Tag: prototyping

Street CGI

How to showcase a product before launch

Marketplaces are typically flooded with products from your competitors.

Consumers today are bombarded with marketing messages from every angle, so it’s never been more important to stand out from the crowd and make sure your product’s value benefits are seen and understood as much as possible.

But, if your product is still in production, how do you whet the appetite of potential customers, and get those all-important pre-sales locked in?

Well, the good news is, you have many options for promoting your product so let’s dive into some here:

Product prototypes

As a product-based business, building prototypes will add to your resource of marketing tools. You can use prototypes for photography, websites, social channels, brochures (digital and paper), direct mail, and even for presenting to investors, if needed.

If you have a physical location, such as a shop, putting a prototype on display for customers to feel and test will help to encourage sales. Something to note, however, if the prototype has flaws or isn’t 100% perfect it could negatively affect the perception of your brand and products.

There are different types of prototypes that can be produced, such as fully functioning or purely visual, and our team of prototyping specialists can help you determine what type of prototype your business needs.

Computer Generated Images

Using computer generated images before your product is created is an excellent way for customers to visualise it before photos are available.

CGI of pendant lights

Computer generated images can be used on digital channels such as websites, social media, PDFs and e-brochures really effectively. But CGI can also be used on traditional marketing channels such as direct mail, leaflets and paper brochures.

What’s more, CGI can be animated into videos to add another dimension to your presell campaign. When customers see a product animated and being used it instils more confidence to buy; it’s why video is such a powerful tool.

Use all available channels for promotion

Whether you’re able to photograph/video a prototype, or use CGI, you should use all available channels to push the promotion. This includes your social channels and email database to alert customers and subscribers about upcoming launches and pre-sales. The traditional channels, such as direct mail and brochures, still have their place for many businesses, so you may want to explore those too, along with launch events, trade shows and exhibitions.

If you’re interested in exploring CGI or prototyping for your business, get in touch and we’ll set up a call.

The benefits of a 3D printed prototype

Taking your design from an idea on paper to a tangible prototype of the product is a vital part of product development.

There are many different ways to produce a prototype, but in recent years 3D printing has been widely accepted as the most cost-effective and efficient way. Nowadays, a wide range of industries choose this technology over injection moulding or subtractive manufacturing. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of choosing 3D printing to produce your prototype:

Rapid prototyping

Before 3D printing techniques became mainstream, producing a prototype was a time-consuming process. Every modification to the design potentially added weeks to the lead time.

3D printing has significantly reduced the time it takes to produce a prototype and has allowed designers to quickly test the viability of their idea and explore more creative options that can be customised with ease.

Reduced prototype costs

Traditional methods of prototyping are costly and require expensive machinery to manufacture a product. Add in the cost of the labour to run the machine and a prototype or smaller run of goods can soon become cost prohibitive.

The 3D printing process is far simpler, takes up less space, and does not require a specialised machine operator, making it a more affordable option for small businesses.

There is also less waste, as the product is printed from the bottom up, rather than machined and shaped from a solid block—making material costs much more competitive.

Gain a competitive advantage

Having a tangible product to show your customer is far preferable to showing them your design on a screen. It aids the early identification of any design issues which can be easily incorporated into the CAD file and reprinted quickly, reducing the timescales of the product development process.

Reducing the cycle time means businesses can be more agile and gain a competitive advantage to deliver prototypes and design changes efficiently and professionally.

The prototype can also be shown to investors and board members, which again is advantageous when compared to showing them a design on a presentation. A prototype brings the product to life, it is more likely to grab their attention, overcome any concerns they have, and ultimately gain sign off for funding.

3D printing is a quick and cost effective way to build a prototype

Ready to push ‘print’?

As part of our product development service, we create prototypes for our clients, including 3D printed parts and products, which we can produce quickly and efficiently in-house. We also have a network of suppliers for producing more complex prototypes.

If you are ready to push ‘print’ on your prototype, contact our team on 01474 711189 or send us an email.

Do I need to prototype my product?

One of the services we offer our clients is creating rapid prototypes of their products using our 3D printer.

We were asked by a client recently: “Why do I need to get a prototype made of my product? Can’t I go straight into production?”

The prototyping stage is one of the most important parts of the product design process. Prototyping your product will actually save time and money overall, so we would always recommend that getting a prototype made.

So, first things first: what is a prototype?

A prototype is essentially a physical 3D version of your product or part. It is a replica of how your finished product will look and feel, and possibly even perform (if it’s a working prototype rather than just aesthetic).

The prototype could be a DIY version, made out of cardboard or other materials readily available, or you could employ a prototyping company like us to professionally make it for you.

Depending on the product being developed and the materials it’s made of, the process to create a prototype can vary. We will typically use a 3D printer which uses different types of plastics (with different properties). It is possible to get prototypes made in other materials such as wood, metal and fabric.

Why do I need to prototype?

Our MD Simon recently posted a video about the importance of prototyping in the product development process:

As Simon described in the video there are 3 main reasons for prototyping – all of which will save you time and money on your overall project. There will be a cost involved in getting the prototype professionally made, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.

1. It allows you to check the design and highlight any problems early on

Working with 3D CAD and photorealistic renders give us an excellent impression of what a product will look and perform like, but nothing really compares to holding the product in your hands and being able to examine it. When your product is ready for manufacture there may be expensive tooling costs, depending on the design. If you were to get the tools made without checking the design first, it could be a very costly mistake to make. Making a prototype allows you to make iterative changes to the design – a much more time and cost-effective method.

2. You can make sure the product performs correctly

Secondly, having a prototype allows you to test the functionality – making sure that any parts fit together correctly, that it is durable and won’t break. It is far cheaper to conduct these tests with a prototype than with final production parts.

3. It provides opportunity for feedback from end users

Finally, having a physical prototype means you can get feedback from real life customers. The feedback could be positive or negative – both are valuable and can provide some great insights, which you may even use to refine your product design. Again, it’s much more cost effective to make these changes now rather than later in the production process when you’ve invested into tooling.

You can also show the prototype to investors and board members – you’ll be taken more seriously when presenting a prototype rather than just a concept or an idea.

How do I make a prototype?

Prototyping is an essential stage of product development; it’s why we invested into a rapid prototyping machine (3D printer). We bought our Prusa Research printer at the start of 2020 and it’s been used on almost every one of our projects since.

If you are creative, you can choose to make a DIY prototype, which will give you a rough idea of what your product will look and feel like. It’s a relatively low-cost option and will give you an indication whether the product will be manufacturable. But in order to test it properly and to make sure the product will be fit for purpose, you will need to have the prototype professionally made.

If you have any questions about product prototyping or 3D printing, please get in touch with us, we’d be happy to help.

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