Good Design doesn’t just happen.
One of the first lessons I learned in design school was that good design – any kind of design – seldom happens out of thin air. The vast majority of products we use every day are the result, not of a single design repeated and reproduced exactly as it came off the design table. Instead, good design is the result of trial and error. Making trial after trial, prototype after prototype, till a design is reached that is simple to construct, looks good, and works well.
I come up with a lot of ideas at three in the morning. Some good, some… not so good. But regardless of what I jot down on the napkin, it almost never happens that the first try I make at realizing my idea works exactly as it should.
Mounting Block: Original Idea
As I have noted, my original idea for a mounting block for my short wife to mount her not so short horse was never intended to be the perfect design. Instead, it was a way to chase away the blues by making something useful. As it turns out, crude as the construction was, it was good enough for me to see the flaws in the design and refine it so that the next one I built would get closer to the three design goals: simple to build, looks good, works well.
Several Problems occurred with the first design. The steps were too narrow. It was too tippy, and it wasn’t practical to put it anywhere but on concrete or solid ground. So I made the steps wider, which made it more stable, and I added flat runners in place of the vertical boards at the bottom. This would allow it to be used in my wife’s arena which is loose sand.
The design looked like this:
As I noted in my last post I had a few problems with my tools. But I managed to take apart the old mounting block and reassemble it producing a reasonable facsimile of the plans:
A little paint… and a rope handle for transport.
And there it is. Easy to transport, strong enough and stable enough for a human in full riding gear to stand alone the top step and not feel anxious. Simple to build. Looks good. Works well.
A successful design.