Ever wonder how the most successful entrepreneurs and companies do it, how they turn an idea in someone’s head into a profitable reality?
Obviously, there are many elements involved in creating a successful product. One of the most important, though, is prototyping. Prototyping allows you to create a high-quality, three-dimensional model of your concept. In many cases, you can make that model relatively quickly and cheaply, which means you can even test out a wide range of modifications as you go through the design process. There are several options for prototype creation, including CNC machining and 3D printing, and materials vary, such as CNC aluminum or CNC steel. It just depends on your needs.
Whether it’s an idea that’s been bouncing around your head for a while or an inspiration that only just came to you, the right prototyping service can turn it into a reality.
Prototyping Can Help You Refine Your Idea
How exactly can prototyping help you launch your product? First, it can be crucial in refining your idea. You may think you’ve come up with a new airplane part that will revolutionize the industry. Until you can actually hold that part in your hands, though, and test how well it works, there’s just no way to know for sure if you’re actually a genius. In fact, in most cases, the first design won’t be the one that makes you a million dollars. Instead, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board over and over to tinker with what you have until you get it just right. Prototyping allows you to product test each time you make an improvement.
In addition, prototyping can help you test out various materials for your product. Will your part work better if it’s made of steel? Or will plastic give you the ideal result? With prototyping, you can find the answers to these questions before you invest all that money in building a factory.
Prototyping Can Help you Sell Your Idea
Creating a new product is only half the battle in industry, though. To achieve big success, you also need to be able to sell that product. Luckily prototyping comes in useful here as well. After all, it’s one thing to describe your idea to your team or to sketch it out on paper for the engineer you’ve hired. It’s another thing entirely to put the physical object in their hands. When they can hold it, can see exactly how it’s supposed to work, your partners and your employees can buy into the same vision you have.
Equally as important, a working model of your product lets the rest of the world know just how serious your project really is. A prototype can be a great marketing tool. It can help you convince investors to sign on, convince distributors to pre-order, or convince the public to get excited.
Where Does a Prototyping Service Come In?
You could, of course, buy the machinery to create your prototype. Usually, though, it’s far more cost-effective to contact a good prototyping service, with top-of-the-line hardware to do the work for you. You simply create a three-dimensional image using CAD or other design software, and machine operators turn that image into a reality.
Most prototyping companies offer two primary kinds of prototypes.
- One of the oldest methods for producing prototypes is CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining. This process is subtractive: you begin with a block of material larger than the finished product, and a computer-programmed machine cuts away the block’s excess until you’re left with a piece made to your precise specifications. CNC milling can produce prototypes from a variety of different materials, including steel, plastic, and even wood. One of the most popular kinds of prototyping, however, involves custom machined aluminum parts because aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio and resists corrosion well.
- More recently, 3D printing has become a popular means of generating prototypes. In contrast to CNC, 3D printing is an additive process. One layer after another is added to create a final product based on a computer template.
Each process has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of 3D printing, for instance, is that the process can produce hollow objects, as well as sharp internal cavities. However, at present, CNC can work with stronger materials resulting in tougher, more durable prototypes.
When you’re ready to take that napkin drawing you did over drinks and actually design and develop a product, call a local prototyping service and ask how they can help make it happen.