Cal State Long Beach industrial design and mechanical engineering students are teaming up to design and create a shower compartment for the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. G650 business jet.
David Lee, lecturer and design instructor, contacted Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to create the connection for the project. His advanced industrial design studio class is working with Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to design the shower compartment based on different cultural themes.
The students are focusing on themes that G650’s main consumers would like. The three cultural themes they are using as inspiration for their designs are European, Chinese and Middle Eastern because they provide the most clientele for Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
“This is supposed to be a luxury plane,” said Kara Rushforth, a senior industrial design major. “We have to figure out how they would each feel comfortable and relaxed in a small space and not feel claustrophobic.”
The shower is 79 inches tall, 37 inches wide and 33 inches deep. The jet carries 40 gallons of water and, of those 40, only 20 gallons are allocated to the shower.
Since the G650 is customizable to the customer’s liking, the students were able to have options to make the showers mix and match with different materials, colors and the overall positioning in the shower.
Christiane Beyer, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, presented the same design brief to allow her students the opportunity to participate in the project. Since Beyer’s mechanical engineering students already had their own senior project, the shower project was offered as a volunteer activity.
There are seven mechanical engineering students involved in this project — many of whom volunteered their time for the experience.
“It’s good that industrial design is working with an actual company,” said Mitch Bezaire, senior mechanical engineering major. “We get experience before we graduate.”
Stuart Smith decided to participate because he said the cross-collaboration between the two disciplines will be helpful to him in the future.
“It’s very important to interact with design because it gives a design perspective instead of just working with only engineers,” Smith said.
The integration of industrial design and mechanical engineering not only benefits the product but the students as well.
“The ideas that industrial design has are good, but the engineering is not as great as if an engineer would have done it,” Beyer said. “The ideas that the engineers have are good, but the design is not that great. I feel as an engineer, it should look better. By working together, students get more real world experience.”
The most challenging part of the project to some of the industrial design students was the space, and being able to accommodate each culture with the space they were allowed.
“The cultural research I did was about how each culture takes showers,” said Victor Ramos, senior industrial design major. “While some like to sit, others like to stand. We had to figure out whether or not to put a bench, and where to put it.”
Josh Mead, an industrial design major, looked into how long people showered and how much water could be used. They came up with the idea of a censor light on the shower head that lit up when a certain amount of water had been used.
“This crosses over to interior design; it’s a new experience and it rounds out my portfolio,” Mead said.
After the industrial design students present their designs to the mechanical engineering students, the mechanical engineering students look at the possibilities of making their designs function properly, including the shower heads, the pump system and the heater.
According to the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. official website, the G650 is on schedule for entry-into-service in 2012.