The first stage of any product is to be designed. The best way to do this is through an engineer. They can help with getting manufacturer files designed and prototyped, and will have an understanding of what is feasible for production. Properly communicating your ideas to them is vitally important, and miscommunications about details can end up costing time and money.
Here are some tips on how to make sure your product is properly designed.
Be clear and open in your expectations and requirements
Some people want to hold on to the details of their product tightly and are hesitant to be open about the function of a product to protect its confidentiality. In most cases, it’s a bad idea to hide details from your engineer. If you don’t feel safe, you can always have an NDA in place. If that doesn’t help allay your concerns, you should ask yourself if you trust the engineer in the first place. It’s important to find someone you feel comfortable enough to disclose as many details about your project as possible. If your engineer ends up designing a project based on false pretenses or incomplete details that should have been brought up earlier and has to redesign it, the lost hours and money will be painfully felt.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand why your engineer is recommending a particular adjustment, ask him. Not only will this shed clarity, new ideas could come about through discussion.
You should also be sure to ask what kind of recommendations he has to make the product pass any needed product compliance regulations. For example, if it has anything to do with drugs or chemicals, it will probably need to be under FDA compliance.
Be somewhat flexible
Most engineers are great at their jobs, but they aren’t wizards. Sometimes, a feature you may really want on your product may not be possible.
What can happen is a feature of a part may be possible to 3D print or make using other prototyping methods, but it isn’t sustainable to make for large scale manufacturing. It may technically be able to be produced, but the scrap rate caused by a hard to machine dimension could make it too expensive to be an attractive project for manufacturers. In any case, your engineer should be able to recommend alternate solutions.
There is also the possibility your engineer may not have the depth of expertise in a certain field needed for your project, so that is also something to consider.