Embarking on the journey to design your own product can be both exciting and challenging. You might have a great idea that has motivated you to pursue this path. But, if you don’t have a background in product design or engineering, finding a means of turning your ideas into a reality can be a daunting task.
The good news is that we live in the digital age, which means there are countless online tools and resources that you can utilize to design your first product. Many of them are fairly cost-effective and some are even free, making it possible for anyone to realize their idea.
Open Source Ecology
Open Source Ecology is a project that is sharing free blueprints for what they consider to be the 50 most important machines that it takes for modern life to exist. Given their importance, chances are they’re pretty well-designed. This makes the website a great free resource to draw inspiration from and perhaps find new ways to design your product.
Learn by Example with an Arduino
If you’re involved in the electronics world, chances are that you’ve heard of Arduino. The company explains their little device as an “open-source electronics platform” that’s based on accessible hardware and software. The premise is simple – it can read an input, such as a digital message, physical touch or light on a sensor, and provide an output.
That output can be anything from turning on a light to posting a Twitter message to activating a motor. It’s inexpensive, highly compatible, completely open source and packed with limitless potential. If your product contains electronic components, an Arduino serves as a suitable platform to play with ideas and test your design in the real world.
Pick up a 3D Printer
3D printers were once a pretty costly purchase. These days, even the smallest business can pick up their own 3D printer and start playing with product designs. For less than $200, you can buy popular models like the Da Vinci Mini and Anet A8. For just over $200, there’s the Monoprice Select Mini. Plenty more great printers await in the sub-$500 range.
Invest in the Right Software
Software, such as CAD, is a key component of modern product design. Not only does it help you visualize and refine your product in both 2D and 3D environments, but it’ll also help you discover flaws in its design.
This can save you from some costly manufacturing errors. If your product contains a circuit board, you’ll need to invest in some good PCB design software. CircuitStudio by Altium is a popular option in this space, so be sure to check them out.
There is a wealth of free courses on the internet related to product design. Websites such as Udemy, Alison and Lynda are filled with product design classes and tutorials. Knowing how you should go about designing your product will help you make more informed decisions later down the line.
Once you have the necessary knowledge and tools, it all comes down to putting in the work. This information should get your creative juices flowing, so why not get started?