Prepare to project your bat signal or latest car concept in STYLE. The Kreios G1 LED image projector has won a highly-prized Red Dot Design Award for Product Design, selected amongst the ‘Best of the Best’ products within 1,800 entries. The extremely energy-efficient projector was developed by our friends over at Cambridge Industrial Design for Osram. We talk with owner Alex Jones to get the scoop of the tools they used and how the project came together.

Osram Kreios G1

The Osram Kreios G1, is a LED image projector for spotlighting and spot messaging. These lights use a gobo – a small glass or plastic disk with a printed image on it. Basically you can print out and project whatever you like. These projectors are used in shops, art galleries, museums, event venues and commercial spaces to provide signs, advertising and stylized light effects.

The Design Process

Alex is an industrial designer based in Cambridge, UK. He started Cambridge Industrial Design in 2007 quickly establishing themselves in the consumer products and professional lighting design industry. They have worked on an array of consumer, industrial and computing devices with projects including PA systems for Fender, test equipment for GE and Fluke and lighting for Philips and Osram.

What hardware/software/tools/food did you use?

  • Dell workstation T /Quadro FX3700 and Solidworks 2011
  • Macbook Pro (used to run Solidworks very well until OS Lion….)
  • A4 paper with pens (yep I sketched stuff – on paper!)
  • Lots of mince pies (started concepts over the Christmas holiday 2010)

How were concepts presented to the client?
First, three basic concepts were generated using Solidworks. Osram had a working optical prototype which we used as the starting point for size and layout. Concepts were presented as screen shots – with internals shown. This gave the client confidence early on in the project that the shape, proportions and assembly were appropriate. At this stage possible production methods were considered. Getting the internals right as early on as possible is important – this gave us and the client a realistic expectation of what is possible. As with most projects, we produced the internal components in Solidworks and then sketch (pen or on screen) concepts around them. We spend a lot of time thinking about the internal structure and the production processes available to us.

How do you collaborate throughout the process?
Once a design (or combination of designs) was selected, the hard work starts. I worked with optical designers in Germany and power supply designers in the US for this project. This multi-national approach is becoming more and more common. It means a lot of Skype and good communication about the design as it moves forward.

What were the challenges?
Time was very short for this stage, as Osram had a lighting show in February. They required ten working prototypes to prove the concept and exhibit – they had to work and look good. We needed to check out the optics and mechanical design for the gobo holder, focus pull and pan & tilt function and felt that building something quickly was the best way to validate the ideas. The product has a couple of extrusions, some die cast parts and plastic mouldings. The die castings and extrusions were going to be machined from solid so I worked with the prototyping company, Solve3D, to reduce machining time where possible while not effecting the overall look and function. It’s amazing what an extra 1mm gap between heat sink fins does for delivery times! They were able to turn around the full batch in record time. You can check out the prototypes on their website.

What are some unique aspects of the design?
Having fulfilled the prototyping requirement we had to re-design many of the parts for production. The gobo holder and pan & tilt got a complete overhaul. We designed the gobo holder with neodymium magnets to provide a really quick method of swapping out. It also allowed for manual rotation of the graphic. Having designed some camera kits in the past, we had some ideas for the pan & tilt.

How was manufacturing carried out?
The hard bit was fitting everything in, as space was at a premium. Fortunately, we had some great support from our Chinese manufacturing supplier. They prototyped it until it had the perfect, secure feel. Since we have worked with them for a number of years, the transfer from final design to T1 samples was quick. We did a pre-production run of a few hundred to catch the last few issues before it moved into full production.

Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.