As an entrepreneur working on product development, you need to find ways to quickly and inexpensively prototype the items you’re working on. While prototyping is a mystery to some new entrepreneurs, it doesn’t have to be. Here are four prototyping methods you can use to make your vision a reality.
Buy A 3D Printer:
Arguably the best modern tool for prototyping simple parts is a 3D printer. These remarkable machines use plastic or resin materials to build up 3-dimensional objects from computer design files, allowing you to prototype virtually anything your mind can come up with. 3D printers are also great for rapid prototype turnaround since you can make several iterations of your product in quick succession. If you’re interested in in-house prototyping, a 3D printer is definitely a great option.
Hire A Prototyping Machine Shop:
If you need metal parts fabricated, your best option is usually to contract them out to a machine shop that will create a one-off prototype for you. Machine shops have the specialized tools needed to create high-precision metal parts. If possible, you should try to find a small, local machine shop that can do the work for you, since this will save you at least some turnaround time on shipping the finished prototype parts.
Use Resin Casting In-House:
Like 3D printing, casting parts from resin or polyurethane is a process that you can do in-house to save both time and money. You’ll need to find a reliable polyurethane casting material supplier and get a bit of experience under your belt before you can cast high-quality prototypes. Once you do, though, you’ll find that the wide variety of materials and the flexibility of casting make it an excellent method for creating basic product prototypes.
Find A Good PCB Manufacturer:
If the products you’re developing involve electronic circuits, you’ll need to find a manufacturer that can create printed circuit boards (PCBs) for your prototypes. While you can initially layout your circuits on a breadboard to make sure they work, you’ll need prototype PCBs when laying out the finished version of the product. Fortunately, finding a PCB manufacturer for prototyping serves a double purpose, since the same manufacturer can create the final circuit board design in bulk when it’s time to launch your finished product.
While the best prototyping methods for you will differ based on the type of product you’re developing and your budget, at least one of these four methods will be a good fit for most entrepreneurs. Once you select a method and learn how to use it, you can push your project ahead to the next stage of development.