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KAYOE'S PICK 5 Top Five Go-to Prototyping Tools

Starting a business can be intimidating. It's hard to figure out if your product will solve the problems you think it will without trying it out. The best way to do that is to create a mock up that can be tested on an audience. Your mock up, or prototype, can help you prove that your product will solve customer pain points, get support, and get product feedback before spending valuable time or money. Prototyping is a smart way to figure out what you need to get your product to market.

Graph Paper

Prototype Design

Before moving onto building your device or invention, it is always useful to sketch it out. Being able to put your ideas on paper helps you visualize how it will all go together. When I want to sketch my projects, I always reach for my graph paper because the grid lines really help me make precise measurements. Bonus: Though graph paper is great for sketching in two dimensions, Tinkercad is a very useful tool if you want to see how it all looks in three dimensions. Tinkercad.com is a free website where users can build objects in 3D using simple geometric shapes.

Cardboard Throughout the design process, you are guaranteed to go through many different versions (or iterations) of your device or creation. In these early stages, one of your main goals is to “prove the concept” of your design and work through some Tinkercad is FREE. https://www.tinkercad.com

Calipers of the bugs you weren’t able to foresee in the beginning. It may not be practical to use a 3D printer or go straight to using wood at this stage because it is not economical and consumes a lot of materials. Cardboard is always my go-to material for prototyping designs. There is always a plethora of it in our schools and it can easily be shaped into anything you want.

CANARY I think we have all had nightmares of a student getting hurt using the dreaded box cutters to carve out their creation in cardboard. This amazing and relatively inexpensive device cuts through cardboard like butter and allows you to make very precise carves. The best part about it is that it is really hard to cut yourself with it (trust me, I know).

Everyone has probably heard the old saying “measure twice, cut once”. This adage sums up the importance of making sure that your measurements are correct before you cut or shape your creation. There are of course lots of different tools that can help you make these measurements, but calipers are by far the most versatile. Because calipers allow you to measure the distance between two opposite sides of a three-dimensional object, they come in handy when measuring battery packs, microcontrollers and the likes leaving little room for error. My favourite are digital calipers for the ease of reading the measurements quickly and accurately.

Duct Tape Canada’s beloved character Red Green always referred to duct tape as the “Handyman’s Secret Weapon”, and I think we can all agree that it has come in handy for all of us at one time or another. Duct tape is again one of those essential tools in the makerspace that is especially useful during the prototyping stage. Before you move on to screws and solder it is essential that you start with something temporary but secure to move and reposition your work.

Canary Cutters: $7-10 ea. Amazon.ca

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