Balance Bike

NMCA Online Course

The NMC Academy is proud to offer online courses for training in educational technology areas. Designed for busy learning professionals, these courses take between 1-12 hours to complete. Plus, earn badges to show for the new skills you will learn. Account Required

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Think like a designer and get creative with design in class.

Let’s say your little brother wants to ride a bike like you, but yours is too big for him to reach the pedals. He needs a smaller bike without pedals that’s easy for a preschooler to ride, but stable enough that he doesn’t lose balance when he’s moving fast. With this product design challenge, you can create a toddler’s balance bike that meets your little brother’s need for speed—without causing any playground accidents.


In this student art challenge, you’ll learn skills that designers like Kalen Chock use every day at work: researching target audience needs, sketching 2D digital art, applying principles of perspective and physics, and presenting a 3D design for a balance bike that’s safe, comfortable, and fun to ride. With creativity and critical thinking, you will design a bike for tiny tykes that can be made with recycled and nontoxic materials. That way, you can do your little brother a favor, and the environment, too.
Inspire others and share your balance bike design on the Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop.

Project Brief:

It’s all about the tools and the process!

“Design thinking” linked to a balance bike project starts by formulating and answering some key questions:
• What skills would young children develop riding a balance bike?
• How would the overall size of the bike be determined?
• How would factors such as age of the user, and boy or girl impact the design?
• What safety issues should be considered when designing a bike for a young child?

• What are key the ergonomic considerations? For example, surface finish and color?
• What are the key sustainable design principles that should be considered for the materials of the bike?
• This bike design has inflatable tires so it can be used indoors and outdoors. Can you think of other solutions for
the wheels so the bike can be used in different environments?
• Has a budget been established for the project?
• What is your schedule for completion?
• What inspires you most about this project?

For the bike project, the first task is to develop basic skills in Autodesk® SketchBook® Pro and Autodesk® 123D® Design to develop concepts as part of the Design Thinking process. In order to accomplish this, students replicate the sample bike design by repeating the steps presented in the technical videos and PDF instructions. After completing the sample bike, students are encouraged to develop their own design and apply their knowledge of the software to generate multiple concepts for alternative designs that could be used as described in the technical video. If time permits, students may want to come up with their own bike design criteria, for example bikes that are used in more rugged terrain or designed for speed. The bottom line is this: If students can expand and enhance their ability to combine the innovation capabilities of the software and the power of the design thinking process, then the goals of this project have been achieved.

Design considerations used in the example project are as follows:
• Purpose: Design a balance bike for the target consumer audience.
• Target audience: 3 to 5 year olds.
• Size limitations: Up to 815mm x 535mm x 330mm.
• Materials to be used: Recycled materials where possible.
• Scheduling requirements: 4 to 6 hours to complete all design phases
• Budget constraints: $130
• Code restrictions: Surface finishes must be non-toxic and cannot be varnished.

In this course, you will demonstrate knowledge of the following concepts:
• Seven stages of Design Thinking.
• The importance of sketching in the ideation stage of Design Thinking.
• The value of digital sketching to quickly produce design concepts.
• The basics of 2 point perspective.
• The user interface and essential tools for Autodesk 123D Design.
• The importance of layers in digital sketching.

Students will be able to:

• Navigate the user interface for Autodesk 123D Design.
• Create the base bike parts using sketch tools and primitives.
• Create 3D models using the construct tools such as extrude.
• Utilize modify tools such as fillet.
• Add context to the bike design using the supplied material finishes.
• Pattern existing 3D models.
• Apply their understanding of design and technology for the design of a balance bike.
• Apply an understanding of mathematic scale to the design of a balance bike.
• Apply an understanding of 3 dimensional measurements.
• Explain the importance of conceptual design in the product development process.