Having a great idea and building it from the ground up in your workspace is an exciting accomplishment. While many ideas ultimately end up collecting dust on a garage shelf, what if the input of family and friends instead spurred you to want to put your idea in front of the public? If you are feeling inspired enough by your own creation to publicize and sell it, you will have to ask yourself, what does it take to get my invention manufactured?
Research, Research, and More Research
With your creation in hand or on your mind, and with the blessings of your close confidants, it is time to start looking into just what it takes to bring your invention to market. Documenting your idea—its purpose, the target market, your ideal materials to be used in producing it—should be recorded on paper or in a digital document to help you through the next steps. Digitizing the idea with the benefit of computer-based time and date stamping is ideal for one reason: the patent.
It is unfortunate to think about, but the truth is that some people, after hearing about your money-making idea, could try to jump ahead of you to bring it to market first. This makes speaking to a patent attorney a wise starting point before you proceed. They will check for potential issues, such as someone already patenting your idea, and can tell you if you need to file for a provisional patent or if a patent will not be necessary, as well as any recommended design or prototyping requirements.
Writing a concise business plan that is based on a comprehensive list of research items will help in determining some important cost and marketing factors. The research involved in the business plan will help you to determine who your market is and if they will actually purchase your product. Also, you will calculate the cost of materials and complexity of production to see if the final price tag aligns with your expectations and what a potential customer would spend on your creation.
Breathe Life into Your Invention Using CAD-Based Design
In almost every case in modern manufacturing, a digital drawing that includes detailed specifications and material types is required. But let’s face it, the majority of inventors have very little, if any, CAD design experience. Taking up the gauntlet to teach yourself can be costly, and the time commitment could delay when your product goes to market. Plus, you may not know what drawings or digital representations of your product are needed at each stage in the manufacturing process.
Leaning on a professional manufacturing consultant to provide you with crucial CAD drafting services is a good choice for any inventor. An experienced design team—especially one that has proven results for those entering into the manufacturing field—will give your invention a superior look and highly polished feel. An experienced CAD designer will create all of your drawings faster, with an emphasis on creating a higher level of quality with your product idea.
It is important to know what to look for in a professional CAD drafting service. They should be able to:
- Clearly communicate with you any suggested changes, as well as clear-cut reasoning as to why.
- Produce patent-type drawings for your provisional patent application.
- Help to create the highly detailed 3D drawings required for use in a manufacturing setting, or that can easily be used as an illustrated prototype of your project.
Using a Prototype to Test Product Marketability and Usability
Once your vision has been defined and is running perfectly in a virtualized CAD product, it is time to consider your prototyping options. There are five key stages when it comes to producing prototyping, but the great thing is that by this stage, you have already accomplished a vital step: defining the vision. From here, you will turn towards the steps that are inherently related to the production of the prototype itself as well as the determination of the best-suited prototype for your project.
Although it is tempting to focus on everything your idea can do, focusing on its primary, difference-making ability will do wonders for the marketability and manufacturing options for your product. Taking this path will open up more physical prototyping options to your project, and will present you with enhanced opportunities to work with your design team to refine the design as needed. It is important to note that as helpful as a working model can be, it is not necessarily suited for all applications.
The power to simulate product performances may mean that your best prototype is a virtual prototype. Providing this to marketers, manufactures, or potential investors can be just as effective as having a physical model sitting on the table in front of them. Also, using virtual prototypes can still be hyper-realistic, thanks to the ability of many CAD designers to create a photo-realistic virtual prototype. These can be sent to and examined in any part of the world in an instant.
Onboard the Right Partner to Take Your Invention to Market
Having a design and prototype to back up your bold idea is only the beginning of the invention process. Seeking the opinion and input of a manufacturing consultant that can in turn bring your product to market is the key next step to be carried out. The input you seek must come from a design and manufacturing professional that can lend years of rich experience to your project to help ensure that it reaches your intended audience.
PRL is an end-to-end manufacturer—we pride ourselves on handling every aspect of the process for our partners. Our experts are here to guide you through each step of design, prototyping, customer analysis, development, manufacturing, and delivery.