29 Sep Plumb Tub
PLUMBTUB was designed simply because of the limited choice on the market.
There were homemade devices from ice cream tubs to curry trays but no one had invented anything simple and practical to assist in draining a radiator.
Once the initial idea is struck then the design process begins. It’s a long journey and for those who watch dragons den there are some tough decisions to make along the way.
Companies like Select Group are always looking for innovative products but the new products have to be useful, durable and hit the right price point.
I find the best method to start a project is not to draw anything but just think, think about the process as its happening and the problems as they occur allowing the mind to roam into any area of thought to achieve the greatest possible range of ideas to come through. Then commit to paper, sketching and refining ideas in greater and greater detail, and all the while making notes of possible options at all stages.
If you think the design is as good as it can be, the next stage is to get it drawn up into 3D CAD data. Now in 3D, the design can be explored further, making more refinements as the 3D surfaces will look quite different to the 2D sketch!!
You will now be at a point where prototypes are required and further investment. There is a vast array of prototyping possibilities on offer with the front runner on products like Plumbtub being ‘Stereolithography’ where liquid resin is laser cured to create a 3D object which can be ready in less than 24 hours!!
This is the most exciting part of the design process because for the first time you can now hold your idea in your hand.
Now some of the tough decisions need to be made, i have known designers who make many prototypes at great cost and each time move the design forward one step. Good design and planning at this stage will allow the 3D cad data to be modified to include as many progressions as possible before another prototype is made.
Once the prototype is as close to the finished product as possible it can then be used to do market research and testing, leading to new information and data about its uses and functions, bringing to light any modifications that need to be made.
If the idea is right, the CAD is right and the prototypes are right then you then enter the complex world of ‘Intellectual property’ an area that can be vital for the longevity of the product and credibility with investors.
From Non disclosure agreements to design copyrights and Patents, all these things need to be given full consideration, because the cost implications can be big.
Now finally we move onto tooling. Individuals are given little attention by toolmakers as the general public usually have little idea about the costs involved, the cost for the Plumbtub tool for example cost around £8000!!
Finally you have to find great companies like Select Group, who have the expertise and distribution network to take your product out into the market place.