Welcome to the forums!

Our encouraging community is a dedicated resource for innovators everywhere.

Learn about industry trends, common questions,
and stay informed of the latest happenings at Edison Nation.

Building a Prototype Newbie

kadin's Avatar

Hi there!

I have designed a product that I believe will be very helpful in my field.  It is about the size/shape of a picture frame, 1/2 '' x 8'' x10'' ... what I am wondering is if it is feasible to make the first prototype with a 3D printer or is there a company that can turn a 3D design (I just made it on tinkerCAD) into a working model.  The first prototype could be wood, plastic, or metal but in the end I think it should be made from some type of lightweight and sturdy material.

Hm.. I've never done this before.  Just looking for some direction!



Robert Pontius
posted    Report this topic
rpontius's Avatarg8_badge

It's totally feasible to make a first prototype with a 3D printer based on your description.

A couple options for you:

Check libraries for free/low cost printing or look for "makerspaces/fablabs".

Or, use https://www.makexyz.com/ to find a 3D printer "for hire" in your area.

Or, use a service like www.shapeways.com to upload your model, get a free quote, and get a print sent to you in the mail.

posted    Report this post
rpontius's Avatarg8_badge

Just one note: unless it can be printed "on edge" with no "overhangs" (unsupported features) at 8"10" (which I assume is your X and Y diminensions) you probably need a 3D printer on the larger size of the "consumer" range, so check library, makerspace, or makexyz printer "build volume/area" to make sure it's big enough to print your model. If you still want to print your proto locally (as opposed to Shapeways or other service) you could consider printing at smaller scale to fit a particular printer.

posted    Report this post
kadin's Avatar

Thanks so much Robert, I will definitely look into those options.

Maybe I should make another thread for other questions but i'd rather not clutter up the main forum page... I hope its ok to post here..

In terms of writing up a provisional patent, I do not have a lot of money to invest currently.  It seems to be quite inexpensive to apply for a provisional patent but I am curious as to whether I will be able to write one up myself (with no experience) without hiring a patent attorney. 

I have a 3D model of my idea, and I will hopefully get a working model soon.  When writing a provisional patent it says that you need "drawings"... would the 3D model suffice or should I also make drawings to include in the application?

Thoughts on this?

posted    Report this post
rpontius's Avatarg8_badge

You probably know this, but to submit to Edison Nation you do NOT need a patent or even a PPA.

I don't have experience writing PPA's myself, but there may be others here who have. I do know too that unless we're actually lawyers, none of us should try to give "legal advice".

All that said, I will tell you that *I* am currently planning to file a few PPA's in the near future and I plan to use drawings from my 3D models and write the descriptions myself because I don't want to pay more than the $65 filing fee for multiple filings. However, I don't know if that is stupid/useless without having a lawyer/patent agent help write the text. It may be that I'd be wasting those filing fees if I don't have help writing claims and/or have drawings in a particular style/format.

posted    Report this post
joekur's Avatar

Hi kadin and Robert,

I've filed one or two PPAs myself.  I found it a relatively simple matter, as I recall.  Claims are not required, but a relatively specific description that ultimately relates to the invention as later disclosed in a non-provisional application, is required.  If the PPA and the NPA have little to do with each other, the benefit of the early filing date provided by the PPA may be lost.  I don't even think drawings are absolutely required but certainly may be helpful to describe your innovation.  But since I'm not a patent attorney, perhaps my best advice here would be to suggest you check out more info on PPAs at www.USPTO.gov. Doing that is what gave me the guts to try it on my own.

All the best!


Charlie Lumsden
Robert Pontius
posted    Report this post