Sometimes people confuse the term prototype designer for those working in Digital Product Design or UX Design. Here at FLYNN a Prototype Designer for the most part is someone testing design theory in the physical space, using Physical mock-ups and embodiments which allow the development and progressive evolution of a design.This is very useful in distinguishing any industrial design issues and forms part of the “Design Thinking” process. Testing the physical product can be useful if you need to demonstrate that the concept works. A simple proof-of-concept prototype would be sufficient to demonstrate the basic fundamentals of the design.
A more sophisticated model can strengthen your presentation, particularly if you need to show your product to investors, manufacturers etc. If you are looking for a third party to licence an idea, you need to convince them it works. That it is worth their investment in licensing as well as demonstrate that its a marketable, engaging product. If that is applicable. If you are licensing a technology or mechanism, then proof of concept engineering assemblies will often suffice, either way, it is far more persuasive than a simple patent application or sketch.
A proof-of-concept model is solely designed to showcase the technical workings of the design and the core functionality of the product as part of the “Design thinking” process. This type of model is not centred around the visual look or quality the product, however, many decades of engineering know-how will go into our proof of concept prototypes, which can demonstrate that a particular design fulfils its intended purpose and meets specified criteria consistent with “the solution”. End-use materials and aesthetic appeal will be considered further down the line.
A presentation model is a functioning, high fidelity embodiment that showcases the end use materials and finish as well as core functionality and mechanisms required to make the product work and the overall look and visual design. Presentation model making can be so convincing that some companies go into short-run manufacture using these techniques. Two-part reactive polyurethanes can be used to create materials in thin wall assemblies which are subsequently cast inside a vacuum. This takes place in silicone tooling. The end result sometimes can be indistinguishable from a finished product. Entrepreneurs may often use these with stakeholders or stage funding prior to manufacture.
Some companies actually launch products using these techniques, where short run manufacture fits the product end use, or alternatively “soft manufacture” before full production is ramped up. This prototype will usually consist of a mix of production grade materials mimicking design quality whilst making efforts to keep costs down. This model making strategy is a good way to show product viability before mass manufacturing takes place as part of the product design consultancy process.
As well as offering you a full range of prototyping technologies, working to the highest standards, as a front loaded expense development can be costly, In particular Physical model making can challenge a budget, part of our commitment to manage your investment in product development we look to reduce high-cost physical prototyping to a level that suits your development budget, as product designers we can use Virtual prototyping up to a point which can reduce expense.We find it works best for all parties, to develop costs for model making once a CAD Data and material specification exists, so we do not take wild estimates, instead offer you fixed costs, tailored to your budgets.
Our skilled craftspeople and engineers work meticulously to create the very best in prototyping from VAC and RIM Casting to FDM, SLA, SLS and Metal Sintering used in Aerospace, but there are different types of prototype depending on the aims. For example, The purpose of a visual prototype is to showcase the form, dimensions and possibly colours of the design as well as to study things like ergonomics, look feel, weight and balance. Mostly a visual mock-up or sketch model is created early on in the concept development phase of the product design cycle. As it is not intended to be functional at this stage but can often act as a proof of concept.
You have spotted a gap in the market, or considered an existing product and think you have a new and improved way to solve a specific problem, you are potentially a start up company or an entrepreneur looking to develop a range of products and wanting to get the process underway. Often clients come to us asking “How do i get my prototype product made? ” many with no knowledge of the prototyping process or how to get a physical product prototype made. We're here to help!