Thinking Like an Industrial Designer

“Who has a Behance?”… None of the design department bothered answering.


ANDesign Lab’s industrial designer, Ming Chen then presents me with his website.

ming sketch


“Thanks for visiting my site! I am currently an industrial designer at ANDesign. It has been a blast after graduating. I am still learning stuff, and challenging myself everyday. My personal goal is making the world better by designing accordingly for the needs and wants, and seeking innovation opportunities at the same time.”

In order to be an industrial designer at ANDesign Lab, a full-fledge industrial design firm in Newport Beach, CA, you’ve got to be able to validate your design methodology!

How did you get to a conclusive design? Why did you take this approach?

Functionality and flair! ANDesign designers always get asked why they think they’re so great…

Because of swagger.

It’s like learning how to play the piano. You learn the fundamentals and then do your own thing so long as its good!

Here is a Q&A about one of Ming Chen’s debut projects, a sanding belt redesign. Read it below:

Drag S – Belt Sander

This is a power tool redesign project. Except with a twist.

Q: What was the first thing you did when redesigning this project? 

A: Research…I discovered a new functionality for the belt sander. I found out one particularly interesting fact about these power tools. I bet you had no idea that people race these things. Some people take it onto the track and start racing them. These things are so powerful, you can only imagine how fun that could be. Some people even sit on these belt sanders! So that was integral to the aesthetic I designed. You can see the race car inspiration in my shape.

Then, of course, I looked into what was out in the market already. But that step is a given!


Q: How does looking at other belt sanders help your process?

A: Well for starters, I wanted to create something different. How else was I supposed to do that without knowing what already exists. Every belt sander has varies little in difference, but they are similarly used for the same purpose after all. Also, each user group has different belt sanders that fits the job.



Q: What did you prioritize in this project’s remodeling?

A: I made sure to draw attention in redefining human contact points and having a key human interface.  My main task was to solve the problem between dual functionality between power tool and hobby race car. I also sought my best to create an ergonomic handle bar.

To get a headstart on my design direction I interviewed 4 professionals and 2 hobbyist and asked about what distinguishes a good belt sander from a bad one.  I got responses such as “balance, weight, heating up, having a grab bar, etc.”.





Q: How did you tackle your proto-typing and mock ups? 

A: Well I knew that I wanted to add a modular design on the grab bar…and I knew that it’d be perfect for a secondary use such as racing a belt sander…so I added a removable handle…BUT because I knew that belt sander racing is a thing, I made it a remote capable of controlling the racing belt.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *