What method do you use to select a material or manufacturing process (or both) when you're designing something totally new? It's easy to stick with what you already know, but there are so many manufacturing processes and engineering materials out there it's often worth broadening the search. I once used the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES), which is a great piece of software. In simple terms, you enter your design paramaters and it gives you a load of options that you can screen & rank under chosen characteristics. I like this technique because it certainly opens up your eyes to other options you might never have considered. Apart from the benefit of previous experience, books or the internet, usually the favorite option for choosing materials/processes is to get on the phone to suppliers and ask for advice. Unfortunately, by doing this you risk designing things based on the dubious expertise of of a man called Dave at a local metal-basher, who might have done everything the same way for the last 30 years! I'm not saying that there's anything bad about consulting a supplier - there's many of really excellent ones who really know their stuff ...and many who've come up with ideas for me that have been real lifesavers! What I'm saying is that it can be a bit of a lottery, as you could get bad advice. I've added a poll so please select the method(s) you use to select to choose materials/processes. And of course discuss below!