221: Transitioning from a Prototype to Your First Manufacturing Run

221: How to Go from Prototype to First Manufacturing Run

April 11, 2024

With Keenan Wyrobek, Co-Founder & CTO of Zipline

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

221 How to Go from Prototype to First Manufacturing Run
221: How to Go from Prototype to First Manufacturing Run

With more than two decades of experience in manufacturing, Keenan Wyrobek stands as a highly knowledgeable figure in the industry. He is the Co-Founder and CTO of Zipline, an autonomous drone delivery enterprise boasting a workforce of 1,100 individuals that has secured funding in the hundreds of millions. Today, Keenan will divulge his extensive expertise salient to inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers. He will share how to best navigate the intricacies of the design for manufacturing phase, strategies for optimizing the product development and prototyping stages for seamless integration with manufacturing processes, and how to smoothly transition from finalizing your pre-production prototype to your first manufacturing run, thereby laying the groundwork for a triumphant launch.

Here are the key takeaways from the episode:

  • Ensure your product is well-designed and has been prototyped numerous times before going into the production stage.
  • Design for manufacturing is all about hitting optimizations and maximizing manufacturability for each individual component.
  • The final prototype/architectural design phase is what comes before and must be completed before commencing detailed manufacturing design.
  • Don’t change aspects of the product design once you have begun DFM, the design is done at that point!
  • Create at least more than 3 prototypes to make sure you have industriously iterated on everything that matters.
  • You are not done prototyping until you are perfectly happy with your design, and it perfectly aligns with your vision for your product.
  • Manufacturing design is the stage where you start working closely with your manufacturing vendors.
  • Make sure you have a strong manufacturing design package to provide your vendors with that includes the CAD files, 2D line drawings, 3D renderings with product use callouts, and the final prototype itself.
  • Product reliability is critical, so make sure you have a strong relationship with your manufacturing vendors!
  • Reliability is never as easy as you think.
  • Include the customer in the DFM process, as they will identify reliability issues you may have never identified.
  • Iterative development should be conducted between manufacturing runs to perfect your product.

Keenan Wyrobek Links:

LinkedIn | Zipline

The Product Startup Podcast Links:


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MAKO Design + Invent Links:


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Kevin Mako Links:

Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to the above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.