Prototype a product

Prototyping is an iterative process – most inventors spend too much too quickly and take steps that are too large

Affordable prototype drawingAffordable prototype drawing

To bring an “idea” to market, you need to:

  • prove and communicate the concept
  • attract funders
  • respond to market feedback
  • industrialise the product
  • scale up manufacturing

Don’t out run yourself. Development of your product must suit the phase you’re in.

Phase 1 – Proof of concept (Functional Prototype)

The first step is simply to prove the concept. Build a “functional prototype”.

A crude “rough and dirty” model should do the trick, using tools and materials lying around your house. It need not look pretty. Your goal is to answer questions relating to “technical risk”.

Phase 2 – Attract funding (Funding Prototype)

To attract funding, your product must look sexy. But, throttle your design spend at this stage – you will revisit design after receiving market feedback and again when turning to industrialisation.

So, add some design touches, but don’t worry too much about manufacturing limitations. All you are trying to do is build a sexy version of your product … cheaply. And 3D printers can build anything. We call this a “funding prototype”.

You have one shot at impressing funders. Your head must stand above the crowd. Most funding applicants present a black and white printed text document. Out-compete them with a killer pack of photo-realistic rendered drawings, a colour 3D plastic prototype and A1 poster.

The truth is that funders back people above products. Even if your product is not the best, your initiative (getting this far without funding) will make you infinitely more “fundable” than the rest of the field.

We offer an affordable Funding Prototyping Package specifically tailored for this purpose. For only R15,000 we will:

  • add sex-appeal to your product
  • create 3D CAD drawings
  • prepare a pack of photo-realistic rendered drawings, including a poster (A1)
  • grow a prototype in plastic


Affordable prototype drawingAffordable prototype drawing

If required, we could also create a photo-realistic video clip showing your product in use / being assembled.

Our team of engineers and industrial designer will gladly guide you through this critical phase.

Phases 3 – Respond to market feedback (Industrialised Prototype)

This stage is too often ignored by inventors. Grow a few prototypes and release them to the market for feedback and criticism. Then use that feedback to improve your product.

We can recommend industrial designers for this phase.

Tip: Before designing for manufacture, determine the optimal sales price for the product. This will translate into your maximum manufacturing cost. Ensure that your product is designed with this in mind.

Phases 4 and 5 – Industrialisation and scaling up manufacturing

It is important to select and start working with a manufacturer during the industrialisation phase. He is intimately aware of his machines’ limitations and knows what works best. Listen to his advice and adapt your design accordingly. It will save you costs down the line.

Tip: Your manufacturer and designer may not always agree on the changes to be made. So, become directly involved in the process to ensure that manufacturing costs and rejections are minimised.

Affordable prototype drawingAffordable prototype drawing

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