If you’ve set out on a mission to invent and engineer an innovative new electrical component or piece of hardware, you might be concerned about the amount of research and effort that’s going to be involved. Understandably, most would-be inventors and engineers are deterred by the sheer complexity of the field and the significant risks that come with the possibility of designing a flawed or faulty device or component. Fortunately, the following steps can drastically simplify the process:
1. Create a Bill of Materials
A Bill of Materials, also referred to as a BOM, is a document that contains all of the specs, pricing information, quantity, and other important features of every individual piece that you’ll need to purchase in order to facilitate the construction of your first round of prototypes. The easiest way for a novice to start creating extensive and professional-looking BOM files would be to use the BOM tool by Octopart – a convenient interface where you can open, edit, and save BOM files with ease. Using a BOM file to keep track of your Bill of Materials will provide numerous compatibility and convenience related benefits over the conventional alternative of creating a basic spreadsheet or itemized list.
2. Seek Guidance from Consultants and Freelancers
If you’ve never engineered an electrical device before and you’re not confident in your abilities yet, it would be wise to have a freelancer or consultant on standby. That way, you can quickly gain access to useful advice and assistance when you run into a problem that seems to be beyond your current skill level. Having an experienced expert in your corner is also an easy way to learn directly from a pro on a bespoke basis throughout the project.
3. Use an Online Design Tool
If you’ve been planning on using traditional computer-aided design (CAD) software to facilitate the digital development phase, consider looking into some of the newer online interfaces that are geared towards circuit board design. Many of these online tools are much easier to use than the previous generation of offline tools and they’re usually updated more frequently as well.
4. Build a Testing Workstation
If you’re really serious about creating the best component or device possible, you should start by converting your garage or another area of your home into a designated electrician workshop. This will be a place where you can tinker with ideas and concepts without hindrance using an extensive kit of tools and surplus materials.
Invest in Your Education
Ultimately, if you still feel absolutely lost and clueless about where to start even after reading the suggestions given above, it may be best to start with a few courses in product design and electrical engineering. There are many educational paths available online that can be completed in a matter of weeks or months instead of the 2-8 years that it takes to complete most degree programs. Plus, these remote learning opportunities will also provide you with a certificate of completion that can serve as an extra boost to your resume.