Top Prototyping Tips From the Mako Team
Know Your Prototypes Overall Function and Purpose
A common mistake that a lot of inventors or small business owners have is going into prototyping with the idea that they will build an exact copy of what their final product will look like. However, prototypes are meant to serve other important purposes rather than just a physical copy of their final product. It is important that the designer and inventor both understand what the purpose of going into making a prototype will be. While sometimes it may be to create a close replica to the final product, sometimes it’s best to start out with a couple of prototypes that test out the function of the product, the packaging, color, details, and design. Through our years of experience with Austin invention design services, we know that understanding the purpose of your prototype will not only help when testing your prototype’s purpose, but can point out design detail flaws, improvements, and make sure that both the engineer, designer, and inventor are all on the same page during the design process. Functional prototypes and visual prototypes all serve different purposes, therefore it’s important that you go into building your prototype with a clear direction about what you are looking to test out and see once the prototype is made.
Use the Right Materials and Techniques
When we use our Austin invention design services, we know that prototyping is a great opportunity to test out different materials – and wise the rise and popularity of 3D printing, making parts to be used in a prototype is easier than ever. However, be aware that many engineers or designers may convince the inventor to build their prototype with cheaper-grade and low-quality materials under the guise that a prototype is only for testing the product and not the final product itself. Although it is cost-effective to make a product with lower-grade quality materials, it is best to go until building your prototype with the right materials that you ideally would want your final product to be made of. The reason behind why using product grade materials is more beneficial to more cost-effective choice is that, as long as your budget permits, it is better to have a full prototype that is closest to your final product in order to test our how that material itself works with the functionality and purpose of your product. The material of your product is an extremely important aspect of building your product, and the way your product looks feels, and works, maybe hugely different varying across one material to another. Getting the most accurate representation of your product through using the material you plan on using for producing is the best way to make sure the material you want is the one that is best for your product overall.
Make A Prototype That Accurately Represents the Final Product
As discussed from the previous points, we believe it is important to make sure that every prototype made during your product journey should be made as accurately to the final product as possible. This does not mean that all aspects and design details need to be included in each prototype, but that the finish and structure of the prototype looks and functions as the final would. For example, if one were making a toy’s product made from plastic that would require mass production from a molding, the prototype can easily be made through 3D printing. However, rather than just 3D printing, the prototype in order to only show the function of the product, adding a high-gloss finish to the product can add a professional touch to the prototype making it look more like a finished product. Our Austin invention design services always recommend having a prototype that looks more like your finished product as a smart way to show investors or your audiences what is in store without presenting a prototype that may look too rough. It’s always important that you remember that that creative process for inventing a product involves multiple stages of prototyping, therefore having one prototype that may not be as presentable is fine, as long as you have one that is made to look exactly what the product will look like once made in production. Additionally, having a prototype made for this reason will make the process of sharing your ideas with manufacturers and producers easier.
If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at +1 (888) 806-6256 (MAKO) and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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