We have a name …we’ve chosen “Bag-It”
Now it’s time to start the process of prototyping our little idea to prove it works. This is an area of inventing I see wide spread confusion all the time. Let’s take a look at what a prototype is, and then what we’re actually trying to prove.
Contrary to popular belief there is only one type of prototype. I often see people (usually the ones selling them) referring to a “Virtual Prototype” This is a marketing term for a 3D rendering. But because they call it a “Prototype” often the novice inventor will be drawn in and pay more.
Remember drawings can take a great deal of effort to create, and they can cost a lot of money – so the first thing to do before purchasing them is to make sure you understand what you need them for, and what value they bring to your process. Below are the basic levels of drawings done in the development process.
Sketches = Pencil sketches of a design, basically a ¾ view of the product and some face on and side views.
Computer Renderings = Normally a 2D images of the product developed in a basic illustration program with/without color, but still in the basic views.
3D Computer Renderings = Using a basic 3D modeling program, these images will allow the user to scale and rotate images if you have the software program the developer used to create it, or if you download a reader program. If done correctly from the start, these files can be converted for use in 3D printing or CNC machining later on. But you have to make sure the person drawing them knows that going in.
Engineering Simulations = This is a complex set of computer models used to test engineering, motion, fit, function, flow…although some software have viewer programs, for the most part these files are given to the inventor as a set of prints unless you have the program they were created in. Very few development projects a normal inventor would get into would require this level of simulation.
So now you have your rendering in hand, and it’s time to take a look at what we want to accomplish with a prototype. When you develop an idea in your head you create a “Hypothesis” (or set of assumptions) about the product. However when you take the time to physically prove that set of assumptions - you are creating what is known as a “Working Hypothesis”.
Keeping that in mind, What we are actually trying to create in a product prototype is: Reasonable proof accepted as highly probable in the light of established physical facts. In short – some physical manifestation of proof the product does what your mind thinks it does.