Choosing to make a prototype to best present your invention to potential investors, buyers or even just to help you improve the way it’s designed, is usually a smart move.
The benefits of creating an invention prototype are numerous, and really the only reason most people choose to skip this step is the cost involved or fear of the unknown work ahead.
This page is meant to help you make sense of the process of making a prototype. It doesn't have to be hard, and it doesn't have to be expensive. There are essentially three ways to look at making a prototype:
Let’s look at each of these options and i will try and give you tips on how to go about it:
The market is full of product design companies, invention help agencies and individual professional product designers and prototype makers that offer their services to help you create a prototype.
While these companies will most probably offer a very professional result and help you not only design your product and possibly improve your original design idea, they come with a cost.
If you can afford hiring a professional product design professional and if this makes sense for your limited budget – than consider working with one.
This usually makes sense in occasions where your invention is fairly complicated or could benefit from the input of a professional designer and his expertise.
Some invention ideas, specifically highly technical ones, could really benefit from a dose of professional help.
If you believe future royalties and the potential from your invention are high and feasible, its often worth investing in professional services.
It’s always best to make a prototype once the product has already been patented or an application for a patent has been submitted.
If you find yourself doing so before that point, always make sure to get your contractor’s signature on a non disclosure agreement, which will keep the details of your invention confidential.
This advice should always be kept in mind, although when dealing with reputed professional companies whose bread and butter is creating invention prototypes, you should be relatively safe.
If you want the help of professional services and don’t think you can make a prototype on your own, but budget is limited and you don’t have much to spend, consider the following tactics:
If budget is really tight, or you feel you can do a decent enough job yourself – consider going at it alone.
This would be especially beneficial if your invention is relatively clear and easy to understand and doesn’t require intricate, sophisticated prototyping.
Consider crafting a prototype from readily available materials – recycled cartons, foam, craft materials etc.
you could also use speciality materials such as Shapelock – this material allows you to rapidly create mechanical prototypes by yourself.
The plastic like material melts in hot water and allows you to shape, reshape and reuse it to make the exact look you desire.
Once it has cooled down to room temperature it becomes hard to touch and strong to handle.
At around 25$ per pot its extremely affordable.
For the more adventurous prototype makers consider the makerbot .
This extremely cool company has developed a machine that prints 3 dimensional products.
This 3D printer, which costs around 1300$, allows you to create any 3-d computer design as an actual product.
You can either create your own 3D design using a free 3D modelling software such as these ones: Google SketchUp
Or hire a designer to design your prototype (again, you can look for freelance contractors on elance, or odesk. )
The bottom line is that there are many ways available to you, to help you make a prototype and you too can create your own, on a budget.