Invisible high-value work



I regularly get emails from startups with grand ambitions but no real budget for design services. The pitch is always the same.


I have this concept, and just need it modeled up quick so I can print it. "just" is the key word.



Just a quick model. Just a quick print.


Just. Just. Just.


There is a lot of information that goes into a design, and it's so much more than 'just a CAD model'.

Here's just a few things that we think about when designing products:​ Manufacturing Method​ A CAD model with no manufacturing intent is just a model.


3D printing is type of manufacturing method, that needs to be considered when designing parts.


We design a lot of parts to be printable.


But the intent of the design is not for production. Features are optimized for printing.

Manufacturing Cost ​ A design that can't be made for a profit is (generally speaking) not a good design.


Designing with cost in mind for each part, helps ensure that there are no surprises when a design gets to manufacturing.


We regularly get cost quotes on our preliminary concept models.


Create a part with 'expected' complexity, not final geometry.


This part allows us to quickly ballpark our BOM cost for the entire assembly.

Manufacturing Tolerances​ Some designs only work with tight tolerances, and fail when made with 'typical' tolerances.


Knowing what Manufacturing Tolerances are achievable with which Manufacturing Method is part of the design task.


The tolerances are well published, but many early designers/engineers don't think about this early enough.


They get too far down a design without considering what tolerances will be necessary to achieve their functionality.

Design for Testing (Early)​ Many concepts need early testing. Maybe it's ingress/waterproofing or RF/EMF testing.


Knowing that these tests need to pass, we can design surrogate parts/assemblies that stand in for the final design.


We can short-circuit the later design cycle by testing/validating assumptions early in the design loop.


These aspects need to be addressed for a successful launch, but many companies don't budget for them up front. I wonder if it's because the work product is invisible...?


The part files might look the same to someone that doesn't understand nuances of injection molding. But one part is easily moldable and one is impossible.


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