The word prototype derives from the Greek – protos, “first” and typos, “impression”. A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. A prototype is generally used to evaluate a new design or idea. Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working piece rather than a theoretical one. In some design workflow models, creating a prototype (a process sometimes called materialization) is the step between the formalization and the evaluation of an idea.
Many people have contacted Nadco to prototype their idea. During the initial contact, questions are asked such as – Will it be used outdoors, in high heat, extreme cold, or wet environments? What material should be used? What size? The size question usually will dictate how your prototype will be created. Many prototypes were cut to size and shape with a laser, other pieces were created with dies we already have in stock. Using the laser, we can create any unusual shape like an octopus for instance.
After the material is selected and art provided, or we create it, the prototype is made and sent out. The customer inspects and evaluates the piece. Is the size too big, too small? Is the material too thick, too thin? Quite often the initial questions make the prototyping process much quicker as the piece is usually right on the mark with only minor tweaks needed. The prototype is now refined and ready for actual production. It’s time to put the piece out there and see what kind of “first impression” it makes.