A visual prototype is a sample or model of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a visual prop to be replicated, improved and learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming but most common in product development. A visual prototype is designed to test and try a new design to enhance precision by inventors, investors and potential consumer users. Visual prototyping serves to provide a visual product impact instead of an individual imagined view.
Visual prototype creation is the step between the mental formalization and the actual look of an idea. There are several ways to create a visual prototype and I have numbered them in the most usual product development procedure;
1) Visual rendering or drawing (two dimensional).
2) Visual 3d model or cartoon (3 dimensional look) may be viewed on paper or on a computer screen or monitor). Often this visual prototype step is skipped if step number 3 is going to be implemented. Step number 3 can supply you with step number 2 visuals.
3) CAD or Solidworks visual model (multi dimensional) and usually viewed on a computer screen or monitor. CAD and Solidworks and other less common 3d modeling design programs are essential in moving for forward with a 3d printing of your invention or product and also needed to make exact size molds for the manufacturing processes such as plastic injection molding.
4) Actual physical prototype using methods of construction such as fabrication, 3D printing and off the shelf parts when available are usually the best for building a real life visual prototype for testing and show. Don’t underestimate the important of a “Visual Prototype” and don’t try to cut corners by skipping the visual prototype stage and moving forward without having shown yourself and others what your product may look like. As they say; a visual physical prototype takes your idea and turns it into reality and will help convey your seriousness and professionalism about your new product or invention.
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