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How do you take a hardware idea to prototype?

I have an idea, and working solo, for a hardware product that involves some tech/electrical components. I have a basic idea of the design, along with a crude non-tech prototype, but I don't have the background on for the electrical components. I would like to better understand the process of creating and refining the prototype. Also, at what point would I get a designer and CAD worked up and get to the point that I can have one final version of the product made.

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Rob Christian
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Rob Christian Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at TrueCar Inc.
Depending on what you're building, you might be able to get a real prototype done yourself for very cheap. Programs like Rhino can be learned relatively easily, and there's plenty of resources to get you there. Once you have a model, you can upload it to a site like i.materialise.com (or shapeways or 3dhub or etc etc) and get a quote instantly. The turnaround can be same week. This assumes there's a suitable material for what you're trying to prototype. If you can't get through these steps yourself, you'll need to acquire a team member who has the background for it. I don't know electronics either, so for that my mentor advises the team-building approach. Bolt.io has a great document that covers the broad strokes: https://medium.com/@BoltVC/hardware-by-the-numbers-part-1-team-prototyping-b225a33f55bf Feel free to message me directly if you have more questions, especially on the 3D stuff.
William Kassebaum
3
0
President at Kassebaum Engineering LLC
Ajay, I am an experienced professional engineer with considerable hardware and software engineering experience - working in a full lifecycle development process for US DOD and consumer electronics projects. I would be happy to give you some specific advice if you want to contact me directly at Will dot Kassebaum at IEEE dot org. But .. In general -- the answer is that it depends on various factors. Such as what is the target market, the required BOM (bill of materials), and key features. The fundamental engineering effort is to accomplish a scoped purpose staying within a feasible cost. The exact steps would vary depending on the target market. There might be a stage of creating demonstration models for selling the concept. Engineering Design Models to test a fully functional prototype. And finally several spins of the production design to work out EDM bugs and production assembly issues. Configuration management is very important both in terms of requirements and hardware/software design implementation. The developement effort is typically accomplished via an iterative spiral process. Anyway, that the concept of how to do it. Lots of important details related to the specific needs of your idea. Hope this helps. -Will Sent from my iPad
Stephen Palmer
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Stephen Palmer Advisor
Grand Master, Sovereign White Knights - 6 Peaceful Orders
From a prototype position, the electrical circuit for precursor engineering should follow along the lkines of corrected EM engineering, rather than finding the hard way that there are 34 major flaws in EM theory, that Vector math no matter the level of the higher topologies, is still lazy math, as linear will not get you there, resonances need quaternion math, Heaviside and Gibbs were in major error by only developing vector math, where scalar components needed to calculate the algorithms were left out.

Once you have the proper designs that you can get at Danish Technical University in Denmark, then a simple SLS 3D Printer can finish the entire prototype and even make adjustments and on-the-fly CAD drawings for the entire unit including the circuit board and components.
David Pariseau
0
0
David Pariseau Entrepreneur
CTO and CoFounder at Particles Plus

The simplest thing is to find someone who does that and talk to them. I'd be happy to look at your project and give you a sense of what would be involved in turning it into 1) a working demo and then 2) a shippable product. Feel free to contact me at dpariseau at tekplusinc dot com. I'm also in the Bay Area.

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