Wow….we’ve done a lot of work up to this point – but there is still a lot to do.
We have a basic prototype, we have a name, we have a design, we have what we feel is a good idea – so what’s next?
We need to now refine our home made prototype into what’s known as a Manufacturing Prototype. Keep in mind; you will not likely be able to do this on your own. Look for a prototype shop that has experience in making prototypes for manufacturing. Often called a Model Shop, these companies will have the latest equipment to get you ready for this next big step in the process.
You can elect to manufacture off shore, or domestically - either way the preparation is much the same. In my case since I manufacture off shore, and I’ve worked with these factories for many years, I know exactly what they need to make the manufacturing samples – so we’ll use that as an example;
You have two basic parts to a manufacturing prototype the “parts” - or what we call the Mold Masters - and a non-functional, completely finished copy of your product we call the “Paint Master”
The Mold Master is actually each individual part developed one at a time using either 3D print technologies or a manual wax sculpting and rubber molding process. Either way, the parts are properly drafted and designed for the high speed injection and ejection environment found in manufacturing.
The Paint Master is a copy what the product looks like when it’s done. It doesn’t have to work, but it does have to be able to show the factory exactly what the final piece looks like so they can copy the decoration and paint design. It will include samples of all textures, and a list of all PMS colors used in the decoration.
Through the magic of the Blog, we can fast forward and we now have our “Mold Masters” and our ”Paint Masters” along with texture samples and a PMS listing. We place all this in a box and FedEx it over to our broker in Hong Kong and she (a very nice girl named Patricia) will select the factory best suited to produce our product.
The ball is in Patricia’s court now, so we turn our attention to other parts of this process while we wait on tooling costs, material availabilities, pricing….and of course “Manufacturing Samples”