Prototyping Process - GRRRRRR

I am going through a very lengthy and expensive prototyping process and am curious about other peoples’ prototyping experiences. So far, I’ve put in about $12,000 and +/-9months, and still refinements are necessary. This is my first project, and I’m learning a bundle as I go, but it is discouraging not to have “perfection” by now! Anyone else care to share their experiences?

Does it have electronics? What materials does it use? If it is plastic, then having an SLA cast in polyurethane is probably your best bet since it will be durable and can flex a bit without breaking.

Need more details! But for your sake, I hope your company is footing the bill.

Is it a “prototype”, a “working” model or a “looks-like” model? People tend to use those terms interchangeably. Unfortunately.

…not unusual to spend upwards of 200x what the product might retail for in the end for a full on prototype, and they can take 3x longer than planned…pesky prototypes. thankfully, i do not need to do them very often. usually, if i estimate they will take more than 100 hrs of my time to complete…“el paso” as they say in texas (cann’t afford to work a month for free).

I’ve got to ask. Was this project ‘designed’ or is it a trial-and-error work in progress?

I’m currently doing some production pattern work for thermo-forming molds for a manufacturer of mobile satelite communications equipment. About every three days, or so, I get a call for their engineer if some detail change that affects the work I’m doing; and of course the price of the tooling.

For example, what started out as a bolt-together assembly has evolved into a weldment, but the bolts are still included in the assembly because they are used to hold the components together for the welding operation (and they leave the bolts in place…). Aparently they never learned the concept of ‘holding fixtures’; they could be saving themselves a bundle of cash by eliminating multiple drilling and tapping operations, not to mention stainless steel fasteners.

Their mistake is trying to go into production before the product is fully developed. I’ve done ‘production’ tooling for three previous confirguations for them and they still don’t have it right. It’s extra $$$ for me, but a point comes where you get tired of ‘rework’ and just want the project to go away and move on to something new.

12k and 9 months? Unless it’s a motorized vehicle or complicated electronic device, I’d say you need to look at either your process or your suppliers. You shouldn’t have to go through more than two rounds of revisions on most things, and that second round should be nothing more than minor, minor changes that really don’t require a new prototype. Getting it right in Solidworks (or whatever you happen to be using) is a lot cheaper than designing by prototype. How much real engineering did you do before you sent it off to be made the first time?