Category Archives: Reinventing Design

Improving Design Skills: Where to Find Inspiration


A couple months ago, we looked at how the types of forms typically associated with the industrial design community are now becoming the responsibility of mechanical engineers. This time, I’m going to give those that are tasked with creating more complex shapes and forms some things to think about, tips on how to learn more, […]

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Three Tips for Fast and Furious 3D Prototyping


Never before have engineers had access to such a bounty of tools to get creative with design. Advances in simulation and 3D modeling software make it easier than ever to dream up and refine concepts that would have never have been feasible with past-generation tools. Couple the freeform shape possibilities with new office-style 3D printers, […]

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Listen Up! How Voice of the Customer Is Changing Product Design


Voice of the customer is one of those buzzwords du jour, lauded in marketing and even software development circles, but not necessarily a high-profile concept for design engineers. Thanks to a number of technology advances, that’s likely to change. The rise of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook coupled with a growing obsession with […]

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Design Tool Slowdowns: Is It Your Software? Hardware? Here’s How to Find Out

The successful use of complex 3D design tools across both large and small groups is often something that’s fragmented and unmonitored. Save for licensing setups, it’s rare that anyone can get a good view on how a company-wide set of tools is working. Considering the fundamental nature of these tools, this is perhaps a little […]

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Four Game-Changing Technologies that Redefined Engineering in 2015

As we round the corner on 2015, technologies that were more lip service than actual products have finally become part of daily design routines—a sign, perhaps, that engineers are ready for the next wave of innovation. Unlike years past when engineers were thrilled by advanced modeling functionality or appeased by usability enhancements, this year’s bumper […]

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Concept Design: The Process Technology Forgot

It’s that time of year when consumers wait with baited breath to get their hands on this year’s top gift items—a wearable, perhaps, or maybe a sleekly designed pair of noise cancelling head phones. Yet well before the smart appliance, 3D printer, or space-age gaming system rolls into stores for the seasonal shop-a-thon, some engineer […]

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What Every Engineer Should Know About Ugly Product Design

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but products are getting better looking—even in places where you wouldn’t expect it. Let’s look at two examples. The first is the humble forklift truck (which incidentally is my favourite word in German). These gas- or electric-powered beasts aren’t the sexiest of products – after all, they’re typically used […]

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Four CAD Capabilities You Shouldn’t Ignore

Every year and with each new release, CAD programs are stuffed with yet another round of feature sets intended to radically alter how engineers design and build products. Many of those capabilities have certainly been transformative—consider the melding of direct modeling and parametric capabilities in most modern day CAD tools, for example, or the streamlined […]

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When Manufacturers Don’t Make the Most of 3D CAD, We All Lose

I typically end up doing informal technical support for family and friends. After all, if you “work with computers” you automatically know how to fix everyone’s mobile phones, computers, internet routers – pretty much anything with a power cable and an Ethernet port. I’m sure you’re all familiar with someone arriving at your doorstep, proffering […]

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A Playbook for Getting Biomimicry Right

Drawing inspiration from nature for novel design concepts is one thing, but turning those gems into something resembling a workable product is quite another story, especially if it involves particularly complex shapes and structures. The practice of biomimicry, officially coined in 1997 by American biologist and author Janine Benyus, is the idea that natural elements […]

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