The Engineer's Perspective

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Learning Creo? – Start With The Paradigms

If pencil and paper design is like walking, then Sketchup is a bike, and Rhino a car.  Fusion 360 is cheap CAD akin to a railroad.  Solidworks is the quintessential Cessna Citation (that PTC wants to be), and

Creo: Awesome CAD Power, Mired In User Interface Woes

Creo, by PTC, is extremely capable CAD software, maybe the best.  Yet, PTC has wrapped this beautiful gem in a mire of mixed paradigms and inconsistency making it hard to learn and slow-er to use. 

Case Study:  ChatGPT vs. Experienced Advice

How well can available AI write a technical-ish article?  With all the Buzz lately about AI writing papers for students, that question keeps popping through my head.  I see AI written articles around on the web and I wonder just how complete

7 Reasons People Don't Use Bicycles For Transportation

The list of advantages and benefits for bikes are numerous.  Health, Emotion, Financial, and so much more.  Also, the many societal benefits.  Yet, in the United States, people overwhelmingly prefer the automobile or other powered forms of transportation. 

Buying A New Bike – Full Review – '22 Pivot 429 Trail

New bike?  Yup, good day!  Yet, both the path and result have things to think about.  From the perspective of an engineer who does work in the bicycle industry, this is a review of both the bike, a Pivot 429 Trail, and the journey.

Credit Card Transaction Identifiers

Please note the following identifier — SYN ENGRNG & ME PLANS — (and those similar) which may appear on your credit card statement if you have transactions with Synthesis  OR with  MechanicalElements.com  (our DIY feature for plans sales).

Does Your Company Bully Customers?

April 2022.  I have just re-done my annual coaching training for youth sports.  One of the topics is "Bullying" and I have a question.   Why do we work so hard to eliminate Bullying with youth, while allowing it — even making it policy to bully customers — in many businesses?

A Business Pep Talk - What CAN You Do?

As a customer, how many times have you run into "Can't"?  As in "Sorry, we can't do that."  It's a disastrous business paradigm, it happens all the time, but it is really easy to fix, and it creates sales instead of shutting them down.  It creates happy, loyal customers.  Here's the pep talk.

What Are We Learning In COVID?

With every adventure, it's a good idea to look at what we are learning, to manage our failures, then direct our future toward success.  Some say that's not so with things largely out of our control (like COVID), but there are always things to learn,

Case Study: Managing Conflicting Constraints

I'm looking for a good source of Unobtainium.  With the pandemic in full swing, it's really hard to find.  Yet, the demand keeps growing.  I've got a few customer projects that need it to solve conflicting constraints, so if you know

Case Study: Prototyping The Impossible

One of the coolest things in modern rapid prototyping is the ability to build the impossible.  Parts with complex features that we could only dream of previously are a reality -- even easy.  Best of all, the parts are functional, not just for show.

How Do You Deliver Quality?

The concepts around Quality are central to a lot in engineering.  We think about quality control in terms of delivering product that meets customer expectations.  In some industries that's considered in measurables

Another Bicycle Chainring Patent Award

Last month we received notice of yet another bicycle chainring patent award for previous design and engineering.  Of course these patents take a long time, usually years to process, and this one is no exception.

Why Do We Make Prototypes?

It seems like a lot of work and cost to build a prototype -- and perhaps a big unnecessary step.  Why not just do the design really well, then send it to production?  Why make prototypes?

Do You Have To Be Stupid To Protest?

I ask the question "Do You Have To Be Stupid To Protest?" because of the hypocrisy in protest with current events.  Though I totally agree with the roots of the cause, I fail to understand why protesters act contrary to success

Vultures in the Patent World

You've seen them -- industries that feed on the success or misfortune of others.  "Ambulance Chasers" are probably the most famous, but it's in the patent world as well.

New Utility Patent Award

We received word last month that the "Bicycle Carrier Maintenance Stand" patent is coming.  Great to see it now with a new utility patent award and recognition.

How Do You Solve Disputes?

I received a threatening letter the other day that made me laugh.  However, after the laughter died down I started to ponder how we as a society, and especially in business, solve disputes.  In this case it's a one-sided

Business Solutions Through Engineering Design

In how many ways can your company benefit from improvements by design?  It's not a rhetorical question.  Engineering design precipitates so many areas, and a design touch may well increase your profitability.  Maybe drastically!

A New Day, A New Year, A New Decade

In all that is new, some things remain the same.  2019 was another year of advancing technology - both globally and in the micro sphere here at Synthesis.  A decade of engineering.  So what will the next New Day / New Year / New Decade bring for you?

The Triangle of Achievable Engineering

You want High Performance!  Absolutely.  You want it Cheap!  Of course.  Only the best in Quality!  We agree.  Now let me show you this cool new material

A Best Business Strategy

How does your company protect against competitive threats?  What is your long-game business strategy?  How do you thwart market changes?

An Engineering Quote For Your Project

When thinking about your new project, one of the first things you want to know is:  How much will it cost?  And, how long it will take?  Those are the essence of an Engineering Quote, yet

Custom Built Machine - Set To Sail

Can we make it all fit?  That was the big question of the moment when that "little" shipping container arrived.  The truck driver was worried, yet trusting the CAD models, we fired up the forklift

Total Design
The Blend of Science, Function & Style

What is 'Total Design'?  I suppose many definitions exist, but we like to encapsulate the concept as the 'Elegant Solution'.  It involves more than just the look or the feel of a product.  It includes

How To: Success With Your Consulting Engineer

For some, there is anxiety in hiring a consulting engineer.  Others thrive with Consultants.  Still others, have been there, but the experience wasn't good - too much money without the desired result.  Is it the Consultant?  Or the Client?  Or . . . ??

Prototype Parts Arrive!!

I've been doing this for years, yet I still get excited when the new prototype parts arrive.  It doesn't matter if they are 3D Printing or CNC, or like these, MJF.

How To Find The Right Engineering Consultant

There are times you need additional insight with a project or problem.  If you have not sought out or worked with an Engineering Consultant before, the thought of finding the right one can be a little daunting.  After all, you will rely deeply

Outdoor Industry Summer Market

Took time this week to attend the Outdoor Industry Summer Market in Denver, Colorado.  Couldn't spend a lot of time, but did go for a day and was impressed (again) with the bits of innovation and evolution on display.

Video - Flashback To A Custom Machine Build

While visiting Provo Utah, we stopped to have dinner at Guru's, a small cafe in the center of town.  As we talked, I happened to look up at the ceiling, and noticed the "track" lighting.  The track they used is not for lighting at all, but instead, flex track they used to support the lights. 

Case Study: Custom Trailer Design

What does it take to create a custom trailer design?  And what does it cost?  These are some great questions, so let's look at a case study as an example.  This is a trailer design 

Are You Willing To Stop Gun Violence?

My heart aches for those touched by the terror of shooting violence - in any of our yesterdays.  I just can't wrap my mind around WHY.  Why do we, yes, You and I, accept and perhaps even encourage

Prototypes: 3D Printing or Machining

We love the expansion of technology in rapid prototyping (like 3D Printing) with new materials almost daily.  While technology is ever improving, the boundaries for choosing the best

A Reason To Love OR Hate - SolidWorks OR Creo

If you read our other posts discussing SolidWorks or Creo, then you know we use, and value both.  Of course, in the CAD industry there is a constant bit of bantering

Clever Kitchen Engineering And Design Enhance Efficiency And Functionality

Commercial kitchens such as those found in restaurants are amongst the highest consumers of energy.  They use a yearly average of 38 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 111 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot (ft2). 

Design Review - The Power Of Mingling Minds

What happened at your last design review?  Think about it, was it valuable?  Maybe more than you think . . .

The Practical Side of Engineering

Numbers are exact, and engineering is full of numbers.  The world, on the other hand is imprecise and full of all sorts of anomalies.  Where does that leave engineering?

Pros and Cons: Foreign Manufacturing or Domestic?

It's a dilemma:  Should you get the widget made offshore?  Or at Home?  There are a lot of interrelated and complex parts to answering this question,

Bike Rack Innovation

A Quick Service Addition For Customer Convenience For those who transport bicycles a lot, having a great bike rack for your vehicle is a must.  Another good thing is a service stand that allows simple maintenance for the bike when you get there. 

Case Study: Suspension Engineering with Twin Torsion Axles - Part 2

This is the second part of our Case Study combining Tandem Torsion Axles with a Walking Beam for smaller trailers.  In this post we'll get into strength

Case Study: Torsion Axle Walking Beam Suspension

The Walking Beam Suspension is not new, nor are Torsion Axles.  They both have unique advantages and cool benefits, so what about putting them together?  . . .  For smallish trailers?  Oh, but there are some interesting design challenges.

Have You Ever Asked: "What Bonehead Designed This?"

OK, be honest.  It's rude, but really . . . How many times have you asked this, or a similar question?  Did you find a customer use case that the designers didn't think about?

How Do You Know Who To Believe?

I visited a link on YouTube the other day, and on completion, it gave a "next up" that caught my attention.  The title is "Torsion vs Leaf Spring Suspension ...".  Since I engineer trailers with both

A 'Next' Generation Of Engineers

Very honored to participate with a group of eighth grade science students practicing the engineering and design process with their "Dream Invention" projects.  Training, if you will, the next generation of engineers.  What a great way to learn by doing. The science teachers at Holmes Middle School in Colorado Springs are putting creativity and forward […]

Inventions That Didn't Happen

The USPTO (United States Patent Office) is full of patents for inventions that did not launch.  At Synthesis we've seen some amazing ideas that have not materialized in the marketplace.  Why?

A Bike Invention – Variation On A Theme

Recycling is sometimes called a "Best Friend of the Planet".  Does that include recycling bike invention ideas too?

Creo (Pro/Engineer) vs. SolidWorks - More Fuel in the Debate

Which is better?  (Pro/E) Creo vs SolidWorks?  That debate has raged for years, and here is some more fuel to the fire. 

Full Moon Rendezvous - Mountain Bike Race After Dark

Get yourself ready for one of the best Mountain Bike Race events ever.  Yes, ever!  Is that too bold?  These courses are the best yet.

Is Terrible Customer Service Ever OK?

Every book I've read about succeeding in business talks about the customer experience -- from first inquiries, through the sales process and on to resolving issues. 

Bicycle Industry Innovation

I've heard it said there are more patents for bicycle related inventions than for any other industry.  Is that true?  If it is, then what drives bicycle industry innovation?

3D Printing & Prototypes

Just print it!  That's been a dream of engineers and inventors for ages and now 3D printing prototypes are common.  But are they worth it? 

Go Code Colorado 2018

Go Code Colorado 2018 challenge weekend happens again with some fantastic ideas highlighting the really creative people and concepts. 

Artistic 3D CAD - Design Patent

Artistic expression in 3D CAD -- it's art with a purpose -- and, in this case recognition with a design patent.  This one is more than just a design,

New Bicycle Derailleur Patent

Word just in, a new Bicycle Derailleur Patent issue (March 20, 2018) for work we did a few years ago.  One of two passed this week through the patent office and added

Review: Video Studio 2018 / Video Studio X10

There are a ton of Video editing software packages around.  Recently we decided to take a step up, and chose Corel Video Studio 2018.  It's a recent release, and there are some good reviews online, so why not?

Solve Violence with Common Sense Security

In the wake of the horrific and violent incidents in Florida as well as the uptick in threats of violence following, like many of you, we are also pondering questions of "What can be done?"

3D CAD System Interaction

As part of an experimental project, we combine 3D CAD System files of Pro/Engineer with SolidWorks.  The project is an experiment with concept applications in trailer design, and since

Video - Does Your Trailer Tow Stable?

You have probably seen them, trailers that just don't tow very stable.  Sometimes it's a little scary following one down the road.  Even worse if it happens to be your trailer! Here is a quick video captured along the highway

Case Study: The Design Department

In certain industries, a company's design department is a key to keeping customers interested.  It's the new products coming out periodically that bring excitement to what's next. 

What Industry(s) Do You Serve?

From our FAQ with a little more detail:  While we do have a few favorite industries, we cover a broad spectrum and love expanding.  We serve in the

FAQ - Will You Trade Engineering For Equity?

Many new inventors (and some small companies) have approached us with questions about trading Engineering Services for part ownership in their company.  We believe that  

Pushing Boundaries - Rapid Prototyping Foam

Rapid prototyping is awesome -- especially when we get the chance to push the envelope a little.

Can You Become More Creative?

So much is written about Creative People and even more about the Creative Process.  Obviously in design engineering, Innovative Thinking (Creativity) is absolutely essential.  So how do you become creative?

Engineering Services - Design Innovation

If  DESIGN  is "the art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan . . ." * And,  INNOVATION  is "something new or different . . . ;  the introduction of new things or methods." * Then together,  Design Innovation  describes the Synthesis Approach. What is the Value of Innovation? Over the last half century, there is […]

The SEO Fallacy & 5 Reasons to Skip It

How many times have you thought . . . "I have just GOT to get my site to rank better on Google!  But How?"  There is so much conflicting info about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Metrics Of SEO

Do you work on SEO for your website?  If so, What are your SEO Metrics?  How do you measure progress? The almost universal answer for measurement is:  Traffic.  Website visitor traffic.  In other words, More Traffic = Success?  While that's a nice thought, it is also misleading.

Video - Building Synthesis

Just a little fun with a video explanation of  Who We Are.  The animation with SyBots and building Synthesis is our way of saying "We love to Create, and to Build!"  It's in our DNA, and it really is who we are.

The 'New' of Solidworks 2018

We're hitting the Solidworks season where all the preview things we've been hearing about finally hit the desk where we can drive them.  I love going to the big demo events where

Engineering Services - Custom Machines

Machines are all about making life simpler and easier.  They help us do a lot things that we couldn't otherwise accomplish, and there is no place that is more true than in the Service, the Production and the Manufacturing environments. So many times a simple Machine, a Jig, or a Fixture has saved the day […]

What Is Engineering Consulting?

Sometimes you just need another set of eyes.  Sometimes it feels like you're just too close to the trees.  And, sometimes an outside perspective is just what you need to see things not yet noticed. This is where an Engineering Consultant is very handy.  It's a perfect situation to hire a significant depth of experience […]

Engineering Services - Product Development

"We need a new ______!" "I've got this great idea!" "What if we made ______?" "Customers are asking for ______" . . . just a few statements that start the process to develop a new product for market.   Do any of these sound familiar? The concept of a new product starts with a need. 

Wrap Up - Better Safety for Bicycle Helmets

As a follow-up on bicycle helmets and safety after talking with several manufacturers at Interbike 2017, here are a few highlights of what I saw and learned.

Part 2: Technology For Bicycle Helmet Safety

I need a new bicycle helmet, and my wife says "Buy whatever protects you best".  That's a nice sentiment, but how do I choose? 

What is the "Safest" Bicycle Helmet?

It doesn't seem to matter how experienced you are as a cyclist, at some point, you'll likely end up on the ground.  But will you get hurt?

Case Study: Tiny House Trailer Design

A good foundation is important in any venture, and so true for a Tiny House Trailer!  Yes, for a Tiny House on wheels, the trailer IS the foundation - both literally and figuratively.  What is more important to a house than a solid foundation?

When Popular Opinion Overshadows Cognitive Thinking
- Bicycle Tire Pressure

"Oh Man!  I got these babies down to 20 PSI - they're gonna hookup today."  Then, a few hours later "Hello, bike shop? Can you repair . . . carbon rims?"

Concepts From Natural Manufacturing

When I think about manufacturing and particularly mass production I'm usually sitting in an office or conference room discussing details of concept contraptions and machines

My Competitor Has A New Patent . . .

Your competitor just released a new product that has your customers talking.  Yeah, it's pretty cool, and also scary -- particularly when they have a new patent.  Now what can you do?

Fueling the Entrepreneurial Community

Are you part of the movement?  It's not about the Coffee.  "1 Million Cups" is much more than Caffeine or Networking.  For us, it's about

What Do You Think Of SolidWorks?

I've asked the question about SolidWorks many times, and the answers are polar.  People love it, or they dislike it.  There is not much gray area.  Why?

Optimizing The Design Process

The Quest:  From concept, through the design process, and on to production in the shortest time with the least cash.  What's possible?

What is the Cost Of Change?

Sure, we can change that.  No problem.  Engineering Change Request(s) are common through development (and often well beyond), but what is the REAL cost? 

New Updates To Our Most Popular Articles

With the world progressing more to mobile devises and mobile access to information everywhere, Synthesis has been updating our older -- still very popular engineering article (s) -- making them current and mobile-friendly.

Where Does The Customer Fit In Quality Control?

How many times have you, as a customer, felt like a Quality Control Guinea Pig when you've purchased a product?

Treasures From The Design Sprint

Intensity.  That's what it takes sometimes to find needed answers in short order.  Planning helps too.  Those concepts describe the past two weekends at Synthesis

CNC Machine Parts To Take The Heat

There are dozens of great ways to make prototype parts.  3D printing in many variations (in many materials) are all the rage these days

Go Code Colorado Challenge Weekend 2017

The State of Colorado puts on a pretty interesting challenge each year called Go Code Colorado.  It's a series of events which bring awareness to using public data for the public good.

Another Design Patent Issued This Week

It's always fun to see another patent issue.  This one, a design patent, for another license plate frame published on March 7, 2017.

Case Study: Engineering Design Consulting

From the start, as thoughts form around new design concepts, a trajectory begins to emerge.  The starting thoughts in design are often the most critical because they influence results

Levers To Boost Your Bottom Line

Success in business is most often measured in dollars.  Even with all the great things business owners do outside of making dollars – like providing employment, helping social causes, building community – none of it would be possible without a positive bottom line.

Synthesis DIY Plans Sold At Mechanical Elements

The DIY Plans section on Synthesis that was called "By The Way" has now found its new home at MechanicalElements.com.

Chalk One Up For Tested Engineering Design

When it comes to engineering, sometimes the mind just never turns off.  Even problems around the house, in Do-It-Yourself mode,

A Patent In The Press

Have you ever pulled up a favorite website and found your name in an article?

The Engineering of Traction

It's winter again, and with winter in Colorado comes snow.  Amazing, beautiful, slippery snow.  It's great for skiing, of course, but skiing is not what you want to do on the highway!  You need traction.

Case Study: Mechanical Forensic Analysis - What Went Wrong?

A few years ago, there was a terrible accident involving a single motorcycle traveling on the freeway.  The cause listed in the police report:  Engine & rear wheel lock-up.

Case Study:  FULL Service Engineering

Beginning as a startup in the Bicycle Industry, Synthesis helped this customer grow to World Cup Winning performance, Tour de France debuts, and many patents.  This is a story of Full Service Engineering.

Presentation From Startup Week

Startup Week is a fantastic event that happens each year in many cities -- including here in Colorado Springs.  This year (2016) Synthesis presented.  So, if you missed it, we have now posted the content as an article

Cycling, Engineering & "Thanks !!"

For the past 10 years Synthesis has served as the Engineering Department (and more) for WickWerks (Cycling Components).  Now we say "So Long, and Thanks!" 

The Performance Difference For Serious Cyclists

WickWërks Chainrings, by Synthesis.  The photo shows a collection of 42 tooth bicycle chainrings (aka sprockets or gears) designed specifically for Mountain Bikes & Cyclocross.  

The Flag They Said Would Not Fly

A flag - Well, a banner - No, a Course Feature.  A landmark?  OK, we're not sure sure what it is, but it was created by Synthesis for WickWerks as a promotional piece to be used at Bicycle Races like the US Open of Cyclocross and CrossVegas (during Interbike).

Safety On The Ski Slopes . . .

When we think of safety on the ski slopes, it's not usually tractors or bright, warm summer days that come to mind.

U.S. Patent No. 8,617,015

USA Patent No. 8,617,015 B2 Awarded A very long time in the process, this new USA Patent 8,617,015 titled "Bicycle Chain Rings" has finally issued, Dec, 2013.  It covers the fundamental elements of the bicycle chain front shifting technology used to make the "World's Fastest Shifting Chainrings"

New Patents Issued

Just received notice that 5 new design patents are official as of September 17, 2013.  These new patents cover the designs of several license plate frames with various artistic elements, and some complex CAD design.

Obstacle Race

Obstacle Race events like the "Muddy Buddy" and "Foam Fest" have become fun entertainment for many people wanting a different type of athletic challenge.  Indeed, if you've seen them, heard about them, or participated in them, they offer some amazing challenges

"Buy the Way" is Back On-Line!

The "Buy the Way" feature of Synthx.com is now Back On-Line!  This has always been a special section of our website for the Do-it-Yourself builder including plans for great projects.  The title which is a play on words - Buy the Way -

Cyclocross World Championships, 2013

In Louisville, KY at the Cyclocross World Championships, 2013, many of the top athletes were riding products that were designed, engineered and developed at Synthesis!

News Report Spotlight

News Report Spotlight on a Synthesis Customer and Prototype This is a very cool, non-lethal approach to protection from a vicious animal -- in particular, aggressive dogs.  The product design helps protect people providing services when surprised by an over protective animal.  The Stun Shield is for those reading meters, delivering packages, marking underground utilities, […]

Technical Article Revisions

Announcing new revisions and updates on two of our most popular articles -- including revisions in each chapter.  Thousands of people read these technical article features each year, which makes us happy.  Yet, things keep changing, so we need to keep the articles up to date.  Now these articles have updates with even more pictures […]

New Scope Levers Announced

Expanding their market to include ever more in the product range, 3 Gun Stuff is adding more scope levers for the shooting sportsman. — Levers of Synthesis design.

WickWerks at Sea Otter, 2012

To support our customer in presentation and promotion of their products (products designed at Synthesis), we spent several days at the Sea Otter Classic -- Laguna Seca near Monterey California at the

U.S. Patent No. 8,092,329

A long time in the works, this U.S. Patent for "Bicycle Chain Rings with Ramps" covers elements of the chainring shifting technology that we at Synthesis are working on for several years. 

Morphed Skulls

January 2012 – New Release A new license plate frame is now available from Cruiser Accessories.  The new design shown in the image below, Morphed Skulls, is also the subject of the US Design Patent #D656,872.  It is a combined design effort with Synthesis complex CAD which brings this new frame with the cool 3D […]

Video – Custom Machine Demonstration

Here are two videos showing a custom machine made by Synthesis.  The videos are a demonstration tour, SIM Demonstration.  The project started with conceptualization and design, but only of what we call the "heart" of the machine.  It then continued with fabrication and some initial testing.

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