Industrial design

Industrial and Mechanical Designers

Industrial vs Mechanical designer


It is a common subject to get the difference between Industrial and Mechanical designers regarding their tasks. Therefore, many people are confused about it. Although this struggle, there are a few differences between these two jobs. And I will state to you in this article my point of view about it according to my personal experiences.

The similitude of the two designers

Firstly, both disciplines are very important in the industry. And it is common knowledge that a person who is good at Industrial design will not force to be good at Mechanical design. And vice versa. However, an Industrial designer should have knowledge of Mechanical design. And vice versa. Hence, the two skills are complementary.

Secondly, the tools and software that both skills need are almost the same. Designers need Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software such as Solidworks, Catia, Autodesk Inventor, Fusion360, Onshape, PTC Creo, Siemenx Nx, …etc. to do their tasks with computers and to deliver a very good design. There is some free CAD software that fresh designers and students can use. Even though designers have computers to do design nowadays, it is very important to remember to design by hand using all hand tools like pencils, pens, ink pens, squares, protractors, circle drawing compass, …etc. Hand drawing is one of the basic knowledge, and it might help in solving some issues.

Moreover, both designers can use Other 3D software to develop a product, and for motion study. Software like Sketchup, Blender3D, 3ds max, Cinema 4D, Zbrush …etc.

The contrast between Industrial and Mechanical designers

These are specific tasks between Industrial and Mechanical designers. The main thing between both skills are:

Mechanical designers focus more on the mechanism whereas Industrial designers focus more on the industry.

What does it mean?

When mechanical engineers do a design job, they will think mainly about the mechanism. So design reflects more on the mechanical aspect. They always think about how it really works mechanically. Designs are based more on calculation, and some analysis. Mechanical designers provide high details drawing. Besides, they should be able to explain the mechanism of the system. Therefore, mechanical designer design and develop something moveable such as machine design, engine, and automotive…etc.

On the other hand, Industrial engineers think already about the industry when they have or receive some design project. they already think about how can they produce it and how efficiently are design they do. They think more about the aesthetic of the product and the use of the product. Hence design they do tends to thes matter. Industrial designer design and develop something non-moveable like furniture, appliances, …etc.


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Get started with FreeCAD

FreeCAD is one open-source software most use. Many of these posts are very useful, especially in some specific areas. One of the useful posts and help can be found on the FreeCad wiki. So let’s get started in using FreeCAD.

  • Get started with the FreeCAD interface

Basically, you can see all of the menus on the top of the software. In the menu, there is everything. Also, you can see the most common shortcut like a new project, save button,… etc. just under the menu.Interface of FreeCAD

One of the main things to remember when working with FreeCAD is the existence of Workbenches. In workbenches, you will see all tools you will use. In this guide, we will focus only on 3 workbenches including Sketcher, Part, and Part design. The workbench selector is here.Workbench list with freecad

  • Sketch with FreeCAD

When using CAD design, especially 3D CAD, Design should start with Sketch. The sketch will be designed in the 2D plan. To get access to sketch, go to Workbenches/Sketcher.

So how does the Sketcher workbench look likes?Sketcher interface with Freecad

In the Sketcher, you can see all basic geometry shapes including lines, arc, circles, rectangle, polygon, …etc. In addition, there is also the adjuster in the sketch workbench.

One most important of CAD software is the use of dimension and geometry relation. So Always use this command when doing designing.

Sketcher also has a pattern and mirror in each function.

So basically the process of using sketcher workbench are:

  1. First, choose the plane to sketch
  2. Create your 2D sketch
  3. Make sure to create one closed design and full defined
  4. Then exit (close)
  • Part design with FreeCAD

Part design is used to generate the 3D from 2D.

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