How Can I make a prototype or sample product ?
Dear Business Guy, I have an invention and I need a sample or prototype to show to investors. But I need to make it first. Is there such a thing as a plastic-smith who can make up a few, or would I have to have it made in China?
If you make your sample product out of duck tape and popsicle sticks nobody will take you seriously.
Well, we are not experts, but to have it made in China, you will have to get molds made up for your invention. That could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it would take a while. We checked, and did not find any “plastic-smiths” who could carve your idea out of plastic.
I would suggest you go to a 3D printing company. We have a local company in Lake Forest. They can make a prototype for as little as $300-$600. Before you say that costs too much for a product you will sell for $19.95, think about the real costs. You can your prototype product to your investors and people who might be your customers. And you can test your product. For instance, if your product is a bicycle handlebar mount for an iphone, you want to make sure that the iphone will not fall off when you’re jumping curbs.
The beauty of spending a few dollars on prototyping is that if people don’t like it, you can just cut your losses and throw it away. Or you can modify your design, and improve it. And with the 3D printing process, you can make it look just like it will look when it’s coming out of a production facility.
This Lake Forest company, GROWit is a leader in the field of prototyping. And they work with a lot of new designers that get their products up on sites like kickstarter.com. They can make you sample out of the right material—sample quality plastic to show off, PVC or even metal. And it’s amazing what the can print. We pulled some sample pictures off of their website (see below).
iPhone Case by TAKTIK
Small Scaled Tires — Printed
Vehicle Design 3D Printed
3D Printed Toy Designs
Sample Product ChargeCard for iPhone