Author Topic: Prototype Making.  (Read 642 times)

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Prototype Making.
« on: April 12, 2018, 09:39:57 AM »
Jayson here and when you are working on a prototype (pack, pouch, chest rig rig etc.), how do you go about designing it?  After a list of what features the item needs, do you sketch it and then make one out of paper first and then make a pattern for fabric or do you sketch an idea and then go right to fabric and sew on the fly for the prototype?  Or is it more of a personal preference thing?  Comments.  Thanks.

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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 11:32:56 AM »
I'm just a hobbyist gearmaker but here's my design process. Pencil sketch first to work out the general idea and shape and then Adobe Illustrator to draft all the panel pieces and lay them out to efficiently use as little material as possible. Nesting pieces is an art in and of itself. There's softgoods manufacturing software that costs like $10k that's only job is to nest pieces to minimize material waste. I just use my brain and move stuff around until it's arranged as tightly as possible.

When it comes to getting patterns made I've had the local Kinkos or Officemax print out large format full size pattern pieces that I cut out and trace onto pattern paper. (Heavy manila kraft paper). If I'm being extra cheap i'll print all the pieces at home and just tile them together. Pain in the ass, but it's free instead of paying Kinkos $8 to print it.

I usually sew the first one out of scraps or 2nd quality materials. I won't bind anything on the first go, so that it's easy to rip everything apart and start over or make adjustments to pieces as I go.

Or.... get a laser cutter. It vastly speeds up prototyping since you eliminate all the cutting and tracing and printing steps.

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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 11:40:39 AM »
Usually just a sketch to figure out dimensions and a list of components, then try sewing one. When dealing with more complex products, itís almost impossible to get it ďrightĒ the first time. Be prepared to waste material, unstitch and re-sew a ton of times. Sometimes something seems like it would work in your head, but when itís finally made, it doesnít. In those cases, you gotta be prepared to go back to square one.


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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 01:02:43 PM »
Depends on the complexity.

I usually do a sketch pattern, which I then sew up (with just fabric and no details) and see if I got it right. For more complex patterns I might do a couple of paper models or just (fabric) mock ups.
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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 03:02:30 AM »
I usually sketch the overal shape and measurents on a paper, then i sew the first version and tweak the design if needed. I don't bother with making mock up's from cardboard or something like that. After 10 years of sewing, i pretty much know right away how to go about building the product, and what the measurements should be (well, at least in 90% of cases)

Also, most of my products (when we are talking about pouches) are based on my earlier designs. I have a few good pouch designs which i use as a starting point. The details change but the basic platform rarely does.

When i am making backpacks, i determine the shape and size of the backpanel, and the depth of the pack and just go from there.. i don't sketch anything down. Same as pouches, i have a few good basic designs which i'll tweak according to my needs


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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 04:27:56 PM »
For simple pattern I usually go straigth into autocad and draw / print it.

For more complex stuff I go through these steps (minus the MD part) :


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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2018, 12:08:30 PM »
So this is what I use.
Itís autosketch, I have a grid which I scale up and down. The idea is that each square represents an inch and the bodyís represent a healthy person at 5.11 in height, I use them for size reference when making things to give me an idea how big itís gonna look on a body. Itís not 100% accurate but it helps.
I work everything out in inches and then just add seam allowances when I mark up the fabric. I import a bunch of images from stuff for inspiration itís handy cos I can scale the pictures up and down and get rough measurements for them.

It gets pretty easy and second nature over time.....I rarely work with round edges......I prefer to use fabric and construction to alter how bags or pouches sit and how they look.

Nothing dodgy in the top right .....just images I drag in for inspiration....Iíll usually have 5 or 6 and a bunch of camo patterns and different webbings and clips

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo B7A62C50-4045-4B37-AFF9-43819A8C1CCE_zpsadbisuxg.png"/></a>

« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 11:29:21 PM by rouge »


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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2018, 05:22:08 AM »
Iím pretty old school, just a general shape hand drawn and a list of features and a final size. I work out the sizes of all the pieces as it comes together. I have been trying to learn fusion 360 and GIMP to get a pattern.


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Re: Prototype Making.
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 12:41:30 PM »
I'm not doing a ton of production right now, but as I was getting into sewing professionally, I brainstormed my process.
Here is how I have gone about, turns out it is a 12 step program:

1. Identify the problem you are going to solve
2. Sketch solution (usually rough sketch on paper, but I did pick up a wacom tablet to sketch digitally)
3. Build a proof of concept - a rough as you go, figuring out construction, imperfect sample.
4. Create a pattern for repeatability, often just in kraft paper.
5. Build a working prototype using all materials for final construction to test pattern and develop methods and processes for construction. Document.
6. Adjust pattern/method as needed to address issues found during prototyping, simplify construction, etc.
7. Create a sample. This is the final product built as a one off to test your final pattern and process.
8. Adjust pattern/method as needed to address issues found in sample creation.
9. Optional - Test pattern again with adjustments.
10. Production
11. Marketing
12. Sales

Big learning for me came in developing systems to increase efficiency for production sewing vs. bespoke work. Ultimately learning that in production, you may be better off sewing in stages instead of a complete piece start to finish. Pretty obvious now, but the first time it was an eye opener. This also opens up options for using lean manufacturing processes, which are great for rapid (or faster) order fulfillment and keep you busy when orders are not rolling in as you can be doing the cutting and subassembly, creating your parts inventory so final assembly is smooth and fast.

Creating a list of steps and with the appropriate stitch length and SA is really helpful as well and assures you don't miss anything. There are also other considerations like accurately pricing and estimating materials that come after the design process, but before production.

I have also built models with paper, both full size and scale. but that is not common and is usually employed with more complex shapes for me.
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