The path one takes when bringing a concept to life is littered with countless points where a stray turn that would derail the whole project, sinking all the efforts poured into the project. Stories of times past describe organizations short on time and money who rush to production before fine-tuning a product and adequately exploring all options that are key to ensuring commercial success. These situations can be avoided in nearly every instance by utilizing the multitude of affordable, cutting-edge prototyping technologies available to engineers today.
On the mechanical side, the revolution started with CNC machining has spawned intense thinking on the subject of mechanical prototyping, culminating in the 3D printing options that are not only of a quality sufficient for prototyping needs, but are also now feasible enough to be seriously considered for small-run mechanical parts.
If you could imagine mechanical prototyping as an overnight train with relatively few stops before its destination, then electrical prototyping is the downtown commuter train with more stops, often sudden, at much shorter intervals. Outside changes that occur during the engineering cycle always happen – sometimes new technology or perhaps when a sudden, specific opportunity arises. When that bump in the road happens, our rapid prototyping abilities will help craft the most appropriate plan to address your prototyping needs.
As any electrical engineer knows, prototyping can take many forms, but short of fabricating commercial PCB’s and stuffing with valuable components, it is difficult to obtain a reliable proof of concept. Before that costly point, an engineer is left with a few options. Breadboards are the starting point for many projects, and are a useful tool up to a certain point. The next step usually involves milling versions of prototype copper boards to add components to a more solid platform, in the process giving the engineer a better control of the design’s progression. In the end, the leap to fabricated PCBs means that you believe in your design and are ready for high-resolution machinery to take the place of your soldering iron in the final steps. In the end, this final prototype will be the one that will ultimately prove itself to be the first working piece in your new product line.