Wade Sun's 13 Rules of Invention Success - Part 2

American Inventor Show Contestant Wade Sun is the inventor of the Disc Eraser™. He has written an article for AmericanInventorSpot.com AmericanInventorSpot.com readers as a guest blogger. Yesterday, we published Part 1 of a 4 part series on his 13 Rules of Invention Success. Here is Part 2 of 4: * * * * * * I wanted to design a prototype with a sliding fixture that would safely enclose the scarifier and permit sliding across the CD surface. I also needed a baseplate that would securely hold the CD in a precise position relative to the slider. As an inventor, the easiest and quickest way to make a prototype is to use or modify existing parts. RULE #6 BE RESOURCEFUL. I came across a personal paper trimmer at Office Max and bought a few of them. 8Sample Invention for Invention Gallery Taking the slider out and disassembling it, I found out that I could stack 4 blades together inside the cutter after widening the hole with my Dremel tool. Behold, my first prototyped slider component! I went back and bought a few more replacement carriages for the blades. I wanted to create a simple baseplate with a sliding slot down the middle, that would hold the CD in position underneath. So I took the plastic rail from the paper trimmer, sawed it to a shorter length, and used clay to seal up the open end while sanding off the hinge tab on the other end so that it rests flat. 10RULE #7 KEEP YOUR FIRST PROTOTYPE SIMPLE. You are only testing the concept at this point. I created the outer “body” of the baseplate with clay. Nothing beautiful, it was a rough sculpt. Next, I placed a CD underneath this part, making sure the slot was in the proper position. I used a small disposeable aluminum tray to serve as the mold frame and mixed and poured the blue silicon mold compound over my parts. After a day of drying, I carefully cut out the part with my X-Acto knife and had my first silicon mold, which I trimmed smoother. Next I mixed the Quick Cast, 50% resin, 50% hardener, and poured it into the hollowed mold. It took half day to harden and I peeled it open, amazed at the detail of imprints. 1112 I sanded off the rough edges and surfaces, and some plastic remnants inside the middle slot, and snapped the slider into the slot. It fit, and I put a CD underneath the baseplate and tried to operate it. 1314 The scarification it made wasn’t perfect, the sliding action wasn’t as smooth as I hoped. Upon careful examination, I found that my molded rail wasn’t exactly flat. It kind of curved upwards at the ends. This is common when you mold a piece of plastic, sometimes it warps when it cures. Also, I poured a little too much inside the mold, which caused some bulging. I have to admit, it is fun to cast your own plastic part, so I did it a few more times, and made better baseplates. The important thing is that my baseplate proved that my idea, my concept, and the sliding mechanism works. If it didn’t, then I would have to figure out why, and if I should continue or not. It’s a quick and simple prototype that served a mechanical function; my invention is still far from being developed. My advice: take small steps in the beginning, because there is always a learning curve. This was my first time casting my own plastic, and I enjoyed the versatility of it. It came with simple instructions on how to duplicate an object, and I followed it. But could I use it to create new shapes and objects? Read on to see... Copyright 2006. SunZag Creative Products. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author. ****** Part 3 of Wade Sun's 4 part article on his 13 Rules of Invention Success will be posted here tomorrow. news weblog technology computers Wade Sun Disc Eraser inventions prototyping