Sean Thomas

All articles from the author


Best Practices for Adding Ribs and Gussets to 3D Printed Parts for Structural Integrity

When designing plastic components, it’s often necessary to add ribs and gussets to improve the stiffness and strength of load-bearing features. This reduces material volume and optimizes print time for 3D printed parts, since it takes longer to make these features solid structures (print time is largely driven by the volume of material for a […]


Threaded Locking Methods for Secure Connections

Threaded fasteners, such as bolts and nuts, are used in many applications, ranging from plastic toys to massive bridges. And all threaded fastener connections need to stay together when we want them to, but also come apart when needed. For example, the valve covers on an engine must remain in place while driving, but we […]


How to Design for Part Stiffness Using a Geometric Approach

Designing products for load bearing applications is a complex and multifaceted task, so it’s important for a designer to have a “toolbox” of techniques that improve design quality. Designing for part stiffness through geometric controls is one of these important tools. While part stiffness can be modified with geometry, material stiffness is a property of […]


How to Design for Stiffness Using Material Properties

Improving part stiffness is critical for load bearing applications, and can be accomplished through both design geometry and material properties. In this article, we’ll employ many of the same formulas we discussed in our previous article about leveraging geometric structures to improve stiffness. However, here we’ll focus on material selection, altering the properties of materials […]


How to Conduct a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

In the product design world, it’s common to use a tool called a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) to improve a design or process. FMEAs are commonly separated into two different categories, depending on their application: A Design FMEA (D-FMEA) is used in product design to identify possible design weaknesses and failure modes. A […]