In the summer of 2022 I took on a project that was very different to anything I had done before. Many of my previous projects have been yachts, superyachts and powerboats, so this was definitely a different animal. I worked with McConnel, a UK based agricultural equipment company, which is part of a larger international group, on the design (some of it “styling” if you wish, some of it more conventional design) of what could be described as their flagship product, the Agribuggy. This machine is a self-propelled crop sprayer, and it is a big beast!
It was for me, a design project to give the machine a modern face, but the machine overall has been transformed thoroughly in terms of engineering, from the mechanicals changing from being purely mechanical to hydro-mechanical. The machine retains the 4 wheel drive, 4 wheel steer capabilities and is full of all kinds of electronic kit which allows it to spray very precisely and in targeted quantities. My involvement was to give it a set of appropriate “clothes”. As it is such a large beast, whilst I wanted it to look rugged and strong, I also did not want it to look intimidating. So many machines on the market seem aggressive, but although there is a time and place for that, I wanted the Agribuggy to borrow a leaf from the original Routemaster bus, be big and robust but still look friendly and approachable. I did not do all of this on my own, I had the members of the McConnel design and engineering team help me, and we had long conversations also on other functional aspects of the device, how to make it easier to service, how to keep mud and dust away from so many parts, etc. We also looked into the rear, and I designed a partial cover too. We wanted the vehicle to be visible. These machines when they go on public roads are relatively slow 30 mph (50km/h) and it seemed important that following vehicles were alerted to the presence from a long distance so that they slow down in plenty of time.
The design and engineering team at McConnel have done a great job of interpreting my designs and putting them into production; there is a lot of work that happens between the concept sketches, initial computer models/renders and a final machine. I want to congratulate them for their hard work and dedication, but as always it is great to see something in real life. Now, we have to see how well it sells; fingers crossed!
One of the frustrating elements for me in terms of mobility, is that with the advent of electric cars, most manufacturers have concentrated mostly on larger machines. Heavier and more expensive than is necessary in my opinion. Whilst in reality what we should be concentrating on is lighter vehicles that do not need huge and expensive battery packs to provide the perceived or needed range. This little machine would be pretty aerodynamic, made using developable surfaces and light materials. It would be simple to make, suitable for developing and developed countries, electric powered with pedal power too, so that you can top up the batteries with pedal power. It is a Quadricycle, so it would be designed to meet the requirements set by the European Union. Designed to have full independent suspension and perhaps offering versions with leaning suspension too. The vehicle is a tandem, so you can take a friend along too, and they don’t have to pedal! The variants shown here are some that I created a while back using AI. In reality though the overall design would be probably simpler than some seen here below.
A while ago I designed this Pedal-Electric Quadricycle, a light vehicle somewhere between a bicycle and a small car. It is a single seater with carrying capacity for some shopping and partial wind/rain cover. The cover mostly is there for aerodynamic purposes as in reality the rain protection in a heavy rain would not really work. Built of light materials, possibly using plywood, aluminium and moulded flax fibre with bio epoxy.
I have made a number of variations including a six wheeler, which has greater carrying capacity.
The idea is that the vehicle leans into corners using the system I designed a few years ago, with a few improvements.
Many of the yachts and boats that I have designed over the years are BIG. Or pretty large, depending on what you view to be large. Without exception, none would fit in my garage or on the roof rack of my car. So this one is one design that, if time and opportunity allow, is one that might fit in my garage and perhaps be transported to a local lake or reservoir to sail. Obviously it will need to be built first! It is a task that perhaps could take place in summer, with some assistance of one or both of my boys, who knows? In the meantime this is the design. Yes, it is an outrigger canoe with a Gaff sail and my idea of suspension on the Iakos (outrigger arms). It would be built as a skin on frame canoe, as well as a skin on frame Ama (the outrigger float). The suspension would be experimental, by means of a couple of double wishbones and I would use bungee cords, although not sure they have the necessary dampening qualities…
Motor Yacht Continuum is one of my favourite concept projects, perhaps because it seems a combination of being just realistic enough and also that little bit different. It is also fast, which has an appeal, plus it has been designed inside and out. The collection of images that follow are a number of variations on the interior design for some of the main areas. The idea is to show the same spaces with small variations in detailing, finish etc to help create a variety of ambiences. The original images I made some while back are somewhat dark, and although they have a touch of the chiaroscuro, perhaps too much is hidden, so I do prefer the later versions in this respect, however I do like the material choices. The images labelled original, all have a consistent floor which would be Mahogany, but not as it is normally seen on antique furniture, but rather in the whole variety of hues of this wood. The other images in turn offer versions where the main wood used is Anigre (Figured and not), or Walnut, Birch, Cedar etc.
Equinox is a fast motor Catamaran. Jaguar cars used to use an advertising strap-line of Space, Grace and Pace, and in a sense this would suit the equinox 45m very well. Although 45m long, in terms of accommodation, it would be closer to a 60m motor yacht, so plenty of “Space”. At 50 knots, with an Adam Younger stepped hull, probably powered through waterjets, we have taken care of the “Pace” side of things. The “Grace” one is trickier, as it is subjective, but I designed her to look fast even when she was moored, I have kept her profile quite clean and she is purposeful. She was designed a few years ago now, but I think that a yacht like this one would turn heads wherever she went.
Following the last post of a fire and rescue truck, I decided to attempt a fire and rescue boat. In this case I decided to use a fast stepped hull designed by Adam Younger as a basis for this 12M motor boat design. I felt that it would be an interesting hull to use as it has been designed to achieve speeds well in excess of 60 knots. Depending on the engines selected and the equipment carried, this vessel would perhaps be a little slower, but still capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots, which seems to be twice as fast as other Fire and Rescue boats that I have seen around. This again plays with the notion of a rapid response machine, one that can reach the scene of an accident or place where a rescue needs to take place, swiftly. Sometimes speed is of the essence! The boat would have some paramedic facilities as well as a basic galley, some accommodation and a head (WC). Although I have designed it as a work boat, with a few small modifications it could perhaps also serve as a tough recreational vessel, so the moulds would be amortised over a larger run? The name Firefly seemed appropriate as it would “Fly” to the scene of a Fire, it is also a little nod to the use of an AI of the same name used for the creation of a couple of the visuals…
The advent of AI has meant that revisiting older designs and creating a wide range of design proposals is much easier, and fun. These are all concepts, and the AI has misunderstood a number of design features, or has completely reinterpreted others. Some of them are a little strange, some of them needed some editing, some I have left as it did them, the text becoming somewhat weird in some cases! Interestingly, for me at least, most of the red trucks were considerably darker hues of red than I had imagined. Many had a distinct US fire truck feel to them. I do however quite like several of the graphic details that the AI has put forward, and I might revisit my original design and tweak it at some time in the future. The image above is the original design I did. In this case I did use AI for the background though. The images that follow are all variations on the same vehicle from different angles.
Over the holidays I have had the chance to revisit some designs that I did in the past. I have used new tools for visualisation that use AI and played around with many of my existing designs, freshening them up where possible and tweaking some of their detailing. In most cases I have changed the backgrounds aiming to use backgrounds that are more realistic. These visuals are for a tandem (2 seater) quadricycle car. It would lean into corners and be electric powered or have a small – probably rotary – engine in the rear. The permutations are a useful way for me to look at the same overall design but with detail changes, sometimes of surfacing, sometimes on graphics and finishes. The AI does make some changes that would be complicated to make. Some however are really interesting, to my eyes. Hope they are to yours too!
No sooner had I designed the 39′ Arrow, it seemed logical to offer another version, this time a little smaller at 34′. Retaining the same philosophy and again based on a hull by Adam Younger, this is also a very rapid boat (60 knots +) built probably using cold moulding techniques out of wood. It again should be light. As per the 39′ it could be built using a composite hull and wooden deck or all wood.