You should be worried about buying a custom model or prototype based on a lowest-cost bid as we pointed out in our last blog. Here are five reasons to pay a little more for quality and get a lot more in return.
1. Quality sells.
The impact and quality of a model or prototype built with superior materials or design may lead to far greater sales than the incremental cost of say 10 percent over the lowest quote. That's value.
1/24 scale brass locomotive model - exterior and interior
If a model or prototype is 25 percent or more effective in generating leads than say a quote that costs 10 percent less it is more cost effective. Our experience is that the extra expense is often the difference between a dull model and one that grabs the viewer’s attention. In the case of the 36" long locomotive model pictured above it was also the difference in a more accurate and durable model that we built primarily out of brass instead of plastic.
Internal equipment rack prior to painting. Primarily brass construction
The entire exterior of the locomotive body and most of the internal equipment is brass construction with strong silver soldered weld joints . The model is then very durable and the thickness of the parts is in scale.
2. A model is your reputation - don't mess it up to save a few dollars.
It takes a long time to build up a corporate reputation and a short time to knock it down if you don't meet the expectations of your client or potential client. Put your best model forward.
3. A partnership with a good model maker can raise quality exponentially.
Commissioning a prototype can be a learning experience that simultaneously represents and improves your idea when working with a good model maker.
The best model makers will spend when needed up to a third or more of their time doing research for or with you. For example the U.S. Navy's policy is not to provide drawings on currently commissioned ships. All is well if accuracy is not your goal or if you can do the research required for accuracy. One of Model Builders, Inc's strengths is our exceptional research and commitment to accuracy when it counts. Some of our competitors have had their models rejected by their clients who liked their price but not the inaccurate results.
4. Quality pays, but quality is not free.
Even one step up from the lowest bid can make a big difference in quality. The marginal difference may go to the more talented and experienced staff, more precise tools, more durable and realistic materials, and safer shipping containers, for example. When you commission one model in anticipation of multiple versions later on, buying quality also prevents having to start over later with a different company if the first model is unsatisfactory.
5. The lowest bid often means there is little room for innovation or details that can make a big impact in the final look of the model or prototype.
The above picture is of a finely detailed 1:500 scale model garden that is only 5" X 7". The two white lions on the right in the garden are 1/2" long. The holes are only 1/16" diameter for lighted fiber optic cable ends to identify the area by pushing a button. This model type of finely detailed model making takes time and special artistic skill.
Model Builders, Inc. is known for helping industrial designers, manufacturers, institutions and individuals go from idea to reality. Take the next step by contacting us at Model Builders, Inc., 773-586-6500 or email@example.com .
There is nothing like demonstrating a real product at a tradeshow or event. However if you are selling a large piece of construction equipment it may be too large or too expensive to do that. Consequently some construction equipment companies are using a custom model that will fit into an exhibit booth or is easily moved to a customer's office for a sales presentation.
Showing a construction equipment model at a work site such as on a railroad track can help the potential customer better relate to how the equipment is used.
Tamper ballast tamping machine model
Features of the equipment can be depicted. This 1:16 scale mining truck shows that the electrical equipment is concentrated in one place in a three door cabinet on the deck next to the driver's cab so that it is easy to access and fix. Using a control on the side of the model base the sales person can turn the front wheels to show that this truck behind the wheels has the most accessible engine for maintenance (there is a scale engine between the front wheels). Also the dump bed can also be raised and lowered (by turning a key) to attract attention at the tradeshow.
Haulpak 830E mining truck 1:16 scale model
In 1956 a 1/4 scale model of the Hough Payloader attracted crowds at tradeshows because it duplicaticated the hydraulic actions of the real front-end loader by using miniature cylinders and a new reversible pump unit. Automatic or manual operation was selected by the 4-pole transfer switch. In automatic operation limit switches control direction of current flow through armature and direction of motor control. In manual operation current flow was controlled by momentary pushbutton switches. This model was written up on two pages of the December 1956 edition of Applied Hydraulics magazine.
Hough Payloader 1/4 scale working hydraulic model
Use product models like those described above to help the product sell itself and grab the attention of potential customers at a trade show or on a sales call. Give yourself a competitive edge with a product model that tells your product’s story with impact and often without the use of words.
A construction equipment product model enables you to show your product in more places and at less cost than if you took the real product. Take the next step by contacting us at Model Builders, Inc., 773.586.6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
"One Hundred Great Product Designs" by industrial designer Jay Doblin is the 1st of our 5 book reviews. Published in 1970 this book is a classic and sets the format for several similar books published later - products are in a chronological order, there is one large picture per product and there is a concise history of each product.
The Industrial Age resulted in thousands of products based on whatever the machinery could make efficiently. Industrial designers starting in the 20th Century managed to create a much smaller number of very carefully designed mass produced products. Henry Drefyus, Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Gettes and other well known industrial designers were able to design the look of the future - often with streamlining and styling. In this book Jay Doblin takes us on a chronological journey of 100 great product designs from the 1742 Franklin Stove to 1965 Bell Trimline Telephone.
Jay Doblin went to Pratt Institute and was an executive designer with Raymond Loewy Associates from 1942 to 1955. For the next 14 years he was the director of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. This book is the result of 10 years of research by the faculty at IIT in an effort "to find out which product designs were considered "great", and why". Only mass produced items designed, manufactured and distributed for sale were considered.
Some of the 100 Great Product Designs are:
Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 Airliner 1934, #51 Beechcraft Bonanza 1947, Sikorski S-58 Helicopter 1949 and #96 Learjet 1963.
Appliances: #19 Electrolux Vacuum Cleaner 1918, #35 Coldspot Refrigerator 1937, #42 Chemex Coffee Maker 1941, #49 Thermador Built-in Oven 1946, #73 General Electric Wall-hung Refrigerator and Kitchen Center 1954, #81 Frigidaire Fold-back Surface Cooking Burners, 1955, #82 NuTone Built-in Mixer 1955, #84 Braun KM3 Kitchen Machine 1957, #86 Frigidaire Sheer Look Major Appliances 1957 and #89 Tappen 400 Range 1958.
Automobiles: #13 Rolls-Royce 1907, #14 Fort Model T 1908, #30 La Salle 1935, #32 Cord 810 1936, #36 Volkswagen 1937, #38 Lincoln Continental 1939, #43 Willy's Jeep 1941, #45 Cisitalia 1946, #54 Studebaker 1947, #55 MG Model TC 1948, #57 Porsche 3561952, #70 Studebaker 1953, #77 Citroen DS-19 1955 and #97 Ford Mustang 1964.
Cameras: #8 Kodak Brownie Camera 1900, #20 Leica Camera 1925, #32 Bolex H-16 Motion-Picture Camera 1936, #53 Hasselblad 500C and #57 Polaroid Land Camera 1948.
China: #23 Arzberg China 1931, #33 American Modern Dinnerware 1937 and #44 Castleton Museum White Dinnerware 1946.
Typewriters: #29 Hermes Portable 1935, #63 Olivetti Lettera 1950 and #93 IBM Selectric 1961.
Industrial designer Jon W. Hauser from engineering firm Barnes & Reinecke updated the design and appearance of the Hough Payloader to reflect its superior performance. This proved that "integrated design and engineering could increase sales and pride of ownership in heavy-duty equipment."
Model Builders, Inc. was fortunate to work starting in 1950 with many notable industrial designers such as Jon W. Hauser, Raymond Loewy, Richard Latham and Dave Chapman. One model we built was a 1/4 scale Hough Payloader that duplicated all the hydraulic actions of the front end loader by using minature cylinders and a new reversible pump unit. The Hough Payloader model was a hit with potential customers at tradeshows and was written up in detail on two pages in the December 1956 issue of Applied Hydraulics magazine. Another project was creating two full size prototype seats and the custom ashtray prototypes for Raymond Loewy's Scenicruiser bus. The Greyhound logo and Scenicruiser bus are excellent examples of Loewy's styling and streamlining designs.
Doblin thought most of the current design then was "commercial and vulgar" but "the future had possiblities for excellence". He saw that the combination of what he called intellectronics and automation was producing abundant supplies with less labor and that cities were becoming centers of information handling, not manufacturing. Doblin included #87 the IBM RAMAC Computer 1957 with its disc storage in this book. He thought the computer would help man control increasingly complex systems and "result in a brighter, more rational world where cooperation replaces competition." Power would be based on knowledge and that would make education more important for everyone.
"One Hundred Great Product Designs" is a classic book that captures the impact that industrial designers made on mass produced products. The list first appeared on pages 135-141 of the April 1959 issue of Fortune magazine http://www.fulltable.com/vts/f/fortune/design/a.htm along with a interesting explanation of how the list was selected. What makes this book exceptional is the carefully written explanation of the design significance of each product.
Do you have a favorite book on industrial design prototypes, products or designers? Please let us know by posting a comment. If you have any questions or would like to discuss prototypes or other projects contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or email@example.com .
Industrial designers hire a model shop or use an in-house model shop to build physical prototypes of new products and other ideas. Knowledge of prototyping, materials and manufacturing techniques enable the model maker to refine an idea from two dimensions into a physical model that turns that idea into a product.
Here are 8 reasons why industrial designers use model shops:
1) Reality. As stated on page 132 in the 1947 book "Design for Business" by J. Gordon Lippincott
"Before any design goes into mass production, a full scale model should be made and, if at all feasible, an operating model. The costs of tooling, merchandising and advertising are so great that any economies gained by skipping the model-making step are more than offset by the greater risk of producing an article that lacks consumer acceptance through failures in styling or function.
Renderings are particularly misleading and should serve only the function of stimulating new, fresh, creative thinking. In other words renderings are only the expressions of the idea stage. As soon as a proposed form for a new product has been selected, models should be produced - in full scale wherever possible or practical. Half and quarter-scale models are completely misleading because most people do not have the ability to appreciate changes in scale. A molding on a quarter-scale model of a refrigerator may look perfectly satisfactory, but when the same design is enlarged to full scale, the molding will be completely out of proportion - usually too large."
Raymond Loewy stainless steel ashtray prototype for the 1954 Greyhound Scenicruiser bus
2) Capability. The industrial designer usually needs a model maker that has a shop with a variety of capabilities including machining, rapid prototyping, woodworking and finishing work such as sanding and painting. The space, machinery and model making talent needed to produce the industrial designer's prototypes and appearance models are simply too expensive to do at the industrial designer's location unless there is a constant volume of work to do.
The larger industrial design firms like IDEO and large companies like Steelcase tend to have an in-house model shop to create prototypes and appearance models. However for peak loads of work, special expertise or equipment, and a short run of parts they may use an independent model shop.
3) Expertise in materials. Professional model makers know from practical experience what materials may best meet the demands of the designer's intentions and the conditions a product will face.
RAYOVAC ROUGHNECK flashlight - adjusts from Spot to Flood
4) Speed. Initial prototypes may be quicker if made in thin acrylic or styrene with vacuum forming. Rapid prototyping is also used to create quick prototypes once the computer CAD work is done. Machining plastic or metal is often the best way to create the final model since there usually can be much finer detail, more durable material and less finishing work.
5) Product development. The initial design is tested with potential customers to see how well the product design works. Sometimes the product when held doesn't feel balanced. Many prototypes may have to be built and tested sequentially with changes before the product is ready to sell in the marketplace. Design is a collaborative process and model makers help the industrial designer perfect his craft.
Bernard welding handle final prototype
6) Appearance. A passion to do finishing work, the right grit of sandpaper, the right primer, the right shade of paint, a gloss, semi-gloss or flat finish often determine the success of a new product. The texture and finish must be the same as the final product. We hired one model maker because he could produce a flawless high gloss black finish on a wood base 10" high X 48" X 96". Sometimes industrial designers specify a specific model maker because of his or her superior finishing work.
7) Testing. Sometimes a design looks good on paper but doesn't work right when a prototype is built. The best model makers have the mechanical and electrial skills to help solve those problems.
8) Imagination. You never know when someone else's imagination, expertise, experience or knowledge may improve a product design. Model makers at in-house shop usually have a great knowledge of a particular product's history and techniques that were used to make that type of product.
Independent model shops often have a broad range of experience and may bring in new ideas from their diverse experiences. At our independent model shop we sometimes find ourselves delving into a dusty two volume set of books titled "Ingenious Mechanisms For Designers and Inventors" that was first published in 1930 with chapter titles like "Intermittent Motion" to create special mechanical motions for a new product. Mechanisms in this book have already passed two important tests - (1) these are designs of mechanisms that will function properly and (2) they are simplified designs which normally are less costly to manufacture and more durable. This is just one example of the resources and experiences that model makers have. Last week we found a new nanotechnology based consumer product that removes and then prevents fingerprints on stainless steel.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss prototypes or other projects contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Saudi Aramco Exhibit is in a high-tech museum near Saudi Aramco's headquarters in Dhahran and is dedicated to energy education. There are 8 permanent sections to find out about oil production, Saudi Aramco's history and Arab-Islamic history. Also included are many temporary exhibits. Important information is combined with fun for youngsters and the family as well. There is a 3-D film "Energy to the World", a variety of ingenious hands on displays and interactive computer games to involve, intrigue and educate visitors. Every year the exhibit attracts tens of thousands of school children and international visitors.
The Saudi Aramco Exhibit opened in 1987. It features three dimensional models such as the 7' high detailed oil rig model shown below.
Oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and ARAMCO later became the largest oil producer in the world. The exhibit dramatically tells the story of the petroleum industry and relates it to over 10 centuries of Islam (from the 7th to the 17th Century) technological advances and heritage. By the mid-ninth Century Arabic had become the international language of scientific thought.
Recently a National Geographic book "1001 Inventions - The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization" (now in its Third Editon) and a traveling exhibition "1001 Inventions" (originally opening in the United Kingdom in 2006) has exposed millions of people to the Muslim technological advances and heritage. Currently the "1001 Inventions" exhibition is at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC until February 3, 2013. We like to think "1001 Inventions" exhibit is based on the pioneering ARAMCO Exhibit that opened in 1987.
This 7' high oil rig model scale is 1/2"=1'-0" or 1:24. The model is in a scale that people can relate to and easily comprehend the entire oil rig as well as the details.
Oil Rig Model - Traveling Block, Hook and Swivel
Visitors are inherently attracted to a highly detailed model such as this oil rig that looks realistic. The traveling block and hook above are part of the hoisting system. Below them is the swivel which is part of the equipment that rotates the drill. This is a Loffland Brothers Rotary Rig.
The model is all brass construction that is silver soldered into a very strong welded bond that enables this fine level of model detail as well as durabilty. It will withstand exposure to extreme temperatures if it is ever displayed outdoors or transported in a vehicle that is not air conditioned.
Oil Rig Model - Monkeyboard
Fine detail like the monkeyboard platform is possible with the strong silver solder welding of the brass. The monkey board is used as the oil rig man’s work platform. The monkey board is located at a particular height in the derrick or mast. It is the same height as single, double or triple pipes.
Oil Rig Model - Crown Block
The crown block is a fixed set of pulleys (called sheaves) located at the top of the oil rig mast over which the drilling cable is threaded. The companion blocks to these pulleys are the traveling blocks. By using two sets of blocks a great mechanical advantage is gained. Consequently small steel drilling cable (3/4" to 1-1/2" diameter) can be used to hoist loads many times heavier than the cable could support as a single strand.
Colorful museum catalogs at the entrance (according to the Saudi Aramco World magaine November/December 1992 issue) go right to the point of the Exhibit that "it is meant to be a place for joyful learning...a carvansary for the curious" revealing secrets about the past, present and the juxtaposition of the two".
If you have any questions or would like to discuss oil rig models, site models, ship models, plant layout or process models, industrial models, nuclear training models, topographic models or other projects contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or email@example.com .
To create a trade show exhibit that sells, focus on solving these three basic problems:
Problem 1: How do you get the attention of your highest potential buyers?
Answer: Use a concise headline in the most easily seen part of the exhibit - put it up high, make it big, light it up. Repeat the headline elsewhere in the exhibit. Use the company name nearby.
Focus the headline on a specific product, or service and make a strong benefit promise. For example, Uni-tek's headline is "Broken Taps Removed Fast" in large, flood-lit lettering. Sharp focus like this attracts people who want what you have to offer.
You have five seconds to attract the attention of potential buyers and less than five minutes to develop interest.
Problem 2: How do you develop detailed product interest?
Photo: A 30" diameter model of the Millennium ball drops slowly a few times a day in synch with a video countdown at this 50' trade show booth for Philips light bulbs, drawing attention to the key product benefits on the billboards.
Answer: Highlight the product. Use a sales message with the most important features and benefits. Show your product or service in action. Invite the potential client to participate in a product demonstration.
Remember the product is the star. Consider a cutaway of your product to highlight how it works. Make a small product larger with a realistic larger-scale model as the center of attention in the booth, like the 5' high spark plug Bosch used. For a large product like a locomotive, aircraft, or mining truck, feature a smaller-scale model that fits in the trade show booth. Consider adding mechanical movement or chase lights to show the sequence of how the product works.
The sales message should be simple and dramatic. A video or exhibit backwall with a few pictures and copy can tell your story quickly and effectively. Help the booth staff tell the product story with a few key visual aids that highlight the product's most important features and benefits.
Problem 3: How do you follow up with the potential buyer?
Photo: Business card drop box (slot) in a 2X scale prop model of a new medical device.
Answer: Often several potential buyers show up at a trade show exhibit at the same time. A business card drop box offers a quick way to get a potential buyer's business card even when exhibit staff is busy with someone else. Provide blank name/address cards, too, and pens to make it easy to fill them out. Consider adding a question or two on the blank card to help qualify the prospect as a potential buyer.
If the objective is to make an appointment with the potential buyer for a followup call, include a graphic that invites the visitor to sign up for a product demonstration. Include a large appointment book to make it easy.
Another option is to integrate a private area or separate office into the exhibit area as a place to close a sale, show more detailed product options, etc.
One technique to close sales is use of show specials: offer a lower price for orders at the show only, making the invitation highly visible.
To wrap up the planning process, ask yourself:
- Did we pinpoint the product and sales message in the headline?
- Did we dramatize the product for immediate impact?
- Is the exhibit uncluttered and geared to a single objective?
If yes, then you are on your way to having an effective exhibit. If you have any questions or would like to discuss exhibit design, a cutaway of your product, a product model, or a larger or smaller than life model contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
One of the easiest things to use to attact visitors to your exhibit booth is your product because that is what you are selling. However you may be overlooking the advantages of using a product model instead. Here are three examples of exhibits where there was a very significant advantage to using a product model versus the real product.
(1) The first advantage is a savings in weight and therefore cost. Below is a photograph of a replica model of a track welding machine which is 12' X 4' X 3'. The cost to ship the real machine which weighs close to 15,000 lbs. is quite high. Then the expense to move a real track welding machine into the exhibit booth and set it up is also high. However a replica model made out of ABS plastic instead of steel like the real product weighed less than 1,000 lbs. The shipping cost savings for the first tradeshow alone can pay for the model.
(2) The second advantage of a product model versus the real product is you can make a large real product as a much smaller product model which enables you to ship the product model to more tradeshows for the same cost as one tradeshow. Furthermore for really large products like some mining trucks the real product is too big to even fit in an exhibit hall. Shown below at 1:16 scale is a mining truck model which is about 33" long which has been shipped to tradeshows around the world.
(3) The third advantage of a product model is that an expensive product such as medical equipment with expensive components can be replaced by a product model greatly reducing the cost of shipping insurance. The model cost about 1/15 the cost of the real lithotriper.The lithotripter model shown below also was made at 1:3 scale to make it small enough for the sales force to drive it to their clients locations in addition to the use of the model at tradeshows. The mechanical arm moved exactly like the real lithotripter.
The benefits of product models are real. If you would like information on having a product model fabricated contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or email@example.com .
Competition for attention is very stiff at a trade show. Companies that get noticed often have product models that grab attention and draw the passer-by into the trade show booth for more information. Here are five types of unique and enticing product models.
A working model is a very effective way to attract traffic at trade shows. Demonstrating how the actual product works not only creates a vivid image in the potential customer’s mind but the action itself also draws the eye and stops traffic.
The medical device in these two pictures permits the hand to move while the wrist is recovering from a break instead of being fixed in one position in a cast. The hand is motorized to move slowly up and down to demonstrate the range of movement.
Creative action model
Even with a static model you can create action to help draw traffic to your booth. Your product model might pop up out of a related setting such as a topographic or plant layout model.
Extend a model out from a picture
This techique is an attention grabber and at the same time cuts the cost to far below what it would be if you made a model of both the vehicle and the brush cutter in front. It also puts the focus on the brush cutter. The focus on the railroad right of way maintenance car is on the double bladed rotary cutter on the right.
The larger story model
Product models are three dimensional, which is always more engaging than a flat display. But you can take this advantage one step further as well. You can place your model in a realistic setting that draws the potential client to the display. Another method is use your product model in conjunction with others (your product or not) to simulate the larger story of your product’s unique benefits.
An interactive product model allows a person to learn about the product by starting, moving, pausing or stopping the operation. A user-controlled video alongside the product model could be added to help better understand your competitive advantages. Seeing someone who is engaged with your product makes others more likely to stop to see what it’s all about.
Use product models like those described above to help the product sell itself and grab the attention of potential customers at a trade show. Give yourself a competitive edge with a product model that tells your product’s story with impact and often without the use of words. Take the next step by contacting us at Model Builders, Inc., 773.586.6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .