Types of Prototypes
Build the right type of prototype to match your project requirements.
Rapid PrototypesOur in-house rapid prototypes shop equipped with 3D-Printing, SLA and CNC machines, allows for fast turn around of prototype parts.
Functional PrototypesThey might not look pretty, but functional prototypes are always the key to flawless hardware during product development.
Electronics PrototypesBefore diving into custom Printed Circuit Board design (PCBs), start with breadboards and off-the-shelf electronics to de-risk your project.
Interactive PrototypesYou cannot 3D print a user experience, instead you must rely on a mix of prototypes to engage users in an interactive experience.
Reasons to Prototype
Test a hypothesis, build a minimum viable product or prepare for volume manufacturing.
Hypothesis TestingDoes your product vision hinge on one or two key hypotheses? Test these upfront through prototyping.
Build a MVPPut your product on the path to success by determining the right product/market fit with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Alpha PrototypeWant to move straight into high volume production? Make sure you have your alpha production intent prototype right first.
Prototype Development Process
During product development we create different types of prototypes at each stage to quantify risk.
Prototyping during concept design is rapid process where the goal is to determine the optimal product concept solution.
Types of prototypes we build during concept design include:
- 3D CAD product concepts - high resolution renderings
- Hand sketches and 3D CAD geometry for strong communication of concept options
- Low fidelity mock-up non-working prototype for user reaction evaluations
- Scale model mock-ups: to evaluate Ergonomics, Cognitive and Appearance model reactions by users
- Experiential UI concept simulations, storyboarding, wireframes to assess ease of use (keys, displays, audio interfaces)
- Works-like off the shelf customized breadboard electronics to evaluate function, establish specifications
- Fast code software/firmware of near off the shelf components to demo function, fine tune positive reactions to early stage prototypes
- Finite Element Analysis (Thermal, Fluids, Stress, Audio…) to determine feasible structural and geometric configurations
- Modified Off-the-shelf components customized and library software modules customized for testing features and verifying hypotheses
- Interactive Wizard of Oz prototypes that use off the shelf customized components to assess high value attributes of product
During the Detailed Engineering stage prototyping is used to de-risk your product concept solution.
Types of prototypes built during this stage may include:
- Bench model breadboard electronics to optimize sub-system product features operation and specifications
- Works-like functional prototypes for mechanism modeling of features for refinement and performance evaluation
- Quick cut in-house machined parts and in-house additive rapid prototype mock-up modeling to test and refine the design
During the Pre-Production Prototyping stage, the goal is to create a high-fidelity production intent prototype to verify the design.
Types of non-production intent prototypes we create during this stage include:
- High fidelity production intent ‘alpha’ physical prototype (machined, molded, stamped, formed, SLA, SLS… additive process parts created)
- Fully functional additional ‘alpha’ prototypes created for debug confirmation and verification
- Fully functional working ‘alpha’ prototype – integrated electronic hardware+software features and function debug confirmation and verification
- Low volume custom PCB's to assist in design verification process
- Quick prototype material mold to produce low volume hard to prototype parts such as rubber components, fabrics, cabling, special materials
- Regulatory approval testing and performance testing is possible with prototype product
- Prototype product is available for comment from users, buyers and for collateral such as product photography
During the Manufacturing support stage, final production prototypes are built to verify design transfer to production.
Types of production prototypes built by manufacturing partners may include:
- Off tool production parts to measure parts, approve part tolerances and approve tools
- Fully product assemblies for pilot run product builds and design approval of all product specifications
- Pre-release product available for external regulatory testing submission and approval
- Pre-release product and parts for materials testing and approval
- Pre-release product is available for user, customer and market approval