Frequently Asked Questions . . . FAQFrequently Asked Questions @ Synthesis

As with most companies, our best customers are the ones that ask questions.  We love informed customers.  So, along with the Engineer’s Perspective, we also have answers to the following common questions.

In Engineering, the questions are often more specific, and some answers just spon more questions.  If that’s the case for you, please Contact Us, and let’s talk about your specific project.  We’re happy to help.

  • In context of what we do at Synthesis, Engineering Services are tasks, or consulting, or analysis related to technical topics; usually as a support for businesses with product design, development, failures, or manufacturing.  It can also include supply chain support, materials, and processes for production.

    Read more about Engineering Services on these pages:

  • This is a great question with several answers that depending on what you need.  Mostly, the answers are specific to your project, but here are some guides:

    Product Development:

    The single most constraining aspect of Product Development is cost.  However, the cost of Engineering is not usually the biggy.  It’s not cheap to develop, or to manufacture new things, so it’s really important to make good decisions and control cost.  That’s where Synthesis experience and knowledge come in to help.  Every new project is different, so we can’t guess at the cost for you, however, we can help you minimize project costs overall.  We have found dozens of ways that customers pay far too much, and in that alone, we can save money. We’ll help you think through the cost options and find ways to minimize this aspect of your new development.


    Again, it’s impossible to estimate a project without understanding it. That being said, spending money for consulting to streamline your hurdles and accelerate your project almost always puts you ahead in the long run.  And, for shorter projects, it certainly saves money over hiring full-time staff.  Here is a post about just that.

    How It Works:

    There are many ways to structure relationships, but these are the two most common:

    1. If the project is well defined from beginning to end, we can work on a Firm, Fixed Price.  We’ll agree on the services and a price, then work to that.
    2. If the project is nebulous — meaning the end is not well defined or the path to accomplish the goal is not well defined, then we usually work on a time and materials basis.
    3. More options are also available, but are specific to your situation.

    Please call us to discuss your project and we’ll be able to give you a much better idea on real numbers.

  • This is a term we use to describe the process of bringing ideas from first concept all the way into production.  Every new product started as an idea.  That new idea grew and morphed and expanded as it was developed into the final product you can buy at the store.

    This whole process is called The Product Development Process, and there is a lot to it, much more than most people realize.  It seems like it should be simple, but there are a lot of details that have to be worked out besides the design.

    Learn About It

    If this is a path you are on, we hope you are getting some good advice and possibly some skilled help.  Product development is something Synthesis has been doing for a long time.  Let us know if you want some help.

    Can You Show Some Examples?

    We have product development examples of our work all over the website, but some specific places to look are: The Slide Show, and the Case Studies area of the blog.

  • This is a fantastic position, and though every path from here is a little different depending your new product, the general directions are similar. Start by reading The Product Development Process and The Inventor’s Lab.  Then, for even more information, read Keep Your Startup Out Of The Sand.

  • First, we congratulate you. Harnessing creativity is not something everyone is able to do, so that’s awesome.

    Second, the need for a patent is driven by 2 main factors.  1, will you be selling or licensing the invention?  Or, 2, is it big enough and worth enough to justify spending quite a bit of money on acquiring the patent?  Oh, and I suppose, 3, do you have the money to do it?

    Patents can be a huge financial sink, and just because you get the patent does not mean no one will copy you.  Patents are only as good as your pockets are deep.  Yes, if someone does violate your patent, you have to go after them, and that can be very costly.

    Recommended Reading

    I recommend you read our 2 articles specifically about patents — this one first, then this one.

  • A patent is not the end of the discussion about new products or even competitive advantage.  We help customers deal with this situation a lot, and, we even have an article on the subject.  Read the complete answer.

  • Excellent question.  However, the answer is not as simple as the question.  It completely depends on the kind of prototype you need (fabric, steel, plastic, . . .), and what you want to do with it (functional prototype, show-n-tell, . . .).

    Often this question is asked by someone that wants a 3D print, but does not have a CAD model.  3D printing does require a 3D CAD model, and yes, we can help you with that.

    Other types of prototypes may or may not require CAD work.  Please give us a call and we’ll help you figure it out.

    Recommended Reading

    You can read a bunch more on the topic as part of the Product Development Process article in the section on Prototypes.  And, we are happy to help with specifics if you Contact Us.

  • We have both Pro/Engineer and SolidWorks in house.  That said, for most situations the actual software is not so important, since most CAD programs will read the common formats.  Give us a call if you have specific questions.

  • This is such a great question that we published a whole page just to answer that and similar questions.  The short answer:  It maximizes your capabilities with short-term, significant expertise.  Read the whole answer about Engineering Consulting.

  • At Synthesis, we provide value in several activities that are often labeled “Consulting Services”.  These range from phone consultations, to in-depth on-site studies; from solving problems, to failure analysis (Forensics), to design recommendations.  It may sound like a lot, but basically, “Consulting Services” are those where we use our knowledge, insight and creativity to reach your goals.

    Can You Show Some Examples?

    We have engineering consulting examples in many areas of the website, but some specific places to look are:  The Slide Show, the Engineering Consulting Services page, and the Case Studies area of the blog.

    Of course, the best way to find out if we can help is to call us.  Ask us the direct questions about your situation.

  • Actually, we have a bunch of tips about trailers — and about building all sorts of stuff.  The focus is Do-It-Yourself, but the Mechanics Post on Mechanical Elements is full of great ideas. is a DIY website for plans and such, supported as part of Synthesis.  Read the About page for more info.

More Questions?

We’re listening.  Drop us a line from the Contact Us page, then we’ll get back as quickly as practical.

Thank you for visiting.