I have a new product that I’d like to put out in the market for testing. I anticipate there will be some design changes, so I don’t want to order a large quantity just yet. What options do I have and how long will it take before I see samples?– Dr. E. Brown
Dear Dr. Brown:
We have many customers go through the prototype process before settling on a permanent design for production. Prior to entering into the prototype phase, there are a few things you should consider:
When do you need samples? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re looking for samples tomorrow, this quick of a turnaround is unlikely. The prototype process generally takes around 30-35 days, and that timeline expands if revisions are required. Timing of the production process is dictated by the speed of prototyping. We’ve developed this guide to help explain what to expect and when, once you’re ready to move forward.
Each material performs differently. If you’re starting the prototyping process with ABS, but then want to switch to PC, you’re going to get different results. You may not be able to use the same prototype tooling due to differences in the way each material shrinks. Prototyping tooling may be made from wood, fiberglass or composites, which is easy and less costly to modify. If you’re unsure of what material is best for your application, we can suggest different options.
Aside from using prototypes to test for dimensional fit and function, your feedback on part appearance is important. Prototype tooling often does not produce as much part detail as production tooling (think of wood tooling vs. aluminum tooling). Are these parts highly cosmetic? Will they be painted once they leave our facility, so imperfections aren’t a concern? We need to know! Anything you deem unacceptable during the prototyping process will be noted and corrected for production.
– Joslyn Manufacturing
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