Do I Need an
Invention Prototype

What is an invention prototype

Simply put, an invention prototype is a virtual or physical model of the idea or product you’d like to get to market. It’s an important step in the development of an idea whether you plan to manufacture it yourself or license it. Prototyping may seem like a daunting task, but our vast network of experienced inventor-oriented service-providers is here to help! We are committed to helping get great ideas to market. With over 25 years of real-world experience we have become prototyping experts. If you’re just getting started with your idea, check out our last blog that discusses what to do with your invention ideas. If you think you may be ready to create a prototype, read on!

Why Do i Need a prototype for my invention

An invention prototype is the first step in taking your idea from concept to a physical, 3D object. This step is critical to take and get right before any amount of time or effort is invested in determining how the product will be manufactured. If you plan to produce your product yourself, you will need to refine your prototype to an actual working version. This is necessary so tooling, molds, and other items can be created for mass production. If you plan to license your invention, you may not need to develop your prototype to an advanced level. However, you will still need an impressive physical object to use to pitch your idea.

Invention Prototype

What Can I learn from a prototype

The short answer is a lot! When you begin to take your concept or rendering and build it into a 3D physical object, many new challenges, thoughts, and questions arise. We absolutely encourage inventors to create a simple (also often referred to as a “rough”) invention prototype when you feel ready. This first version of your product can be made from very simple household items. We’ve used paper, cardboard, Legos, or our personal favorite K’NEX! The goal with the first physical version of your invention is not to create a working model, but rather be able to hold something in its rough shape in your hands. Taking this simple action may cause you to look at your idea in a completely different light.

How much does a Prototype cost?

We get this question all the time from inventors wondering how much money they need to set aside for prototyping their invention. The truthful answer is “it depends”. As we just mentioned, we strongly encourage inventors to invest very little in early-stage prototypes. By using items that are inexpensive and commonly available like wood, cardboard, or building blocks, you can work out some of the unexpected challenges you may face before you invest any amount of money.

With advancements in technology such as 3D printing, creating even complex items can be done for a relatively low cost. We typically find the larger your invention is, the higher your cost will be. This is mainly due to the run time and the amount of material needed to complete the project. If a prototype is smaller in size, even if it is significantly more complex, it likely will be less expensive. For this reason, you may want to consider creating a prototype on a smaller scale at first. Depending on the type of process being used to create your invention prototype, costs can range from almost nothing to several tens of thousands of dollars.

Where can i learn more about prototypes

Before you begin prototyping, we recommend you make use of our free online portal designed for inventors, the ThinkBank™ to organize your ideas. One your concept is organized, it will become more clear what needs to be thought of before you can create a prototype. From there, begin experimenting with home made prototypes and learn as you go. The best way to test your idea is to get hands on!

If you would like to learn more about specifics we have used to create successful products, the Ultimate Invention Launchpad may be a good option for you. It includes our Genius Guide to Prototyping which is a 48 page e-book that explains what has worked for us in the past. No matter what you decide, it’s important to get your invention idea into a physical form as soon as you feel your concept is ready.

Trident is here to help

In the last 25 years we’ve become prototyping experts. We have spent a lot of time, effort, and money on learning what works, and more importantly what doesn’t, as well as creating relationships with incredible designers, engineers, graphic designers, videographers and prototype builders. When you work with us, we’ll help you avoid common pitfalls and challenges inventors face. We win when you win. To get started, submit your idea in the ThinkBank™ for review. Even if you decide we’re not the right fit for you, make sure to have fun and keep inventing!

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