Reinventing Design

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Taking Design Cues from Mother Nature

They say Mother Nature knows best, and when it comes to product design and engineering, that is often the case. Taking cues from nature has a long connection to product design, going back as far as Leonardo da Vinci, who studied bird flight as inspiration for his proposed “flying machines.”  Centuries later, those designs were […]

The Internet of Things: New Challenges, New Opportunities

In the last column, we talked about Big Data and the challenges that it might present the designer and engineer  in the near future (if not already). As part of that, we touched on how much of this might be driven by the Internet of Things. And the fine folks at PTC have asked me […]

Design Best Practices Are a Big Deal for SMBs

Building better products at less cost in a shorter time-to-delivery cycle is a universal challenge, regardless of the size of the company or the complexity of its products. Industry leaders in sectors like automotive, high-tech electronics, and ship building have made great strides leveraging cutting-edge technologies to turbocharge their engineering processes and optimize designs. Among […]

Creating a Successful Roadmap for the Model Based Enterprise

Most engineers are living in a 3D world. The CAD models they build as part of the design process are 3D as are the simulations that prove out those concepts and the realistic prototypes output with, you guessed it, 3D printers working off the same 3D data. Yet outside of engineering—in manufacturing departments, throughout the […]

The Search for Push Button 3D Printing

If you were to believe the mainstream media, you obtain a 3D printed part by loading up the part, sending it to the printer, and a few minutes later, it pops out. Presumably with a little “ding” noise. The reality is that there is a lot of preparatory work needed to ensure that you not […]
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