T Nation

Help with Prototyping

I need help in developing a product. I am not an engineer or one who has direct resources such as a machine or wood shop in front of me. I designed this fitness-based product in college (5 years ago) and built a physical prototype. The CAD files are around somewhere. I am just looking to see if anyone has any ideas for resources or truthful organizations that work with product developers in the fitness industry.

From my research, I have seen that there are quite a few marketing-based companies that provide services, but I am just not sure how they might use my information. I don’t have a ton of cash, but I am just seeking to get some options on a getting a few of these built and drawn up to spec. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

First of all get a patent attorney and file a patent. If it is good you want to protect it.

I would also try and get a fabrication shop to make you a prototype. A custome metal or speacialty shop should be able to do it.

You have a lot of options. A few that come to mind are:

  1. visit a couple of local machine shops and enlist them to assist you, most small machine shop owners are pretty clever fellows and are very happy to tinker with you if they are not too busy and you are willing to at least pay for their time and materials. Some really like doing something more creative than just copying someone elses drawing into a part with no real thought required, which is what they usually do all day.

  2. find an engineer, who has a full time job, but is willing to partner with you and work on it in his free time. Be sure he is willing and able to put in the required time, and does not have GF or family ties that take up most of his non-working time. If so, he might be willing to work for free, in return for a piece of the action later.

  3. Find a free lance engineer who works by himself, and hire him to do the work. Again, he might be willing to do the work for a reduced price in return for some ownership of the final
    product.

  4. Hire a large professional engineering firm to complete the design. They will probably charge you a substantial fee, but will get the product done quickly and professionally, if they are any good.

Remember, the hardest part of any product is not coming up with the idea or designing it, it is marketing and selling it. Some of the greatest products ever concieved flopped because the original inventor/designer did not know how to sell it.

And many original inventors/designers go bankrupt and somebody else comes along later and gets rich off the idea because they know how to sell it, or the time is just more right.

[quote]hedo wrote:
First of all get a patent attorney and file a patent. If it is good you want to protect it.

I would also try and get a fabrication shop to make you a prototype. A custome metal or speacialty shop should be able to do it.[/quote]

Thanks hedo, I’ll look into those options.

[quote]dswithers wrote:
You have a lot of options. A few that come to mind are:

  1. visit a couple of local machine shops and enlist them to assist you, most small machine shop owners are pretty clever fellows and are very happy to tinker with you if they are not too busy and you are willing to at least pay for their time and materials. Some really like doing something more creative than just copying someone elses drawing into a part with no real thought required, which is what they usually do all day.

  2. find an engineer, who has a full time job, but is willing to partner with you and work on it in his free time. Be sure he is willing and able to put in the required time, and does not have GF or family ties that take up most of his non-working time. If so, he might be willing to work for free, in return for a piece of the action later.

  3. Find a free lance engineer who works by himself, and hire him to do the work. Again, he might be willing to do the work for a reduced price in return for some ownership of the final
    product.

  4. Hire a large professional engineering firm to complete the design. They will probably charge you a substantial fee, but will get the product done quickly and professionally, if they are any good.

Remember, the hardest part of any product is not coming up with the idea or designing it, it is marketing and selling it. Some of the greatest products ever concieved flopped because the original inventor/designer did not know how to sell it.

And many original inventors/designers go bankrupt and somebody else comes along later and gets rich off the idea because they know how to sell it, or the time is just more right.[/quote]

dswithers,
These are some great points and insight. Thank you for your help here. I will get a game plan together in the next few months.

[quote]addwaves wrote:
hedo wrote:
First of all get a patent attorney and file a patent. If it is good you want to protect it.

I would also try and get a fabrication shop to make you a prototype. A custome metal or speacialty shop should be able to do it.

Thanks hedo, I’ll look into those options.[/quote]

Good look with it. Once it rolls out let us know. T Nation guys usually have some pretty good workout ideas.

[quote]hedo wrote:
addwaves wrote:
hedo wrote:
First of all get a patent attorney and file a patent. If it is good you want to protect it.

I would also try and get a fabrication shop to make you a prototype. A custome metal or speacialty shop should be able to do it.

Thanks hedo, I’ll look into those options.

Good look with it. Once it rolls out let us know. T Nation guys usually have some pretty good workout ideas.

[/quote]

I was actually going to ask the same question…I have a little trick up my sleeve as well.