Mechanical Design – Military/Defense Product

Prototyping, regulatory testing, and production units completed in ~ 1 month

Client – WMD Tech – a startup

Expertise Applied


WMD Tech approached SGW Designworks for product engineering assistance in developing a collapsing deployment system for field x-ray systems in hostile environments.

The collapsing frame design needed a fast turnaround, plus, low projected volume constrained the design to use primarily commercially available components and materials.


The team and client settled on a design that used an advanced locking hinge to provide the collapsibility required without compromising stability. The design also integrated a suction cup/pump mechanism to allow for fast, repeatable attachment to the x-ray panels. Sounds complicated, right? Three days later, the SGW team delivered the first physical prototypes to the client. The prototypes were machined out of aluminum directly from the 3D model, using a technique called computer numerical control (CNC), and were hand-assembled by the SGW team.

The client immediately took the prototypes to its military contact for review. The general concept was accepted with a number of minor design modifications. In the next five days, another full cycle of design iteration, prototyping, and design review was completed by the client and SGW. The first production run of forty completed units was ready for delivery three and a half weeks after the initiation of the development project.

Collapsing Frame Design
The MMX Mosaic Collapsing Frame Design

Results / Outcomes

  • Fast prototype and testing cycles met the client’s need for a quick turnaround
  • Due to its success, the project was featured in Eric Ries’s best-seller “The Lean Startup”


Three days after the project began, initial concepts and prototypes were ready for testing — with production units ready for shipping three weeks after that. This project, the MMX Mosaic Collapsing Frame Design, was profiled in “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries.

SGW realized that this was a winning model because feedback on design decisions was nearly instantaneous. The team used the same process to design and deliver eight products, serving a wide range of functions, in a twelve-month period. Half of those products are generating revenue today, and the rest are awaiting initial orders, all thanks to the power of working in small batches.

Product engineering and product prototype projects can be fairly involved. Some clients prefer to tackle the entire new product development process in a single step while others prefer to execute the project in stages or phases. A typical product development project includes initial conceptual design, rapid prototyping, design iteration and functional engineering, functional prototyping, design for manufacture, and manufacturing planning. Whether your business is well established or just entering its first year, SGW Designworks works to find a development solution that fits.

Learn more about SGW Designworks Product Engineering Services.

Hardware Developed Technologies Leveraged
Collapsing FrameSolidworks 3D CAD
Machined Aluminum and Brass PartsSolidworks Simulation FEA
Complete Functional Prototypes
Mechanical Locking System