Question Answered: How to design a product for manufacturer acceptance?

How do I make sure that I can get a manufacturer to make my product?


The most likely scenario is that you are looking for a contract manufacturer to just make your product.  You will still manage the rest yourself including the warehousing, marketing, sales, shipping, and follow up customer service.


The key to this will be making sure the design is physically possible to manufacture, and then you will try to optimize to reduce the cost of manufacturing.  Of course, you must have enough volume to make it interesting to them as well as profitable.


Anybody entering the physical product world should have a cursory knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes.  At least to the extent that you understand how the processes happen.

If you are creating a 3D solid model of your product yourself, or you are contracting this out, a small piece of advice here usually helps: I try to make the design steps as if I was machining the product in the CAD package.  No so in-depth that I’m taking individual cuts, but just enough that I am thinking about possible issues with tooling, filtering, etc while I am designing.  This can save you a lot of time in the long run and some embarrassment when meeting with the manufacturing companies.  Start with a solid chunk in your CAD package and remove material to create the product – just just add material.  Takes a bit more time at first, but not a big difference once you get used to it.


Be sure to have a design review meeting with the manufacturing company before irreversible design decisions are made.  They are the experts at manufacturing and will provide very useful hints on how to modify your design to improve the speed and/or cost of manufacturing the product.  Be sure to let them know with surfaces and dimensions are critical for the product’s function – and which are not as important.  Having tolerances, surface finishes, and geometric dimensioning call-outs too tight will increase the cost of manufacture dramatically.


This is my best advice on how to design a product for manufacturer acceptance.


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2 Responses to Question Answered: How to design a product for manufacturer acceptance?

  1. Tiffani February 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Hi, Can you recommend any trustworthy contract manufacturers?

    • Andrew March 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Hi Tiffani, I can point you in the right direction.
      Of course it will depend on your type of product, expected sales volume, and interest in offshoring (or even on shoring).
      It also depends if you plan on spending any time at the factory or not.

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