If you want to develop a working prototype of your invention, you can consider a number of options. You can work with:
- a manufacturer
- a centre specialising in rapid prototyping
- a university or an incubation centre
- a product designer
- a model maker
If you'd like to make your own prototype, Fab Lab NI offers facilities to help you conceive, develop and prototype a range of products. Check out what FabLab can offer.
Where to get a prototype done
Invest Northern Ireland's (NI) business advisers may help you to source manufacturers as well as provide general help and advice about prototyping. Find out more about Invest NI's technical support service.
Your local library may have copies of trade directories containing lists of manufacturers and service providers, or you can simply search the internet to find an appropriate company to contact.
Confidentiality and prototyping
Remember that if you're approaching manufacturers with a view to having a prototype produced, you'll need to ensure they don't make your invention public. If they do, its commercial success and eligibility for patent protection could be at risk. As a result, it's often advisable to get them to sign a confidentiality agreement. For more information, read more on non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). If you’re drawing up an NDA, seek legal advice.