So you have a great new idea and you’re still working out the details. Maybe you’re still in the “brainstorming” stage or the “drawing on a napkin” stage. If your design incorporates things like latches, locks, drawer slides, gasketing, or any component you won’t be fabricating yourself, you’ll want to consider those components early in the design process and not at the very end. One of the common pitfalls in designing products is overlooking these seemingly little things. If this happens, the designer is often left looking for what we call the “Houdini Latch”*. The Houdini Latch is one that’s never been made, or perhaps functions in a way that no latch* is designed to function and is simply not available. It doesn’t exist. What generally happens next is that the designer is forced to do one of two things: design a completely new latch, which is time-consuming and costly or make significant changes to the design of their product, which is also (you guessed it) time-consuming and costly. What’s the answer? Identify the hardware components you’ll need early in the design process. You’ll have the specifications and design requirements early, so you can adapt your product to make them work. Even if you have to adjust your original design, it’s easier to do it now than to make significant changes later. Don’t worry if there are no off-the-shelf products that fit perfectly. Hopefully, there’s time to work with your supplier or parts distributor to come up with a custom solution. Again, it’s better to do this early on, especially if you’ll have to consider longer lead times.