Resources on innovative prototyping, specialized product design,
and small-run contract manufacturing.

Showing the CAD portion of the digital fabrication process
The process that drives your project to completion is consistent regardless of the chosen manufacturing method, meaning tools for each step in the digital fabrication process will also be consistent. The compatibility of tools and procedures allows you to develop a production strategy that can be effectively applied to all of your projects with little or no modification, allowing you to develop and manufacture high-quality items quickly.
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Graphic illustrating some benefits of short-run production
Before examining the benefits of short-run production, it is essential to understand that this does not necessarily refer to time or even specific quantities. The term applies to manufacturing bursts, such as for seasonal products, prototype development, or be used when raw material costs fall to a point where it makes financial sense to produce an item for wider margins rapidly. These, when combined with modern digital technology, have served to make short production runs highly beneficial.
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a 3D scan is performed as part of the reverse engineering process
Reverse engineering is a term used to loosely describe the process of deducing how a product works. It is rare though when standard reverse engineering processes are used, or even considered. However, like forward engineering—which is always used in the product development process—reverse engineering has proven steps that can add consistency to a convoluted set of tasks.
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Engineer holding an example of digital fabrication.
Specs look fine on paper, but when it comes to product proposals, nothing beats a fine-tuned, digital representation. Like any new tool, much confusion still exists around what digital fabrication means as a manufacturing process. This agile manufacturing process possesses a range of benefits that makes it an ideal choice for creating visual models or product prototypes. The drawbacks to digital fabrication, such as steep software learning curves or the limited production volumes, are easily outweighed by the numerous advantages.
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Short-run prototype process with workers
Short-run production is a complex iterative design process that targets creating a line of products in the same family to meet particular needs. It's a strategy that allows creators to pivot as needed and follow market changes. Creators can prove demand for their products and likely gain the interest of investors.
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Graph showing 5S practices in manufacturing.
As you research the advantages of lean manufacturing principles, the term “5S” will appear. The 5S practices in manufacturing is a collection of protocols that serve to reduce time and waste in manufacturing. Stemming from Henry Ford’s CANDO system, 5S is a Toyota-based methodology that is still very much in use today. As the name indicates, this practical approach to lean manufacturing can be broken down into five pieces: sort, set, shine, standardize, and sustain.
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Agile development strategies simply illustrated
Before starting your search for the ideal consulting fit, there are three important principles to implement that will aid your inceptive understanding. Equipping yourself with these precepts early on will give you the foreknowledge to make immediate changes to your product development strategies, and give you a concise list of questions to ask any product development company to determine the best fit for your manufacturing goals.
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The solutions to problems encountered during the transition to lean manufacturing cannot be generalized, as every organization has its own unique set of challenges and operating specifications. There are, however, several important lean manufacturing best practices that can establish a solid production baseline to utilize when fully preparing a product line for lean manufacturing.
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Worker reviewing common quality control areas to address rapid prototyping pros and cons
It’s necessary to keep in mind certain control aspects when weighing rapid prototyping pros and cons for your products. Developing and proving out a test plan before starting work will help you to build an ideal model for what rapid prototyping needs to provide for your products. Establishing these ideals starts with looking at a few distinct characteristics of the rapid prototyping process. When these are in place, you will find that the cons list shrinks to almost nothing.
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Developing a prototype
It's strange to think of end-to-end manufacturing as the next stage of industry 4.0 because for so long, segmentation has reigned supreme. Companies outsource many different tasks in the manufacturing process, believing this will save them money in the long run. However, end-to-end manufacturing creates transparency and builds scalability that today's creators need to roll out their products to the mass market.
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