Prototyping Your Invention Ideas Into Products
If you have an invention idea that you hope to bring to market, eventually it will need to be prototyped as an essential part of the product development process. A prototype is a model of the invention idea (or part of it) that allows the inventor to validate and “prove” their concept. The prototype will allow the inventor to test and refine its functionality, appearance and production methods.
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If you have an idea that you want to produce and sell in the marketplace, you will first need to create a prototype or sample of the product. It is a critical part of the whole product development process.
Creating one or more prototypes gives an inventor the opportunity to make sure that their product works as expected. It gives the inventor the chance to create the product and tweak it as necessary to make sure that it functions as it should and that the appearance, ingredients for manufacture and the methods for producing the product will all work as needed.
A prototype can mean many different things.
There are a wide range of different types of prototypes, from the simplest line drawing to virtually production ready products that could be sold in the marketplace.
Depending on the stage of development of your invention idea, you may need something simple or just a particular part of the product or the complete design for the product made so that people can see, test and use the product before it gets launched into the market.
One of the key aspects of prototyping our invention is that prototyping is often an iterative process, so your product may differ greatly from the first time it gets sampled to the final finished product. What you often have in mind in your head when you came up with the invention idea may differ greatly from the final form of the product. When you actually have to detail out all elements of your product and you actually can pay closer attention to how it looks, feels and works, the final item may be much better from the original concept you had in mind.
Need to make a sample or prototype of your idea or invention? Need tips on rapid prototyping? Here are some helpful articles:
- Part 1 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 1: Terminology
- Part 2 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 2: Prototyping Methods
- Part 3 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 3: Proof-of-Concept Prototypes
- Part 4 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 4: Production Prototypes
- Part 5 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 5: The Iterative Process
- Part 6 - Expert Tips For Invention Prototypes - Part 6: Making A Million Dollar Product
Other Helpful Resources from InventorSpot.com
Other Helpful Articles On Making Prototypes
Advice on Prototyping
Castle Island's Worldwide Guide to Prototyping - great overview of prototyping
Prototype Today - Helpful forum of rapid prototyping service providers and community
Society of Manufacturing Engineers - The Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community 's focus is on the technologies and processes that help conceive, test, improve and manufacture new products to bring them to market faster and most cost effectively. Their Technical Community Network connects people in the world of manufacturing to problem solvers and knowledge sources.
Industrial Arts Suppoy Co - Good resource for Woodworking Products, Pewter Castings, Rcoket Kits, etc.
Small Parts, Inc. - Industrial Supplies and Hardware Parts for Researchers and Developers
WoodWorker's Supply - Huge selection of woodworking tools, harware and supplies.
TechShop - Open Access Public Workshop in Menlo Park, California - join them and use their extensive resource of tools, machine and equipment by the day, month or year. Workshop for people who like to work with their hands with metals, plastics, wood and electronics but do not have access to a shop or equipment.