When you have a working prototype based on off the shelf parts (eg. Arduino), and you want to move to designing a finished product, what is the correct order of development?

  • Electrical Engineering? (PCB design, program, etc)
  • Design?
  • Mechanical Engineering?
  • Others?

Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ @Dave Describing the product at a very high level might help you get more relevant responses. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2016 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Begin with the aspect that's either the most important or the most challenging. It depends on the nature of the product (principles of operation, market, manufacturing quantities, cost). There isn't a single one-size-fits-all correct order. Some products are defined by mechanical engineering. Some products are defined by electrical engineering. Some products are defined by ergonomics. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2016 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ As it is currently, this question is too broad. The answer will depend on what you're designing, what the requirements are, what resources you have, etc. I would either refocus this to how to make that decision, rather than looking for a specific order, or provide more details so that the scope is narrowed. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2016 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your suggestions. I've decided not to edit this question, so you are free to close it. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Mar 21, 2016 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Using Arduino type DIY platforms is becoming very common in Rapid prototyping design, but they do have significant drawbacks. To over come them:

  • Develop a robust requirements document based on VOC (Voice of the Customer). This I believe is the most critical next steps. In corporate all the critical user testing feedback into the requirements document. (Scope)
  • Determine a realistic budget based on expected price points. This is key in determine parts selection, resource selection, etc. One could use an expensive FPGA or inexpensive micro controller to achieve the same end result. What is important is that not to overshoot the budget. (Cost)
  • Determine the time to market. Once again this will impact your component selection, resource selection etc. (Time)

After there is a good understanding of Cost, Time, and Scope (Also know is the triple constraints) then start working on product design.

  • Electrical design: PCB design, electrical component selection (both electrical and mechanical), testing, manufacturing, compliance to regulations etc
  • Software design: Operating systems, software development platforms, software testing etc
  • Mechanical design: Component selection (both electrical and mechanical), mechanical testing etc. Mechanical engineers work closely with electrical engineers in most cases.
  • Tool selection: This includes any software for PCB design, software development, Mechanical CAD tools, any many more as it relates to finish product.
  • User Interface Design: If the end product has significant user interaction then it is important to consider Industrial Design into the design process.
  • Design for manufacturing and testing: IMO this is very important step. Understanding the capabilities for the manufacture and design according the capabilities. If the manufacture is required to special equipment this will drive the cost of the product limiting the success.

The above should get you started.


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