You know what your thing should look like, and what it should do. It is probably something you have come to know like a good friend. You have probably spent hours of creative time working on it, thinking about it, and revising it over and over again. “Obsession” is a word that usually describes it. That is okay. We understand. 🙂
Most folks need to sell their thing or idea someday. The people who need to visualize that thing are usually investors or users who would very much like to see and understand your thing before investing their resources in it. Sometimes it is not financially practical to have a complete prototype ready to show to investors, especially when those investors are not located where you are. Consider too that to see a photo and to have an actual prototype in hand present different risks for having your idea copied by others.
One of the strengths of designing parts or complete assemblies in 3D CAD software is that we can generate photo-realistic images of what the part will look like when it is made. We can place logos, add photo-realistic lighting, backgrounds, or whatever is needed to depict the device. Sometimes those images lead to aesthetic changes that can mean all the difference in the final product. Sometimes those images get used for promotional materials that would be difficult to generate by using a physical model. Sometimes those images go no further than a portfolio.
Sometimes a photo is indeed worth a thousand words.
This part is a sample piece that can only be produced using rapid prototyping techniques.
Rapid prototypes require a 3D CAD file in STL format. If you have one, you can upload the file here. We will send you a quote by e-mail shortly. The rapid prototype can be produced and delivered to you within a few days.
But what if my design is not completed? That is where our engineers come in. We are experienced product development engineers that can complete the design for you. We can work from as little as paper napkin sketches. Sometimes our clients bring us mock-up models taped together using foam core, off-the-shelf parts, and cardboard. As long as what you have conveys the concept, we can make it happen.
Some people have experience with design, and prefer to do it themselves, but do not have the software resources that design engineers use. If you want to design the product yourself there are some free or low-cost alternatives available. Our favorite review site Top Ten Reviews has reviewed low-cost CAD software. There are also open source CAD programs that are free. If your intention is rapid prototyping, you need to make sure that the software can export STL files. If you plan to send your design out for production at a later stage, many mold makers prefer to work with STEP or IGES formats.
Caution: We have not tried these low-cost or free programs so we cannot say anything about how they perform. Another caution is that a design is typically not better than the designer. I am in the possession of a word processor but it does not make my writing skills better 🙂 Remember that almost any part can be rapid prototyped. When the part goes into production there are limitations to consider that are not readily apparent if you do not have experience with the production equipment.