How to build a prototype

Wherever you are commercially, there will come a point where it is necessary to go from an idea to a reality and to create a prototype that can be tested.

The question is: how to go about this?

Our low-cost methodology saves you money because we do not focus initially on product design but on proof-of-concept engineering. We make a prototype, test it and if necessary, develop it so that it works as well as possible.

"The biggest emotion in creation is the bridge to optimism..."

Brian May - Lead guitarist of Queen, who designed and made his own special-purpose electric guitar

Building a prototype

To build a first-prototype or proof of concept, we do not necessarily need to create detailed engineering drawings because as soon as the device is made for the first time, it is likely that something will need to be developed or altered and the drawings will become obsolete. We often start with mock-ups as part of pilot studies and then progress to a functional prototype once the uncertainties have been resolved.

We use a wide variety of methods to solve technical problems and work out the best way to create an innovative product including sketching and mock ups. But 3D modelling and printing has transformed the way we work in recent years.

We can quickly 3D model an idea, print it out and try it so in reality CAD is an integral part of almost every step of the process. We often make scale models or full scale models in plastic before making them in steel or aluminium.

James Dyson said:

“Computer-aided design (CAD) is absolutely brilliant, but really good engineers always draw by hand first. We sketch and our team always make rough and ready crude prototypes at the beginning, with cardboard, gaffer tape, MDF, Plasticine, and PVC tape.”(source:

CAD and rapid prototyping

Once the device is working well the next step is to see how it can be redesigned as a product.

Roadspy 3.1 CAD

The Roadspy 3.1 CAD uses each of the component parts of a casing (Roadspy prototype). These were then each made using a rapid-prototyping technique (stereolithography, SLA).

Road Spy Revised61