Over many years we have worked with passionate inventors who are trying to develop a new product. "For every 1,000 patents only about four or five will succeed and make money" per the article "A 'million-dollar' idea?" in Machine Design magazine. Developing a prototype model is an important step in determining which way your invention may go.
Our conversations with inventors often cover points like these:
- What physical, mechanical or electrical principles does this invention depend on? The idea might be a good one but may need some engineering assistance to ensure that it works. A high school coach came to us with an idea for a broad jump foul detector. He did not know what type of beam should be used to trigger the detector. We did the electrical and mechanical work for his laser activated detector.
- Have you tried to make a physical mock up of this product yourself? Our experience is that only about one-third of the population can visualize things well in three dimensions. We often see drawings of an idea that looks good on paper but simply doesn't work or is more complex when a prototype is built. One client had a patent with step by step drawings showing how parallel parts could move together both vertically and horizontally. When we built a prototype, it didn't work. Fortunately we were able to solve that problem.
- Are you planning to produce and market the final product? Inventors have often not thought that far ahead. For example prototype details may vary depending on whether small or large production runs are planned. A prototype can be used to get feedback from users, investors, manufacturers and the marketplace. That information helps determine the final design, product cost and success of the product. Once we created the working detector, we referred the high school coach to an industrial design firm to help optimize user factors and the manufacturing cost.
- Have you done your homework on what it takes for your invention to succeed? I recommend that inventors read "How I Made Millions With Just a Few Simple Ideas" by Robert M. Hayes. This guide shows with real examples how to increase invention success. Is a patent necessary? Will the invention sell? Most inventors assume the world will beat a path to their door but that rarely happens. This book illustrates how to sell and make money from ideas that may or may not be patented.
Converting an idea to reality is often difficult. Many good ideas die in the developmental stage because implementation requires special skills and tools. You need a model builder who can provide the ingenuity, experience, equipment and material to crystallize your idea.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss prototypes or other projects contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .