A prototype is a model that demonstrates the features and functionality of a process, product or service to be carried in the future. The term is usually applied while describing some developing ideas and in contexts such as, software programming, design, semantics, and electronics. In the time period of prototype manufacturing, although the engineers and manufacturers are trying to eliminate the differences between the prototypes and the real project, it has been challenging to produce replica machining projects due to issues in processing, materials and design fidelity. The best thing about the idea is that it saves on time and resources especially during rapid manufacturing.
Categories of Prototypes
Working prototype: The project demonstrates almost all the specifications and working of the intended product or service.
Proof-of-principle prototype: The model is used to verify some significant functions of the future design although it doesn’t demonstrate its overall specifications.
Visual prototype: The model represents exact dimensions and appearances but doesn’t concentrate on the functionality of the actual project. A preliminary type of the model is a form study which emphasizes the geometric specifications of the final project with a minimal concentration on texture, color and the final polishing of the machining projects.
Paper prototype: This is a presentation of a software product in a drawing or printed format. The prototypes are useful while conducting early tests on software design and while making important decisions about the models.
User experience prototype: The model demonstrates adequate details on functionality and appearances of the intended design making it a reference while conducting the user research.
Functional prototype: It demonstrates the actual functioning and appearances of the future project although it may consist of different techniques and scales.
Below are some of the prototype styles and progressions depending on your preferences.
- Laser cutting which involves cutting the material correctly alongside the designed paths.
- Tooling is the procedure to acquire components and machinery necessary for rapid manufacturing. Some of the tooling machines and type of equipment categories include; Dies, fixtures, cutters, molds, gauges, among others. Appropriate usage of the process has a high impact on quality, product lifecycle, and the pricing.
- Rapid prototyping is an incredible way of producing numerous models using fewer resources within a shortened period. The process is manageable by building significant parts of the prototypes using a 3D printing.
- Vacuum casting is another technique that uses polyurethanes and silicone molds to produce a small series of high-quality plastic parts.
- CNC machining is a manufacturing process where the computer programmed software dictates the machining project. For instance; when cutting, the desired cuts are scheduled and the necessary cutting tools described to carry out a task without any manual control.
- Mechanical design
- Electronics development
- Fabric prototype is a concept development that involves sketching on the initial idea concept and then decides on the perfect fabric to use. The process then followed by drawing the sketches to determine the specifications and dimensions of the structure which are subject to changes.
How To Make A Prototype
- Research on the competitors’ products
Reach for similar products, align them and decide on what to incorporate or eliminate to modify it keeping in mind time and resource management. Remember it’s illegal to duplicate another person’s idea.
- Transfer your idea in a piece of paper. That will give you the lead on your expectations. Focus more on the project functionality and appearance.
- Obtain a CAD format of your project. The CAD creates the most detailed and clear idea of your design. If you are not informed on the form, consult a professional. Remember to check their previous projects before entrusting them on your sketch.
- Afterward, to minimize the production, you can create your first handmade design using available materials at home. The demonstration should be presentable in a way that you can convince the investors on your idea. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
- You can use computer software to turn your idea to 3D. To save on the production cost, you can buy user interfaces using dribble and freebies bug programs to help you create a digital prototype by yourself. Skala Preview can help you observe the changes as you modify your model.
- To build prototype, visit com, an affordable prototype maker, get a free quote to satisfy your demand.
- While approaching professional individuals or companies, remember to review their past projects and sign a non-disclosure agreement before assigning them your project for protection purposes.
- Prototype machining is an expensive process, and that’s why it’s advisable to seek some funding from investors, friends, and relative for rapid industrialization.
- Practice rapid manufacturing to ensure that you produce whatever you can afford to avoid getting stuck with rapid manufacturing. As you convince potential investors to remember to improve your prototype since the more presentable it looks, the more it convinces.
Before a product transits from design to manufacturing, it’s necessary to conduct a simple pilot project to familiarize yourself with the process, size and appearance of the intended design. The process is also essential for resource allocations together with identifying the manufacturing and design gaps. Below are other benefits of prototype manufacturing.
Saves Time And Resources
Completing a new project demands a generous input on time and money. The project might be challenging if you had inadequate resources. Giving a try on prototype manufacturing will quickly enlighten you on the product validity at a reduced budget than the actual project.
Finalize Comprehensive Assessments
The importance of the evaluation is determining the validity of the process, highlighting essential modifications in the transition of the project to a more extensive scale. If conducted appropriately, it may save your company money, time, and resources.
Enhance Market Testing
If you are confused about how the consumers will receive a new product, rapid prototyping can offer an insight where you can order a small production for market testing via the below ways;
Investing in small-scale production to rate how the consumers receive the product before starting on large scale production.
You can also send an organized team of researchers and marketers with the prototype to test. Honest feedbacks should guide the activity. Remember, the reactions from the consumers enable you to modify the final product to match the consumer tastes.
A variety of materials are successfully used on production. Prototype manufacturing may help you identify perfect materials to implement a particular project. The procedure is manageable by using each material to produce a test prototype. Afterward, the pilot products may be presented to a team of expatriates’ with the aim of identifying the preferred material and the areas demanding specific changes. The best part about the process is that even in the absence of experts, your team of designers and developers can compare the made prototypes and conclude on the perfect material for such a project.
A display of a prototype can easily convince decision makers towards a particular idea better than a mere sideshow. The model presentation demonstrates the right idea giving the experts valid answers on how to carry the proposed project.
It’s evident that producing prototype before implementing the actual project is a genius idea since it saves time and resources, especially during rapid manufacturing. Secondly, technology has a lot to offer on prototype manufacturing since there is no need for manual operation while manufacturing machining projects.