A prototype is either a sample of a design or a model. It can be fully working or not depending on the scope of the project. Its purpose is to test the design or functionality and is usually created fairly early on in a projects lifecycle, often being adjusted as things progress to create a more sophisticated version of the same design.
Prototypes help solve problems
Using a prototype to iron out any issues is much more cost effective and can often identity potential problems early on. They also help the thought process, using a 3D working model to solve problems is much easier than trying to visualise the end result from looking at an image or listening to someone verbalise their ideas.
Because of the fluidity often involved, prototypes need to be built quickly and to a high standard so that they fully represent the end result otherwise they lose their usefulness. In many types of industry a prototype allows the decision making process to take place quickly and with better results. Being able to touch, move and see how the prototype interacts can help designers and engineers visualise the end product and therefore make decisions as to the viability of the project.
Many companies use prototypes to solve problems with designs, or to discover potential problems before production is finalised. They are more cost-effective than standard full-scale models can be, and they are useful in creating effective replicas of a design in a smaller scale. Good prototypes need to be built quickly and to a high standard, otherwise they would not be a good representation of the end product.
Fairly often a company will need a series of prototypes as the end product is gradually brought to life and it is at this stage that a company such as ourselves is brought into the process. Not only can we use a mixture of skill, experience and technology to create the prototypes, we are also able to help with problem solving and offer advice as to which materials will work best.
It is essential to ensure that the finished prototype accurately represents the original design and a range of machinery, computer softwarealongside a skilled team of engineers will bring these designs to life.
We have worked on a wide range of prototyping projects, to find out more then click here.