In our world of product design consulting, we inevitably come to a prototyping and testing phase. Having gone through the product development cycle many times, the Inertia Engineering + Design team has found that having a handy go-to tool bag is essential to reacting quickly to prototype and testing issues in the field.
But what does one include in such a tool kit? This will depend heavily on what type of product you’re working on. Focus on the tools you actually need to get the job done rather than taking your entire tool chest. For example, our consumer product prototyping tool kit consists of:
- Basic assembly tools to get the job done: screw drivers, mallet, hex keys, pliers, a couple wrenches
- Specialty tools unique to the product: rivet gun, Dremel, cordless drill & drill bits, Torx drivers
- Fasteners and adhesives: screws, back-up nuts & bolts, assortment of glues
- Tools for fit & finish and cosmetic touch ups: files, sand paper, markers, paint samples
Two of the most important tools to bring with you, however, are a flashlight to see what you’re doing and a camera to record important details. Never miss an opportunity to learn from your prototype! It is easy to forget details when you’re concentrating on getting your prototype back on the testing schedule. So no matter how good your memory may be, a picture is still worth a thousand words, so record the issue carefully before beginning repair work so that you can return to your design and implement improvements.
Just as Tom Peters is quoted as saying, if you “test fast, fail fast, [and] adjust fast”, you will stay ahead of the game.