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Create Prototype Myself Or Outsource?

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DIY or Outsource?

  • Create the MVP yourself and gauge interest. Don't waste money on a design firm.

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Outsource the project. The design firm will do a much better job creating an MVP.

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7

PizzaOnTheRoof

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I've been sitting on a new product idea for the past couple days and would love to get a prototype done for cheap to gauge the interest of my target market.

Don't want to divulge too much info on the outside, but the product will consist of heavy-duty nylon fabric, straps, a rubber lining, and some metal pipe fittings. My target market is outdoorsman, campers, off-roaders, etc.

Think this is something I can put together myself and test? Or should I outsource this to an independent design firm?

My main issue with outsourcing is cost and IP protection, and if I do it myself I'm worried the product won't be high enough quality to persuade potential buyers. It'll probably require some stitching skills and I don't have a sewing machine.

I would like to keep this project under $1k-$2k unless I get some seriously good feedback.
 
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RazorCut

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Could you not find a group of local people to help at each stage?

An upholsterer would easily be capable of putting together the straps and rubber lining. You could even go more upmarket and see a saddlemaker.

Your local plumber, engineering firm or fabrication shop would have no problem sourcing and building the metal frame.

You can easily find the webbing and nylon materials online or re-purpose a cheap new or secondhand tent. You could probably get the prototype made for a 10th of your budget.

In the UK we have a major issue with festival tents. People buy them new, use them for a weekend then leave thousands of them behind and they would end up in landfill. Now we have small companies setting up to re-purpose them into bags, hammocks and all sorts of useful products.

I don't know if you have the same issues in the US but using recycled products in your design could give you a possible marketing angle.

This is part of the aftermath of the Glastonbury festival. A sea of abandoned tents:

27652
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Could you not find a group of local people to help at each stage?

An upholsterer would easily be capable of putting together the straps and rubber lining. You could even go more upmarket and see a saddlemaker.

Your local plumber, engineering firm or fabrication shop would have no problem sourcing and building the metal frame.

You can easily find the webbing and nylon materials online or re-purpose a cheap new or secondhand tent. You could probably get the prototype made for a 10th of your budget.

In the UK we have a major issue with festival tents. People buy them new, use them for a weekend then leave thousands of them behind and they would end up in landfill. Now we have small companies setting up to re-purpose them into bags, hammocks and all sorts of useful products.

I don't know if you have the same issues in the US but using recycled products in your design could give you a possible marketing angle.

This is part of the aftermath of the Glastonbury festival. A sea of abandoned tents:

View attachment 27652
Thanks man. Those are some good ideas!

I’ll hit up an upholster and see what they can do
 

Vadim26

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Hey @PizzaOnTheRoof

Did you get your prototype done?

I would try approaching "Makerspaces" and asking them to do it for you.
It'll most likely be cheaper than a design firm.


Just some thoughts.
 
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PizzaOnTheRoof

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Hey @PizzaOnTheRoof

Did you get your prototype done?

I would try approaching "Makerspaces" and asking them to do it for you.
It'll most likely be cheaper than a design firm.


Just some thoughts.
Haven’t done it yet. It’s just an idea floating around in my headspace.

Wanted to just put a feeler out on the forum about prototyping.

But yeah that’s a good idea! There’s one in my town too that I could easily make it myself I bet...

Thanks!
 

bbar97

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I'm by no means an expert on this, but I do constantly come up with invention ideas, so I've thought about this subject a lot.

In addition to what the other people here have suggested, if its a slightly complex idea I would suggest using google sketchup to design a 3D model of your idea so that its easier for you to visualize and to show to the people who help you prototype it. I had a pretty complex invention that I was exploring, and modeling it in 3D helped me discover problems with how it would work without me wasting money prototyping. Just a thought.

Let me know if you have any questions about sketchup.
 

MichaelCash

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I always use freelancers. I would not be working about IP because it is very hard to copy an idea. When you post a project on freelancers marketplaces, you don't need to share details with everyone. After you select a bid, you only share details with the selected freelancers. Also, you will get professional web and graphic design. Are you design skills good? If you want it to look professional, you have to have really good design.
 
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NMdad

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If your prototype requires skills and/or equipment that you don't have--and don't necessarily want to acquire (or would take a long time to acquire)--then find other people who can help you make the prototype.

Otherwise, your prototype is just an idea without execution--which'll probably bum you out down the road.

Quick example: I've had an idea for a physical item which requires 3D-printed parts combined with some electronics. I have neither 3D-printing/design expertise nor electronics expertise (well, a teeny bit of experience, but not enough to make my prototype). So, I hired a high-school student who has both skillsets & access to a 3D printer--he's going to "tutor" me on the process (that way, I'll learn enough to improve the 1st prototype version & acquire the knowledge to make future prototypes), and I'll get my prototype built.

You could do the same by working with (and/or hiring) people from makerspaces or elsewhere--whoever already has the expertise & equipment required to make your prototype.

Bottom line: don't let yourself be the bottleneck. Figure out what you need to get it done.
 

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