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Product design - weight distribution

  1. Jun 20, 2007 #1
    Hi there.

    I have this project in school, where I'm supposed to come up with an idea for a product. I wanted to do a computer screen, but I want the design to be practical too, I also want to know what the limits are to designing the computer screen... Maybe I put too much work in details, but it gives a nice entirety to the project.

    An actual example of what I'm thinking...

    Let's say I have a flat computer screen in mind, and I want to design the way the screen is standing... If you would have a look at the iMac (the ones with lcd screen), then you will notice the foot goes in front of the screen, but is mounted on the back of the screen. When Apple did this design, could they calculate if the screen was gonna fall over or not? Or did they have to construct a model a simply try to push around?

    I guess what I'm asking is, is there a way to create a simple physics model, maybe a computer program, which can determine if the balance in an object is good or not?

    I know 3d studio max isn't a physics program, but I know it can simulate some laws of physics, so I was thinking there was maybe a similar program or method?

    Thanks a lot,
    Simon DK.

    I have already been working a little bit on the project in AutoCAD, but I don't know of this is any help?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2007 #2


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    Welcome to PF, Hau.
    It should be fairly simple. If you know the weights of the individual components, you can position them so as to put your centre of gravity in a favourable location to minimize the necessary 'footprint'. That can be done on paper before you finalize the design, and checked at every stage by just making diagrams of the forces involved. The more weight you have towards the bottom, of course, the more stable it will be.
    Remember to check in all configurations of tilt and swivel.
    I don't know about what programs will be suitable; I just use a pencil.
  4. Jun 21, 2007 #3
    Last summer I had a similar project where I had to test the balance of a parabolic solar collector. I ended up using excel. It ends up being all of the same math as when you use a pencil, but if you have a lot of small parts that you are moving around or trying to keep track of excel can be helpful and it will do the adding for you.
    Good Luck!
  5. Jun 21, 2007 #4


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    Thanks for the tip, D'son. I have Excel, but I never thought of using it for something like that. :cool:
  6. Jun 21, 2007 #5
    Hi again,

    Okay, so it is relatively simple... : o )

    I don't know the weight of the individual component nor do I know, if is going to be heavier near the foot. I didn't think about that... But as I go along, I'll try to get the weight distributed mostly towards the bottom, if possible... I think I'll stick to Excel too, I'm currently searching for specifications of the screen online, so I'll have some data to work with...

    Thanks for the help.
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