Solidthinking Case Study: Steve McGugan Industrial Design

STEVE MCGUGAN is an award winning industrial designer based out of Denmark, with over 30 years of experience working in many different areas of product design.

During his employment at B&O, he designed the Form 2 headphones, which have become a classical icon after being on the market for over 25 years.

In 1988 Steve founded his own design studio and has worked for several clients from around the world and in many different industries.

Being an industrial designer by trade, aesthetics are extremely important to Steve.

However, after noticing Apple, as well as evaluating the computer’s user interface, Steve selected an Apple computer as his first.

Steve’s initial CAD-based platform of choice was a solid modeler which he used for many years, however, about 10 years ago, he determined it was no longer flexible enough to meet his demands.

While searching for a more flexible 3D-modeling software that would run on his Mac computer, a colleague of his suggested solidThinking Evolve.

After a quick demo of Evolve, Steve was immediately interested in the software, he noted, “When I first saw solidThinking, I figured this would be much better to meet my needs, I liked its combination of solid and surfacing controls and really liked the parametric capabilities that my older software did not have.”

In addition to the great tools and flexibility of solidThinking’s software, Steve noted how impressed he has been with solidThinking’s support and service.

“What has impressed me most with solidThinking is the people behind it. Everybody at solidThinking has been so helpful in assisting me to learn and understand the program. It has really helped my learning curve to go sky high. For example, in 2012, I was given the assignment to design a hearing aid, which are very small and notoriously difficult to model due to their odd shape. I was very pressed for time on this assignment and needed some help with where to start, so I contacted solidThinking’s support team who were able to quickly spend a couple of hours with me on a webinar to help me out.”

Solidthinking Evolve In The Design Process:

With the significant help and support Steve has received from the team, he now uses Evolve as his main 3D modeling tool and has become incredibly proficient in the software.

A recent project that Steve worked on was a new building, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg which is currently under construction.

For this project, Steve’s client tasked him with designing a set of salt and pepper shakers inspired by the architecture of the new building.

Steve noted “The building’s design is beautiful, it is very simple, minimalistic, and futuristic at the same time. The roof of the building has many wavy curves which is what inspired the design of the salt and pepper shaker set.” To design the salt and pepper shakers, Steve used the spline-curves tool in Evolve to create the wavy designs influenced by the building’s architecture. “In Evolve, this is very fun as the tool allows me to move and change these curves while I go,” noted Steve. “I enjoyed making this set in Evolve, the idea behind the design is, while separate, the products look like very modern salt and pepper shakers, but when together in their stand, they strongly resemble the building itself. There is no way I could have designed or created these without Evolve, its flexibility allowed me to model the very complex shapes on the top.”

The salt and pepper shakerThe salt and pepper shaker set are currently being handmade in a polished stainless steel and are being sold in Hamburg.

Steve hopes that once the building opens in 2017, the salt and pepper shakers are used inside the building at one of its many restaurants.

Another project that Steve recently worked on was for a door handle.

Steve noted “The geometry on the handle, especially for the transition on some of the curves is quite tricky and complex. Evolve allowed me to create this complex geometry and make it very smooth.” Steve discussed another benefit of using Evolve for this project, “For this handle and many other products I make, when I send a proposal to my client company, they take my files and they use them directly for the tooling. My process with this handle was to design it in Evolve, and then send the files to the client, which they sent directly to China for tooling and manufacturing.”

Steve also works on electronic components. Recently, Steve designed a very clean and modern looking Bluetooth stereo receiver for a client.

Steve noted, “This product is a very simple shape on the outside, but on the inside I had to make many adjustments due to changing requirements from the factory on where to place the circuit board, buttons, and LED lights. solidThinking Evolve’s construction history features allowed me to quickly adjust the design to meet these demands.” As with the door handle, Steve used the direct output from Evolve to help communicate with the manufacturing team, he noted, “That is another benefit of Evolve, I use its files directly to send to the manufacturing team and talk with their software programs.”


Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Assign a menu in the Left Menu options.
Assign a menu in the Right Menu options.