Putting your trust in another operation to build you a prototype for a quality custom part calls for extra caution. Mechanical prototyping requires a high level of expert guidance, engineering, and testing before any unique solution can be safely and effectively implemented into the application it was designed for. In order to increase your chances of receiving a successful prototype when all is said and done, look for a machined parts manufacturer that follows these mechanical prototyping best practices.
The first stage of mechanical prototyping should begin with open dialogue between the vendor and the customer, usually guided by the lead engineer responsible for overseeing your part’s development from concept to fruition. Once you supply your initial drawing to the vendor, expect it to be heavily marked up by both parties. This collaboration is key, and should involve heavy scrutiny of the concept at every stage. A machined parts vendor that is willing to temporarily delay the process in order to call a red flag when they see one is a vendor you can trust.
Only after an engineer has been involved in this initial prototyping phase should you expect to receive a quote. Mechanical prototyping projects require an in-depth understanding of the application in order for any manufacturer to accurately provide an estimate of the final cost. Receiving a quote too early in the process may be an indicator that your vendor does not fully understand what is required of them.
From there, a prototype should be produced according to the agreed-upon specifications, but don’t consider the job done yet. Unique parts need to be tested for durability and functionality more heavily than already tried-and-true designs and materials. Final prototypes should therefore be subject to a review phase or field testing when applicable. A testing and review period also provides a great opportunity for customer feedback, and any additional collaboration may help to improve the cost or efficacy of the final product.
At Allis Roller, we practice what we preach when it comes to mechanical prototyping. Aside from following the aforementioned mechanical prototyping protocols, our extensive prototyping experience and wide range of in-house manufacturing capabilities ensures that the custom parts we produce are as high performing as possible. At no point in our process is the customer left out of the loop; Allis Roller facilitates continuous collaboration and communication between all parties.
Most importantly, we go the extra mile to make the entire mechanical prototyping process easy for the customer. Allis Roller engineers are instructed to not make any assumptions about the performance of a product, and always raise concerns when they have them. A willingness to head off any issues during the prototyping phase prevents the need to make adjustments after full-scale production has already begun, and builds trust between our operation and the customer.
Once we’re confident that a custom prototype is ready for testing, Allis Roller gives customers access to the following range of testing options:
At the suggestion of an engineer, Allis Roller can also send a finished prototype to a third party vendor to independently validate the product design or provide additional testing not offered by Allis Roller. We feel that any machined parts operation taking on mechanical prototyping work should be committed to seeing the entire project through till the end – which should include an adequate testing phase. And of course, once this prototyping process is completed, the real fun begins. Your part becomes a reality!
For more information on mechanical prototyping best practices and custom machined parts, connect with one of our experts through the Contact Page. Whether you’re still developing your new project or you’re ready to begin, the Allis Roller team is here to help.