Product Design For the Inventor and Entrepreneur

Check out this great article by Bruce Ditty!

You had this idea or you’ve had it for quite some time and the reoccurring thoughts drove you nuts! You kept thinking about the benefits of your idea or invention and the problems it solved or the safety it provided or the pleasure it would provide. You’ve mentioned the idea to others and they agreed. They saw the value. You were certain that there was nothing like it around. When you gained some spare time you were going to sketch it out, an invention, a new product. You would put your search engines to work and start researching it. You procrastinated but some day soon you’d get to it! Then one day, you are channel surfing, and BAM! There’s an infomercial with your idea in living color! I’ve been there, as my Dad used to say, “A day late and a dollar short”.

It you are an inventor and entrepreneur, the internet has not made life any easier for you unless you know how to use it!

When it comes to offering products for retail, business recognizes the need for “fast to market”. Big business has streamlined this process but usually has whole departments dedicated to:

? Product Design
? Product Development
? Legal – Intellectual Property – Patent
? Market Analysis
? Prototype
? Product Testing
? Manufacturing
? Packaging Design
? Sales and Marketing

Large corporations and well established manufacturing companies have budgets and personal to make investments in new intellectual property and product development. But what about the inventor and or entrepreneur that doesn’t work in an industry where these skills exist? And even if you do, your idea is yours. It is something unique that has nothing to do with your employer or you “day job”. If you are a teacher, or an accountant, or a fireman, where do you start, as a lone individual to find the product engineering and design work your invention requires?

The internet has many sites that allow inventors to post projects seeking professionals to work for them at very affordable prices. Some would say down right cheap! But like any service, buyer beware! As an experienced product engineer, I have seen too many products designs that on paper, are pretty to look at, but would be almost impossible to manufacture without expensive special tooling and/or a complete redesign. There is an amazing amount of difference between product design and product design for manufacturing. If the inventor intends on applying for a utility patent, they must also make certain that they have properly documented their invention and that the design professional signs a non-disclosure document before ideas are shared.

This will be the first of several articles that will explain the entire product design process for the non-engineer. Topics covered will be:

1. Product Development and Idea Generation.
2. Idea Protection and Patent Considerations
3. Market Research
4. Product Liability
5. Hiring Design Professionals
6 Design For Manufacturing
7. Materials Selection
8. Prototyping
9. Packaging
10. Manufacturing Costs

Bruce Dittly is a Mechanical Designer and Inventor capable of helping other inventors take their invention idea from dream to reality.