Create your new prototype and test your design
Depending on the project scope, product, and your budget, we offer various options for prototype creations. Our team of experts will work with you and make suggestions based on which approach they think is best. Some prototyping methods we offer are:
Types of prototyping
There are many types of prototype including: sketches, homemade creations, functional prototypes, form prototypes and more. You can learn more about the subject in our blog about prototypes vs production.
In general, Idea to Life focuses on creating functional and display prototypes.
Functional prototypes test if a design functions properly and has a good user experience. It is an excellent way to create a proof-of-concept part before the design is manufactured in bulk.
Another common type of prototype is a display, or form, prototype. Display prototypes are created to have the same fit, finish, and form of the final product. This makes display prototypes fantastic marketing tools and can be used to garner attention from customers and investors about your new product.
Reasons to prototype
Prototyping is an exciting stage of the product development process. The process involves the creation of an accurate, physical scale model of your product.
Prototyping is an important step during product development as it allows you to test your design, show your idea to investors and make necessary changes if needed. Another great reason to prototype is to simply try out your product. It's common that insights about the product will occur once you have a real-life object in your hand.
Explaining our prototyping methods
At Idea to Life, we use all small scale manufacturing techniques to deliver a prototype that is functional and/or display worthy. Depending on your project and what you need out of the prototype, the method of prototyping we use may vary.
After the initial prototype is made, the design is generally iterated upon, improving on the design and manufacturing technique until they are ready for batch manufacturing.
Find out more about our prototyping methods below:
3D printing, a common form of additive manufacturing, is where a 3D object is created layer by layer. There are many 3D printing technologies, most commonly including FDM, SLA, and SLS. Each 3D printing technology has it's own advantages and disadvantages. FDM, or Fused Deposition Modeling, uses melted plastic to build an object from the build plate up.
FDM is great for cost-effective iteration and functional prototypes. However, the technology is not recommended for display prototypes as it produces a poor surface finish. SLA, or Stereolithography, 3D printing is most useful for creating accurate parts with excellent surface finishes. SLA is often used for display prototypes but can also be used for end-use products.
SLS, or Selective Laser Sintering, 3D printing is most useful for final production products, but may be used for prototypes if strong mechanical properties are needed.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machining
CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing method which includes CNC turning and CNC milling, both of which are used to shape parts by removing materials.
CNC machining can be used for prototyping and final production of both plastic and metal products.
3D Computer Aided Design (CAD)
CAD, or Computer Aided Design, involves using modelling software such as SolidWorks to create 3D models of your part or product.
This process is often used in the creation of models for manufacturing, however, it is also an important step when developing your product from an initial idea into reality.
Fabrication includes techniques such as welding, bending, laser cutting, rolling, and more. The method can be used for both prototyping and final production of metal parts.
For example, the end goal of your product might be to use casting to create the final product. However, this is not economical for prototypes, therefore we may use fabrication to create prototypes that function as the final products will.