How to Develop a Plastic Prototype for the First Time

February 3, 2022 6:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Have a product idea in mind and want to turn it into a reality? The plastic fabrication process is ideal if you’re looking to create quick, useful prototypes to test out your designs.

Here’s a brief guide on how to develop a plastic prototype for the first time.

Refine your concept

No matter what type of product you’re designing, the first step in the prototyping process is getting your ideas down on paper. Create a concept sketch of your idea to help you visualize the final product in detail. While you can use digital tools for this step, it’s often easier to create rapid rough sketches rather than investing your time perfecting a rendering.

Create a CAD model

After you get your rough ideas down on paper, the next step in the plastic fabrication process is to create a CAD (computer-aided design) model. Your CAD model essentially is a digital mock-up of your idea. It shows how your product should look, how individual parts fit together and how your product should function overall.

CAD models can take many forms, but they typically feature both 2D and 3D renderings. 3D renderings are particularly helpful when it comes time to fabricate your prototype in plastic. They allow you to visualize your idea from all angles, allowing you to see exactly how your design will look in real life. If you’re not skilled in CAD or other similar rendering programs, work with a professional engineer or designer to help you with this step of the prototyping process.

Build the physical prototype

Once you’ve refined your CAD model so it’s exactly as you want it to be, you can proceed to building your physical prototype. Seek out a reputable plastic manufacturer to turn your idea into reality. How can you select the best prototyping partner? Here are three things to look for:

  • Capabilities: When choosing a prototyping partner, evaluate their abilities and the capacity they can provide. Research your options, and look at the type of services each candidate offers, as well as what materials they work with.
  • Experience: Prototyping can be expensive, especially if your idea requires several ideations before you arrive at a final model that’s ready for production. Experience matters, both at the individual and company levels. Make sure your prototype supply partner has plenty of experience so that you can avoid wasting time and money.
  • Turnaround times: If you have a great idea for a product, you want to get it out into the world without delay. As you’re choosing a prototyping partner, ask them about their average lead times. Look for a partner who can provide constant and consistent supplies of prototypes so you can refine your idea and get it to a manufacturer as quickly as possible.

Looking to take advantage of the plastic fabrication process to create prototypes for your products? Talk to the plastic fabrication experts at D&D Plastics today. We’ll help you bring your ideas to life—if you can think it up, we can make it.

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