best way to learn the materials and processes !!!!

hi there all :slight_smile: , i am doing product design course in India. and i just wanted to know the best way to learn about materials and processes :exclamation: .

Industrial Design : Materials and Manufacturing
by Jim Lesko

I desperately need to read it myself!

i had engineering materials class. and lots of chemistry. boring to me. seemed insignificant to ID. now glad i had them. Materials changing so fast today that deeper understanding worth having. helps me keep up better. makes it more fun.

recommend you learn both ends. learn the product side (manufacturing processes) and same time learn science side (what atoms look like and how they bond). science can get boring by itself. but together they click. and seeing end result makes learning the science more interesting. and easier.

and learn by doing,

nothing beats designing…

If you are interested in a material, find a distributor and ask for samples. Get the data sheets, MSDS and any other information. If you want to know a process, find a manufacturer and see if they will let you tour the plant. If you have a current project, many vendors will open their doors for the chance to offer a quotation. It is still surprising to me how most vendors are so accessible.


I agree abou the learning by doing. I had a similar problem when I left college. I knew I had to continue teaching myself about this.

Several things I found helpful:

Collect design guides for as many processes as you can find. Many manufacturers and material suppliers have great design guides that you can use to education yourself.

Subscribe to some industry mags like Plastics News, Plastics Technology and Injection Molding Magazine. It may seem a bit dry at first, but you should get used to seeing all the technical terminology used so that you can become more familiar with it.

Collect samples. See if you can get vendors to send you “freebies” (there are a lot of them out there).

Look at the products you interact with in you life. I am forever turning products over and trying to figure out how they were made. You can really learn a tremendous amount from just looking at the details of a manufactured product. Look at the parting lines, how the part is assembled, what materials are used. Try to figure out why they made those decisions.

A lot of this is just common sense with a little bit of basic technical info.

Best of luck,


The Society of Manufacturing Engineers makes some great videos that show various manufacturing processes- they are a great source of info. if you can get your hands on them.

Hi warrenginn,
I agree with your point about using commonsense about products which we see day today! Recently, I started following this method but I was not sure of it’s success. Your thought have encouraged me to proceed to look and apply commonsense about the products around me!!! :sunglasses:

I think this website is useful (for plastics):

they have good info and animations like this:

hope it helps

Thanks a lot for you kind comments. Yeah, I have been collecting part samples for a while just to use for reference when designing my own parts. Details like joints, boss details, ribbing and and parting lines can be learned by applying the standard rules, but can also be picked up from other existing parts.

I have seen good ways - and bad ways - to impliment these details from existing parts. Plus, you can show clients these samples so that they understand what it will look like before you commit to that detail.

The only downside is that it can drive my wife nuts in the store when I’m flipping products upside down to check out how they’re molded and assembled… Oh well…

Warren is great for quick references to production processes

i found different sites for different materials like is a grat site for information about glass.

i was thinking that as materials and proceses knowledge is important for designers why not we (intrested) go about a site where info about one material is posted on a regular basis say daily or twice a weak or some intervel.

then instead of actually searching for the information we can learn about M&P at regular pace.

being in the design felid we have no gaurantee that we will be having time to browse daily for a limited time for a perticullar processes or material, if we can have a system like this then while checking mails we can learn a about a material or processes.

ID is about making lifes simpler, why not we make our learning simpler by doing something like this… and simplify the procesess of learning about Materials and processes a bit easy n systematic.

so everyone can get benifited by that…