Product Prototyping for the Designers

All of the new products and inventions usually start off in the mind of designers, who then put them to paper in the form of illustrations or sketches. These sketches then go through various modifications and improvements before the product seems to be really ready for a trial.

I say trial because products do not just get made in bulk based on a few sketches and drawings. Almost any product which plays some kind of a functional role must always undergo tests and evaluations before being considered as fit for mass production.

In order to actually see, feel and test the designs sample products are made based on these drawings and sizes. These sample products initially made are known as Prototypes.

Product Prototyping forms a very important function in almost every industry dealing with material and products. Jewelry, Automobile, Office Stationery, Computers, Medical and almost all the other industries use and sell products which have been developed after several rounds of visual and functional tests and evaluations.

Not just in the case of new products or inventions, even minor design changes and modifications go through the phase of prototype development and testing.

Product Prototypes can be made of several materials and the choice of material being used depends on the tests and evaluations a prototype will pass through.

The processes used for producing a prototype ranges right from hand made and crafted prototypes to accurate prototypes created using Stereolithography (STL) or rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping has allowed quick and cheap production of accurate prototypes, which otherwise would require special toolings and moulds to be first developed at very expensive costs. Rapid prototyping on the other hand allows product prototypes and models to be created in minutes using 3D printing machines.

For a product prototype to be made by 3d printing, the product is first accurately modeled in 3D using popular CAD softwares, the data from which is passed to a connected 3D Printing machine for creating true representations of the designs. Technological advancements in this field have also allowed the printed 3D models to be made of various materials including many metals and alloys. With the designs already present in CAD format, further handling, modification and revisions in design are easy to implement and require less times as compared to re-creating the entire model.

Product prototype development technologies and speeds have increased a lot over the years and along with it has increased the ease with which prototypes can be developed and evaluated.

Product prototypes are also very useful in providing presentations and product demonstrations to customers and target clients in order to judge their feedback and receive suggestions for further improvements in the field. The presence of product prototypes instead of just computer generated slides and presentations adds an air of authenticity as well as allows for immediate feedback which is very crucial for product development purposes.

Companies and Designers from all across the globe rely on Product Prototypes to create a physical model of their ideas and designs. And why not? After all, their new and modified products development cost have been drastically brought down while the speed of product development has increased manifold due to Product Prototyping.

Related posts:

  1. Paper Prototyping
  2. Better Functional Designs by Paper Prototyping
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