Prototyping is a crucial stage of product realization before it reaches manufacturing phase. It is a stage where design is validated and evaluated before handed over into production. A prototype should represent final and manufactured ready product, and if possible it should be done with same process as final product.
In this test case, our team has just finished a prototype for an office chair back. It was a countless hours of works to develop this back, start from sketches, steel mock up, 3D‐model, and finally this prototype. Chair’s back frame was designed and developed with Rhino 3D and T‐Splines software packages. The original file was exported into IGES format, and refined with Pro/E for later CAM‐purpose. Prototype was made with ABS‐plastic, and painted in black. It was processed with four axis CNC machine, in same scale with final product.
Many critical points evaluated from prototype, such as:
- Checking whether the mesh fabric could be attached correctly ;
- Basic ergonomic testing ;
- Technical testing for joined components and whether or not components could be assembled correctly ;
- Visual study of proportion, shape, texture, and details.
The prototype represents the preliminary idea, and it does look better than any of previously made sketches, scaled models, or renderings. It gives better feel of the contour, as well as better judgement from aesthetic point of view.