By the time this issue hits the newsstands, I will have started on one of my favorite parts of the design process: the brainstorming and idea generation that gets the ball rolling for the new builds. One of the
most frequently asked questions by those who see our
display is how I come up with the ideas and designs for my
We will be looking at a couple of different approaches
detailing how to come up with ideas, and begin the design
process. This is a very important step, and one that
deserves a significant amount of time and thought. Time
spent in this phase of the process will be rewarded further
down the road.
This is an opportunity to head off many of the costly
design mistakes that can result from an ill-conceived idea.
You can skip all the planning and go directly to building,
but this method can lead to wasted time and money, as
well as plenty of frustration. Spend some time early and
reap the rewards of your efforts later. The adage “Fail to
plan, plan to fail” is an appropriate sentiment.
There are multiple factors that need to be considered
when planning a project. The building and design of the
mechanisms is only a portion of the process. Other
considerations include the electronics to make it operate as
desired, the scene it will be incorporated into, as well as the
“outside appearance.” Truth be told, this is the element that
I struggle with the most.
In addition to these physical components, you need to
take stock of your skills to see if your project can be
accomplished as envisioned. Occasionally, I hope you are in
need of the required knowledge and have to either learn
what is necessary or recruit someone that does have the
skills you need. This is one way we can increase our
knowledge and become better builders.
We’ll examine the way I go about designing and
prototyping a project, plus we will look at how one of the
do-it-yourself builders I respect the most — Brian Lincoln —
goes about bringing his projects to life. Brian’s background
in engineering and project management is apparent in the
attention to detail and thoroughness in preparation that he
puts in before he ever begins an actual build.
Generating an Idea
We are fortunate to have a wide variety of online
sources for ideas and tutorials such as forums, how-to
It’s that time of year when I reflect on the progress of the past year, and
start to plan the projects for the upcoming build season. While many
are preparing for the holidays, my thoughts turn to the new characters I
would like to bring to life.
As I sit down to write this, I have just completed my big production of
the year with two costume parties, as well as Halloween night. The next
month or so will be spent doing any necessary repairs or upgrades to
the characters before storing them away, until they reappear next year
to perform once again.
By Steve Koci
The Growth of
an Idea into Reality
SERVO 01.2016 27