Richie Tran

Fictiv Prototyping Engineer. Better known as Richie, Tran man, or RichAY! I love building cool products and helping others bring their products to life.

All articles from the author


Intro to Haptic Technology: Vibration Motors

Remember the days of flip phones and physical alpha-numeric keys, where you pressed physical buttons to enter phone numbers and send text messages? We’ve come a long way since then, with modern smartphones and replacing buttons with capacitive touchscreens. Despite the technological advances, there’s something I miss about those physical keys. Maybe it was the […]


PLA vs. ABS: Getting Value out of Low-Cost Prototyping

We’re taking a look at two lower resolution and cheaper 3D printing materials for prototyping: ABS and PLA. When will PLA suffice? When do you gain much more by going with ABS? A lot of people look at price and automatically choose to print in PLA because hey, it’s the cheapest material! But depending on […]


How to Select the Right Battery for Wearables and Consumer Electronics

These days, it’s rare to encounter a consumer electronics (CE) device that isn’t “smart.” Intelligent features — heart rate monitoring or GPS tracking, for instance — mean that CE devices require more power than ever in order to provide consumers with the applications they care about, all within smaller, portable devices. As a result, battery […]


XBox Controller Teardown

Ever wish you could jump into a video game and see what that world is like? Well, we’ll do something even better—we’ll get into a video game controller and see what’s inside! We’re tearing down the original Xbox controller and the newer Xbox One controller, to see how the device has evolved. The Original Xbox […]


How to Set Up Your Files for Multimaterial 3D Printing

One of the major benefits of printing in Polyjet is the ability to print in multiple materials for a single part. This allows you to simulate overmolds, create soft touch applications, and build living hinges among many other applications. We get a lot of questions about how to prepare files for multi-material prints, so here’s […]


From SketchUp to 3D Printer: 3 Common Surface Modeling Issues & How to Fix Them

You’ve created a seamless design—structurally sound, sufficiently thick, and mindful of overhangs. However, you get your part back to find out that it’s not printable! Many of the errors we see stem from how the digital model was created and often the main problems come down to whether the design was modeled using solid bodies […]


Under Armour Band Teardown

Here’s the final piece of Under Armour’s technological trifecta: the Under Armour Band! That’s right, to rival Nike Fuelband and Fitbit, Under Armour has come out with a wearable of its own. Sleek and sporty, the band can measure heart rate, hours of sleep, and activity. In addition to counting steps and keeping time, it […]


Under Armour Heart Rate Monitor Teardown

The next piece of Under Armour’s fitness-in-a-box solution is a heart rate monitor! If you missed the first teardown of the Under Armour Scale, check it out here. I had seen the promotional videos, featuring chiseled athletes breathing heavily through explosive exercises, wearing the strap above a cut abdominal core—heroically glistening Adonises and Aphrodites, cranking […]


CAD Design Terms

When learning CAD, some words may seem foreign–extrusion, chamfer, radius, and fillets aren’t exactly intutive. No worries, read up on the terms below as a refresher or an introduction to the most common CAD terms and operations. Main CAD Operations Extrude / Extrusion: An extruded face of an object expands or contracts (or cuts through/against) empty […]


3D File Types

There are three different types of digital files, broadly speaking: ones for printing, ones for modeling, and ones for 2D drawings. In order to produce a physical part, a 3D printer requires a specific file type. Known as a ‘mesh model’, the most common file type for 3D printing is called STereoLithography, or STL. To […]