Laser cutters are more than just a crafting tool. You can use this implement for prototyping product designs to test their market viability and refine your approach. Many product inventors and makers are using laser cutters to pursue their dreams of business ownership and production.
If you’ve been wondering how you can bring your excellent product idea to life, here’s how to accomplish your goal with a laser cutter.
Choose the Right Laser Cutter for You
Start by conducting some basic research to determine the best laser cutter for your needs. Some laser cutters are manufactured specifically with laser engraving and product prototyping in mind. Starting with this feature as a foundation for your research can help you narrow the options.
When evaluating which laser cutter is right for you, consider your desired product output. One essential consideration is the type of material you’ll be working with— plastic, wood, or metal.
It’s also worth considering whether this is something you should handle or if your efforts can be outsourced to laser engraving and prototyping experts. This decision ultimately depends on your bandwidth, budget, and long-term production goals.
Create a Product Sketch
A product sketch is the foundation of your product creation efforts. You don’t need to be an artist to create a functional product sketch; this is a rough draft to help visualize the next steps.
If you’re concerned about your artistic limitations when drafting a product sketch, you can take a simple sketching course or work with a skilled designer. If you intend on pursuing more projects, it’s well worth your time and resources to develop this skill.
Create a Digital Prototype
A digital prototype isn’t necessary, but it’s valuable. The digital prototype will bridge the gap between your sketch and a physical prototype. This 3D rendering will help you highlight any design flaws or improvements before investing time and materials in a physical prototype.
Creating a digital prototype is a nuanced skill. Consider working with a skilled digital artist to help create an accurate digital prototype of your product.
Practice with Your Laser Cutter
If you decide to invest in a laser cutter, you should take some time to learn the framework and practice before attempting to create your product. Learn about the system and take advantage of any training programs and customer support opportunities to help lessen the learning curve.
When you start to draft your physical prototype, use scrap materials until you find your proverbial groove. This approach will help reduce waste and protect your assets.
Create a Physical Prototype
After you’ve fine-tuned your digital prototype and either acquired skills or vetted a laser engraver, it’s time to create a physical prototype. A physical prototype will bring your product to life and create collateral with which to conduct market research and pitch investors.
Refine and Redesign
Physical prototypes play another integral role in the product creation process: they showcase your mistakes. Making mistakes is natural when creating something new. By finding these mistakes now, you avoid blunders when you get to a large-scale production line.
Use your findings from your physical prototype to refine and redesign your product. Don’t be surprised if you go through this process a few times.
With these simple steps, you can use laser cutting to bring your product idea to life and pursue your business passions.