i am a designer who works with inventors as my primary target market. I find that many inventors and entrepreneurs are good at solving a problem, but bad at the details.
physical prototype is the way to go when showing your idea to investors, friends, vendors, pets, neighbors, etc. but in this day and age of computer commerce, CAD is quick, simple, cost-effective and emailable. If you are really serious, you can rapid prototype the CAD for big $$ and then you have both physical and 3d.
prototyping in any form is not cheap. but there are ways to amortize the cost over your project life. for instance, your model shop should give you the option of doing either models or a prototype. appearance models or sketch models. production prototype or technical prototype. and finally, CAD driven prototype or CAD driving prototype.
the difference in price from a sketch model, for instance, and a working prototype could be thousands of dollars. knowing these differences can help save money or delay the big chunk o` change exchange.
the sticker shock will be significant, but nothing beats being able to hand someone a polished widget that you designed. the tactile experience is very powerful. hopefully you will have a good relationship with your model maker and you will feel that every cent was worth it.
other question, along these lines: make sure you have worked out the design before plunking down heavy cash for a prototype. in my firm, i design as well as build models and do so in an ongoing process. design for a few hours, do a quick sketch model to make sure things work right, then back to the drawing board.
a good designer will save you time and money with your product.
good luck with your search. you can find a good listing of designers on a certain search site, but rather than give everyone that information, you can ask me direct. there are designers on that list in florida, too!
bunnerb9/8/2008 12:49 PM