Functional Prototyping

Because Its never “JUST” a Prototype

A functional prototype is a sample or model of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a visual prop to be replicated, improved, and learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming, but is most common in product development. A visual prototype is designed to test and try a new design to enhance precision by inventors, investors, and potential consumer users. Visual prototyping serves to provide a visual product impact instead of an individual imagined view. Functional prototypes are the step between the mental formalization and the actual look, feel, and basic function of an idea, invention, or new product.


Functional Prototyping using 3D printing, fabrication, and “off the shelf” parts is usually the best for building and developing real life functioning prototypes. Don’t underestimate the importance of a “Functional Prototype”. Don’t try to cut corners by skipping the functional prototype stage and moving forward without having shown yourself and others how your product functions. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a functional physical prototype will help convey your seriousness and professionalism about your new product or invention.

Now that we can easily 3D print complex components, you can avail of additively manufactured functional prototypes.

These models simulate the look and function of production parts before you invest in mass-production tooling. By doing so, one can save days, weeks, and even months rather than waiting for a machine shop to fabricate a functional prototype via more conventional methods.