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Obtaining from thought to action is the toughest step of the design thinking process. Core tenets of design thinking would be to fail quickly, learn fast, and iterate, iterate, iterate. The entire purpose is to learn from doing and to save time, effort, and energy from arriving at the optimal solution. The objective of getting prototyping services is to make an idea tangible and testable. Something you can touch is easier to understand because it moves thinking from abstract to concrete.
In the heads of experienced industrial and product designers, prototyping is extensively regarded as an advanced phase in product development. In the past, when the new product development cycles were longer and customers' demand took longer to chance, spending a long time in waiting prototyping might have made sense. But in today's fast-paced markets when customers’ preferences are changing so quickly that the companies should have quicker new product launch to retain customers. In this way, fast prototyping is in higher demand. If you have got a good idea about what your new product must do, you are already prepared to begin the preliminary phase of fast prototyping. Leaving the prototype machining until you have reached the final phase of design might waste time and money if your initial design concept was wrong. Then, in the whole new product development process, why should you start prototyping? Here are some tips to be considered:
Turn Idea to Tangible, Easier for Testing
Before the determination of your proposed design concept, you can do any kind for prototype machining. It can take your idea from as simple as a sketch into the three-dimension tangible products. In this stage, a rough prototype is enough. With it, you can hold your idea in your hand before further refining your design. And 3D printing of rough prototype is recommended as it is a faster and more affordable compared to other prototyping services, such as CNC machining and injection molding.
Show Mistakes in the Design
Sometimes, you fail to find what is missing, wrong, or unnecessary on product design. Prototyping can let you realize all these mistakes. Designers usually have a clearer mind to discover the errors in design when they interact with a physical model instead of just a digital one. For example, if they find the prototype is easy to bend or break when it is supposed to be rigid and hard, they know they need to adjust the thickness or turn to other materials.
3D digital modelling can reveal many problems of design, but some major issues are just hard to be discovered without testing the physical prototype. Even low fidelity prototypes are enough to find out major design flaws, helping you move faster towards design finalization.
Collect Feedback, Reduce Risk
In addition to helping designers find errors and adjust their work, prototyping also allows designers to get feedback from experts and colleagues. Many designers will have a painful feeling in such case - when they have finalized the design, in the manufacturing, they suddenly learn that their wonderful and confident design is simply unreasonable to produce. This mistake will largely slow down the development and launch of new product and increase the cost. Prototyping enables you to make adjustments to your design according to the collected feedback from your team members, colleagues and other experts, reducing risks and promoting the launch of a new product.
Prototyping Services Are More Affordable Today
In the past, even making a single rough prototype took a relatively large part in the overall production cost. But with the great development of 3D printing technology, CNC machining, it becomes much faster and cheaper to build a prototype. You can have more and finer prototypes done without breaking the bank.
Shorten New Product Development Cycle
Nowadays, customers’ preferences and demand are changing faster and more frequently, which requires companies to speed up new product development to remain competitive in the market. Many companies aim to release a new product or refine the existing products within months, or even weeks. Rapid prototyping thus is of great importance. It can help speed up this process dramatically. Early prototyping allows you to do in-depth testing to remove any design flaw as soon as possible, getting your new product or refined products to the market before the competition can beat you.
Prototype Can Be Used for Customer Testing
Finally, prototype machining allows you to get your customers or your target customers involved in the design stage, helping you find out their needs, worries, or preference. In this way, you can make some adjustments to your design, launching a new product that caters to the market. When you are developing a new product, never ignore your customers’ opinion. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from showing your customers the mock-up of your new product, even the roughest prototype. For example, customers can tell you that they need the product to be harder, not easy to break, they want a different color, a smaller version will be nicer, or they just do not prefer the rounded shape. It is unnecessary to wait until you have refined your design and get a high-fidelity prototype. A rough prototype can also get lots of useful feedback from customers.
It is recommended to make 3D prototypes to verify the feasibility and market acceptance of your new product design. Although prototype machining adds additional costs to your overall production costs, from a long-term perspective, it can not only significantly save your money, but also bring you greater value.
By investing prototyping service in the early stage, before facing a challenge in the manufacturing stage, can get your new product development on the fast track to success. You will save lots of time and money down the road. When you are going to design your next product, keep the rule of thumb in mind: the more prototypes you test, the better design you can develop, and the more marketable new product you are going to launch.