Our Product Design Studios feature design, prototyping and production resources, from computer-aided design (CAD) equipment to clay and sculpting tools. In here, you'll learn about subjects including hand drawing and physical prototypes, digital illustration, and how they fit in to the product design process. 

Based within the Faculty of Technology, our Product Design Studios are used primarily by students in the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering. With locations in two of the main Technology buildings, they offer a space to explore the creative process from initial idea to completed product, with support available from our specialist technical staff.

Design Studio
An introduction to the Product Design Studio from Jonathan Rowe, course leader for BSc (Hons) Product Design

You'll get exclusive access to a dedicated studio with HD drawing screens, including 13" Wacom Ones and 21.5" Wacom Cintiqs, all of which allow you to draw directly on screen. You'll have everything you need to design innovative products: industry-standard software, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, advanced equipment including SpaceMouse kits with an ergonomic workstyle for enhanced computer-aided design (CAD) modelling, and physical materials for clay sculpting, cardboard prototyping or drawing by hand. 

Jonathan Rowe (Course Leader)

This is our design studio. This is an open access room, no teaching takes place in here. You're welcome to come in here and use this space as much as you like.

We've got lots of available equipment for you to come and use. This includes dual screen monitors so you can have tutorials on one screen and software running on another. We've got octocore computers that allow really good crunching of animations and processing things. So when you're doing key shots, renders and animations and using the CAD software we've got, it really allows you to power through that kind of thing.

We've got access to all the kinds of software we have on our university network. We've got a bunch of graphics tablets you can use, but as well as that we've got two full screen graphics tablets as well, so you can draw directly onto the screen. So when you're practising your Photoshop or Illustrator skills, you can just draw straight and edit directly onto the monitor.

So what we're going to do now is something that you would do as a student here using the Creo software we've got, which is taking a CAD model and assembling parts together and creating a full assembly model.

This is our Creo software. This is where we've got our assembly model that we're going to bring other components into. I've got my main part of my model toy plane that I've got but what I'm going to do is bring some more bits in to complete the assembly process and I click the symbol button up here.

I've already completed the model of the wing. It's the same part is on this side, it's just going to be mirrored across. Confusingly we're going to use these modelling Dayton planes to attach to our plane model and attach the plane in the middle to the other one there. The one of the back you can line up with the one at the back, the one at the bottom line at the bottom there.

It turns yellow. It's happy that it's fully constrained. We can add other bits we've pre-made as well. A propeller. This one's a bit different because it's got a cylindrical feature, it's got an axis, we can pick the central axis of that part. Again add that to the axis in the hole in the front of the model plane. That needs a bit more control. We're going to line that up at the front and because this is fixed therefore in two directions, it doesn't need three planes to line this up, but we do need a back and forth.

So you can see the arrows have locked grey here, but this one is blue, so we can still line it up in this direction. So I'm going to pick the back base of this shaft here and inside here as well we've got the back of the hole. I'll line that up now.

Now we've got this model, we can do all sorts of things with it. We could run some simulations on it, we could find out the density of it, we can set different materials to it, we could run some physics analysis and manufacturing simulations.

So what we're going to do now is export this model to be 3D printed that will convert the model into thousands of small triangles that the 3D printer interprets as a solid geometry to be printed.

We can take that data now and send it to our 3D printers.

Right from the first year you'd be doing some simple CAD modelling. The more advanced modelling in this software, Creo, is what we do in the second year and we have the 3D printing elements embedded right into your taught module.

You actually set up the 3D printers yourself, you get hands on, you can do the printing process and you'll set up the print bed like this and it's yours to keep.

We can see here a finished model.


The studios' equipment and resources include:

  • 8 Wacom Cintiq screens you can draw and design on directly
  • 12 Wacom Ones and other USB drawing tablets
  • access to Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter, all of which communicate with the graphics tablets
  • computer-aided design (CAD) software and hardware, including ergonomic SpaceMouse kits
  • high spec computers with dedicated graphics cards, ideal for CAD work or Keyshot rendering and animation
  • drawing materials, from pencils to alcohol markers
  • cardboard and cutting equipment, for prototyping
  • modelling clay and natural clay, and relevant sculpting tools
  • gauges, digital calipers and other measuring equipment
  • an archive of old products to compare your designs to

Where to find us

The Product Design Studios can be found in two of the main Faculty of Technology locations. Teaching staff are regularly on hand for support in both studios. 

Product Design Studio

Anglesea Building
Anglesea Rd

Product Design Studio

Buckingham Building
Lion Terrace