An invention is not really an invention until it is invented! In other words, an idea needs to be fleshed out in order to actually be viable. It may not be reasonable or affordable for you to actually build a working model of your idea; in such cases, very detailed diagrams, computerized models or schematics that are verified by professionals to be functional are acceptable. However, for smaller, simpler inventions, creating a prototype is the best option.
A prototype is a 3D model of your brain child. It does not need to be composed of the materials with which it will eventually be manufactured for marketing. It must, however, demonstrate its utility. That is, you must be able to prove that your invention will actually function in the promised manner.
It is probably not a good idea to create your first prototype from expensive materials, as you will need to experiment with various materials, altering the design along the way. In fact, an initial model can be made from inexpensive household items or materials scrounged from your local scrap metal dealer and welded together at the corner shop. As long as you can determine what steps need to be made to improve it, then this first attempt is a success.
Each progressive model should be more refined, until you have a prototype that will convince your patent agent and manufacturers of its viability. Still, it does not need to be composed of expensive materials other than key essential elements. A great alternative is a prototype made by means of stereolithography.
Also known as optical fabrication, stereolithography uses a very advanced type of photocopying (for lack of a better term) to create a 3D model from liquid polymers that harden when struck by a laser beam. An entire model can be built in a matter of minutes or hours for simpler items, or for single components of larger or more complex items. This is not only fast, but is also relatively inexpensive, and creates a working model.
Consult a company such as Innovative Licensing that can take you through the inventing process, from conception to building your prototype, to patent application and licensing. With a proven record of success for many clients, it is a go-to choice for inventors.
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