Time to read: 3 min

In today’s rapidly changing manufacturing environment, engineers are constantly trying to find their way through a very complex ecosystem to gain a competitive advantage and leverage the right tools to build their next product. Just last month, we hosted an event where a Abby Soong, a Mechanical Design Engineer at Momentum Machines, said that her college textbook was still the best resource she had for producing better mechanisms—wow!

So how can a new, eager generation of engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs build better hardware from day one? And how can veteran engineers learn about emerging advanced technologies that could significantly improve their workflow, creating a competitive advantage?

Introducing the Fictiv Hardware Guide

Today, we’re excited to announce our Hardware Guide as a first step in the process to democratize manufacturing knowledge.

The Hardware Guide is a collection of the best articles from the hardware community on strategic prototyping methodologies, hardware development lessons from industry veterans, and expert manufacturing insights.

We’ve organized the guide by six major stages in the hardware development cycle: R&D (Research and Development), Plan, Design, Fabricate, Assemble, and Test. These stages are not always linear, and in fact are most often cyclical until a product is fully refined. We believe that if ample consideration is spent in these areas, fewer challenges (and costs) will arise in the hardware development process. From How to Build a BOM to The Fundamentals of Assembly Design, to Hardware Testing for Mass Production, the articles in the guide address specific challenges across the hardware development process, each with actionable steps.

Of course, we recognize that to learn about a very physical process like manufacturing, you cannot learn everything from a website. You have to touch and experience it in real life, as well. That’s why we view the Hardware Guide as a piece of a much larger puzzle, and that by building piece by piece, we can start to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Get Involved: Help Make Knowledge Accessible and Free

Huge strides have been made in open source education to contribution of software development, and it’s time to do the same in hardware and manufacturing. In our vision for the community, manufacturing knowledge is not siloed and dependent on your relationships. It’s available for all. It’s decodifying jargon, so it’s easily understandable. It’s documenting expert knowledge that has never been documented before. It’s a living system that will expand and adapt as the industry evolves—that’s the power of open source—and we wouldn’t be here without the contribution of the community!

At Fictiv, we want to democratize hardware development. We believe that better access isn’t just about leveraging idle manufacturing machines—it’s also about gaining knowledge about how to best use these tools to build better physical products.

The Hardware Guide is just a first step in that vision, and it’s the beginning of a collaborative journey with the entire hardware ecosystem. We need your help to document all the expertise that has been kept behind closed doors for so long. If you are a hardware company, engineer, manufacturing expert, or an enthusiast with knowledge or advice to share, we ask that you join us in our quest to break down the barrier to hardware development by sharing your story. Together, we can build a better ecosystem of customized products on the market, technologies that solves real users’ problems, and ultimately build better physical products.

I hope you’ll join us on the road ahead! We hope you’ll share the guide with your friends and colleagues and let us know what information you’d like to see included as it grows.