Virtual Prototype, Industrial Design, CAD, BOM Costing, Physical Prototyping, Tooling, Manufacturing
The Circular Slide Board
A Flash of Inspiration
Dave & Christy, a physical therapist and an athletic trainer respectively, are the inventors of the circular slide board. They frequently use the very popular rectangular shaped slide board as part of their training and rehabilitation regimen for their clients. In the course of their daily work with patients, the inventors realized a limitation of the traditional exercise slide boards. Due to the narrow rectangular shape these slide boards only allowed for linear back and forth / side to side motion. This limits a person's exercise program, the number of muscles that can be targeted and the planes of motion used. Due to the need for an improved slide board, that provided a broader range of motions and exercises, the collaborators invented the active circular trainer.
Proof of Concept Prototype Development
To test their theory, Dave & Christy made a crude proof of concept working model. It worked fantastic! Knowing that their circular sideboard did indeed work and had several advantages over the existing slide boards on the market, they proceeded with the preparation and filing of a utility patent application.
Once the patent application was filed Dave and Christy began working with local design firm. This was because the initial proof of concept prototype was 6 feet in diameter and was very difficult to handle, transport and store! After several months of design work a 5 piece modular version for their circular slide board evolved. They were very excited with the design because their circular slide board would now be easier to produce, ship, handle and store when not in use. Unfortunately, the physical prototype created by the local firm did not perform as well as expected. This happens. Not satisfied with the results, the inventors began searching for another company to partner with to move their product further along.
Working with the DCP Team
After more research they hired our team to assist them in their efforts to improve their design. They were also very interested in determining their best possible costs for startup manufacturing and cost per unit. After about 2 months of design, manufacturing and costing research the design team presented the client with 10 different options for manufacturing their product with the estimated startup manufacturing and cost per unit options for each method.
10 Different Manufacturing Options Vetted
Industrial Design, CAD, Detailed Costing Exercises
After reviewing the various design, manufacturing, and cost estimates a best theoretical design was agreed upon. The chosen option was then engineered and the design was submitted to the clients for approval. Very satisfied with the industrial design and costing services the clients moved ahead with the development of a high quality prototype for the testing of the new design.
Cost Per Unit Delivered Product Calclution
For Selected Unit Design
Physical Prototype Development
The prototype took several months to complete and was estimated at about 70% of manufacturing quality. While this may not sound positive, experienced engineers and hands on product developers will tell you it is very hard to nail the first iteration of a 30+ part prototype comprised of a variety of different components, materials and methods of attachment.
We evaluated each prototype flaw with the client to determine if the problems were design problems or process problems. After much review, analysis and discussion we concluded that the issues were likely correctable by manufacturing with high quality tools and manufacturing materials that are superior to those available for prototyping.
Instead of investing more time and money on further prototyping the clients decided to go into production and were pleased with the quality of their first production.
While waiting on their first production run, slide board manufacturing samples were debuted at a major fitness expo and received very favorable feedback.
Things are going well for Christy and David and they are now considering another production run with some additional manufacturing improvements
"The DCP team has been very up front about the risks and challenges of product development from the first day we spoke and they have always had our best interest and the best interest of our product at heart.
Whether we have needed to make important decisions on our product development, legal protection or marketing their insight has always been practical and wise."
Christy A. - Personal Trainer - MA
David A. - Physical Therapist - MA
Engineering & Design
* - Dirt Cheap Prototypes does not provide patent or marketing services