Turning your physical product idea from concept to actual physical product prototype could be a daunting task financially and technically ,but with the widespread use of personal building machines like 3D printers and cnc machines for wood , this task is more affordable than ever , that’s why following some right proven procedures could save the product or gadget designer precious resources of time and money . These procedures vary according to the product type and the individual’s budget as each product type or category requires proper building materials and proper building techniques and thanks to the recent advancement in product construction and tooling equipment that has made these machines more affordable and to the average individual and even more smaller to be used at house , building a physical product prototype is no longer a hard task technically and financially which you’re gonna explore in this article that will talk about the recent technological advancement that has made personal building machines like 3D printers more affordable to the average individual ,
How Using Computer Aided Design (CAD) for product visualization will speed up the product development process and finally you’re gonna explore free and affordable building materials and techniques as well mechanic and electronic components
1 recent technological advancement has made personal building machines like 3D printers or cnc machines for wood more affordable to the average individual
Apple 1 computer
LThe first apple computer required the two famous founders to start from their garage and have an initial capital that was available by selling steve wozniack apartment
The second example of Sinclair C5 car made by the famous British inventor sir Clive sinclair , it should be noted here that Sir Clive Sinclair has the same Steve jobs story by founding a company in the UK that has designed and mass manufactured the famous sinclair computer in the 80s , though Sir clive Sinclair was an inventor with much broader interests , this was notable by trying to tackle the daunting problem of urban transportation by designing a much more compact electric car that would not require too much power as the user would be pedalling .
To get a company ready for buying this pedal assisted electric car , Sir Clive Sinclair had to spend a huge some of money in the 80s , that if its equivalent would be spend now , it would start and run hundreds of companies , i am fully aware of what i am saying ,because this sum of money spent was 12 million £ , it was spent on the research, development , mass manufacturing and marketing . The result was simply the sinclair C5 flopped which is not our topic . The digital revolution during those days was still in its infancy and thank god that we are living now at its peak , as the modern electronic ship fabrication has seen tremendous progress that it has made possible having a full computer in the user pocket as well as small affordable electronic ship for robotic application like 3D printers , Drones …
If you are an aspiring inventor with great design physical product or gadget design , i can tell you that you can aim at executing bigger and much more complex projects than a whole small company in the 80s or 90s , all this thanks to the digital revolution that has made two expenses much more affordable which are the building of a prototype and marketing and even financial funding thanks to crowdfunding which has since 2012 multiple success stories , kickstarter and indiegogo ,of thousands of inventors raising 6 to 7 figure funding money from their backers , with some couple crowdfunding campaigns raising 8 figure funding . In the case of Sir Clive sinclair C5 car , you can execute a similar project by spending just 3 to 4 thousand US $ instead of 12 Million £ in the 80s , which would be a huge sum in todays money . Our example would be the Cabriovelo , pedal assisted car launched on indiegogo in 2015 .
This crowdfunding campaign project was launched by just a single Italian young individual .After taking a brief look at the prototype , you will conclude that the self made component is the car frame which can be made a big 3D printer that would be used for building the car frame and other plastic parts . As for the other remaining components like the wheels ,pedals … The best short path for getting them is by ordering a product containing these components like a stroller bike which will not cost more than 2 thousand US $ for the stroller bike and 3D printer .For those of you interested in checking the prices of the best 3Dprinters ,you can watch this video :
There are some crowdfunded products that have raised 8 figure funding , one of them has raised nearly 15 million US $ which was honey flow , an innovative beehive design enabling the honey to flow by gravity thanks to an innovative honey comb design . This ؤheaper product prototype to manufacture that contains no complex technological components has raised more money than multiple high end technology gadgets and inventions .
Flow hive , an innovative beehive product that has raised nearly 30 million $ on two successful indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns .
After taking a look at the most relevant components , you will find that this product prototype is made with just two components , the wood component forming the structure housing the plastic component which in turn is forming the honey comb .The plastic component can be made with an affordable 3D printer , costing between 300 to 500 $, as for the wood component , it is the most cheaper component thanks to some available affordable wood working tools designed for various projects , you can watch the video below of some ten best wood working tools .
If your project requires some custom made parts that can be made with just expensive big machines , you can explore the infographic list below of the latest personal affordable manufacturing machines that have been able to penetrate the market thanks to the recent technological advancement . Goliath cnc machine , thanks to its innovative three wheels design , this 1490 $ cnc machine can tackle on large scale projects that it was possible to execute with just big industrial cnc machines costing tens of thousands of dollars .
Printing on an industrial scale has been made personal and affordable with recent appearance of professional portable and personal printers like Spoe printer .
Even industrial applications like vaquforming ,has been made affordable and personal with devices like vaquform .
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If the recent technological advancement and breakthrough has made product prototype development much more affordable and personal thanks to small scale manufacturing machines like 3D printers , cnc machines for wood , plastic and metals and even personal manufacturing machines for PCB designs . The most important tool of all is working on prototype design visualisation before making the decision to start building , even before the dawn of the digital revolution in the 50s , prototype design was made on papers to give a clear perspective on how the end result will look like , thus saving considerable amounts of time and financial resources , because making these design changes during the prototype building phase would be extremely expensive . Product design and visualisation is performed using dedicated computer software like Autodesk autocad , Autodesk maya and solid works but they all start with sketches made on papers or tablets .
LAny one aspiring to build a physical product prototype must not neglect this phase of prototype development ,even if he is working alone or can not afford hiring a cad designer , but he should afford to invest his personal time learning how to use software packages like autodesk maya and autocad in product design and visualisation .For this purpose , there are plenty of online resources for learning with Digital Tutors being the best choice .After finishing your cad design work , you are good to go to use you 3D printer or cnc machine …For 3D printers , after 3D modelling the product , you connect your 3D printer to your computer , then your computer sends the 3D file to the printer that is programmed to execute properly the instruction stored in the 3D file .
Prototype cad design sketches
3- free and affordable building materials and techniques as well mechanic and electronic components
Carboard , paper and an adhesive tape has been and is still the best and cheapest prototyping material for building a product prototype .
If you’re a dead broke individual who can not afford using the equipment mentioned above , but your ambitious vision is pushing you to do whatever possible to build your product prototype , then here are some innovative tricks some of them are almost free to use and can enable you afford building high end expensive prototype like a flying car . If you can not afford using building material like wood , plastic or metallic parts , then your best alternative in combination of used paper book , cardboard and an adhesive ribbon . With this combination, you can build for free a product prototypeto showcase on kickstarter , like this one called scanbox :
Scanbox smartphone scanner , this simple product prototype has raised 184 thousand $ on kickstarter on 2012 .
If you have some available time to invest in learning 3D software packages like maya for producing realistic video rendering with the help of some great online courses like digital tutors , then all you have to do is just producing a high quality CGI video showcasing the product technical features , a great example for this case is the XTI trifan VTOL passenger aircrfat . This project has been funded just by creating a blog about the project , posting video marketing materials on social media and a crowdfunding page on start engine equity crowdfunding website .
Another great example to show that this approach can be in most cases effective is the volocopter electric helicopter with multiple rotors . This German company has started in 2011 when its founder Alexander Zosel has created the demonstrator prototype VC1 .This prototype can be created without breaking the banks with some little efforts of creativity . I would like you stop reading and guess how you can build this prototype by using available components .The simple answer is by buying some used similar electric scooters on ebay for their lithium ion batteries and electric motors , then the simple remaining task would be welding some metallic parts for building the structure and the last task would be the building of the rotors using wood or a 3Dprinter .After the VC1 Prototype , Alexander Zosel launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on German website Seedmatch in 2013 , raising 1.2 million Euros with goal of the campaign building the prototype and not starting mass manufacturing .
in 2016 , the prototype VC200 has been built and flight tested .Since then ,the company has started getting attention from serious investors like Daimler that has invested 25 million Euros enabling the company to start manufacturing in 2018 .These mentioned success examples show clearly how bringing your physical invention to the world can be affordable to anyone around the world during this age of digital revolution we are living in .
I consider writing this article one of my best contributions for helping individuals who have ambitious and amazing vision of building a cool gadget or even great invention as the first road block you will be stuck on is affording the building of a physical prototype which might be a big problem for the majority , but after reading this article about tricky procedures and affordable personal building machines , no one has an excuse of not affording the budget of building a physical prototype that could be the first step towards a successful crowd funding carrier which in turn could open up your dream business carrier .