Great design (for a PCR machine or anything!)

Hi all,

We get a lot of wonderful comments from all of you on the OpenPCR blog. I wanted to highlight one recent post that I really liked. Tom Benedict posted the following rules of thumb on our Dieter Rams 10 Principles for Good Design post:

- Good design uses as much commercial off-the-shelf as possible. (e.g.
don’t re-invent the screw standard if you can use screws from the
hardware store or McMaster Carr.)

- Good design provides for “getatability” of the parts. This term was lifted from an article in American Machinist from the early 1900′s. (Corollary – If you design one part to be almost impossible to get to, chances are it’s the part that will break first.)

- Good design assumes the thing will have to be taken apart. (e.g. If
the faceplate of an electronics enclosure has all the lights, switches,
buttons, and knobs, and the electronics themselves are bolted to another
part of the enclosure, provide connectors so the two parts can be
separated when the enclosure is taken apart.)

- Good design follows function. (e.g. If the thing being designed needs
to be able to be stacked, don’t make it shaped like an Airstream

- Good design maximizes bulk purchasing and minimizes spares. (e.g. If
it requires twenty push button switches, use the same push button switch
in every case. You reduce costs through bulk purchasing, and only need
one or two spare switches to cover every switch on the device.)

- Good design is easy to make. (e.g. It is POSSIBLE to machine a
90-90-90 sharp inside corner in a block of metal, but it’s a real pain
and will cost a fortune. If a rounded corner will work just as well, use
the rounded corner: it’s easier to make.) Talk to your manufacturer.
They’ll know the tricks for making a design cheap and easy to build.

Thanks, Tom!