Prototyping is part of our design process on the journey of building your product idea.
With any design it is normal to need a number of prototypes made before a successful outcome is achieved. This can typically take months to happen as CAD files are sent externally for rapid prototype printing. This means waiting for their construction and delivery before identifying areas to improve, feedback with customer, update and send a new improved design to be made for a second iteration.
Since we acquired our large in-house Ultimaker 3D printer we have found that we have integrated our prototyping and development phases of work to become quicker with rapid iteration. Using plant-based materials we are able to build a prototype straight after a CAD design in a matter of hours. This has allowed us to start an exploratory phase where we iterate a project several times incredibly quickly. We are now able to see first-hand any early mistakes, and correct on the fly. This has given our customers a prototype that is either closer to their initial ambition or with enhanced features. All this means getting the project closer to the end result first time.
An example of an inventor that benefitted from this phase is Tom Keen from FlushBrush limited. Our client had just one month to update his prototype with some changes before he was ready for filming in the Den. He approached us with his requirements and in a matter of days we printed and iterated approx. 28 different parts to hone-in on the best features and achieve a great result for Dragons’ Den.
Having the 3D printer in-house meant that we had more free time to do R&D so we came up with more innovative ideas such as the use of directional magnets to pick up the brush from the loo. Read more about it in our Dragons Den success story blog post.