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Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:04 AM

I just broke a 'craft knife' at work!!?? The old ones had two metal halves held together with a screw which any coin would undo. This one had some daft spring loaded thumb wheel which undid when you used the knife so that the blade fell out. Then when I tried to actually open the knife the metal part broke in my hands, where it had a small cross section to allow for a silly moulded rubber grip and some unnecessary mechanism. The idiot who designed it should be slapped with a wet Haddock.

What examples of bad industrial design and retrograde improvements have wound you guys up lately?

Del (calm calm)

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#1

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:46 AM

I bought a pruning saw that looks a lot like this. Wooden handle with a locking feature that includes a metal button for releasing the blade for folding. Very safe. But, the first time it rained(it never rains here, this is a desert) and the saw was left outside, the moisture swelled the wooden handle and I have never been able to open the blasted thing since.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:49 AM

lynlynch:.......aahhh come on now, is that really a bad design.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:54 AM

OH Jeez................... You sound just like my wife! "Welllllll, why did you leave it outside???????", she said.

Don't these people know that idiots buy tools too?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:59 AM

They rely on it.

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#23
In reply to #4

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 8:26 PM

Don't these people know that idiots buy tools too?

Everybody is good or a master of something.

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#8
In reply to #1

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 11:57 AM

Prob'ly a safety feature - anyone who'd leave a wooden-handled folding saw out in the rain aint safe using it !

(Jus' kiddin' - please don't send the heavies round ).

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#14
In reply to #8

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 2:35 PM

I solved that problem. Bought one with a metal handle.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 2:43 PM

Old problem: Swollen wood handle holds blade fast inside handle.

New problem: Rusty metal handle holds blade fast inside handle.

I forsee you needing a nearly endless supply of limb trimmer saws. Perhaps we should include these in the next LynDoor® Industries catalog.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 2:47 PM

We should include a water proof model for use in arid climates, where it never rains.

Rubber blade/plastic handle?

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#2

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 10:47 AM

What examples of bad industrial design and retrograde improvements have wound you guys up lately?

Guessing at how this can happen.

Fred head of the industrial design group say to the team leader;

This is Jimmy here, the bosses nephew , give him something light and easy for him to cut his teeth on........How both that craft knife design.......should be pretty easy that he can't screw up.

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#6

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 11:12 AM

Yep. I have a couple tool kits - the old style. I have one that has 8 screwdrivers in a soft, poly case with a slip-on handle. It's about 45 years old or so. I have nutdrivers the same way. The kits are just thrown into the bottom of a fairly full toolbox. They never break. They never come apart.

Some years back, the manufacturer went to a brittle acrylic case. Yep, the case breaks, the little snap breaks off when you hit it with a pipe wrench, and out come the tools.

I really want a second set of screwdrivers, but, alas, they are "improved" to the point I won't buy them.

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#41
In reply to #6

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 12:05 PM

You must be referring to the Xcelite tool rolls. I sorely miss mine. The fiddly ridged plastic box, which replaced the canvas tool roll, self destructed within weeks. All of the contents were soon scattered to the four winds.

The tool roll was rugged, kept the tools together and allowed you to unroll the thing so that all the parts were visible and easily accessible. You could drive a truck over the filled tool roll without any thing more dire than scuffing up the handle, breaking the tie string and distressing the roll.

The stupid plastic box which replaced the tool roll, was wimpy to begin with, easily damaged by heat, shattered when dropped and soon was a problem with things hanging up so that they couldn't be removed without force. Then the pitiful thing shattered into useless bits.

Yea, that was an improvement!

TT3

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#7

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 11:24 AM

Tools have been a source of poor design for a long time. There have been attempts, some successful to improve them. I don't have any specific brand examples, but hammers, hand staple guns, screwdrivers, hand power tools, etc come to mind. These tools are poor design because they force the user to hold the tool in an awkward position which leads to unnecessary fatigue and sometimes injury. I have a router that has the adjustable speed control so deeply recessed into the housing that I have to use a screwdriver instead of my thumb to change the speed. Screwdrivers have been made with small smooth handles that cause hand cramping. They have been improved by making the handles triangular in cross section and tapering them to fit the hand. This has been a tremendous improvement; yet companies are still mass producing the old style. Human engineering is used more and more. Ergonomics has been used, but isn't implemented nearly enough.

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#9

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 12:17 PM

While not exactly new, the concept of "Double Insulated" tools has some drawbacks. For example, I was perched on a 30' (9.144m) aluminum ladder drilling into the bottom of an exhaust flue for a kiln dryer with a then new two wire double insulated drill. The bit broke through into a low spot that contained water, the water ran down into the drill motor and onto my hand, the shock caused me to drop the drill, narrowly missing the spotter at the ladder's base. The spotter commented "Why they hate us?"

This was pre GFI and in an area where a GFI is not likely to be.

I prefer three wire grounded all metal power tools.

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#176
In reply to #9

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/28/2010 5:02 PM

Lucky you, as well as the attendant!

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#10

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 12:21 PM

I've had similar experiences with utility knives. I press down on the object I want to cut and the blade would retract suddenly, without warning. OSHA in this country sometimes mandates changes to product design to prevent injury. What is considered a design improvement can turn out to be something that defies ergonomics.

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#24
In reply to #10

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 12:22 AM

This accidental retraction of supposedly safe utility knives is the reason why I will not have one in my home or shop. All I have are the old style with a solid clamp for the two halves which hold the blade and body together. Whenever I see one of the old style at a garage sale or flea market here in the USA I buy it, usually for $1.00 or less.

I built a soft pine wood holder for three of them that sits on the shelf above the workbench in the most used part of my shop. It's just a little wood box with three angle bottom slots the width of the razor knife body. The blade goes down into the slot and the handle sticks up at about a 45 degree angle where it is easy to grab. When done with the knife I just drop it back in the slot where it rests safely ready for the next use.

Ed Weldon

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#11

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 12:26 PM

Please note: Response #7 and 10 are mine. Sometimes when I'm doing computer maintenance, I clear forms.

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#12

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 12:26 PM

They did their job got some moron in purchasing that never used a tool in his life to change from the tried and true.

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#13

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 2:22 PM

Power tools, anyone knows anything about DC motor brushes they need to be inspected and changed when worn. Springs too. Use to be you could access them from opens in the housing. Or the holder itself had a cap on the exterior of the tool. Now you have to disassemble them. More of a pain then it's some times worth. Get all the parts together in the clam shells. I don't know if its retrograde or cheap ploy to get the public to by more tools.

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#18
In reply to #13

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 4:31 PM

I go with the latter. That is one of the main criteria I go by when buying a cordless tool; brush accessibility.

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#17

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 3:32 PM

Solar powered flashlight???

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#62
In reply to #17

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 11:24 AM

That solar powered flashlight gag is so old and so practical.

I actually had a solar powered radio with a built in flash light. I bought it back in 1999. It was a cheaply made Chinese made thing that actually worked very well.

I just left it in the bedroom window and it stayed charged. Finally, after several years, more than five, the sun's heat warped the case so that it didn't work anymore, but the concept is great.

Solar cells charged a rechargeable battery which powered the radio and light. If you ran the light, it was only good for a half hour or so but it was more than enough to find a better flashlight during a nighttime power failure.

Have FUN!
TT3

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#19

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 4:42 PM

I've had tape measures that were great and some that I threw into the ocean out of anger. Some tapes will lock where you want them to, but when you release them, they will wind back into the case with such force as to bend the hook or even cause injury. Other tapes can be controlled so they don't retract violently. I have gone through many, many different tapes to find the one that works the best. Lufkin has always been one of my favorites. I have even found some made-in-China tapes that behaved like a tape should.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 5:20 PM

Tapes eh? Let's add a rubber grip and a belt hook that doesn't work

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 5:53 PM

I use an Olympia Tools job - bit like the ones here. 27', graduated in mm and 1/16" (1/32" for the first foot). Seems to work.

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#22

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/14/2010 6:06 PM

Milo" apologizing in advance..."

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#25

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 2:05 AM

Hi Del

This just happened to me yesterday. I had made a potato salad and it was mums recipe, what else. I used a bit of freshly ground pepper as one does. While we were eating I felt a crunch and Heidi, at the same time, thought that there was something in her mouth that didn't belong there. After thinking for a long time and checking all the ingredients as a possible source, I found that it had originated from the pepper mill. That was the instant end of supper and we had to throw it out. Here are some pics.

Point of breakage

self cutting screw, Heidi's trophy

Ky's trophy

The offender

I have searched the company (which I will not name here) and wonder what you or others would do? Sue the manufacturers, or just let it go? It was over a year old and the original package had nothing that said I could only use it for a year or so. They just rammed that screw in there and hoped for the best, I suppose.

Very bad engineering is what I call it. It took a little chip off my tooth because I was gulping the salad down. Heidi is a more polite eater so she noticed just in time. Imagine our synchronized surprise and me having to throw all that beautiful food on the compost. And all that time wasted to find the source. I just retraced every move and there were a few ingredients, I can tell you.

Any advice on what to do? I hate suing and always had more expenses than good outcome in the past. The legal eagles seem to always take the cream. Ah, yeah there was some cream in it, like mum told me to do.

Good luck and watch out if you have a similar mill in your cupboard Ky.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 2:31 AM

Don't do anything...stuff happens...it's not worth trying to pursue something like that, the most you'll ever get is a new peppermill and a heart attach from the stress.
I dunno where the 'compensation culture' originated from? Was it the USA?
I've noticed the clear plastic ones cracking around the screws before now.

Anyhow there was probably some microscopic smallprint on the box saying it should be checked out at the local garage before and after every use.
We have about 3 of 'em... it's a classic case of wood being better than plastic.
C'mon guys (and gals) lets hear it for wood.
I'll get 'em serviced right away!
Del

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#27
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:11 AM

Wood it is Del. I thought the same about the compensation culture. Not worth the stress. Thanks for the advice, Ky.

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#31
In reply to #25

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 10:21 AM

If the potato salad was tasty I would have searched it for more broken pieces and continued eating (using Heidi's method of course). My motto is that you never know when there is going to be a famine.

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#37
In reply to #25

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:43 AM

I would go to the shop where you got it to see if they still have them. You can then find out who makes it and the address. You could send them a picture of the pieces and tell them that it caused a chipped tooth and that you would be seeing a lawyer. They may offer to compensate you for your trouble or if not, the rest is up to you.

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#28

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 8:44 AM

Some devices are meant to be used with some training or instruction. Afterall you can't turn a chimp loose with an industrial robot and you can't give a gorilla beakable things. However there are many examples of lousy designs that tend toward breakage.

This happens when an inventor specs a certain kind of material or fasteners and the manufacturer uses the basic principles and goals while making it out of the cheapsest stuff possible in the cheapest way possible. Reliability isn't the goal it is weather or not it might funstion correctly at leaqst a few times.

I have had many failures and dissapointments form cheap and expensive hiking poles. I went to a home improvement store and bought a piece of aluminium tubing 60" long and of a diameter and strength that felt right. I filled it with lightweight foam and glued non-slip ends on both ends of it and wrapped the top half with baseball bat tape. Then I drill a hole near the top and put a loop lanyard through it. Then I painted it an olive drab, no-gloss color. That one never gives me any pause when I use it in a tough way and it never fails. It is also the cheapest on I have ever owned. I bet it would cost $50 if I found it in an outdoor store.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 8:56 AM

Ah yes, build it yourself...that's the way to do it!
Del

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#39
In reply to #28

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:51 AM

Training or instruction would hardly apply to a pepper mill. Maybe a CNC mill. The item more than likely was manufactured in China where QC is poor. Every time you go into a restaurant, do you check the pepper mills to make sure the screws are tight?

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#40
In reply to #28

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:58 AM

Afterall you can't turn a chimp loose with an industrial robot and you can't give a gorilla beakable things.

I once told an incompetant EE, they can teach a chimp to be an astronaut......But he's still a chimp. I hope he didn't take it the wrong way.

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#30

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 9:58 AM

I just now got interrupted my the Mrs to fix the toilet. The chain from the flush handle to the flapper was once again frozen in a slightly shortened length, allowing water to trickle through. I have tried all sorts of chains over the years and there aren't any small ones that don't bind a little. Logging chains never do. Why can't somebody copy that in stainless?

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#32

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 10:29 AM

My father recently had to have the battery to his Chrysler replaced. At the time I was out of the country and couldn't do it for him. He's approaching 80 years old and not as handy as he used to be, so he took it into the shop. Turns out they had to remove the front tire to remove and replace the battery. That just floored me.

When auto manufactures locate something that is essentially a maintenance item in a place that virtually unaccessible (yes, i know, it was still accessible, but one needs jack stands and a lot of time to do a 10 minute job in this case), and then is doing poorly in the market place, I have little sympathy for them. It saddens me though, as I grew up in Mopar products and used to really like them.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 10:47 AM

Mopar makes you take out the tire to change the battery? They must have hired the engineer from GM that made you unbolt the engine mounts to get to the back spark plug.

Actually, I found out you don't have to do the engine block thing if the front tire is removed and you reach up from below with a special curved ratchet... This way you can get to the back plug without unbolting motor mount... I learned this trick after realizing I couldn't get it done and called a buddy to provide a much needed assist... And reinforcements. Who'd a thought 3 hours to change spark plugs?

Milo

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:00 AM

I don't believe it's that way on all Chrysler cars....but at least the model my father owns.

I've heard about unbolting engine mounts to change spark plugs on some GM cars. My sister used to own a Saturn (unfortunately, I convinced her to buy it...seemed like a good deal at the time). She took it in to have some work done which included changing the plugs. She told me it was going to cost her $700...of which I think around $400 was for replacing the plugs. So we called around to other shops thinking the first one was over charging her. Nope......you have to move the engine or something along those lines to change the plugs. What a brilliant idea!!!! Aaaggghhhh.

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:01 AM

I sold a Citroen I had many years oago when I found you had to take the dash out to change the clutch cable

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#144
In reply to #33

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/25/2010 11:32 PM

I had a friend once with a Toyota pickup which required that you raise the engine slightly to change the sparkplugs...

Of course the engine was a 283 Chevy. That was a beautiful pickup, and the only way you could tell that it was not stock was that it had dual exhausts.

Bill

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#56
In reply to #32

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 6:38 AM

I have a mate who had a BMW. He never did find the battery. He searched for it on and off the whole time he ran the car, without success.

Cheers.......Codey

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 7:14 AM

I suppose that's okay as long as he didn't need to replace it or give someone a jump.

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 8:33 AM

That's right, he didn't really need to find the battery, but curious.

Codey

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#60
In reply to #58

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 11:01 AM

On the battery note I actually applaud BMW. The battery on many older models was in the trunk, typically tucked "into" a quarter panel. Away from the elements, but with its own drain in case of overflow, much more easily accesible. BMW also did it on some cars "to maintain 50-50 weight ratio" or something close to it. I always did enjoy helping someone jump off a dead battery and seeing the look on their face as I backed up toward their car.

BMW also put the battery underneath the rear seat in some cars, not a big fan of this for a number of reasons. Noxious fumes inside the moving car in the rare case of charging error (faulty voltage regulator, etc.), ruined seat padding from any vented gasses or fluids, and the one guy who tapped both terminals with a wrench and caught the seat padding on fire.

-T

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 11:13 AM

I had a BMW (for a short time) that had the battery in the trunk. For other reasons I decided not to keep the car, but I've never been a fan of trunk mounted batteries. The voltage drop can be significant as a battery nears the end of its useful life, and can be a killer if the ground side corrodes.

I also had a rear mounted battery in a 1960 Austin Healey 3000 but I had so much trouble with that that I had a plate welded to the frame up near the engine and secured the battery there. The down side of that was that I had to jack the car up and remove the right front wheel to service/remove the battery but at least I got rid of those lloooooonnnnggggg battery cables.

Hooker

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#63
In reply to #61

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 11:54 AM

The battery in my '72 Vette is conveniently located in a well directly behind the drivers seat, in the passenger compartment. It's a real pain to service.

And don't even get me started on the wipers and headlights. To use wipers there's the electric dash switch which actuates a vacuum relay that powers a bellows motor that opens the wiper door. When the door is opened completely, it closes another electrical switch mounted on the firewall that allows the wiper motor to run.

Headlights are just as complicated.

But, it's fun to drive.

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#66
In reply to #63

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 12:27 PM

Are you sure you aren't confusing the wipers with something from Tomb Raider?
Del

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#68
In reply to #66

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:05 PM

There's something mystical about it, that's for sure. But, As I said in my original reply, it hardly ever rains here.

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#71
In reply to #66

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:28 PM

Thanks, now I'll be thinking of Tomb Raider the rest of the afternoon.

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#59
In reply to #56

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 10:02 AM

Kinda like getting into a rental car, and pulling up to the gas pumps.........only to realize that car you are driving has the cap on the other side.........I'm glad now they have something on the dash telling you which side to fill up on.

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#73
In reply to #56

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:56 PM

if you pay that much money, they really ought to throw in a free energy device!

I had a 2005 Saturn Ion... and the battery was conveniently located in the front..and accessible... Just before I got rid of the car, I opened the trunk one day and was accessing the spare tire under the mat... and discovered a complete secondary batter, all wired in... I was shocked... no pun intended. I guess that answers why it always started in our canadian winters.

Chris

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#99
In reply to #73

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/18/2010 2:33 PM

My 04 Ion has the battery located in the trunk, there's no battery up front, but there are convenient Jumping posts (positive and negative) on the under hood fuse box less than 2 feet from the starter. I agree that the voltage drop across an entire cars length of battery wires makes jumping a pain. GM engineers got something right with the cobalt/ion successor to the cavalier.

Not the ignition switch though, who thought a temperature sensitive resistor as a theft deterrent was a good idea? when the temp swings from 25F-105F through the year in my locale its bound not to start one season or another.

-T

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#36

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:15 AM

Dual Trout Slap to idiot designers! (couldn't find a Haddock).

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#38

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 11:45 AM

Unbeknown to me the first (and last) time I changed the oil in my Ford PU is that the steering wheel must be turned all the way the the right, I think, or you can't remove the filter from under the frame due to steering arm interference.

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#42

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 12:20 PM

I once had a Peugeot automobile. Nice car, but one day the cooling fan quit. Took it to the mechanic. The fan was connected to the thermostatic clutch which was connected to the water pump. It was designed as one piece and had to be replaced as one piece. Cost was over $700.

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#43

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 12:56 PM

Cast iron bathtubs that won't break when they are supposed to?

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 1:02 PM

Oh, Oh, theres a leak from another thread coming in........call the plumber

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#45
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 1:08 PM

Plumber is trying to find his excelite tools in his peugeot...in the parking lot at the dentists office.

Milo

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#53
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 4:11 PM

PMSL...

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#87
In reply to #43

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 11:20 PM
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#46

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 1:25 PM

Slightly OT, but I just put one of our company trucks in the shop. Turn signals don't work.

The cost? $450.00 for the switch and $250.00 labor to put it in.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 1:57 PM

somethings wrong there........labor is usually more than the part for repairs

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#48

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:04 PM

The sales record breaking iPhone 4 whose antenna design forces people to hold the phone in a very unnatural way or suffer dropped calls.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:07 PM

sounds like in the earlier 90's where you see people on the cell phone running around back at forth in an attempt to keep the very weak connection.........ahhhh, those were the days.

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#52
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:48 PM

Yeah, the good ol' analog days where being a techi and having a signal strength meter made all the difference.

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#50
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:16 PM
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#51
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 3:47 PM

Lyn, This is an important contribution to this discussion.

However, just putting a nonconductive case on the phone which I'll bet 80 % of owners do, also solves the problem.

As was earlier mentioned, There are probably lawyers lining up to go after steve and co. for 'fraudulant conveyance' or some other obscure doctrine.

The right thing to do is for Apple to give everybody either a free cheap nonconductive case or a coupon towards their choice of a case if they don't like the cheapie.

Sometimes designs dont work as expected. THATS how designers learn.

Unintentional/unexpected is different than Cheap a$$ and cheating on Bill of Materials.

I can forgive sins of co- mission much easier than sins of o- mission.

I hope that my subordinates do make mistakes. It shows that they are in fact doing something. COMMIT-ting.

I'm hoping to get an iphone. still working on the boss...

Milo

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#86
In reply to #51

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 7:44 PM

I said yesterday"The right thing to do is for Apple to give everybody either a free cheap nonconductive case or a coupon towards their choice of a case if they don't like the cheapie."

I am Happy to confirm that Apple is giving away $30 cases... http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/16/apple-to-give-away-free-bumpers-to-iphone-4-users/ Milo

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#97
In reply to #86

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/17/2010 6:50 PM

good call

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#54

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 9:06 PM

Back in the 1950's General Electric invented the magnetic suspension bearing for Watt-Hour meter rotors, and eliminated their major source of error, friction. This was the beginning of the end for mechanical meters. They lasted forever. Today there are hundreds of millions of I-55 and I-70 meters in use around the world, just as accurate now as when they left the factory 50 or 60 years ago.

GE no longer makes mechanical meters. They have been replaced by "better" solid state electronic meters that should become obosolete within five years. That is if lightning dosn't strike sooner.

Today, when a product is designed, the first question is, can it be marketed for a price, and manufactured at a cost that will make a profit. Will it work, is it safe, will it last, are secondary considerations.

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#55
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/15/2010 9:13 PM

"Today, when a product is designed, the first question is, can it be marketed for a price, and manufactured at a cost that will make a profit. Will it work, is it safe, will it last, are secondary considerations."

This is the essence.

GA Milo

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#64
In reply to #54

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 12:19 PM

Here's another one. The Sears/Whirlpool Calypso washing machine of a few years back. Also known by too many owners, myself included, as the "Collapso".

Marketed as a water and energy saving answer to older washing machine "technology" it sucked us in to the tune of $1300 when our 20 year old conventional machine asked to be put to sleep.

So we buy this thing and the first thing we learn about it is that the energy saving is a sham. Rather than run a proper length spin cycle (the high energy user) the thing left the clothes wetter than usual so our clothes dryer hand to expend lots more energy evaporating the water to remove it. But of course energy used by the dryer doesn't count toward the number on the prominently displayed bright yellow energy use tag. Neat trick I say.

Next good news that happened just days out of warranty is it quit running. Sears sent a poorly trained tech out to fix it. This dunderhead checked it out an proceeded to fry $600 worth of printed circuit boards and then charged us for them. Left us to discover that the machine would not pump water out. Came back and replaced the water pump because the plastic splines in the impeller had been stripped.

So Ed, being an old pump guy, insisted on keeping the replaced pump so he could see how it worked. I had to call on my band saw to get the casing apart. Inside what did I find? A regenerative turbine pump configuration! ......... with a piece of dental floss jaming the necessary close clearance between impeller and casing characteristic of that type of pump. Following that experience my wife cheerfully agreed to avoid hiding her dental floss in the pockets of her clothes.

Three years after the initial purchase the trick nutating agitator drive died and extensive internet commentaries from unhappy Collapso owners suggested a quick funeral was in order. Now $1700 out of pocket (Sears eventually refunded a big part of the first botched repair cost) we bought a new conventional Whirlpool washing machine for something like $600. That was 6 years ago. The new machine has been absolutely trouble free since then.

And Ed learned his lesson about spending money on hyped up new technology in the appliance world.

I never could fathom why the Whirlpool engineers chose a regenerative turbine pump design over a conventional volute type centrifugal. The only advantage it offers is higher pressure at lower flows. But there is no net efficiency gain. The only thing I could figure was that they needed the pressure so they could cost reduce the various hoses in the system. Whatever made them think that they wouldn't encounter stringy objects in typical laundry loads? Anyone who has worked in product development for a big corporation knows the answer to that.

Ed Weldon

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#67
In reply to #64

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:03 PM

Surprised you stuck with Whirlpool and didn't change to another make!

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#72
In reply to #67

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:31 PM

I bought Whirlpool again because they have a good general reputation. Also the model I bought rated high in Consumer Reports and was a very traditional design. The Collapso was an engineering failure, not a manufacturing failure.

You have to be able to see the difference between quality control in the design engineering process and quality control in the manufacturing process. All those old appliance designs carry the heritage of a design capability that once was and a process of evolutionary perfecting of successful designs through years of manufacturing and field service repair experience. As long as the company management avoids "new and improving" a successful design with continuing sales success the product is likely a good bet for the buyer.

Looking back I see that Calypso product as a prototype that was rushed into production without sufficient engineering testing. Likely Sears putting the arm on Whirlpool in order to get a "Flagship" to boost appliance sales at a time when energy saving had just become the "fad de jour". I blame Sears more than I blame Whirlpool.

Ed Weldon

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#74
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 2:08 PM

OK thanks ED

Codey

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#113
In reply to #72

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/21/2010 10:41 AM

The reputation of Whirlpool is an urban legend. All they have is a name and over-priced "goods".

Yahlasit

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#82
In reply to #64

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 5:57 PM

Whenever I buy any appliance, I always buy the most basic model available without all the bells and whistles. The mechanical guts are all the same. Less to go wrong. I'm not cheap.

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#65

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 12:23 PM

Years ago, I was walking into a building on a customer's site. The door knob was placed so close to the door frame that it was very difficult to turn the knob without mashing your fingers.

I suspected that my day was made from that instant.

I was right.

The stairs were proportioned funny and steep so that they were a long way between steps and the treads were narrow.

The hand rail along the stair way was mounted so close to the wall that it was almost useless.

The electrical panels were mounted so close to the wall that you couldn't get the doors open all the way.

A lot of the doors opened into rooms the wrong way, meaning that once the door was open you had to walk around it to get into someone's office.

Every thing about the place was just enough wrong that it was a continuous trial navigating the place.

Mechanical equipment was just as troublesome. Pipes were run so that the piping had to be disassembled before simple maintenance could be performed on the machinery. It was like a Bizaro world version of a well designed installation.

I was always happy to leave that place, especially when I knew I wasn't coming back right away.

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#69
In reply to #65

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:19 PM

Was it Friday the 13th or April 1st by any chance?
Del

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#83
In reply to #69

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 6:06 PM

No, I don't think so. I don't remember the day or date. I do remember that it was a place that had motored their generator after the steam turbine tripped until the machine overheated and warped the case of the turbine and damaged the generator.

I was there to check out the electronic speed/extraction steam governor and generator synchronizing system. The system was designed so that there was no way of manually synchronizing the generator to the utility bus and no way to monitor the action of the automatic system. They would not pay for an electrical contractor to come in and verify phasing before closing the breaker on the machine the first time. Luckily the phasing was correct or they would have had another major repair bill.

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#70
In reply to #65

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 1:26 PM

I swear I've been to that same site.

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#75

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 3:17 PM

I have found that if you spend big bucks on a television ad and expound on how you have, through years of research into the principles of fluid dynamics, developed a vacuum cleaner that will not just suck, but totally out-suck all other devices ever invented, all the while maintaining a fierce look of honesty and determination, you can sell this plastic wonder for considerably more than it is actually worth.

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 3:27 PM

I agree. I got involved with Rainbow vacuums in 1999.. for a short while.. and it really did outperform all others. It had a water vortex and captured the dirt in the water, while maintaining 100%flow.. (the powerhead still was similar to others.) but the price (cash) was 2k$ (cdn)

People need to understand the value of the dollars spent in relation to the dollars they should spend, and should keep. Going into debt for such things is basically insane. Einstein showed the world how the 'rule of 72' works. You would be so much better off just putting your pennies in a piggy bank and living in the dirt, as though you lived in the bush. You may get depressed from the dirt, but not as much as you will get depressed from the debt.

I quit when i figured out what a disservice these sales programs were for the people I was selling them to, even though the unit was a wonderful product. It just isn't worth it, many times over.

Chris

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#77
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 3:45 PM

Sounds like it sucked Chris. You think it would be worth while to Google 'rule of 72'?

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#78
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 3:47 PM

Done. I'm going bush!

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#79
In reply to #76

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 3:53 PM

A good friend of mine offered to demonstrate a Rainbow in my house, he showed me the reservoir pointing out the dirt that my vacuum had left behind. I was impressed until I heard the cost.

While he was chatting with my girl friend, I returned from the garage with my gas powered leaf blower and a pair of goggles. They looked up just as I pulled the starter rope.

"Now let's see how much dirt your vacuum left behind" I screamed over the din.

Last I heard, He and my girl friend are happily married and living somewhere in Florida.

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#80
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 4:59 PM

Like!

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#85
In reply to #79

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 7:31 PM

the universe is unfolding as it should... and hey... you still have a great leaf blower!

but perhaps that is not a bad industrial design.. a bad girlfriend and 'friend' design definitely!

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#96
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Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/17/2010 6:09 PM

you love a challenge......then the sales man when out and brought in a old girl friend and she .......... Message From Admin: Please refrain from posting bad words.

I found this Message From Admin: on another blog and I been proactively using it. And let the CR4 members imagination fill in the blanks

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#81
In reply to #76

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 5:52 PM

I did ditto with the Rainbow, but this was way back in the 60's. The cost back then was $500 and it was still too much. Great machine. I heard that they have problems with the motors breaking down. Did you try the trick of putting the nozzles of the Rainbow together with a Kirby (the Cadillac of vacumn cleaners) to see which machine would outsuck. The Rainbow would always win. I just wasn't cut out to sell vacumn cleaners.

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#95
In reply to #75

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/17/2010 6:06 PM

sounds like a Kirby....too bad the commissioning structure is very similar to a pyramid scam......but they do have gates as an partner in it. Thou what it takes to produce one and what they charge for in its about 3 times.....quite a take........or should I say, allot of middle men picking up commissions........of course they do use space age materials on it what the astronauts use........thats space shuttle, not Apollo.

p911

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#84

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/16/2010 6:14 PM

This is not so much a poor design as it is a poor placement. I'm talking about those toilet paper dispensers. 9 out of 10 times, I find them located on the wall in back of where you sit. Depending on the type of dispenser, you may have to use both hands to access it. Sometimes I've found it on the back wall where you have to be a contortionist to reach it. When I worked on Navy ship design, I always located the dispensers where they could be reached easily. My back is such that I can't twist around all that much to get to the paper. I have been trained in human engineering.

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#129
In reply to #84

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/24/2010 12:28 PM

Along the same line of thought, ronseto, I would much rather use a paper towel dispenser than those stupid energy wasting, time consuming and never seeming to quite getting my hands completely dry - hot air hand dryers in public washrooms.

They seem to stay on for about a dozen seconds, not nearly long enough, so after another 3 or 4 HITS on the start button, or waving your hands underneath to fish for the motion sensor, my hands start to feel somewhat dry.

Paper towels also let you unlock and open the door to avoid touching the nasties left behind by those who don't bother washing up after answering nature's call.

energy benefit/cost ratio (recycled paper vs. wattage vs. time)?

Life is getting too Confuciuscated.

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#160
In reply to #129

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/27/2010 8:06 AM

Along the lines of paper towel dispensers vs. hot air dryers....what if you want to wash your face?

Many restrooms now have hot air dryers that require you to put your hand between two opposite facing blowers (just wide enough for some big hands). How do you dry your face with one of those? ...and no one better say my head is too fat

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#161
In reply to #160

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/27/2010 11:58 AM

True, many places here have started using the Xlerator drier, the old ones at least had a diverter for face drying, with these you would have to kneel on the floor.

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#162
In reply to #161

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/27/2010 12:12 PM

It is called multi-tasking. You can dry your face and pray at the same time.

"Oh God!! How did I ever get myself into this!!"

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#163
In reply to #160

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/27/2010 4:03 PM

There you go - my point exactly - Thank you, JBTardis:.

Since you brought the subject up - just how fat is your head?

I wear a 7 & 1/2 size myself, even though I have no idea what these size #'s refer to - inches diameter - or what?

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#174
In reply to #163

Re: Bad Industrial Design Examples

07/28/2010 10:42 AM

You're welcome.

Fortunately, I have the ultimate resource to avoid getting a big head. It's called 'my wife'...that and my low carb eating habits.

I honestly don't know my hat size as I rarely wear hats. So I would say I'm average.

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