Guest Lecture from Sam Wurzel from Octopart

The majority of the student projects at ITP are connected consumer products or connected installation pieces. To complement our learnings in enclosure design and manufacturing, we wanted to learn about printed circuit board construction and sourcing. How easy or hard is it to move from an Arduino board to something that performs a specific-function? Where would we go to get someone to manufacture something for us? Why are most circuitboards green? What should we look for when sourcing high-quality components we want to sell in Europe?

Sam Wurzel talked to our class about this dizzying world a few weeks back. We covered a lot in three hours, but here are some bits of sage wisdom from Sam.

Sourcing: Students at ITP mainly go to Adafruit or Digikey to source electronic components, but Sam talked about Octopart’s Common Parts Library that aggregates stock (and inventory availability) from those suppliers and many others to give a more holistic view of availability of a part. There are roughly 30M parts in this library alone. In addition, students can chose only RoHS compliance for an initial screen for compliance.

Factories: When looking for a factory, Sam suggested the students find one at the right scale for them. Looking for ones that market themselves as ones that take on small volume manufacturing jobs is a good first vetting. He explained that the process is very iterative and requires a lot of back and forth with manufacturers, so the students should build in time and patience for this process.

Funding: Sam cautioned that hardware is a very expensive business type and that many companies get into the game seeking at least a million in investment. Kickstarter is a dangerous platform for hardware in some cases because there are a lot of unexpected things that come up when companies are just starting out. Things like overlooked regulations, new functionality that changes the size of the PCB or even factories going under can raise upfront costs in unexpected ways. Places like Dragon Innovation or PCH/ Highway 1 specialize in helping hardware start-ups better cost out their early runs and have in-house expertise that set these types of start-ups up for success.

Thanks, Sam!


Tonight’s Guest Speaker: Sia Mahdavi

3D printing is a pretty pervasive technology at ITP. It’s common to walk onto the floor and see lots of MakerBots layering away, bringing students’ prototyping needs to fruition. But what about using 3D printing for production quality parts?

Sia Mahdavi will come for the last hour of tonight’s class to talk about additive manufacturing: when is it appropriate to consider it for part creation and when is it not? What are some of the most interesting use cases in the market today? What is the advantage additive manufacturing holds for production-quality part creation?

Dr. Siavash (Sia) Mahdavi Siais an entrepreneur, investor, and engineering expert. He holds several patents in mechatronics, additive manufacturing, and evolutionary robotics and has founded several companies, all with successful exits, including Digital Forming, Complex Matters Ltd, and recently Within Technologies. The latter was a successful design consultancy and software house specializing in utilizing additive manufacturing for higher-end engineering applications in medical devices, aerospace, Formula1, and footwear industries. Dr Mahdavi studied Mechatronics Engineering at King’s College London. He followed on to gain a M.Sc. in Intelligent Systems at University College London and continued his research to complete a doctorate in Evolutionary robotics.

Guest Lecturer: Dorian Ferlauto

We are beyond delighted to have Dorien Ferlauto guest lecture in this Thursday’s class. Dorian holds over 10 years experience in manufacturing and product development. She launched BriteHub in 2013 with the mission to create a centralized marketplace to initiate, educate, and guide relationships in the manufacturing production space. BriteHub was first developed while co-launching FactoryMade a MoMa meets TechShop start-up in 2011.
Dorian is going to focus most of this Thursday’s lecture on the Request for Quote (RFQ) which is a sizable portion of students’ grades. She’ll talk about the components of that document and what will happen to it once students submit it and their models to the Britehub network.
In addition, her knowledge of interior products from home goods to furniture manufacturing is accompanied by her personal design experience. She has worked hand and hand with wood, metal, plastics, electronics and soft goods and has a strong comprehensive understanding of what it takes to bring product to market. Dorian was recognized by Newsweek as one of the 13 “Disruptive Women” paving the way for the future of the manufacturing industry.
Please warmly welcome Dorian and come prepared to ask all the questions you need to feel confident in starting to prepare your RFQs.
Dorian J Ferlauto (1)

Field Trip to Material ConneXion on Monday

As we grow our understanding of how to design products for mass production, it is imperative that we explore materials. On Monday, we’ll visit Material ConneXion, a global materials library, with a robust collection in mid-town Manhattan. Material ConneXion gives us the opportunity to touch and feel materials grouped by their physical and chemical properties so we can assess aesthetics, durability, sustainability, and applicability to the use case we are developing for our products. While the factories we end up choosing might have strong opinions on the materials we end up using, this experience will give us the opportunity to compare and contrast subtle differences in material stock. Students should come to the visitor’s entrance at 9:45 sharp.Material ConneXion Library

Tomorrow’s Guest Speaker: Mike Alcazaren, Application Engineer, Autodesk Education

Tomorrow night, we’re very lucky to host Mike Alcazaren, Application Engineer for Autodesk, Inc. Mike will help ITP students get up and running in Fusion360 and will share examples of connected devices modeled in Fusion 360. He will also share details of how students can actually earn money for posting their models in the Fusion 360 gallery!

Mike is a graduate of University at Buffalo (ME, AE ’12).  As an engineering professional, Mike has experience developing mechanical designs for the DoD during his previous job at Raytheon.  Mike is also on the Engineers for a Sustainable World Leadership Team, as Development Coordinator.  Mike is passionate about gettiMug Shotng the latest technology into the hands of design & engineering students to help build their technical skillset and build a career solving today’s most challenging problems .