Product prototype development occurs throughout the product design process, both in early stages to validate the form, fit, and function of the design, and at later stages to verify that the design details have met technical and business objectives. Product prototypes give the client, as well as Voice of Customer research participants, a hands-on product experience that digital modeling and simulation can’t replicate.
At Brooks Stevens, we pride ourselves on creating a final product prototype that is so detailed, most consumers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the prototype they’re holding and the final product in the market. Throughout the design and development process of a product, various levels of detail and fidelity of a prototype takes place.
Low-Fidelity Product Prototypes
Early product prototype manufacturing is done by hand by an industrial designer. They are typically carved out of a lightweight foam and used to imagine the shape of the product. As the early product prototypes progress, they become more detailed, first including drawn-on, then carved, features. These models are used to both help the industrial designer throughout their process, but also to help the engineer once the project is transferred to them. They are able to comprehend the designer’s 2D sketch by analyzing the 3D prototyping provided to them.
Medium-Fidelity Product Prototypes
Later in the product development process, prototype fabrication is done by machine in order to provide a more thorough level of detail. These later stage product prototypes can be constructed with 3D-printing technology or cast from soft tooling techniques. Model at this stage are typically semi to fully functional, embodying many of the Visual Brand Language elements captured in earlier steps of the product design process.
High-Fidelity Final Prototypes
Brooks Stevens prides itself on creating detailed and complex final product prototypes that are nearly indistinguishable from the final product released to market. These models are fully functional and accurately detailed in styling, color, finish and branding.
Our prototyping lab is full of a variety of machinery that allows us to create detailed product prototypes throughout the design and development process. We provide the following prototyping services:
- Visual Models (looks like)
- Functional Models (works like)
- Pre-Production Runs (looks like/works like)
- CNC Machining
- Metal Fabrication
- Acetylene Welders
- Silicone Molding
- Urethane Part Casting
- Proof of Concept Models
- Full-Function Prototypes
- Vacuum Forming
- Rotational Molding
- Fiberglass Fabrication
- Custom Painting: 10’ Booth, Sikkens System for Color Matching
- Labeling & Packaging
Would you like to put one of our highly-detailed product prototypes to the test? Contact us today to learn more about our prototype manufacturing capabilities.