Plastic Parts Fast #CES2019

November 27, 2018

With CES coming up (the premier event for launching your tech projects), it is a good time to remember the importance of not only excellent looking prototypes and show samples but strong prototypes and show samples.

You might be going to an outside sales meeting or an in-house project meeting or exhibiting at a trade show or talking to investors, wherever you are, if you are showing off your new part or product make sure it does not fail you. When I take a functional rapid prototype part/product out for a test spin there are 3 boxes that I like to tick before heading out.

Aesthetics – Finish your part/product before going to a meeting, make it pretty. It needs to look finished, even if you are not sure what the final finish will look like, finish the part/product for your meeting. Your rapid prototype should look, feel, and work like a production piece if at all possible. Never tell the people in your meeting that you are showing them a prototype unless they ask, let them think this is the real deal. That is how good your prototype should be, it should pass as a finished piece whenever possible.

Robustness – Pretty products are great but it is not good enough to win orders. If your part/product is not strong enough someone will break it or you may inadvertently break it during a demonstration. If your rapid prototype breaks, then normally the meeting is over at this point even if you keep talking for 30 minutes. Make your part/product strong, slightly overbuild early rapid prototype samples to guard against breakage.

Manufacturability – You can fake it until you make it, but don’t fake too much. The part/product you are showing in your meeting has to be based in reality when it comes to mass production and price points. With 3D Printing, we can now design virtually anything, but that doesn’t mean your design can necessarily be mass manufactured and hit market price points. Shoot for the stars with your design but don’t promise the world if you cannot deliver. Present a product that is grounded in manufacturing reality because if you win the order you won’t have a lot of time to solve manufacturing problems.

If I had to pick only one of the above I would pick Robustness. Products failing in sales meetings or trade shows, trust me, don’t even come close to risking it.

Gary Moran

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