Tag: mechanical design

How Mechanical Design Will Always Be Relevant

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Mechanical Design

With the modern age becoming increasingly digital, one of the questions we at RF3 Design Ltd is whether the mechanical design work we do is getting less in demand. This isn’t at all the case, for a couple of very important reasons. Today we’re taking a few minutes to tell you why good old fashioned hardware will never die out:

Mechanical Design: Analogue Machinery in the Digital Age

Mechanical Design DerbyIt’s likely that you’re working much more with digital equipment these days, but the fact remains that without good old fashioned mechanical design, our lives would be vastly different – and much more inconvenient – than they are.

It’s worth remembering that without their mechanical parts, your digital tech wouldn’t exist. Everything from the processor that works as the brain for every piece of electronic equipment to the accelerometer that tells your phone whether it’s being held portrait or landscape is a part of mechanical design. Almost every single industry sector there is has essential machinery in a full analogue state – from the handyman’s drill to the life-saving diagnostic equipment in your local hospital.

There are also many places in which digital tech can be cheaper, quicker and easy to use – but still doesn’t perform as well or just doesn’t feel right. There are many professional photographers, even those young enough to have always lived in a world where digital photography has always been the industry standard, who continue to use film because somehow it just looks better. As we posted last month, many music production studios use equipment which should, by now, be archaic, because it simply creates sounds more appealing to the human ear that digital counterparts can.

Also, don’t forget that every piece of digital technology – the laptop or desktop computer that you keep in the office, the tablet you have to keep you informed when you’re on the road, and the phone you use when your children have “borrowed” your tablet to watch Spongebob or Dexter, were all created on a production line by mechanical robots.

We need it.

Getting Started with Mechanical Design

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Mechanical Design

The Process of Mechanical Design

Mechanical DesignMechanical design is a complex task. It’s quite surprising how much creativity is required – sometimes you’ve got to think very originally to successfully design the mechanisms needed to solve the problem your product targets.

Designing mechanisms is, in many ways, the bread and butter of good product design – it’s the basis from which the entire plan of attack is based, including marketing, pricing, and manufacture. Good mechanical design leads to profitability and can help give products a reputation for reliability and style – bad mechanical design can lead to a products’ total failure, and even ruin companies’ reputations.

Three key terms every mechanical designer should remember are:

1. Simplicity

If a product’s mechanical design isn’t as simple as it possibly can be, then it isn’t good enough. Not only should a product be as simple to manufacture as possible to keep labour and component costs to a minimum, but a simple mechanism is far less likely to fail or wear out than an over-complicated one.

2. Profitability

The entire point of product design is to make money. If your product is absolutely perfect for its purpose, but so highly priced that few can afford it or – even worse – it only breaks even or even makes a loss per unit sold, then it’s not a perfect design. A compromise of quality and affordability must sometimes be struck to make sure that a product can survive in today’s saturated markets. Of course, quality is always important – in an ideal world, all products would be amazing quality – but high prices on products has driven many a company out of business. Don’t let it be yours.

3. Ease-of-Use

Of course, this is more of a guideline than a proper rule – some products such as IC chips, medical or industry equipment, and some software packages have to be intensely complex to serve their function. However, some of the most successful products – the Grabber disability aid, some toys, most household items – are successful because of their simplicity. Modern fat-reducing kitchen grills are nothing more than curvy hot plates on an angle, but they have replaced pan-frying for many families because of their simplicity (and extremely clever marketing).

We hope you’ve found this interesting! Good luck with your own designs!

Product Design Derby News Round Up

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Product design Derby experts like to keep on top of the latest news in product design from across the globe. Product design is an important process in any design, it helps determine solutions to products that perhaps aren’t as effective as they should be, and enables a better product to take it’s place. We have curated the latest news in product design so you can keep up to date.


Product Design Derby
Product Design Derby

Sleek, innovative product design transforms the personal breathalyser into a classy fashion statement

A fantastic breathalyser has been designed called AURA. AURA offers a contemporary and sleek looking gadget that uses the very best electrochemical fuel cell sensor technology so you know it’s reliable. This design is hoped to catch on to make people more aware of responsible drinking.

Read the full story here


Is design still about making things?

A really interesting read on how the patterns in product design are changing in todays modern society. Designers are still creating beautiful products, but there is now a bigger focus on creating products that are designed to help those in healthcare, and those in need, to help make lives easier.

Read the full story here


Apple announces the iPhone 5c: 4-inch Retina display, plastic design, available in five colors

Of course we couldn’t forget to mention the new release of the Apple iPhone 5c. Apple have always lead the way with many of their products and it’s fascinating to see how much buzz and social media interest there is when a new product is released. Watch the video from Jony Ive, who is leader of design at Apple.

Read the full story and watch the video here

London Design Festival: the next big five

With the London Design Festival about to kick off, the Guardian writes about the next big five up and coming designers to look out for. Mainly focussed on furniture and fashion product design, but it still showcases some great talents.

Read the full story here

We hope you found these stories interesting. Product design Derby is always on the look out for the latest news and developments in todays society.


Importance of Mechanical Design When Designing A Product

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Mechanical design is generally a complex process that requires a wide range of skills; this complexity normally requires a set sequence in which a number of ideas are introduced, reviewed and iterated. The design process is an innovative process where decisions are made; based on available information or made tentatively with adjustments allowed as more things become clear during the mechanical design of the product.

It usually involves the use of engineering tools such as statistics, graphics, computers, mathematics and languages to produce a plan that produces a product that is safe, functional, usable, competitive, easy to manufacture and marketable irrespective of who uses or builds the said product.

Mechanical Design
Mechanical Design

The introduction of Mechanical 3D models which utilise state of the art CAD tools does bring some life and high levels of transparency into the goals of any product design with respect to clearance, tolerance, aesthetics and clash detection; thereby allowing for effective communication of design ideas within the team. This has led to a faster and more productive design process.

The drawings or sketches that are developed during the design process usually provide the team with some insights on how the product should look like; this allows the entire team to be in sync with each other as to what exactly they intend to produce, when this is done early enough in the product development process a lot of time and resources is saved.

Rapid prototyping can be easily achieved through some mechanical design of the product; this allows the management to visually see the end product before commencing the actual production of the said product. Its viability, in terms of functionality and cost of production can thus be determined early enough. Improvements are also suggested, noted and implemented quite early enough in the production stage.

The process of mechanically designing a product makes it easy to develop simplified assembly designs once the designs have been completed. Since the prototype developed has all the required parts, it is easy to decide on where and how to assemble the required parts and get their accurate measurements too and provide full fledged manufacturing drawings.

The use of mechanical design also allows the product design team to perform speedy verification and subsequent validation of developed designs against laid out design rules and provided specifications that were earlier agreed upon. It thus enhances both the accuracy and general safety of the product in question.

Most advanced design tools that are used in this process do allow for some bi-directional parametric association of the product features. This makes alterations, deletions and general improvements on the initial design quite simple and easy to implement. Any alteration on a particular feature is automatically reflected in all the data that relies on that particular feature. This makes the process of making changes more traceable and enhances uniformity.

Designers can also provide some value addition on the design of an existing part of a product design without necessarily using the internal CAD files of the original designer who may be unwilling to provide the said files due to proprietary reasons. A mechanical designer overcomes this problem by scanning the existing product and creating a CAD model of the same.

It is also worth noting that having mechanical designs of the said products electronically stored provides for an easy avenue for reusing the same designs with minor alterations during future developments of other related products or subsequent improvements of the same product.

The 7 Steps of Product Design

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Any serious business knows the importance of introducing new products to the market. In this world of business there is a lot of competition which means that in order to succeed in any business you really have to impress your potential customers. A product design is a major part of product branding which usually determines the superiority of your product in the market. You can never go wrong in investing a in a good product design as it is what’s sets your product a part from others in a competitive market.

One of the biggest challenges in launching a new product both in new as well as in already established businesses is the cost of marketing. A successful design will reduce this cost as it makes your product appealing and in the long run creating customer loyalty.

The process is usually broken down into seven main steps namely: problem assessment, research, idea analysis, prototyping, final design, testing and manufacturing.

Product Design
Product Design

Problem assessment

Many businesses thrive in commercialising solutions to problems in a certain community. Solutions may take the form of either improvement to physical products or services or inventing new products or services. Design process starts when an idea is generated in the mind. At this point it is advisable to write the idea on paper and what problem the idea seeks to solve.


This step involves conducting research to find out if there are other similar ideas or products elsewhere. The focus here is to refine the idea and identify the target market. A good product design focuses on customer satisfaction and involves determining the price that the target customer will be willing to pay for the product, usability, safety as well as disposal. It is hence very important to know the specific customer needs and preferences. Some of the important information that this step seeks to find is; size of product, materials needed in the design and the products needs and requirements-whether there are other products that will be needed to use this particular product such as batteries.

Idea analysis 

Based on the findings on the previous stage-research, product sketches are produced through brain storming and other forms of discussions. This stage seeks to come up with as many designs sketches as possible and at the end of this step one or two sketches are selected and moved to the next stage-prototyping.


A design of the chosen sketches or sketches on the previous stage is created in 3D using the material and color that is expected to be used in the final product. The focus here is not the product functionality but the appearance and usability though basic functionality of product is implemented.

Final design

A final design is produces based on the features of the prototype and all the changes that may have been suggested are made. Complete functionality of the product is implemented at this stage. A few samples are produced a waiting testing.


This stage is very import in the design process and should never be overlooked. It is at this stage where the product is taken to a lab for testing by professionals. This will enable it to be certified by the governing body such as the bureau of standards. Testing also involves distributing samples for use by potential customers and getting their feedback.


If the results of the testing stage are satisfactory the product is ready for mass production else part or the whole process of product design is repeated.

It is very important to remember that every stage of the design process should be documented and all the documents complied and kept as the information can be used in future either for other new product designs or for product improvement.










Inspiring Product Design Web Magazines

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As product design is such a fast paced technology, it can sometimes feel impossible to keep on track with the newest innovative products. We’ve rounded up some inspiring web based magazines that feature product design and industrial design, that keep us up to date with the latest breaking technology in the world today.

Product Design
Product Design

Design Boom

Design boom is a a great place for professionals and young amateur designers to come together and learn about the latest news stories from across the world. They’re always on top of the latest headlines when it comes to design, heres one we particularly liked –

Design Boom – solar-powered flat pack refugee shelters by IKEA



Wired is a magazine for all things geeky, and they blog about a variety of different news articles, from entertainment, science and technology. We like their articles about 3D printing, which is a relatively new and emerging technology, which is gaining more and more popularity.

Wired – Is this 3D printed cast the future of healing broken bones?



Core77 really has it all, and is a fantastic place to find all you may need for industrial design. From news articles to job listings and discussion forums.



Monkee Design

Monkee Design is the place for inspiration and congregates industrial and product designers together, to help each other look for gorgeous designs. In such a fast paced environment when it comes to products, it’s important to keep designs fresh and interesting and not get lost amongst the crowd. We particularly like their inspiration page.

Check it out here – Monkee Design – Inspiration


The Latest in Mechanical Design

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Sometimes in mechanical design, new products and concepts are drafted up that involve the use of 3D printing. 3D printing is a relatively new concept on the rest of us, and has the potential to create products that can change peoples lives. Take a look at some of these designs that use the technology and how it can change the way we live.


Mechanical Design
Mechanical Design

Researchers create ‘bionic ear’ with a 3D printer

Thanks to advancements in technology it’s now possible to combine cells to create a bionic ear which can receive and transmit radio signals. the scientists said this bionic wasn’t to replace a human one, but to simple show what can be done with 3D printing, and the possibilities that it has.

Read more: Researchers create ‘bionic ear’ with a 3D printer


Is this the plaster cast of the future? Designer uses 3D printing to create tailor-made exoskeleton to help heal broken bones

A designer has used a 3D printer to create a new type of cast for broken bones, which could potentially replace the old bulky casts that are traditionally used. The new cast will be lightweight and breathable and will be moulded to the specific patient.

Read more here: Is this the plaster cast of the future?


3D-Printed Human Organs Prep Doctors for Real Surgeries

3D printing has allowed the possibility of surgeons to practice on patients organs, before they carry out the surgery for real. This is a great advancement, and can help surgeons get a grasp on how they will undertake the surgery in regards to the physiology of the organ.

Read the full story here: 3D printed human organs prep doctors for real surgeries


Buttercup the Duck gets prosthetic 3D-printed foot

A duck who was born with his left foot turned, has been fitted with a 3D printed prosthetic foot to help him walk normally. The prosthetic foot has taken some time to get used to, but means that he now has the ability to walk better.

Read the full story here: Buttercup the duck gets prosthetic 3D printed foot

The Process of Product Design

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Product design isn’t as simple and straightforward as you may think. The process of product design involves various steps before reaching the final goal and before reaching a finished and finalised product. Read this guide on product design here to a few of the processes needed.


Product Design
Product Design

1. Design Brief – This typically will involve many factors. This is where you will begin to research the market for your product and find out what the competitors are doing. Of course there is also a technical aspect. You will need to identify tools and components that will be needed, and see if it fits within your budget. The commercial aspect of the brief will typically involve market research and reports, along with targets and forecasts for the future.

2. Idea Generation – This is where initial sketches and layouts of ideas will be drawn up. From pencil 2D sketches to 3D CAD drawings involving particular attention to details.

3. Concept – Initials ideas will be looked into, and a stronger emphasis will be laid on narrowing it down to one idea. More of a development on CAD designs will be brought in at this stage, to get a clearer idea of the product.

4. Design Development – This is where intent to design the final product will be introduced. Sturdier prototypes will be made and each part of the product will be more detailed and focused.

5. Further development will then take place to actually create the intended product.


Ultimately product design is an important part of the process of designing a new product, it can help determine whether a product will succeed or fail, and this will help avoid any unnecessary costs.


Mechanical Design News

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Mechanical design encompasses a vast range of products, but most importantly it helps with the process of new medical products. Medical product design is of great importance, from products to help detect diseases, to equipment used to help aid disabled, it forms an important part of every day life for many people. Here is the latest news in medical and mechanical product design.


Mechanical Design
Mechanical Design

Mechanical Prosthetic Hand Developers Release Design To Public Domain [VIDEO]
Creators of a prosthetic hand have made the design free to anyone to use, all that is needed is a 3D printer, which makes the possibility a lot cheaper. The link to this video shows the robotic hand in use.

See the video here: Mechanical prosthetic hand developers release design to public domain


Medical students perform “cyber surgery” with 3D holographic images

Medical students are now able to perform cyber surgery using 3D software that gives students the ability to view 3D images that give the sense of operating on a human. This is great news as it could potentially improve the students learning process.

Read the full story here: Medical students perform “cyber surgery” with 3D holographic images
3D imaging machine helps physicians identify cancer earlier, more frequently

Using a 3D imaging machine to identify potential risks during a mammogram, can now be possible. Thanks to this machine, it’s now possible to view all aspects, rather than a standard 2D image, where it was possible to miss potential risks. This could be a life saver.

Read the full story here: 3D imaging machine helps physicians identify cancer earlier, more frequently


“First medical tricorder” seeks crowd-funding ahead of FDA approval

A device which helps record diagnostics of your well being, is now looking to the public for funding. The device will help read things such as blood pressure, heart rate and core body temperature, to help gage an over all sense of your well being, and may well be able to detect signs of illness.

Read the full story here: First medical tricorder seeks crowd funding ahead of FDA approval



Product Design Glossary

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Product design can seem confusing if you’ve never had interaction with it before, with many phrases used by product designers regarding the design stages and process, it can seem overwhelming. Here is a simple and basic glossary of just some of the terms used in product design to help gain a better understanding of the terminology.


Product Design
Product Design

Aerodynamic – Designed to be optimised for air flow

Aesthetic – Describing the look of something

Branding – Marketing techniques used for a particular product, to create it into a brand

CAD – Computer aided design software, enables you to create detailed drawings of potential products

Composition – Putting together different parts to form something complete

Concept – An early idea of a product, more often still in sketch or drawing form

Design – To invent, sketch, plan, draw or make something

Design brief – A statement outlining goals to be met within the design

Eco – Design – Design that considers the environment and nature at the forefront of it’s idea.

GUI – Graphic user interface

Industrial Design – Where aesthetics and usability come together for products which may be improved through marketing and production

Mockup – Essentially a draft of a design whether full scale or not, it allows the user to evaluate and demonstrate the design

Prototype – Functional model of the design

Product strategy – Determining the market, context and money needed to invest in such a product

Rendering – A 2D image of the design, often put into CAD software to also create a more realistic version of the design.

Sustainable design – A design using products that have little or no impact on the environment or the future social environment.

Typography – The art of text, involving point size, typefaces and line spacing

Usability – Determining how usable the product will be for users