Mechanical Design


After you've planned out exactly what features you're going to develop for your product, it's time to leverage digital modeling tools such as CAD (computer-aided-design) to realize those features in digital form. In this section you'll find articles to help you navigate the digital design world, including a list of CAD programs, a guide on how to choose the right software for your needs, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of 3D modeling. You'll also find in-depth articles around mechanical design to help you create the highest quality wire guides, buttons, strain relief mechanisms

Table of Contents

Designing components with snap fits can save you time and money in production by reducing material costs and part quantities as well as improving ease of assembly.

Manufacturing is hard enough without knowing terms most manufacturers use. Here's a quick resource to help you learn the most common terms around describing physical parts.

There are three different types of digital files, broadly speaking: ones for printing, ones for modeling, and ones for 2D drawings.

Designing 3D parts is tough, but with good software it become easier. Everyone has their favorite tool, and below we outline some of the most popular CAD programs.

We receive a lot of questions about how to reduce the cost of 3D printing.

When learning CAD, some words may seem foreign--extrusion, chamfer, radius, and fillets aren't exactly intutive.

There are a lot of CAD (computer-aided design) file types out there, each with their own names, formats, and parameters.

If you’ve worked with consumer electronics, you’ll have come across living hinges.

We talk a lot about iteration here at Fictiv because it’s the foundation for lean hardware development and lean hardware development is the key to bringing successful hardware products to market.

You reach over to plug in your phone, and you feel that spark – and not in a good “I love this product!” kind of way.

Light plays an important role in the design of many hardware products. Often, they are both decorative and functional.

While the power of a hardware product comes from its internal components, a product is typically recognized by its enclosure, the outer shell that encloses electronic products, making them appealin

When designing components that will be made of plastic, it’s often necessary to add ribs and gussets to improve the stiffness and strength of load bearing features.

You’ve worked for months to get your prototype functioning. It’s time to take that ugly (but functional!) works-like prototype and create a real consumer product.

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!

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.

In a world of ever-increasing electronics, our lives are continuously impacted by devices that incorporate some sort of heat-generating circuitry.

Fillets are one of those design features for which there seems to be no middle ground, or at least not one that is widely known.

As data and connectivity continue to be popular themes in tech, engineers are increasingly tasked with packing more features into smaller products, which often leads to deeply integrated electromec

Update: We hosted an in-depth workshop, going through the fundamentals on how to conduct a tolerance analysis.

Remember the days of flip phones and physical alpha-numeric keys, where you pressed physical buttons to enter phone numbers and send text messages?

Understanding the mechanical properties of strength vs stiffness vs hardness is foundational in mechanical engineering, yet these properties can often be confused.

Products that are subject to a torsional load often require analysis similar to what we use for bending

Springs are ubiquitous in all kinds of machines—from consumer products to heavy industrial equipment, take apart anything that involves a mechanism, and chances are, you’ll find a spring

A new engineer, I was getting used to the “excitement” of cubicle life when something (finally) happened.

While electric motors drive vastly different applications, their core function remains the same—to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy.

Springs are absolutely everywhere, from jewelry clasps to large industrial robots.

Threaded connections, such as bolts and nuts, are used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from plastic toys to massive bridges.

In today’s world, products are getting increasingly complex, with downward pressure on overall pricing.

If you design products, whether you’re a full time in-house engineer, a professional freelance industrial designer, or a moonlighting inventor, you’ve likely come across situations in whi

Like cavemen did thousands of years ago with fire, you might have just struck upon an incredibly revolutionary idea.

Adapting to many situations, holding parts in perfect alignment, easily introduced but forming a lasting bond—I could either be describing press fits or your favorite pair of jeans.

We’ve explored interference fits and all their design limitations, but dowel pins have another application: slip fits.

Engineers are always trying to make designs faster, better, cheaper, lighter.

Throughout my design experience, there have been times when I thought I had designed the perfect part to find that I didn’t know the correct process to manufacture it.

Developing a robotic joint may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are some common issues that can be tackled ahead of time to make your project easier to manage.  There are a lot of parts to