Engineering and Product Design Books
We recently have had a few degree and A-level students ask us for recommendation on books to read to learn more about Engineering, Product Design Product Development. Here are Tom’s top ten:

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Design Stressing – Basic Strength Calculations for Structural Design. G. McIntosh.

A very charming book that is typewritten and with hand drawings. A great primer on calculating stress in a structures by the former chief designer at JCB and who worked with Colin Chapman at Lotus. It looks at the flow of stress through structures and welds and why structures fail and provides techniques for you to design and develop new structures quickly by hand before transferring to CAD and FEA.



The Measure of Man & Woman: Human Factors in Design. Henry Dreyfuss Associates

What size are people? How high should controls be? Is this access panel large enough? There are more accurate and up-to-date resources for this, but this book is easily accessible and contains enough data to be useful for the majority of our human factors work.



Presentation Techniques: A Guide to Drawing and Presenting Design Ideas. Dick Powel

An introduction to sketching and hand drawing by and Industrial Design legend. Despite all the advances in computers and software, the basic processes are still the same from perspective to colour and shade and the development of engaging layouts.



Writing for Engineers. Joan Van Emden & Lucinda Becker

If you have studied an Engineering Degree, you will have been taught how to solve problems and design magnificent products. However, that expertise may not have been passed on to your writing and ability to communicate. This book is specifically for Engineers to improve their writing for clear communication and persuasiveness with plenty of examples.



Making It – Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design. Chris Lefteri

It is worth reading everything that the brilliant Chris Lefteri writes. His books are crammed full of detailed photos and high level explanations of materials manufacturing techniques.



Universal Principles of Design. William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler

This book covers the core building blocks for design theory for a whole range of design activities and processes with detailed definitions, real life examples and case studies of their applications. From ancient principles like the Golden Ratio to Form Follows Function.



Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals. Rob Thompson

A mighty book that picks up where Chris Lefteri’s finish. How products and materials are formed, cut, joined and finished. For a product design to be successful you have to be able to make it, this book will help you design and develop for manufacture from the initial concepts. The descriptions are highly detailed and it is worth revisiting regularly.



Engineering Formulas. Kurt & Reiner Gieck

A tiny book containing every formula you have ever learnt and forgotten! Not a page turner but perfect for always having in your work bag.



The Plastics Handbook. Chris Lefteri

Plastics are diverse range of materials from the ubiquitous PET in single use water bottles to high performance and soft TPUs in sports equipment and Kevlar reinforcement in body armour. This book is a great introduction to understand the possibilities and consequences of designing with a very specialised and important family of materials.



Mechanical Engineering Design. Joseph Edward Shigley

A classic engineering design text book that thousands of students, including me buy in their first week of university and are still using it twenty years later. The fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering from stress analysis and strength to mechanical components such as gears, springs, gaskets and bearings.


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