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CAD Insight: getting a product from screen to store

    
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bella

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 CAD Insight: getting a product from screen to store
19-05-2014 02:14 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Do you have a product idea, but don't know what do do with it next? Maybe you've developed a prototype but you're not sure how to get it to market? Take a look at the ZWCAD latest blog post, showing you how to get your product from the screen to the stores!

You have been playing about on ZW3D and have come up with an incredible product. How has no-one thought of this before? It’s going to be huge? But what next? It is a long, tough journey to get from this stage to the shelves of Wal-Mart, but these tips will be able to guide you on your way.

Prototyping
To be taken seriously by any investor, manufacturer or buyer you will need a physical representation of your product. Ideally this would be a fully functioning model but if not, something that you can use to help explain your vision.


The first step would be to construct a basic version of your product with cheap materials or things lying around the house. The aim of this would be to get a better idea of your product, and allow you to make small changes before you invest fully in pre-production prototyping. Moldable plastics, such as Instamorph, can be used to design and test any plastic products, and can be remolded over and over again until you have perfected the design.


The pre-production prototype will be a more professional version of your product and will be used to attract investors and buyers to your product before you enter in to manufacturing. If the product is based on plastics, you can use a 3D printer to cheaply and easily make a one off version. If you do not own a 3D printer, makexyz.com offers a directory of printers available to hire in your area. For metallic products, you may need to enlist the help of a prototype engineer, find-able through a Google search, however this could considerably increase costs. If you are aiming to keep costs low, you could enlist the help of a local tradesman.




Patenting
After working so hard on the design of your product, the last thing you want is for someone to come along and steal the idea. Patenting can stop this; however it can be a long and costly process.


Patenting laws are different for every country so you should research closely in to your own local laws. Generally, however, you can receive a provisional patent or a non-provisional patent. A provisional patent will be far cheaper but will only last one year, giving you time to decide whether your idea is worthy of your investment.


The patent application can be done individually or through a patent lawyer. Undertaking this task individually will involve submitting sketches of your idea and a brief description. Once this is done, you will be able to label your product as “patent pending’ and will spend the next year or so convincing the patent office that your idea is truly new and non-obvious.


Employing a patent lawyer to undertake this task for you will undoubtedly cost a significant amount more, however they will be able to create a much broader patent, making it harder for other firms to design around your product.


Having successfully gained a patent for your product, it will then be up to you to identify if any competitors are violating that patent. A tough task for a small company.



Licensing or Manufacturing
Once you have covered points one and two, it moves to the hardest but most rewarding stage, but first you must make the choice between manufacturing and selling the product yourself, or licensing your idea out to another company.


This choice is largely up to you. If you have the passion for your product, as well as the financial backing and business know-how to enter the market on your own, it could be one of the most rewarding things you could do. This, however, comes at a high risk and could result in major financial losses so is certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly.


Licensing is also hard to achieve. Large companies have a long waiting list of products to produce and will only accept products with great potential. They also lack the passion that you would have having followed the product from idea conception to this stage. Having said this, the financial risk is vastly reduced and if your product is taken on, the distribution channels and marketing budgets of larger businesses can result in royalties greater than any income you could have received on your own.


Within these stages, you will also have to construct business plans, conduct market research and locate financing along with a variety of other tasks. Bringing your product to market is certainly not an easy option, but it could be both financially and personally rewarding if it is done successfully.


For more ZWCAD blog, please go to: http://zwcadblog.wordpress.com/
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