I gather as much information as I can
about the physical product and the technology that supports it. This
includes your technical material, competitive material, white papers,
drawings, sketches, research reports etc.
When appropriate, I typically use the University of Michigan Library system
to research. They have an excellent online book searching utility called
Mirlyn. Link to it at
I research end user expectations with
your marketing and sales people. If you have marketing data cards, they help
me develop a profile of who will use the product.
I listen to you, take notes, and ask
questions until we have a clear understanding of the assignment.
I spend a lot of time studying this
NOTE: I design in SolidWorks
and have some familiarity with Rhino. I provide the 3-D models in any of
the standardized file formats available in SolidWorks like STL, STEP, IGES
etc. to rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing services. Even molders in
China prefer these file formats. I provide the 2-D drawings in Adobe Acrobat
*.pdf format. If you don't use Solidworks, you can archive these files as
easily as your native files.
And don't worry about communicating with me
as the design progresses.
SolidWorks has a
powerful, free, eDrawing viewer that enables total communication of a design
concept. You will love it and come to depend on it.
If you don't own 3-D MCAD software, when I
work on your project, you have the
opportunity to give SolidWorks a test drive. Four of my clients have
purchased SolidWorks based on my recommendation.
Now let's get down to specifics...
I gather all components you expect to
include in the mechanical package. If I can download 3-D CAD models
available on the internet, this saves time. If none are available, I model a
“puppet” of the component. The
puppet is a 3-D solid with the physical appearance and features I need to
make it fit into the assembly.
If the package appearance is
important, I model alternative designs that capture the look and feel of a finished
product, including the labeling, color and finish. I provide you with a proposal
report in pdf
file format, containing images & comments about the pros & cons and
You receive a disc containing the pdf report, the CAD model files, and self-executable
viewing software which you can use to zoom, rotate, section and measure
the 3-D models. If this is new to you, look for the ULD example in my
'portfolio' page under REVERSE ENGINEERING. Be sure to read the
After you select and approve a final
design, I model the parts for rapid prototyping or manufacturing. Part lists
are built into the assembly model and can be exported as Excel files.
When the 3-D assembly is finished, we
discuss the package and make revisions as needed.
When the final revised design is
approved, I produce the 2-D drawings with dimensions and notes that can be
used by fabricators. Some fabricators are able to use 3-D models to save CAM
programming time with CNC machines.
I produce assembly drawings with parts
lists and numbered balloons if this is part of our arrangement.
I design the labels and send the files
to your vendor via email.
I monitor fabrication, inspect
incoming parts, assemble the parts, and revise the 3-D models and 2-D
drawings until you are satisfied. If parts need to be modified, I either do
it at my facility or arrange for the fabricator to do the modifications.
When the finished package is ready, I
deliver it for your review and approval.
Upon approval, I send you the complete
documentation package on CD-R or DVD disc.
NOTE ON DATA STORAGE: I do regular
back-ups of mission critical files. If you have VPN software, I can upload
my files to your network on a daily basis.
I can also upload files to my FTP site for you to download. I will issue a
user ID and password to access the site through your internet browser.
You can also purchase offsite server space to which we both have access.
Offsite data storage is good practice.