How to turn your ideas into a product
Our in-house Design and Visualisation Manager, Paul Tallon, talks you through how the 3M BIC can help you turn your ideas into a product.
If you are a budding innovator or inventor and have a fantastic idea in your head but unsure how to get it produced in the real world, the 3M BIC can support you towards achieving that goal by helping turn your ideas into a product.
If you were to come to the 3M BIC with an idea sketched on paper, we can discuss the avenues to get the product made physically, or have the product turned into a 2D visualisation that promotes key aspects of your design.
Creating your idea virtually
If your idea is so big that we are unable to fit it into one of our 3D printed build chambers, then you may benefit more from our 2D visualisation capabilities. We can use computer aided design (CAD) to generate a model based on your specifications, drawings or ideas, and then illustrate the unique selling point (USP) through 2D visualisation. This would come in the form of a walk-through, or a 360 degree turn table animation, where the product or specific parts could be disassembled, and key elements highlighted.
You may require this form of product visualisation if your idea is in its infancy and you require financial backing, to illustrate to potential investors what exactly your idea is before you go to production, or, it might be a way for you to gain access to grants and funding for a much larger project.
Creating a physical product
If, however, your idea is something already well fleshed out and you have 3D files already available, we can take these files and convert them into the necessary format in order to print them out in a prototypical material of your choice, such as metal or polymers, both of which we have available at the 3M BIC.
It is often more beneficial to have a physical model to illustrate a particular function or have a scaled down model of a much bigger operation, for example, a sugar centrifuge, or a rail bogey. Having a prototype will help investors get the idea and feel for the final product long before it has been considered for final manufacture.
Testing your product
An alternative route is to have a part made specifically for direct application. You may have already researched all the stresses and strains that would be expected to impact your part and the part is ready for implementation, but you need a final model to be made in a rigid material for testing before you have your tooling made.
This is particularly beneficial for manufacturers looking to replace a worn part on a machine to exact specifications, to minimise disruption to production, or more costly, avoid having to invest in new machinery.
Turn your idea into a product today
All of the above is accessible at the 3M BIC and can be taken as part of a project or altogether as one larger scheme, enabling you to bring your ideas to life.
For those that are unsure where to take their product idea, we are offering a new ‘Design Diversification’ service for companies seeking to pivot into new product ideas or to refresh and update an older product. Businesses looking to innovate will benefit from support from an experienced product designer resulting in a 2D product realisation.
Those seeking prototype production and CAD files suitable for manufacture can take advantage of design support and a working prototype printed on a polymer 3D printer (subject to technical limitations). To reduce cost of materials, generative design techniques can also be applied to ‘light-weight’ your product.