Kinsey Mead

Kinsey is a mechanical engineer with experience in product design and DfX for the consumer electronics industry, at companies including Microsoft and Apple. At Fictiv, she creates technical content to help other engineers uplevel their understanding of key DfM (design for manufacturability) and mechanical design principles. Kinsey earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Davis and her M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

All articles from the author

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Fiat 500 EV Conversion: Prototyping and Sourcing Parts

In this part of our Butterball electric vehicle conversion series of articles, we’re discussing prototyping and making parts vs. buying them off the shelf — and you can learn more about the genesis of the project, its mechanical design, and electrical system in our other articles. As a digital manufacturing company, we’re very familiar with […]

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Fiat 500 EV Conversion: Electrical System

When it comes to an electric vehicle conversion, naturally, designing and installing the electrical system is an indispensable part of the process. It’s in the name, after all! In this article, we’ll discuss how we designed the new electrical system for our EV car conversion project, affectionately known as Butterball. You should also check out our […]

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Fiat 500 EV Conversion: Mechanical Design

Welcome to the next installment of our Butterball EV conversion! In case you didn’t read our introductory article, Butterball is our pet name for the cream-colored 1966 Fiat 500 that we converted to an electric vehicle this past year as a means to foster community here at Fictiv while we were all working remotely.  You […]

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Fiat 500 EV Conversion: Project Butterball

Welcome to our 4-part EV car conversion series! We started this project last year to learn about cars and foster community while we are all working remotely. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of our approach and the decisions our engineers made when turning our 1966 Fiat 500, Butterball, into an electric vehicle. […]

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Manufacturing Costs of 3D Printing vs Urethane Casting vs Injection Molding

3D printing, urethane casting, and injection molding: they’re each suited to different stages of the product development and production process, but how do you know when to use each one? A few factors go into this decision: cost, lead time, and quality. In this article, we’ll discuss indirect and direct costs and lead times for […]

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Solving 7 Common Problems in CNC Machining Aerospace Components

CNC Machining for Aerospace: An Overview The aerospace industry is different from others because the consequences of a given part’s failure are dire. No need to go into details, but in general, everything needs to work perfectly every time. This means every gear needs to turn, every bracket needs to stay in place, and it […]

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Rising Up to Design and Manufacturability Challenges in Aerospace

Want to learn more about machining challenges when working with aerospace components? Register for this live webinar. The world of aerospace involves a degree of perfectionism that is not inherent to most industries. Safety is a critical factor when it comes to aviation design, and components must be manufactured in accordance with the highest standards of […]

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Scaling Up from Prototype to Production using 3D Printing, Urethane Casting and Injection Molding

What do you do when you feel like you’re ready to move on from prototyping, but not quite ready to make production quantities of your parts? Sounds like you need a way to bridge the gap! Bridge production is your answer – using manufacturing processes that are suitable for low volumes but can give you […]

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Finding the Right Secondary Operations After CNC Machining, Part III: Hardware Installation

This is Part III in our series on CNC machining secondary operations, where we’ll be discussing hardware installations — we covered heat treatments and post-processing finishes in Parts I and II.  Hardware installation is an essential step for joining multiple parts to create the final product and is always performed after heat treating and post-processing […]

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Finding the Right Secondary Operations After CNC Machining, Part II: Finishes

CNC machining is but a single step in the new product creation process. First, you design the part, then it’s carved by a CNC machining service or shop, and finally, you put the finishing touches on it! This is the second in a series of three articles discussing those finishing touches. Here in Part II […]

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Finding the Right Secondary Operations after CNC machining, Part I: Heat Treatments

Once you’ve finished CNC machining your parts, your work isn’t done. Those raw components might have ugly finishes, may not be strong enough, or be just one part of an assembly that’s got to be connected with others to make a complete product. After all, how often do you use devices composed of a single […]

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What You Need to Know About CNC Machining Aluminum

Aluminum is the name of the most abundant metallic element found in earth’s crust, which is part of the reason why it’s used in so many objects that we use every day. In fact, it’s the most widely used non-ferrous metal (meaning that it doesn’t contain any iron). Aluminum is found both in common objects, […]

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The Many Types of Steel, and What You Should Know About CNC Machining Them

Steel comes in many forms: sheet metal, plates, bars and beams of various geometries, pipes, and of course, the solid stock material used when CNC machining steel. Steel is used for so many applications and by so many industries that it makes sense for there to be many different types of steel. But what’s the […]

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How to Perfom a Hypothesis Test, an Essential Element of Good Engineering

Statistics may not be your favorite subject from college, but it’s a critical part of an efficient product design and manufacturing process. Using statistics you can design experiments, run tests, collect real world results, and make data-driven decisions. These experiments can be used to test the effect of changing a dimension, material, or manufacturing process […]

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When, Why and How You Should Switch from Die Casting Parts to CNC Machining Them

Deciding which manufacturing process to choose can be difficult; there are many different factors to consider. You may start out with a die casting process because it can deliver the quantity you need and meet your required tolerances. However, down the line you may need to change to a different manufacturing process. This may happen […]

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5 Reasons You Need to Use 2D Drawings

As an engineer, you’ve made many 2D drawings, because drawings are still essential to the manufacturing process. Given advances in design tool technology, you may also have wondered: “Why am I creating this drawing? Why aren’t we using CAD?”  Good questions! Computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) are amazing tools but they […]

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G-code Knowledge is Key to Mastering Any CNC Machine

M06? G54? S1000? Do those numbers mean anything to you? Knowing the most common commands in your G-code may not be at the top of your priority list, but it can go a long way in helping you understand what your machine is doing. CNC machines are really good at doing exactly what they’re told. […]

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Casting vs CNC Machining: We’re No Longer in the Bronze Age, But Is It Right for Your Part?

Casting – it’s been around for over 6,000 years and is still widely used today. Advances in casting technology allow the casting of high quality parts with tight tolerances. CNC machining is also pervasive, but much newer. Have you ever considered trying to CNC machine a part that you usually cast? Or are you wondering […]

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Cutting Tools Used in CNC Machining – Choose the Right Tool for the Job

As a mechanical engineer or designer, how much time do you spend thinking about how your parts are going to be machined? Even more specifically, do you know what kinds of tools will be used to make different features or geometries? This article will be your guide to the most common tools used in CNC […]

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Introduction to Workholding Options for CNC Machining

Your CNC machining process is only as good as your workholding setup! CNC work holding methods keep your part rigidly in place and reduce the stiffness. You can also refer to work holding as fixturing. A good CNC workholding setup is key for locating the next part to be machined. Fixturing is also important for […]