The 3 Ideas on How to Create a Prototype


Posted on Nov. 20th, 2018 | By Will, WayKen Project Manager

Every new product was born from a creative idea to design. Before a physical product come to market usually there is a relatively long-term process. During this period, prototypes play an important role for it can solve various requirements such as proof of concept, appearance display, and structural testing. So how do you create a prototype?

1. List your idea information

Create an information structure diagram that lists the content of the product features. This is the first step to clear your idea, and also an auxiliary piece of information to help design the function. There are many ways to list this information, text form, mind manages, and etc., The most important thing is making your idea clear and easy to understand.

1.1 Focus on Product Needs

The birth of any product is to meet certain needs. No product is prepared first and then find what needs it can meet. Therefore, when designing a product, you should start to conceive the whole product based on core product needs.

When you make a product, you need to answer the question of “HOW”. There is a precondition that you need to know why you do this. A product that can meet actual needs is a useful product, which is a prerequisite for designing product.

After determining the product needs, all elements should be listed as the focus of designing work. Take an angle as an example. If it is for the project process, to make the communication of different roles in the team more efficient, we will be more inclined to emphasize the verbal and light written patterns, such as “prototype + annotation”.

If it is for the long-term consideration of having a written archive afterward, it is essential to write it down carefully. Either way, you need to save the record first in text form.

1.2 Make Clear of “Impossible Triangle” in the Design Field

As the saying goes “one cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs ” it reflected in all fields, good appearance, cheap price, fast speed are the most ideal three elements of product design. However, in actual conditions, it is impossible to satisfy the three elements at the same time. To be good-looking and cheap, it usually takes more time.

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It takes more money to make it look good and fast. Cheap and fast always means bad looking. When you give preference to both, the left element will become an impossible element. So, do be clear about what is the priority for your products.

2. Ready for Prototype Design

Prototyping is a way to help us think more carefully and to evaluate the needs, as well as to export ideas from our minds. After prototyping, we can make product presentations or presentation models. Compared to abstract text descriptions, a presentation prototype is more intuitive to show the needs of the product.

2.1 Make a Sketch

Sketching starts from the shape of the side. Considering the best combination of the parting line and the whole. The sketches are mainly rough creation, which needs to consider man-machine, structural form, dismantling method, material, etc., as the design plan goes deeper and gradual it will be different. Generally, three views can be drawn to show the appearance and structure of the product from multiple angles.

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2.2 3D Modeling

By using 3D software it can construct the physical model of the product in the virtual 3D space. The internal stack and approximate dimensions can be quickly established to understand the approximate size ratio. Commonly used CAD modeling software include Solidworks, Catia, Pro/E, UG etc..

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2.3 Make Effect Pictures

Before the real physical products are available, use software to color the 3D model, showing different angles and different color combinations. The effect pictures are good for online display promotion. Through the comparison of different effects on the software, the best color matching scheme of the product can be obtained in advance.

3. Making a Physical Prototype

In the final stage of design completion, what every designer wants to see most is the actual effect of their own design results. How to make physical prototypes, the most common used method now are 3D printing and CNC machining technology.

3.1 Determine the Prototype Application

Before making a physical model, you must be clear about what the prototype is for. In general, prototypes are divided into appearance models and functional models. The focus of the two is different. The former generally focus on size, color, and surface details, while the latter focuses on the overall structure of the product and the assembly with other parts. Of course, there are also prototypes that have both. Depending on the prototype application and requirements, the technology is different.

3.2 Identifying Materials

According to the use of the product, the materials selected for the prototype are also different. For example, when making a shell product prototype, ABS will be the most common choice. For its material cost is low and processing is simple. If there are special structural requirements, you need to select a specific designation material. The physical properties of each material are different. If you are not sure, you can select several ideal materials to find their physical properties for comparison. Or simply ask someone who can provide professional advice in this area.

3.3 Finding a Suitable Prototyping Supplier

There are many suppliers that can provide prototyping services. And the capabilities vary a lot. What is a suitable supplier, we need to consider comprehensively in terms of products, services, and prices. A professional prototyping supplier can provide qualified products and reasonable prices according to the designer’s needs. As far as possible, the prototype suppliers should communicate deeply with designers to get their needs clearly. Different levels of requirements understanding will lead to different solutions provided. To avoid over-quotes or requirements ignored, this is very important. As for price, you can choose according to your own budget comparison.

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As an expert in the prototyping industry, WayKen can provide a one-stop shop for custom design and development. We will provide the most appropriate solution based on communicating with our customers to understand the real needs and complete requirements. No matter it is processing technology or materials, we have rich experience and professional advice. Choose WayKen, we will provide you with high-quality products and services.

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