All theoretical design viewed from the business standpoint is worthless, unless it has been subjected to the test of cheap and efficient production. Each machine detail, though correct in theory, may yet ho improperly shaped and unfit for the part it is to play in the general scheme of manufacture.
The conditions here involved are changeable. What is good design in this decade may be bad in the next. In this light the designer must he a close student of the signs of the times; he must follow the march of progress, closely applying existing resources, conditions, and facilities, otherwise he cannot produce up-to-date designs. The introduction of new raw materials, the cheapening of production of others, the changing of shop methods, the use of special machinery, the opening of new markets, the development of new motive agents, - all these and many others are constantly demanding some modification in design to meet competition.
Illustrative of this, note the change which has been wrought by the development of electric power, the rise and decline of the bicycle business, the present manufacture of automobiles, the last named especially with reference to the development of the small motive unit, the gasolene engine, the steam engine, etc. The design of much machinery has been materially changed to meet the exacting demands of these new enterprises.
Practical modifications of design necessary to meet the limi-tations of construction in the pattern shop, foundry, and machine shop are of daily application in the designer's work. He must keep in his mind's eye at all times the workmen and the processes they use to create his designs in metal in the shop.
"How can this be made?" "Can it be made at all?n "Can it be made cheaply?" "Will it be simple in operation after it is made?" "Can it be readily removed for repair ?" "Can it be lubricated?" "How can it be put in place?" "How can it be gotten out?" "Will it be made in small quantities or large?" "Will it sell as a special or standard machine ?" etc., etc.
The consideration of such questions as these is a practical necessity as a business matter. No other feature affects the design of machinery more, perhaps; for designs which cannot be built as business propositions are no designs at all.
The student, it is true, may not have the extended shop knowledge which is essential to this; but he can do much for himself by visiting shops whenever possible, getting hold of shop ways of doing things, and invariably treating his work as a business matter. Though a man may not be a pattern maker, molder, blacksmith, or machinist, yet he can soon gain ideas of the processes in each of these branches which will be of immense advantage to him in his designing work.