Query by cheeleng: Do I need to have a functioning prototype to manufacture a product?
I am at present making a crude prototype, that functions like the item, but is not correct in size (not to scale)- it is a lot bigger. I was asking yourself if this type of crude prototype will suffice if I show it to a manufacturer, or will I want to make a final prototype that is made of the exact same material and is to scale to the actual item. The purpose I am asking is since I’m 17 and I do not have any personal money to hire a professional to do it for me. (I also have to save it to file a provisional patent application and employ a patent lawyer)
Answer by Andrew E
If it functions precisely a you intend the final solution, then I would hardly call it crude.
How close is it to the final sizing and material?
This is precisely what a prototype is for, proving out the design and style.
You could make a new a single and take it in to the manufacturer – but then they would have to make the drawings (and either they would own them OR charge you for the engineering time).
Is something moulded, die cast, stamped, or machined? Producers generally use detailed drawings to make your products.
You could learn some style software yourself, hire an engineering student, hire your own outsourced designer on Odesk, or operate with a small item style firm the specializes in employing and managing these overseas designers. See: http://www.producracy.com/product-design-approach/
As the other gentleman stated, look into provisional patent for now.
Key is to be the 1st to industry and earn yourself a following of loyal customers.
Never overlook the usefulness of appropriate on the internet advertising and marketing.
Also, with a functioning prototype, you could explore crowd funding (i.e. Kickstarter or Indiegogo).
Good luck, please let me know how I can help,
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