What Kind Of Prototype Does Your Invention Idea Deserve?
Congratulations! You've gone beyond simply having an idea for a new product or widget, and now you're looking to turn that idea into a reality - and probably a profit. One of the key steps in the invention process is developing a prototype model. But how do you do that? And what kind of prototype fits your idea?
First, What Is An Invention Prototype?
An invention prototype is a working model that portrays how your invention idea is formed and based, as well as how it operates.
As a standalone design tool, invention prototypes are models on which an invention can be patterned.
In the process of manufacturing or designing an invention, the prototype is imperative - it becomes the essential piece that your actual invention is based on. It's akin to a sculptor, they don't just hammer away at a rock until the statue of David appears - it begins with a sketch.
Well as an inventor, you are going to have a sketch (likely several), and you're going to figure out what materials you'll need to construct a mini-version or initial rough draft of the real thing.
Having a prototype of an invention helps you smooth out the rough edges.
Prototypes give you the avenue to build, test, alter and run further tests on the invention, allowing you to perfect it and get the best result possible when an actual is manufactured.
Think: Prototype = Canvas for iteration
Designing a suitable invention prototype gives you the opportunity to seek out faults in design and product; it also helps ensure easy and proper usability of the invention.
Prototypes Help The Pitch
Having an invention prototype gives you as the inventor a better standing when you're in the room, in the heat of the moment, pitching to potential investors.
With a working prototype of your invention, you should be able to properly display, demonstrate and explain your invention ideas to the investors.
If you want someone to sink a potentially large sum of cash into your ideas, your prototype better nail it.
In general, inventors without a working invention prototype are rarely taken seriously by potential investors at presentations. As a rule, just remember it is practically impossible to license an invention without a working prototype.
Types Of Prototypes That Inventors Should Be Privy To
Generally, there are different types of invention prototypes that are employed by an inventor in translating an invention idea to the finished product.
Depending on the stages of prototype development, some invention prototypes are rough and first drafts, while others are much closer to the finished product.
Each specific type of invention prototype is employed at a specific stage in the development and design of the invention. The types of invention prototypes are listed below.
Demonstrational Invention Prototype
Demonstrational invention prototypes do not resemble the final product.
They are essentially the working model of your invention idea.
Demonstrational prototypes are used at the early developmental stages of the product to demonstrate the technical functionality of an invention. A demonstrational invention prototype is used by an inventor to communicate his invention idea to manufacturers or potential investors, and to prove to them that the invention actually works.
Generally this kind of invention prototype does not have a suitable housing or cover. If the invention is an electronic device, it is common to have the circuit board and the connection wires exposed, in plain sight.
For a demonstrational invention prototype, design and aesthetic values are not the key points.
Showing that the invention actually works is the major objective.
Apart from being available to demonstrate the functionality of the invention idea to potential investors, the demonstrational invention prototype may also be necessary to gain patent approval for the invention.
Presentation Invention Prototypes
It's probably pretty easy to guess what a presentation prototype is used for, but let's talk about the advantages, benefits and use cases for them.
These types of invention prototypes are made to look and feel like the actual product.
A presentation invention prototype is your way of presenting a succinct representation of your invention precisely as it is to be manufactured.
Various features including inserts, texture, paint and over-molding are inserted to allow the designers to put together presentation models which are similar to the original product.
Often times, your presentation prototype may not be directly similar to the final product, but it functions exactly as the finished product would.
Inventors use the presentation prototype for promotional intentions - so yes, this is beneficial in ultimately monetizing the invention.
Functional Invention Prototype
A functional invention prototype is only different from the final invention product in the method of production.
This is because the method required to produce such small volume of the product at that production stage is expected to be different from the method required to produce the final product in bulk.
However, the prototype is designed to function exactly, and look like the expected final product. The prototype and the end product of the invention work and look the same.
Pre-Production Invention Prototype
For practical purposes, the pre-production invention prototype is the last version of an invention before large scale manufacture begins.
This type of invention prototype is designed to check the correctness of the processes used in manufacturing the invention and the quality of the end product.
The production invention prototype is a succinct test for the actual processes involved in the manufacture of the invention.
The prototype uses the materials, the methods, assembly lines and finishes, needed for the final manufacture of the product to ascertain the quality.
The invention prototype is structurally, functionally and aesthetically similar to the final product.
Apart from these, the processes involved in the manufacture, production instructions and the product packaging are also essentially similar to the final product.
The pre-production invention prototype is essential as it allows inventors the chance to inspect in details the various aspects and parts of the invention product. This always helps to avert potential hiccups prior to full scale manufacture of the product.
Rapid Invention Prototyping
Desktop manufacturing, or rapid prototyping, is a new entry into the invention prototype creation scene.
Rapid prototyping transforms invention designs into 3D objects, by employing computer technologies.
Some archaic rapid prototyping systems function via the printing of multiple plastic ink layers to form a computer-generated image model. Newer systems, however, are capable of freezing aqua into a 3D model of ice sculpture.
Apart from these, metal molds can be easily created by sophisticated rapid prototyping systems.
Rapid prototyping stands out from other types of invention prototypes as it saves precious time in the process of product development, creates a non-defective product, and also enhances product design.
With the three-dimensional invention prototype, it becomes easy for the inventor and potential investors to virtually evaluate the designs and the entirety of the product.