When working with a product developer, there are two types of programs you should be familiar with. While there are many options for each one, these two types of programs will help with communication between you and your developer.
The first one is one you probably don’t have unless you work with people in 3D often, the other is common, but I’ve run into clients who didn’t use or were unfamiliar with them as well, mostly old school small businesses.
You will need this for pretty much any physical product development anymore. While we might start out with sketches and PDFs, which you can make a 3D PDF too now, we quickly move into 3D now. Being able to view your developer’s 3D model from every angle, cross-sectioned, and hiding parts is essential to the review process.
Many mid to high-end CAD packages have viewers that work with their software. It is also sometimes a good idea to ask your developer about simple CAD packages that are free/cheap that can open CAD files for you to review. We use SolidWorks primarily, and eDrawings is its free viewer.
Most people think of getting files from the developer, but it’s really a two-way street. You will want to send your initial documents to your developer, as well as feedback and other information in an easy way.
Often these files are much larger than what an email can handle, so a file-sharing tool or service best meets these needs. There are many options here, far more than for the 3D viewers, so there is something for everyone.
Setting up a shared “folder” with your developer where all files go to will keep things easy and straightforward for both of you and avoid losing any emails with files that you can’t find anymore. For this, we use Google Drive and Dropbox primarily.
Talk with your developer, see what programs they use, and make sure everything is compatible. Good developers will set up file sharing through their preferred service, they pay for larger storage and more features than you would probably want to pay for.
These tools, in addition to all the other programs and services we all use on an average day, will ensure you and your developer are able to communicate effectively.
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