What Is Prototype Development? 

You have an idea or an interest in the field and you want to know more about prototype development, great! That’s what we like to hear.

Simply, a successful product goes through stages of design, iteration, prototyping and testing before the final design is reached. The prototyping stage includes creating 3D models of the product, simulating electronics and control systems and 3D printing the product.

This allows for the opportunity to test the product with your own hands, to improve or adapt the functionality and to make changes at an early stage in the design process. Prototyping is a cost effective process and is beneficial as you move towards full scale manufacture.

Our 3 Main Stages of Prototype Development

  • The initial consultation with a client forms the parameters in which theCADlab can research possible designs, features, electronics and software integration. The team meets to bring their findings together and make a proposal to the client outlining timelines, budget and what they can expect to achieve by the end of the process.
  • We then produce a 3D model of the product using Autodesk Fusion360. This is a valuable process as changes can easily be made, and unique features and customised logos can be integrated into the product. We also begin to develop the electronics at this stage as well as the platform for software integration.
  • The Fusion360 model will be 3D printed in our workshop and assembled with the electronics integrated. Once this prototype is functional we arrange a hand-over meeting with the client to demonstrate the working model, take feedback and make adjustments.

Why 3D Printing Is The Perfect Prototyping Tool

3D printing is a form of rapid prototyping that gives us the flexibility to make adjustments to a design, manufacture, and test it in a very short time span. We have a responsibility towards ethical design and manufacturing, the nature of additive manufacturing means very little waste is produced and little energy is wasted. The materials and packaging we use are sustainably produced where possible.

The range of materials available in 3D printing means the same machine that produces a simple clasp could also be used to prototype a stint for a heart or a prosthetic hand. Our clients drive us to experiment and improve our range of skills with each product.

There are very few limitations in 3D printing. Though size can prove to be one of those few, we can produce products up to 500mm x 500mm x 500mm in size which is quite substantial. We can also key smaller parts together, join and finish them so they look like one solid print. The shape of your product is limited only by what can be designed and modelled, you will be amazed at what theCADlab can produce in a short time span. The colour of your prototype can also be changed with different filaments and finishing techniques from a simple spray paint to chrome coating.

What Is A Prototype in Software Engineering?

To understand this we must first ask, what is software engineering? By its very definition, software engineering is a process used to analyse, design, build, and test software applications that will prove successful within their intended market.

Software prototyping is the process of creating a software application that demonstrates how an application or software may function. This prototype does not contain the exact logic of the original software. In fact, the prototype will have some limited functionality, but the value is more in the testing and gauging the efforts required to bring it to market.

This form of prototyping is growing hugely in popularity as it allows the creator to understand how their software works when in the hands of the customer. This means that alterations can be made in the very early stages, saving time and money.

Software engineering, prototyping, and 3D modelling are just a few of the services that theCADlab can offer when it comes to bringing your idea to life. At theCADlab we have a combined experience of 20 years in product development, engineering, electronics and software integration.

You can check out our bios to find out what each team member brings to the table.

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