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Activity 3.2.1 – Product ObservationPurpose Have you ever noticed how children are fascinated with how objects work? Many engineers have stated that they can trace back their interest in their chosen field to their childhood, when they would tear apart broken objects to figure out what caused them to move and function. Reverse engineering is a process that relies on this childhood fascination with objects, and how they work. The process involves the study of an object’s visual, functional, and structural qualities. Though it does not imply redesign, reverse engineering is often a tool that is used to aid in the redesign of an object so that its performance may be improved. Other reasons for performing reverse engineering include reducing an object’s negative environmental impacts, maximizing manufacturing techniques through the substitution of more appropriate materials, discovering how a competitor’s product works, and increasing a company’s profit margin. You have performed a visual analysis of your selected product to identify the visual design principles and elements that give the object its visual appeal, or lack there of. The next step in the reverse engineering process involves the study of the object’s function. This is done through careful observation of the object’s sequential operation before it is disassembled. By first observing the product, you can hypothesize how a product operates and then compare your predictions to your actual findings after the part is dissected.Equipment • Activity 3.2.1a Example Product Observation • Engineer’s notebook • Number 2 pencilProcedure In this activity, you will analyze the function of your consumer product. Before measurement and dissection, you must theorize how the product functions through non-destructive observation. Identify your product’s name and the company that produced it, and answer the following questions. Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2007 IED – Unit 3 – Lesson 3.2 – Activity 3.2.1 – Product Observation – Page 1
Product Name: Test RackCompany Name: L3 Communications, Electrodynamics1. What is the purpose or primary function of the object? This object is used for Electrodynamics employees to test the counters they distribute. Both the counters and the test rack need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures and still function properly, and during this testing the counters are placed on the test rack.2. Sketch an isometric pictorial of the product in your engineer’s notebook, and label the individual components. If you are not sure what a particular component is called, then make a logical guess.3. Make an educated guess as to how this product operates. Use simple machines’ terminology to explain the object’s sequential operation. This product is transported by someone carrying it by the handle. The base works as a support system so that the test rack can stand upright in storage. The horizontal cross bars all have 11 test sockets on them. This is where the counters are plugged in to be tested over night. The back board works as a base when the test rack is laid flat on the ground. It also works to prevent any metal from touching the wires. The various screws work to hold the fixture together. There are also vertical support bars that are used to hold all the horizontal cross bars in position. The cord is used to transport electricity from the wall outlets to throughout the device. There are also specific indicator plugs that are used to test only certain amounts of electricity. This helps so they don’t burn out the counters. All the metal parts are non corrosive so no rust can develop. Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2007 IED – Unit 3 – Lesson 3.2 – Activity 3.2.1 – Product Observation – Page 2
Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2007IED – Unit 3 – Lesson 3.2 – Activity 3.2.1 – Product Observation – Page 3
4. Identify the system inputs, intended product function, and outputs in the table below. Inputs Product Function OutputElectricity Goes through cord to the Tests counters rest of the test rackPlug in counters Holds the counters in Tests if counters work placeCarry rack Handle used Easy to move counters from place to placeSpecific metals and Withstands the test Test rack is able toalloys are used such as chamber conditions compensate for extremesteel, aluminum, and (extreme temperatures) conditions and effectivelyPVC board test the counters.5. What mechanical components are visible? You are able to see a majority of the screws, the handle, indicators, cord, and basic framework including cross bars and support bars. You can also see both the bottom base and the backboard.6. What is it about this device’s function that you cannot identify, because the mechanical components are hidden from plain view? You can’t see the soldering on the back or the wires that connect all the indicator holders. Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2007 IED – Unit 3 – Lesson 3.2 – Activity 3.2.1 – Product Observation – Page 4
Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2007IED – Unit 3 – Lesson 3.2 – Activity 3.2.1 – Product Observation – Page 5