The Mark 1 prototype could be any or a combination of the following: a plastic, textile, metal, wood, mechanical or electronics prototype. It may focus on proving one or both of the following: form or function. Typically, this prototype would not be a visual prototype
This type of prototype will largely be built from bespoke parts from the agreed CAD model. ‘Off the shelf’ parts will be used where appropriate. This type of prototype should have improved functionality over the Mark 1 prototype and will be similar in form and materials to the final product.
Prototype Improvements will often take the feedback from trialling the prototype and make some minor amends before further detailed design work is undertaken. This can be used to mitigate risk and refine areas of the new product idea using the current prototype.
Beyond the Mark 2 prototype, it can be necessary to complete further prototypes to finalise the design and the development of a product. Normally this is only the case with complex products such as pushchairs or electric golf trollies. However sometimes even small products will require further prototypes.
This type of prototype will largely be built from bespoke parts from the agreed CAD model. However ‘off the shelf’ parts will be used where appropriate and ideally these are the same components that will be bought in bulk for the final product. This type of prototype is not about appearance or even function necessarily
This type of prototype will largely be built from bespoke parts from the agreed CAD model. ‘Off the shelf’ parts will be used where appropriate and where they are true representations of the final product. This type of prototype is unlikely to function as intended but will be similar in form, and materials to the final product.
Prototypes are an essential stage in developing a product so that it is ready for presentation to the industry or properly prepared for manufacture. Prototyping can be very expensive and so it may well be prudent to establish commercial interest in your project before embarking on the prototyping process.
In most cases, product development work needs to be completed before a prototype can be built. This design stage will result in a 3D virtual (CAD) model that can be used to check basic form and function. This virtual model can be rendered to look like a real product and used to assess interest from companies and investors prior to prototyping, in some cases. More information on our product design process can be discovered here: Product Design Process
Using the CAD model, we can build a prototype using a variety of techniques depending on the requirements of the project and your budget.
This type of prototype is often used for plastic casings and small plastic products that are relatively simple. We have a fully equipped workshop for assembling plastic prototypes, spray painting and a 3D printer that can rapidly component parts in a range of materials.
Utilising our experience across a range of complex mechanical prototypes including use of: motors, valves, folding systems, pumps and cutting devices, we can create mechanical prototypes to prove the concept before refining into presentable prototypes that function effectively for testing the product with users before going into production.
In combination with our component suppliers with milling and welding capability, we have built various metal prototypes of frameworks for industrial products and also durable working component for small consumer goods.
We have worked in various woods on a range of size products from full-size furniture to smaller decorative items.
The first stage in building a textile prototype is concept development. This involves
sketching the initial concept and considering, on a basic level, what fabrics to use (hard or soft, heavy or light, etc.). This stage can also be used to determine whether anything of value can be added to the initial concept, a process that may result in the creation of textile mock-ups or proof-of-concept prototypes (prototypes that prove that a concept functions as intended).
The next stage involves drawing patterns in order to determine the scale and size of the pattern pieces or fabric components of the product. These pieces are provisional and may be subject to change later in the process. A second prototype can then be built, the creation of which will take into account further fabric choices and detailing such as stitching type and thread colour, webbing, fasteners, zips, buttons, and hook and loop attachments.
Any problems that are highlighted by the second prototype are solved in the development of a final or presentation prototype. At this stage, all aspects of the product are finalised, including pattern, shape, size, materials and colour. Trend websites may be consulted in order to select up and coming seasonal colours, if appropriate to the product. If custom prints are required, these are also designed at this stage. Finishing techniques such as piping and binding may be employed so that the presentation prototype approximates the final
product as closely as possible, and branding or logos may be developed for the same reason.
Once a presentation prototype has been completed a manufacturing specification can be produced, with which manufacturers will be able to produce samples of the final product. It is good practice to compare a number of different suppliers in order to source cost-effective manufacturing.
If you’re looking to develop a new product or re-design an existing range but lack the in-house capacity or expertise to make it a reality, get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements.