusing on form and ergonomics, without expense of function, would shape such a tool.

Project: Umeå Institute of Design
Participants: solo
Time span: 5 weeks
When: fall 2019


Heavy industry

A heavy industrial work environment where the user is expected to perform a certain task with great precision and reliability.
Due to long hours and challenging tasks, ergonomics and flexibility is very important for the user. Since the work is situated in a factory, there is access to a high pressure air system, making pneumatic power tools the favorable choice.


Weight distribution studies

After conducting hands on testing with current saws, I found that weight distribution and over-all balance were areas of improvement. Therefore I conducted studies where I aimed to find the most satisfying weight distribution. Yellow was most satisfying.


Pragmatic, compact & intuitive 

With practical studies as my foundation, initial sketching focused on translating good weight distribution into an ergonomic tool that should be easy to understand and visually mirror it´s function-driven philosophy. 

Defining through iteration sprints

To further define the concept I chose the sketches that lived up the my chosen design direction and used Photoshop to make different iterations. At this stage color and other functions was also defined. 


Mechanical layout

The pneumatic powertrain enables a much tighter system configuration compared to a conventional, electric powertrain. I wanted to make the most out of this by tilting the powertrain forward, which makes for a balanced and compact tool, suitable for many different operations. 


Working with clay to define the shape

Parallel to sketching and rendering I developed the shape in clay to get a good understanding of how it would behave in a real environment, and what had to be improved.


– Pragmatic, compact & and intuitive


Learning outcome 

– Imroved my iterative process
– Developed my understanding of threedimensional form
– Learned valuable knowledge in ergonomics

During this project I focused on becoming better at developing and working with form, through different mediums such as clay and sketching etc. I have learned that many different iterations can be necessary for finding the right design. One big learning was also the importance of good ergonomics, and how to combine it with different aspects such as other functions and a desired form language. 

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