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THE DESIGNER AND PROTOTYPES

V. Ryan 2010

 

A designer will make a number of prototypes before deciding on a final version of a product. There are many reasons for this and some are written below. (Click here for information on modelling materials).
 
1. Unlike a computer model, a prototype can be physically handled by the designer, a design team and potential customers.
2. Making a scaled prototype allows the designer / manufacturer to work out the method of construction/manufacture. This cannot be done accurately when using CAD.
3. Making a prototype allows the manufacturer to determine the ‘flow’ of production on a production line, in a factory.
4. Design errors are often detected when making a scaled model / prototype. Often design or manufacturing problems can be solved at this stage.
5. The designer can display the prototype at meetings and there is no need to rely on an expensive computer system.
6. A prototype can be tested by potential customers and focus groups.
7. A prototype can be used as an integral part of a questionnaire. A computer model is not as effective as a real life object, as it cannot be handled.
 
 
 
The prototype below represents an educational toy. Its function is to teach young children how to use a pedestrian crossing. A range of materials have been used including perspex, PVC, MDF, card and various parts, such as electrical trunking. Much of the materials used have been found in the scrap bin ensuring minimum waste. This model can be regarded as a prototype.
 
A focus group can be asked to test this ‘toy’ and to identify dangers, weaknesses and improvements. A computer simulation could not be tested in the same way.
 
List three other advantages of manufacturing a prototype product. You may want to discuss a prototype you have made as an aspect of a design project.
 
 
 
CLICK BELOW FOR INFORMATION ON MODELS AND PROTOTYPES
 
Making a Model - Introduction
Why Make a Model?
Model Making - Tools and Equipment - 1
Model Making - Tools and Equipment - 2
Model Making - Tools and Equipment - 3
Model Making - Tools and Equipment - 4
 
Modelling Materials - 1
Modelling Materials - 2
Sample Models
Card Based Models
Architectural Models
Computer Generated Models
Computer Generated Systems Model (Spreadsheets)
 
 
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