The importance of creating prototypes, however basic, cannot be overstated, as it is working proof that your concept can be made a reality. Contrary to popular misconception, a prototype doesn’t have to be a work of art, but just functional. If your concept is simple enough, you can make invention prototypes right at your home, all by yourself. All it takes are some inexpensive materials, and you are good to go. However, complex concepts require professional help to prototype. In that case, click here for more info.
Here are a few components that can be easily sourced and used to create a working DIY prototype.
Plasticine like material, Sugru can be molded by the hand. It dries after a day to a waterproof material, hard enough to encase your prototype model.
- Moldable plastic is a great choice
A type of plastic that melts in boiling water and that can be molded by hand in many different shapes and sizes is Shapelock or Polymorph. It is inexpensive and can be easily acquired. Many DIY prototypes use this material for their designs.
You can’t go wrong with moldable plastic.
- Sculpey (clay)
Another option is the use of clay, easily moldable to any shape or size you want. Clay-like Sculpey or Fimo can be used to make prototypes or even create a mold to cast other materials.
Making your own molds
There are different types of putty that can be molded by hand around things, which if left for some time can create a mold that is used to fill with different materials that fit the rigidity and form factor of your prototype.
Explore 3D printing
3D printers come with a huge variety of different use-cases. If you have ample knowledge over prototyping software to create a prototype of your invention digitally, you can just as easily get it 3D printed without the hassle of working on the manufacturing aspect of the physical prototype.
Go to your local market store
Local hardware stores usually have materials that will come in handy for building prototypes. You should be able to put together basic invention prototypes by sourcing materials from a hardware store.
Use parts from other products
Electronic or other kinds of hardware products contain parts that can be adapted to use for creating a prototype. Several inventors have built prototypes using nothing but spare parts from other products.
Barebones paper and card models
Often the cheapest and easiest way to create prototype mockups, this method cannot produce working models but can give the investor an idea of the design and form factor. This can provide crucial data about how to implement functionality and shed light on any design flaws.
These are some methods to create your prototype before foraying into actual design and manufacturing. As noted earlier, DIY prototypes are not always suitable, especially for concepts that are more complex to implement using simple materials. In that case, you need to get help from a professional prototyping company, click here for more info.