Taking an Idea and Turning It Into an Invention


Most products start on the drawing board. For some products, the drawing board is an engineer’s computer screen. For other products, the drawing board is a scribble on the back of a napkin at a coffee shop. Eventually, that sketched idea is turned into a design concept and is finally fabricated and sold at market. Inventors will usually use contract engineering services to help them with this process.

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The truth is that an idea that a person has never had is not an invention until they take it off of the blank page and actually turn it into something. Thankfully, modern technology makes it easy for engineers and designers to take a crudely scribbled idea and turn it into a professional conceptual design in little time. Processes like 3-D computer aided design allow a prototype engineer to look at a drawing of a device, digitize it, brainstorm some ideas around the product, work to refine certain aspects of the product, create a 3-D rendering of the idea, and then send it for a prototype creation.

Depending on the product that is being designed, a prototype of it may be made of plastic or it may involve metal fabrication. 3-D printing technology has made it very easy for engineers to take concept designs and turn them into physical renderings that can be held in a person’s hand. A conceptual prototype that is made with 3-D printing allows an engineer to create a physical representation of the product that is being designed. The product may not have the same functionality as the final product will have, but it gives an engineer the ability to look at and hold a tangible representation of an inventor’s idea. This allows them to troubleshoot any potential problems and tweak any issues before the product is sent to manufacturing and later sent to market.

Once a working prototype is created, the next steps involve some market research, putting the prototype through different simulations, and then getting it tested for safety. Throughout this entire process, research is being done to determine how feasible it is to mass-produce the product and how likely it is that the public as a whole is going to want to purchase it.

Once this information has been gathered, a marketing campaign will begin to generate interest in the product and then take that product to market. Taking an idea from a scribble on a napkin and turning it into a tangible invention is a labor-intensive endeavor, but it is one that is well worth the effort.

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