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It is of the utmost importance that manufacturers and developers produce prototypes before producing the product in bulk. Prototypes offer the same features as the final product, but it is built on smaller scale and it is flexible as there may be room for improvement. It creates a certain expectation and attitude amongst its receivers.

Producing a prototype is a concept that requires a lot of thought as this will be the product that represents the company as well as the range of products that will be launched. Understanding how prototypes are built and produced will equip one with a sound knowledge when it comes to choosing a prototype build, or when building one as an individual entrepreneur.

Equipment needed to build a prototype

The equipment that will be needed to produce a prototype will largely be depended on the type of product it should represent. A ‘rough’ prototype may be built, or a detailed sample may be produced by means of high tech equipment. If, for example, you want to build a prototype for a car, you may build it roughly out of ‘scrap’ material, or you may implement 3D printing in order to give a detailed overview of every part it contains.

Developing a prototype yourself

As an entrepreneur you can try and build the prototype by yourself at home. This will be cheaper to produce as you won’t have to pay anyone to do it for you. Developing a prototype by yourself will enable you to become familiar with all the mechanics of the product, and it will prepare you for when you need to contact professional prototype builders in the future. You will eventually need to sell this product, and you can only market it properly by knowing its features inside and out.

Professional prototype development

As an alternative there are many companies that will build a prototype on behalf of the entrepreneur. When choosing this option, entrepreneurs still have to produce a rough model of what the prototype should look like. The professionals will be able to advise you along the way, and tell you which modifications should be made. It is clear that one should do some form of homework when consulting firms, in order to know exactly what costs, materials, and time constraints will be involved. It is advised by professionals that when considering using a firm, one should ‘shop around’ a bit in order to find the developer that best suits the needs of the prototype.

Alternatively, one can also contact the in-house engineers of one’s own company. They will also be able to offer advice on the prototype, and they will be able to construct a well-polished prototype. The advantage of using an in-house developer means that the bonds between the entrepreneur and the builder are more stable, and communication will be enhanced between the two parties.

Testing the prototype

After the production the prototype is tested by the manufacturer as well as members of the public. It is important to note that, when building a prototype, that it is being built for the consumer and should meet the requirements of the target market. After the public verdict, one can then go back to the drawing room and improve on certain features.
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