Choose great over good. Hand-finishing is powerful.
November 15, 2018
As we race towards an automated world there can be a tendency to think that all problems can be solved with technology. A computer program or app or online service can solve it all, can create for us, can make it easier, can make it cheaper. When it comes to rapid prototyping there is a lot of truth to new technologies helping project timelines and helping to open up new fabricating options that did not exist before. But we have to be careful not to trade off quality for convenience. If you are in the business of creating and selling new products then accepting a quicker but unfinished part can end your project before you even really get started.
When it comes to a one-off prototype or trade show samples or samples that you will show to investors and buyers, it is often the surface finishing and the feel of the part/product that can make or break your project. That fine detail in the corners, on the edges, in the hidden recesses of your part/product, that when done right can be the difference between winning or losing an order. That seamless paint job, that perfectly roughed up surface finish, that rubber overmold feature that puts your part/product ahead of the rest, all of these finishing options and more help you win over investors and buyers. Some can be achieved with technology but for low run parts you will likely need quality hand-finishing as part of the roadmap to excellence.
Don’t take your idea to the market or to investors meetings with a part/product that is half finished for the sake of convenience. You really need the finished article to make a lasting impression, at least as close to the finished article as you can get. Hand-finished, first class prototypes with exceptional surface finishing that only an experienced craftsman can deliver will give you a complete visual and tactile presentation that can help take your project to the next level and win orders.
Right now, somewhere in the world, there are at least 2 people trying to make almost exactly the same thing you are trying to make, same design, same feature set and there are dozens of other companies making something very similar to your design. They are all your competition and often you don’t even know they exist until you both show up at the same trade show trying to impress. If you are not ready to commit to full production tooling or a full production run then you need to rely on partners to produce your part/product who have roots in hand-finishing , who can deliver a one-off part/product that looks like a full production part.
Don’t let your competition impress over your offer, make sure your offer impresses even if you don’t have a full budget for final production. Technology for rapid prototyping is essential in the modern day, partnering technology solutions with hand-finishing can be the difference between a great part/product and a good part/product. Choose great, choose partners who can deliver great.