Bringing a product to market is a far more complicated than what many people would assume. It’s not as easy as simply manufacturing a new idea and then placing it on store shelves. Instead, most products spend months and even years going through a research and development cycle. Many proposed products don’t even make it into the hands of consumers.
There are certain things you need to complete the research and development cycle for a product. One of the most important steps—that you will likely repeat—is the prototype. Building the prototype will likely require specific materials needed for the design process. With this in mind, below are certain kinds of materials you should consider using to develop your own products.
Blueprints and Schematics
First, in regards to materials, you’re going to need paper documents to create your prototype as well as the final product. These include blueprints and schematics. While they may seem like synonyms, there are some differences. Schematics use simplified symbols to represent design elements and mechanical processes. Blueprints are technical reproductions of a prototype or product on specialized sheets that are sensitive to light. Having physical blueprints and schematics is important especially if you want to guard your design process from bad actors like hackers and corporate spies.
Something else you are likely to create during the R&D phase is a model of the proposed product. There are working and non-working materials. However, even a working model is not the same as a prototype. A model is not the same size as a prototype and will often lack many fine details and working parts. You may even be able to create a model for your product from materials you find at a local hobby shop.
Casting Resins and Molds
You also need the right tools and materials to fabricate your prototypes. You may, for example, want your prototype to be in a specific shape that can’t be created using pre-made materials. If this is the case, you will want to acquire casting resins and create molds to pour those resins into to create your prototype. The best choice is probably polyurethane casting materials. These can be poured directly into a mold to create the exact shape you need. Depending on your needs and the kind of materials you use, you’ll be able to and the versatility of its different properties allows you to produce rigid or flexible surfaces.
The use of resins and molds is one of the easiest and most well-known ways to create a prototype. However, another popular choice, that is becoming more accessible than it once was, is to use 3D printing technology. A 3D printer can be loaded with a three-dimensional digital design for an object, and it will recreate that object by printing it with plastic. Of the different plastics you can choose for this printing job, one of the best is high-density polyethylene. It is strong, low-cost and works efficiently with most 3D printers.
Overall, take the research and design phase of creating a product extremely seriously. The process may be slow, but it is vitally important. You are likely to discover many flaws and issues you would have not have discovered otherwise. You may even discover the proposed product is not feasible in its current state. With these discoveries, you’ll be able make changes to your idea to create a better, more successful product.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing.