If you are serious about going further with an idea, get it designed and get a prototype made.
There are many options for prototype design. You can either go through a design or prototype company, which can be a costly exercise. There are also several options that allow you to create a design and prototype yourself, which are more cost effective in the early stages of the invention process.
Simply start by creating some sketches and get to work trying to create a prototype. Obviously, your sketches and prototype are going to be very rough. Regardless, it is a step in the right direction to proving that your idea, your invention, works. Trying to create your own designs and prototypes will also help you identify several working options in addition to potential faults or problems that you may have as well as any other benefits or disadvantages. If you can make an actual working to scale prototype that is able to perform its task, then you are heading in the right direction with your invention.
I also recommend that you do not spend too much time worrying about the appearance of the prototype at this stage. Rather, focus more on functionality for now. If you have moving parts to test your invention, check that they are in the right place and actually do what you want, and need, them to do. Don’t focus too much on materials at this point, either. The purpose of designing a rough prototype of your invention is to save you money. Now is the time to be creative and use what you have around or have easy access to use.
Making a prototype that is tangible, that you can hold in your hand and use, allows you the opportunity to get a better feel for the actual size and weight of the product. Is it too heavy? Is it too small? Is it bulky? These are just some factors to consider when you have your rough prototype in hand.
This rough prototype will also help you to determine if any improvements can be made before progressing further. With the rough design in hand, you are able to analyze the idea in a tangible manner so that you can see firsthand its benefits, its pitfalls and, more importantly, what you can do to make the product better. This is a vital step that requires time but ends up saving you money in the overall process. There is nothing worse than paying for a costly prototype only to realize the product requires a complete redesign.
Later on in the website, I will revisit prototypes, practices, and recommendations. For inventors, it is important to remember that this step may seem time-consuming but, again, it is a significant way to analyse the steps to increase efficiency in your design process and to determine ways in which your invention itself can improve for better success.