copyright University of Minnesota,
all rights reserved, 2015

Toy Product Design - PDES 3711/5711

Instructor: Barry Kudrowitz, PhD, barryk [at] umn.edu, 15 Rapson
TAs: Krystianna Johnson (joh09014), Cassie Connery (conne427), Roohi Katarya (Katar016)


2018 Lab Instructors

Alexandra Eninsche, enins001 [at] umn.edu, (TPD 2015)
Andrew Beyer, andrewjonbeyer [at] gmail.com
Ashley Morgan, ashleymfesus [at] gmail.com
Audrey San Diego, sandi050 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Ben Pedrick,bpedrick [at] gmail.com
Caitlin Dippo, dipp0008 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2013)
Chris Worthington, cew.worthington [at] gmail.com
Cici Wu, wuxx0850 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
David Brajkovic, brajk001 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2012)
Ellen Hughes, hughes.ellenk [at] gmail.com (TPD 2015)
Joey Ivers, ivers503 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Joseph Haynes, hayne171 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Kenya Mejia, mejia058 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2010)
Liz Wolner, woln0037 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2014)
Luigi Rausch, rauschluigi [at] gmail.com
Luis Soto, luis.soto [at] target.com
Luke Bromback, bromb010 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Maia Peterson, pet00023 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2018)
Mira Meier, meier310 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Nathan Romportl, rompo010 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Nel Pilgrim Rukavina, pilgr028 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2014)
Nina Johnson, joh04971 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2012)
Rory Alt, altxx045 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2012)
Sarah Alfalah, alfal003 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Sarah Prescott, presc061 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Sarah Sheber, ssheber [at] umn.edu
Sophie Martin, mart3028 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2013)
Taylor Hill, quoteradar [at] gmail.com (TPD 2011)
Todd Brobst, todd.brobst [at] decopac.com
Vivian To, toxxx045 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2018)

Lecture: M W 5-6:30 Rapson 56
Lab: Thursday 6-9 PM, Rapson 56 or Rapson Courtyard
Office Hours: Thursday 1:15-3:15, Rapson 15
Credits: 4.0, A-F only

Overview . Readings/Materials . Instructors . Shop/Lab . Purchases . Play Testing . Grading . Schedule

Course Overview

Toy Product Design is an introduction to a product design process and we use toys as a medium to learn tools, techniques and methods. It is a project-centric class. Students work in small interdisciplinary teams of 6 members to design and prototype new toy concepts with the help of local industry and children.

Technical Elective Credit for Mechanical Engineers
 It is possible to get technical elective credit if you register for PDES 5711 instead of PDES 3711, have taken both ME 3222 and ME 3281, and petition for it before the class starts. For petition information, see Jeanne Sitzmann in the Mechanical Engineering Student Advising Office, MechE 1120.

A Portable design notebook with a robust cover like the Maker's Notebook.
An alternative with less features is the the Moleskine Plain Large Notebook.
Fineline pen and marker- to be discussed in lecture

Optional Readings (first 5 available at bookstore)
Bjarki Hallgrimsson - Prototyping and Modelmaking for Product Design
Kevin Henry - Drawing for Product Designers
Alex Milton - Research Methods for Product Design
Douglas Bryden - CAD and Rapid Prototyping for Product Design
Charles Platt - Make: Electronics

Mike Ashby - Materials and Design
Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics
Donald Norman - Emotional Design
Simon Monk - Programming Arduino
Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger - Product Design and Development
Michael Michalko - Thinkertoys
Kritina Holden - Universal Principles of Design
Scott McCloud - Making Comics
Donald Norman - The Design of Everyday Things
Nancy Duarte - Slide:ology
Johan Huizinga - Homo Ludens
Brian Sutton-Smith - Toys as Culture

There will be two lab instructors assigned to each team. Both have experience in product design and will be a part of your team during the labs on Thursdays. They are volunteers and are taking off work to be there for you. Although they have experience in some areas related to product design, they may not be experts in all areas related to product design.  They are not expected to do work for you, but they are expected to provide advice and help when needed. If you create your own team discussion board or email group, you should include them.  They will be on your team email list.
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The labs are taught near the shop as we believe it is best to have access to prototype facilities during your team lab time. The workshop website has a lot of helpful information including hours, tutorials, and material lists. Kevin Groenke [groen004] and Justin Kindelspire [kinde035] are two of the members of the shop staff that are familiar with the course. They will be assisting us during lab, but please keep in mind they are also supervising other students outside of this class.

Purchasing Materials
Each team will be given a starting budget for buying prototyping materials for the entire semester. This budget includes purchases made both inside (workshop store, computer lab, 3D printing) and outside the university (retail stores, online). The budget is for all prototypes made by all members of the team and so your team should make a plan on how to allocate funds. One member on each team will be responsible for managing the budget and collecting receipts. All receipts must be submitted—even if the item is returned for refund.  Receipts from purchases during the week must be submitted before the end of lab on Thursday to the TA, Cassie Connery. Submitting receipts is crucial so we know how much budget each team has left in their accounts. Individuals that delay receipt submission are subject to grade deductions. Any online purchases that do not require immediate action should be submitted to the Toy Design 2018 Order Site to order for your team. Orders placed with the Toy Design 2018 Order Site will still deduct from your overall team budget and you should keep track of these purchases. If you are placing orders with the Toy Design 2018 Order Site, all order requests received by 3pm, Monday-Friday, will be placed the same day. Amazon orders will use 2-day shipping. You may request items to be shipped to Rapson Hall for pick up.  Purchases at the Rapson Hall shop, computer lab or ECE will be handled differently. Students will give the name and team name to the attendant and each of the individual "stores" will have the class list. These purchases will be deducted from your allocated budget. You are responsible to record those purchases on your weekly purchasing log.  It is not acceptable to use class/lab time to purchase materials off campus.  You should come prepared to labs with materials.

Play Testing
Feedback is essential to the design process and when designing for children, it is important to play test the ideas. Throughout the semester we have arranged for several play test events to present our work and get children involved in the design process. You will be responsible for bringing your prototypes.  The play test events this year are on Wednesdays at the Marcy Open School from 3-4:30pm on Feb 14, March 21, and April 11. Not all members of your team need to attend.

Approximately half of the total grade is based on individual work and the other half is based on teamwork. Class and lab participation grades are based on both attendance and quality of in-class activity. This is a hands-on, team-based class and so attendance is mandatory. Tardiness will also count against the attendance grade.  Being on time is critical for the team-based nature of this class. If you are late you will be delaying your team’s progress. If you do come to class late we may require you to wear a silly hat and the class will applaud your entry. Only in certain circumstances as described in the Policies section will an absence or tardy not affect the grade. Here are some things that do not constitute an excused absence: going to hear a talk, attending an event for another class, job interviews, having a headache. If you are ill, please submit a doctor’s note so we do not count this against you. An unexcused absence for lab will result in a full grade deduction in the class. An unexcused absence for a lecture will result in a half grade deduction. Late work is not acceptable or of use to the team. This class is on a tight timeline and all assignments build on each other. Unless resulting from an excused absence, late work will not be graded. Graduate students will be graded on a higher standard than undergraduate students.  

You will be expected to put in an average of 12 hours a week outside of class time.  Weeks approaching a milestone review will require more hours than other weeks during the semester.  If you are not putting in this amount of time, you are likely putting your team at a disadvantage.

Class Participation (attendance based) Individual 15
Team/Lab Participation (split into 3 scores) Individual 15
Brainstorming Assignment Individual 5
Idea Presentation Individual 5
Individual Sketch Model Individual 5
Team Sketch Models Team 10
Final Presentation Team 15
Final Prototype Team 20
Design Notebook Individual 10

Students understand that enrollment in this course grants consent for their work to be selected for inclusion in college or departmental publications (online or in print). Your instructor may select to use your work to represent her/his skills as an instructor in a teaching portfolio (online or in print) and for research studies.

Course Schedule

Date   Class/Lab Theme
Additional Info
Jan 17 Wed Course Overview
Rapson 56
Jan 18 Thurs Meet and Greet**
Rapson 56
Jan 22 Mon Snow Day!
Rapson 56
Jan 24 Wed Play
Rapson 56
Jan 25 Thurs Theme Introduction + Brainstorming*
Rapson 56
Jan 29 Mon Team Introduction
Rapson 56
Jan 31 Wed Benchmarking Rapson 56
Feb 1 Thurs Team Brainstorm**
Rapson 56, HMWK Due
Feb 5 Mon Presenting Visual Information
Rapson 56
Feb 7 Wed Poster/Pitching Workshop (and Finances)
Rapson 56
Feb 8 Thurs Concept Selection and Poster Design**
Rapson 56, HMWK Due
Feb 12 Mon Shop Safety Introduction
Rapson Hall Shop
Feb 14 Wed Play Test 3-430 (Before Class) Marcy Open School
Feb 14 Wed Shop Safety Introduction

Rapson Hall Shop

Feb 15 Thurs Idea Presentation** Rapson 56
Feb 19 Mon Sketch Modeling (Feedback/Foam)
Rapson 56
Feb 21 Wed Sketch Modeling (Digital Prototyping) Rapson 56
Feb 22 Thurs Sketch Model Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Feb 26 Mon Estimation and Energy
Rapson 56
Feb 28 Wed Sketch Model Construction*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 1 Thurs Sketch Model Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 5 Mon Sketch Model Construction*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 7 Wed Sketch Model Photos

Imaging Lab

Mar 8 Thurs Sketch Model Presentations**
Rapson 56
Mar 19 Mon Product Design Aesthetic
Rapson 56
Mar 21 Wed Play Test 3-430 (Before Class)

Marcy Open School

Mar 21 Wed Concept Development *
Rapson 56
Mar 22 Thurs Sketch Model 2.0 Construction** Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 26 Mon Build Day*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 28 Wed Build Day* Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 29 Thurs Sketch Model 2.0 Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 2 Mon Build Day*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 4 Wed Design Consultation**
Rapson 56
Apr 5 Thurs Gantt Charts - Selection - Plan**
Rapson 56
Apr 9 Mon Plastics and Manufacturing
Rapson 56
Apr 11 Wed Play Test 3-430 (Before Class)
Marcy Open School
Apr 11 Wed Prototyping*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 12 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 16 Mon Presentations and Packaging
Rapson 56
Apr 18 Wed Prototyping*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 19 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 23 Mon Presentation Practice/Prototyping
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 25 Wed Presentation Practice/Prototyping
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 26 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 30


Dress Rehearsal**
Coffman Theatre
May 2 Wed Playsentations**
6PM, Coffman Theatre
May 3 Thurs Class Wrap Up**

Rapson 56