Inventors Insider: 5 Tips for Creating a Prototype

Resources and information for inventors and those aspiring to get a business idea to market

Jackson (left) donated 3,000 Lock Laces to kids participating in the Special Olympics.

Understand what the retail value of the product should be. A lot of people come up with a great idea but they never know how much to charge. To determine the perfect price point to sell your product, first calculate how much your product will cost to make. Think about the big picture. You not only have to look at how much the product materials cost, but also the labor costs, or the price a person or a manufacturer will charge you to make it, in addition to wholesale and distribution costs. Try to use less expensive materials, and look at volume. The cost per individual product will go down if you purchase materials in larger volume. “All of that will go into the pricing structure,” says Jackson. Next, look for similar products on the market and see what their prices are. Make sure your prices are competitive (i.e. they will provide more value for your customer). But make sure you are able to still earn a profit.

Don’t disclose your idea to manufacturers. “One of the challenges you may have when coming up with a prototype is disclosing what you are doing with the components that you are requesting,” says Jackson. “Look for multiple manufacturers to make your one prototype, but never really tell them what the parts are for to keep your ideas from being stolen.” Jackson got separate components from three to four different companies to make his prototype. You can also hire a manufacturer to make your prototype, but only after they sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Use the materials that the manufacturer already has in place. If your patent is comprised of multiple parts and pieces, use parts that are already in existence unless it is absolutely necessary that your idea has to use specific types of plastic or metals, which need to be manufactured anew. “You don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” says Jackson. “If you can take components that are already being made by a particular manufacturer that will save you production time, costs, and labor.”

Visit the Inventors Insider next week for more information on how to be successful at creating and monetizing your ideas.

For more information visit:

The American Society of Inventors

The National Society of Inventors

United Inventors Association

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  • This article is so true, especially when it said ” Don’t disclose your idea to manufacturers.” I did, I told them  about my concept, I sent them my prototype, they told me they were sending it to China and they would get back to me, I never heard from them, I went to the store a few months later and I saw that they made the concept for themselves, they just  changed  the material. Then a few months later I saw the whole concept but it was done by a company that I didn’t contact and they did the complete line. I was hurt, I mortgaged my home several times to start my business, the positive aspect is that I still own the rights to my Trademarks.

    • US patent 5,771,518, method in Factory and , method to assemble on-site to build Prefab bridges in days, has not gotten to mfg protype as OK Dep of Trans has not License the technology to replace 1379 bridges , specifically 15 bridges in downtown Tulsa, that were re-decked rather than replaced by Prefab bridges and systems READ MOORE>>> instructions sent by Sec of Trans for OBAMA adminstration 4 March 2009 to Ok and 49 state has not influenced Democrat Gov Brad Henry, but Ok moved a Prefab firm from Canada to TULSA with Ductal experience in IOWA Ductal building approved in Arlington, VA by AASHTO ( state employees ) and FHWA ( Fed employees). RBBT,LLC holds USpatent, 5,771,518 and I manager and am sole-member, of RBBT,LLC, a Black Vet ( Bronze Star )Vietnam 1967 -1968 S4 and HQBrty Commander . RBBT,LLC formed 2002, may get LICENSING AGREEMENT from Republican Gov M Fallin and LICENSE and REFIT an existing Precertified Factory to build prototype and ( share profits ) on 1379 other Okla bridges ( est 8 to 10 Billion dollars in OKLA, , 1.2 Trillion dollars 145.000 bridges USA ). GOAL 50 states, 50 Factories Licensing Agreements. GOAL : RBBT.LLC can place Factory opns ( seek provisional patent ) and assembly of US patent 5,771,518Prefab bridges on U tube .com Web site and make Nov 2011 issue of Black Enterprise

    • kathy nixon

      You are so right I have had two major inventions stolen from me from Tyco International parent company to ADT Security Co., now I have an invention/idea that I got a patent on and it is going to literally change the automotive manufacturing industry and is capable of making billions of dollars I just need the right person/company to invest with me it is called “The Show & Sell Dome” I can be contacted at or (313)467-8778 if anyone is interested in investigating more information in my venture.

    • elite.bayron02

      What happen then to your invention if you have rights

    • elite.bayron02

      What happen then to your invention if you the rights to your trademark

  • What a great article. Ill use it as i guide as i develop my own products!


    * click my name for the link to my products! **

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  • Once again if you can’t get a full patent then at least try to get a provisional patent before telling potential companies or people about your invention/ideas cover yourself. I have four othjer invention/ideas that are sure money makers with patents if anyone is interested in hearing about them and possibly doing a joint/venture or purchasing a sure thing patent contact me at or (313) 467-8778 anytime.

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