Contrary to popular belief, prototyping doesn’t often begin with a final concept that’s ready to be fed into a Rapid Prototyping machine or 3D printer and “printed” in ABS plastic. Clients who come to PRG Prototyping don’t often walk in the door and say, “This 3D CAD drawing is ready to go.” So, it’s important for any inventor, entrepreneur, or start-up business owner to know that there is a process that a prototype follows from sketch to concept design to fabrication. It all begins with an idea, something drawn on a simple piece of paper, an amazing product idea that will fill a gap in consumer’s lives and take the market by storm. This is where most prototypes (as well as market-ready products) begin. But how does an inventor or entrepreneur get an idea off the page and into a 3D printer? With a little help from the Engineering Team at your full-service prototyping company (such as PRG Prototyping in Kansas). First step: concept design.
About Concept Design: A hastily-scribbled idea is just an idea until you can take it off the page and make something of it. Obviously, this statement rings true for many more aspects of life outside of the consumer products market, but we’ll stick to products, since that’s what we do at PRG. It’s fortunate that even a scribbled idea can easily become a professional concept design in little time. By utilizing a 3D CAD (computer-aided design) software application, a prototype engineer can take a drawing of a device, gadget, or gizmo and turn it into a fully-rendered 3D CAD drawing. The process for taking a scribbled drawing and turning it into a 3D computer file involves brainstorming ideas around the product, concept sketching, refining aspects of the product idea, re-sketching, 3D rendering, CAD creation, design creation for prototyping, design creation for manufacturing, virtual product renderings, product animations, and concept design reports. At this point, your product idea is beginning to take on a life of its own. It’s ready to move on to the prototyping phase of product development.
About Prototyping: A prototype can be created by use of plastic manufacturing (more common), or another form of manufacturing such as metal fabrication. With the advent of Rapid Prototyping and the availability of 3D printing technology, a prototype can be quickly moved from a concept design to a physical rendering that you can hold in your hand in a fraction of the time it would take to craft the same prototype by hand. A conceptual prototype (sometimes called a CP) is a prime example of this type of technology in use. A conceptual prototype uses 3D printing to create a durable, physical representation of your product concept (albeit limited in functionality). The conceptual prototype will be the first physical representation of your idea, but there may be many versions of your product prototype before it is ready to be put into manufacturing and sent to the market.
The Prototypes from Sketch to Concept Design to Fabrication article is just one of many resources designed to help inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses prepare to launch new products into the marketplace. PRG Prototyping specializes in designing and building new product prototypes – with a focus on concept design engineering, design for manufacturability, prototype development, production, and marketing presentations. PRG can also provide information on patent protection and intellectual property services.