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Common Prototyping Mistakes

It is easy to want to rush into producing your first prototype with all of the excitement that a new project brings, but, as we shall see, this is not always the best way to go about things and the mantra of “more haste and less speed” is something that definitely applies here.

Firstly, it is always important to use your time and resources wisely when deciding to produce any new project. This can be the make or break aspect to any project over its lifetime and a lack of foresight and planning in the initial stages can mean that the whole project will never be financially viable, no matter how many units you are able to sell. In order to negate this situation it is very important to constantly think of different ideas or complementary ideas which will enhance or improve projects that have previously been successful. Car manufacturers often use this technique by launching variations of vehicles using the same basic floorplan and drivetrain, thus reducing the time and costs of the most expensive parts of the design and simultaneously offering their customers something different, but familiar.

Once you have decided that a particular project is for you, it is time to decide if the particular prototype you are considering will be able to provide you with the pre-production information that you are looking for. This may sound like a strange statement, as how can you proceed with a project without a prototype? Well, unfortunately, prototypes cost money and, this being the case, it is obviously only prudent to make something that will enhance the project as a whole, while at the same time being able to test whether your product’s planned characteristics are as you and your prospective customers imagine them to be. It is also important to speak to a specialist company, such as NICE Rapid, as they will be able to advise on the most cost effective and beneficial solution to any prototype production concerns that you may have.

Now you have created your prototype, it is important to ensure that you analyse all available information from its testing, use and aesthetics to produce an improved version of your product. In doing so, this does not even mean that the prototype has to be a fully functioning exact replica of what you would like to produce, as long as it is able to sufficiently replicate its task and so that your customers and investors can visualise what you want it to undertake - for example from a size and weight perspective. By manufacturing a "rough" prototype, vast amounts of time and money have not been expended on creating the "perfect" article and it is of no detriment to change any aspects of the design or composition without feeling as though large amounts of effort have gone to waste. Producing prototypes out of low-cost and easy to handle materials such as card, paper or clay is an ideal way of achieving this first step and an important step on the road to a fully functioning, working prototype that is easy and cheap to alter.

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