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Forums Forums Q & A My Industrial Design Lesson: From Product Idea, to Prototype, to Market

  • My Industrial Design Lesson: From Product Idea, to Prototype, to Market

    updated 3 years, 1 month ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • Christine

    Member
    September 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Hey all, I am the owner of Iron Horse Firearms and inventor of the TOR(Thumb Operated Receiver). Don’t like guns? Thats fine, this isn’t about that. Taking an idea and making it a product can be really hard and confusing, and as everyone here has beat to death, you need a good lawyer to help navigate a lot of these waters. A good lawyer can be worth more than the money you spend on them. Asside from that it can be hard to figure out where to start when you have a product idea. To that end I want to introduce everyone to the field of industrial design. Industrial design firms help companies, evaluate, design, and manufacture prototypes. Including selection and evaluation of materials, manufacturing methods and more. Seriously, if you have a good idea this is a great place to start. The company we worked with, and has seriously been indispensable, and invaluable is called Metropolis Design. In addition to us they have worked with and designed products for medical companies, Overstock.com, skullcandy, intel, Black Diamond climbing gear, and many more. They have a broad range of expertise in 3D printing, CNC manufacturing, materials science and design, and more. If you have a product idea they can help. I want to briefly talk about the process I went through with bringing the TOR to market. It’s a fairly complicated product, and very involved when you look at legal compliance requirements and all the different parts, and materials involved. After about a year+ of work on my own, I had a very rough prototype, and all the licensing I needed to move forward. I had met with lots of investors, but those meetings almost never got beyond the prototype. It was clear I needed a product quality prototype to show because there was lots of interest in what we were doing, but lots of doubt about our ability to execute. That is when we found Metropolis. They took this: https://imgur.com/a/5ZsLp4N To this: https://imgur.com/a/SZuNWaU The process of creating a product isn’t new and there are many methods for managing this process. One of the more popular ones that I want to talk about is called phase gate, and the steps are: Phase 0: discovery or ideation Phase 1: scoping Phase 2: building the business case and plan Product definition and analysis Building the business case Building the project plan Feasibility review Phase 3: development Phase 4: testing and validation Near testing Field testing Market testing Phase 5: product launch Companies like Metropolis can help with parts of every phase. Now they can’t run your company for you, and they won’t make you marketing plan, but they can help you define the product concept, determine how feasible it is based on how much it would cost to make, and what you would need to sell it for to make money, and help you build a working product quality prototype. Phase 1-Scoping: During this step the main goal is to evaluate the product and its corresponding market. Who are you customers, how do you reach those customers, and how much will that cost? How many customers do you potentially have? This is all important information to have. After you figure out that first part, we scope the product. What is it? What is required to make it? How much will that cost? Will we be able to amortize the cost of producing this product with the potential number of sales/customers we have and still make enough money for it to be worth it? Will we be able to charge a price they will pay that supports those things? The answers to a lot of these questions may still be hazy, and thats ok, but if you find any huge red flags at this phase you may need to reconsider what you are doing. For my business, I came up with the idea in the military. Asside from the advantages the TOR provides in accuracy, there is an incredibly large customer base for people who are disabled that can’t use traditional fire arms, but want to for hunting, sport or home defense. So we found a good secondary market unintentionally, and we wouldn’t have had we not gone through this phase. Now maybe you don’t know how much it will cost to make your product, or what materials or manufacturing methods are best. Well here again is where someone like Metropolis can help. In the interest of keeping this a length people will actually read, I’ll leave it here for now. But feel free to ask questions about anything in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. I have been trying to talk the guys at Metropolis into doing an AMA so if there is any interest in that, post that to please, as it will help me sway them. ​ TL:DR = If you have an idea, an industrial design company can help you make that a reality, and one that we worked with and love is called Metropolis Design. – by hq overview 0341usmc – –

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