As Small As A Pen
A Dremel is a hand-held engraver that uses a high-speed as well as a low torque to perform a variety of jobs that require control and precision. In 2010, Bosch asked TEAMS to develop a new engraver, making it easier to use and handier – just like a pen.
TEAMS has been designing Bosch power tools for decades. Knowing everything about their line-up has given us an advantage: always staying at the forefront of their development. When we were tasked to develop an engraver – in only a short months’ time – we used our expertise to hit the ground running.
A big part of our job as designers and engineers is to experience what a customer experiences when they use an engraver. We put ourselves into the users’ shoes to see why and how they are using the tool. All of this and more helps us to guide Bosch in the development of redesigning a tool that is fully optimized for the customer.
In taking a combination of user feedback and our personal experiences using engravers, we developed some goals that would more closely match users’ needs: a single speed to be used with standard Dremel bits, based on the Dremel Flex Shaft but even smaller with a one cell battery. We took a closer look at the sourcing of our components: a suitable motor and motor controllers, the right batteries, and a micro controller as the brain.
To meet the tight deadline, our teams began the rapid prototyping phase, drawing up ideas quickly to see if they could be used or pushed aside. Design thinking played a big role – drawing up a range of ideas with few or no limits – starting out with large concepts and gradually narrowing it down to usable ideas that could quickly be put into place.
During these phases, we derived three conceptual directions that we drafted out in more detail, carving out the main unique elements of the design, its ergonomics and features. These concepts were then quickly discussed with people that are using engravers. The simplest and tiniest pen-like concept was found the most unique and promising.
To prove the concept would actually work, our UX designer and mechatronics prototype specialist Christoph Albiez as well as TEAMS’ head of engineering Zoran Tasic conducted a small test series of proof-of principle prototypes for single features. After they proved to be promising, they sourced a motor, designed and programmed the PCB, developed an LED ring and designed the plastic housing in Pro Engineer with all outside important ergonomic elements and inside structure design in order to draw up a first fully designed and working prototype after some 8 weeks after start of the project.
Adding on Additional Features
In this stage, our designers saw even more room for improvement. Parallel to the creating the prototyped shells, our team created custom lighting and a control software for status indication – as well as lighting control and a battery status display. To increase the user experience even more, we enabled the engraver with variable speed, so that users were equipped with more flexibility on different projects. Aiming to give users more power, our team decided to go for the two battery solution, increasing the engraver’s vigor.
Zoran Tasic, head of engineering at TEAMS alluded to the quality and speed behind the project, “We are continuously optimizing our processes in order to match our client’s needs and provide production ready products within the shortest possible turnaround time. For a client – this is what you’d call ‘a ride on the third Autobahn lane,’ or a way to bypass the masses of traffic and get to the finish line first. It wouldn’t have been possible without our great team of industrial designers and engineers.”
At the end of 2010, we handed over the finished prototype which quickly went into production. Bosch liked it so much, that it quickly implemented the product under its Brand DREMEL – the key brand under Bosch for handy power tools.