The falafel cart we were designing required a type of chassis that met certain specifications. We had to make accommodations for whatever ideas the set top group decided to implement. The way we decided to solve this was by making a modular system that allowed storage to follow an undefined occupation. Something else we encountered was the square and uninspired design that would manifest by way of the modular design we chose. By making a curved outer skin we could state our intentions for the cart in a more expressive way. The way we implemented all of these allowed for easy prep and delivery top replacement.
Our storage modularity is accomplished by two sets of cross-framing, both of which specify the dimensions of a storage space. This can be expanded to accommodate for multiple spaces. In our concept drawings these would be able to be replaced with either a screw or a pin that would release the framing. Aside from the practical aspect of our chassis, the aesthetic aspect occupied much of our time as well. For this we wanted to have a curved skin. Between the bends would be acrylic sheeting that would diffuse light from LEDs placed underneath. The LEDs would change between different aesthetics and color schemes that would give the cart a different feel each time. This would make every experience unique and memorable while still being distinctly recognizable as the same. As we developed our ideas we experimented with different fastening and diffusion mediums. Iterative differences were few when it came to the skinning and modular storage. The largest differences were visible in the framing. Between our first and final model, the largest difference was seen in the skinning and wheel base. The front wheel was changed from a large fixed wheel to a small one on a swiveling fork. The mobility from this design change increased the practicality of movement. On the first model we would have had to devise a way of pulling it without dragging wheels, this was not a big problem on the second. The other large change was the addition of a skin, which was not present at all on the first. Challenges we faced ranged from the trivial to more difficult to solve. One of the trivial problems we notices was that there was no hole cut out for the wheels in the skinning. A more difficult one was we had no way of mounting the skin. If we ever do mount it we would have to account for the lopsided weight distribution as well.
When we began designing our chassis, we focused mainly on the modularity of the storage and access. We planned on having adjustable vertical framing and adjustable top framing. This would allow for a customizable experience for the other teams. With this first iteration we also drafted our wheel design and began figuring out what we would do for wheels in our cardboard model. We ended up using a laser cut cardboard circle that matched the model tires’ interior diameter to affix the model wheel to the axle. This worked relatively well but we still had to figure out how to mount the rotational front wheel. Our cardboard mainframe design did not account to have a wheel under it so we ended up simply cutting off some of the cross framing and placing a fixed direction wheel on. This caused structural instability, but but we resolved the issue in later iterations. We made sure to communicate with the countertop group when designing the sides so that the countertop height would end up being 36in/90cm, the standard for food cart counter heights.
We began our wooden model, still in quarter scale. Our wooden model resembles the previous cardboard design greatly. The frame is almost identical, but stronger and easier to put together. One of the most significant changes were the ones to the wheel systems. The back wheel axle had proper fittings modeled, and washers were added to the dowel to allow it to spin. The front wheel was completely redesigned. We opted for a swiveling fork + wheel system, care was taken to the sizing of the wheels as an incorrect measurement would cause the chassis to not be parallel with the ground. After the fork and wheel models were 3D printed, the scale turned out to be correct, and we attached the fork to the chassis with a screw.
With the wooden chassis frame done, we started thinking about how we would want to skin it. The design we ended up implementing is a curving wall design with multiple layers. We made mockups with cardboard and paper and decided it was aestetically pleasing. The wood version proved to be more difficult to create since curving wood would have been complicated if we had tried o bend single pieces of plywood as we originally planned. We resolved this by cutting out many curved pieces and stacking them on top of each other, achieving a decently attractive curvature, and stable wall for the skin. Acrylic covers were made as well, separating the five sections. We did this so that LED strips could be attached on the inside, and the acrylic could diffuse the light properly.