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. He received his
education at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. After, Steve worked as in-house
designer for Bang & Olufsen in Denmark. 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. Back in the
1980’s when evaluating options for his first personal computer, Steve found the market to be
saturated with many Windows-based machines that he felt lacked asthetics. 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 Altair Evolve. After a quick demo of Altair 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."
“My favorite feature of Altair Evolve is
its ability to work in very complex
surfaces and then quickly stitch
them together into solids.”
Steve McGugan Industrial Design
ALTAIR EVOLVE IN THE DESIGN PROCESS
With the great help and support Steve has received from the team, he now uses Altair Evolve
as his main 3D modeling tool and has become incredibly proficient in the software.
A recent project that Steve worked on involved a new building, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
which is currently in 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
Altair Evolve to create the wavy designs influenced by the building’s architecture. “In Altair 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 Altair 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 Altair Evolve,
its flexibility allowed me to model the very complex shapes on the top.”
The salt and pepper shaker set are currently being handmade in a polished stainless steel and
are being sold in shops 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.
Altair Evolve allowed me to create this complex geometry and make it very smooth.” Steve discussed
another benefit of using Altair 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 Altair 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.
Altair 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 Altair Evolve to help
communicate with the manufacturing team, he noted, “That is another benefit of Altair Evolve, I use
its files directly to send to the manufacturing team and talk with their software programs.”
Steve plans to continue to use Altair Evolve as his tool of choice when it comes to 3D modeling.
He mentioned that he just received another hearing aid project where he is looking forward
to the challenge of modeling the very small and complex shape.
Steve mentioned, “Altair Evolve is incredibly fun for me to use, many times I like to just play and see
what happens. Using the software, I find that many of my designs inspire other designs I create.
I look forward to continuing to use it in the future.”