A Prototype is Worth 1000 Meetings
3D Printing – Efficiency & Cost Savings
Meetings for creating new products or services can take several hundred hours and involve multiple stakeholders. While many accomplish the necessary checkpoints and product updates to move the product forward, the technology now exists to make the entire process much more efficient.
The problem with many meetings is that they tend to deal with ideas and most often are dealing on very abstract ideas that mean different things to different people. While diagrams, sketches and even wireframe printouts are helpful in conveying the ideas, they don’t compare to a real life 3D prototype.
In the old days of design, it took forever to get to the prototype level because of the high cost in creating maquettes, molds or even wooden sculptures that approximate the finished product. Making changes to these prototypes would require basically going back to the drawing board and waiting around for days or even weeks before getting to see the prototype.
3D printing and additive manufacturing have enabled prototypes to be created in a number of hours instead of days and have made it possible to quickly see and, if needed, revise a prototype much quicker. Not only can you have an accurate prototype in a variety of sizes or colours, the range of potential materials and textures that these offer can give multiple prototypes a variety in terms of look and feel.
Not only are prototypes ideal for cutting through uncertain verbiage and confusing abstract concepts, they’re the best way to show a potential or current client that their end result is as accurate as possible. The amount of detail that today’s 3D printers can accomplish is quite impressive so even basic prototypes can be as detailed and spec-accurate as ever which make them superior to clay, Styrofoam or wood models which are limited by the properties of those materials and often require professional craftspeople (and hundreds of hours) to successfully be created.
Having the ability to quickly prototype a product also earns points with the client. They can see, and even better, feel what the product will look like and even begin using the images or renders from the 3D print or actual prototypes, to speed up the manufacturing of other parts, get their marketing or catalog images updated as well as interact with partners and even start selling the idea of the device more easily than if they had a drawing or a wordy document that could be easily misconstrued.
Imagine how much time a 3D printed prototype can save everyone involved? Specific issues can be addressed, revisions can often be turned around in less than a day and everyone involved can focus on the exact same product because it is a tangible and accurate representation of what is being discussed. This clearly proves how a 3D printed prototype can be worth 1000 meetings.