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Colin Smith
March 27, 2019

Saharudin Busri is Head of Industrial Design at MIMOS Berhad in Kuala Lumpur, a company under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia.  He graduated with his MA in Automotive Design with distinction from Coventry University UK.  He has worked as an automotive designer at Proton Malaysia and has received numerous Red Dot Design Award under concept product categories.  Saharudin uses both Autodesk SketchBook and Alias for digital sketching and surface modelling.

This sewing machine concept was created for a one-day design workshop with university students visiting our studio in Kuala Lumpur.  To make an effective workshop, I wanted to find the most appropriate themes and techniques to clearly demonstrate the design processes, including the early stage of concept sketches right through to 3D modelling.

I was inspired by a Mercedes sewing machine that was on display at a local vintage shop.  For me, it brought back wonderful memories of my mother, who used to sew clothing for our family.  At that time in my childhood, this particular sewing machine used to be a very sophisticated item and sort of a high-tech looking machine. For me, by exploring the sewing machine with automotive features and branding cues, the workshop would appeal to a broad cross section of the students.  A sewing machine was an ideal product to approach a 1-day redesign activity  because I could develop a single sketch of the side view that provides the best proportions for reference when constructing a 3D surface model in Autodesk Alias.

“As an Industrial designer, sketching is an invaluable process in product development. I will usually create a quick sketch on paper and then scan it into digital tools like SketchBook for further refinement, coloring & finishing.”

Normally, whenever I am designing something, I will do the research and refer to Pinterest to find good design elements to influence my thought process. Since I am confident with both sketching and 3D modelling, I can usually forecast my final design or rendering beforehand. It really helps to have an overview of the whole concept during the design development process.

As an Industrial designer, sketching is an invaluable process in product development. I will usually create a quick sketch on paper and then scan it into digital tools like SketchBook for further refinement, coloring & finishing. As a teacher, I will usually ask my students to be skilled in traditional sketching before they use digital tools. It’s the best way to develop the fundamentals of rendering techniques and practise strokes needed to establish good base skills.

While creating the sketches, I considered Mercedes character lines and design elements from their exterior bodies. For the detailing and components of the sewing machine, I was inspired by the interiors of their cars. Since automotive design is my specialty, I have no problem with integrating both product and automotive design philosophies.

3D surfacing skills are a very important for all Industrial designers, especially in the automotive industry. Designers who don’t have 3D literacy often find it difficult to produce final models that adhere to their original concept sketches. Designers who understand volumes and surfaces can apply this knowledge into their sketches, which helps carry through design intent into 3D actualization, especially when there are complex shapes and sculptural forms.

Unfortunately most students don’t have the exposure to software like Alias and don’t realize it can contribute to amazing outcomes. After completing this workshop, the students were all looking forward to expanding their sketching and modelling skills. Moreover, since I’ve been sharing this story on social media, both local and overseas universities are interested in visiting to my studio.

I strive for excellence on everything I do to the fullest, so it is rewarding to share my experiences and passion with the next generation of designers.

Until next time,


Learn more about Saharudin Busi

Facebook: saharudin.busri




Lean more about MIMOS Berhad at

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Colin Smith

Colin is a Sr. Product Manager on the Automotive and Conceptual Design Team at Autodesk. During his 25-year career in the CAD industry he has worked in customer support, training, consulting and as a product manager for Alias and Fusion 360. Currently, he works on SketchBook and Project Sugarhill and is based in Toronto, Canada.