The Project Proposal
As a kid growing up, we all have had a favorite toy. Whether it was our favorite because of the color, the shape, or the sound it made, it was still incredibly special to us. The one thing as a child we never thought of was the mechanics or inner-workings of the toy. We just loved what it did and that was it. But we are older now and our favorite toy is interesting again because we want to know how it does what it does. That toy we are looking at today is the Nerf gun. The Nerf gun is a consumer product that is sold at local toy stores as well as discount department stores. It is a plastic toy that shoots foam darts with rubber tips. The Nerf gun is one of a select few toy designs that in some form has been around for generations. Through this project we hope to get an insight into the design as well as functionality of the Nerf gun, especially with the hope to gain the knowledge to keep the life cycle of the consumer product continuing into the future.
Section 1: The Four Factors
The first step into investigating our consumer product, the Nerf Longstrike CS-6, is not to dis-assemble and discover the inner mechanics, but instead it is to learn why the design itself for the toy was chosen. This is a complex and detailed matter as many different factors are considered before a design is even picked, let alone manufactured.
Societal: One of the first factors that influence a design is the safety of the product. With the Nerf blaster, not only does the toy itself have to be safe, but so do the darts. Both of these things have to be safe for the user, the people around the shooting range of the gun, children of different ages, and pets that might come into contact with the toy. These factors explain why the gun itself is plastic, the darts are flat rubber tipped foam -minimizing potential safety issues-, that there are no small parts or sharped objects, and that for the most part both objects are light weight. Safety is never something that should be lightly considered in a design, especially not when dealing with children.
Economic: Another main factor that is carefully considered in a design, especially this one, is the cost of the Nerf Longstrike CS-6 as well as the darts to manufacture. The company has to take the interest level of the toy, its popularity, as well as the economic conditions into its design considerations. A high-tech Nerf gun with a high shooting range and more aerodynamic darts might be worthwhile pursuing but not if the cost is greater than what people are willing to spend on the product. This is explains why current designs are made out of plastic and foam as well as not overly complicated with technical advances which are costly to the product. The idea is to please the client and make a profit in order to move forward as well as succeed.
Environmental: Also, a key factor in design decisions is the life span of a product which involves the materials used that can then affect the environment. For the Nerf Longstrike CS-6, both the gun itself, as well as the darts, needs to be considered. The design needs to be environmentally safe when it comes to production as well as disposal, mostly focusing on the darts whose functionality degrades with use. The darts shouldn’t have such a short life span and then sit in landfills. The environment is something that is directly impacted by products and so should be considered in design. This is something that definitely should be considered when re-designing the darts so that they are friendlier when it comes to the environment especially at the end of their life span.
Global: The last of the four main factors in design is that of delivery of the product. To make an even bigger profit companies may want to extend their businesses to other countries, but this is not an easy or cheap task as shipping is costly. This explains part of why Nerf guns are small and compact consumer toys. They can for the most part easily fit into a shipping box. But another factor that needs to be considered when shipping worldwide is the physical look of the product. It explains why the Nerf Longstrike isn’t modeled to look like an actual gun. In today’s global world, that would not be a practical physical look. Global factors like these are important when wanting to take a design and share it with more people.
These are just a few of the many different aspects that affect the design of a product. It also can help explain why certain designs last longer than others.
Section 2: Product Complexity
The company Nerf creates many different products that consist of toy weapons. The Nerf Longstrike CS-6, a toy gun modeled after a sniper weapon used in the military, has many mechanical components that can be found underneath its plastic cover. In order for the Nerf blaster to shoot a dart, a trigger must be pulled. By pressing the trigger, subsystems inside of the Nerf gun allow for the dart to be released from the mechanism. Another component of the Nerf Longstrike CS-6 is the barrel. When a handle is slid across the barrel, the barrel rotation that holds the darts moves like that of a gear to prepare for the darts to be fired. A subsystem inside the barrel is the cylinder as well as the piston. Either air pressure or a spring can be used to force the dart to leave the gun and cause the bullet to fly through the air. Mechanical energy is stored in the spring or pressure vessels, thus when the trigger is pressed, the darts will be fired. The design team's Nerf N-Strike Longstrike CS-6 is an air-powered Nerf gun. Every time the trigger is pressed on a Nerf gun, mechanical components within the weapon allow for the darts to be fired, creating a fun toy for consumers to use.
Section 3: Product Cost and Ownership
The funding for this project, the Nerf gun, is going to be supplied by each of us as a group. We plan on buying the product ourselves from Amazon. After the project is complete we plan on donating the Nerf gun and darts to the local day care on the University at Buffalo’s campus.
In the meantime we hope to learn more about the inner mechanics and design of a childhood toy.
Main Page : Group 5 - Nerf N-Strike Longstrike CS-6
The Planning : *Gate 1: Project Planning
The Dissection : *Gate 2: Product Dissection
The Subsystems : *Gate 3: Product Analysis
The Reassembly : *Gate 4: Product Explanation
The Conclusion : *Gate 5: Delivery