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Prerequisites:

  • Prototyped and debugged design

Tools:

  • Hardware community

Next Step:

Once you’ve made all of the necessary design changes, or documented fixes small enough to apply as ECOs you’re ready to move into production.

I strongly recommend you at least consider making the design you have just completed available as widely as possible. This could be limited to within your organization, but it could also spread as far and as wide as the open source hardware movement.

There are 2 headline reasons to do this. First, it will drastically improve communication between all of the stakeholders. You will be able to make sure you’re all talking about the same things (and have something to point at). You’ll be able to accept feedback and improvements from these stakeholders that you otherwise couldn’t have. And maybe most importantly, when your design makes it into manufacturing, you’ll be able to make sure your manufacturers are using the most up-to-date and highest quality information possible.

The second reason is that along your journey to this point you probably leaned heavily on a community of designers, reuse blocks, shared libraries, and reference designs. Sharing your design will allow those aspiring hardware engineers to learn from your work, build on top of your accomplishments, cover the same ground you have (faster!) and maybe even provide you with feedback and improvements.

Once your design is shared, you can promote it to be used as a building block in other hardware engineer’s designs, you can begin soliciting feedback for how you can improve it in the next version, and you will likely be seen as an expert at the type of hardware your design is build around.

If you’re design is intended for mass-manufacturing you can move on to exporting it for those manufacturers, finding a way to fund the manufacturing or even pre-sell units using a service like Kickstarter.

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