Once I thought I had a potentially viable idea I needed to find out how to bring it to life. I wanted to make sure that I was able to solve the problem that I originally was having and create a better product. I knew I wanted to make the product from wood initially and branch out to other materials later. Being a weekend woodworker gave me some knowledge of how this could be created by hand. But ultimately I wanted to be able to make in it on a C&C machine to get the level of precision I was hoping for.
I started drawing feverishly. Different views, angles, site lines. I made the item bigger and smaller. I quickly filled up a Field Notes notebook with ideas. But it still was not obvious enough when someone looked at it what it was (that may still be the case). This has to be done in a 3D rendered form. I needed this in a CAD format to show others and and get better feedback. I have not used AutoCad in sometime, nor did I have a current license to upgrade. I looked around and found that I could probably use Google SketchUp to create a detailed enough drawing.
Setting aside a weekend I started playing with SketchUp. It was pretty easy to learn and there were a lot of sophisticated demo drawings out there to encourage me that this could be done. A few hours later I had my drawing prototype. I emailed it off to a few more friends to get their thoughts and any recommendations for changes. The feedback was very positive but there were some recommendations for changes as well. I updated my drawing and went to meet with my friend who had some bigger machine equipment. He liked the design and we tweaked it yet again.
What I was trying to do is create a version 1 of a product. What I did not think about at the time was what was I doing? What I later realized at the time was I was trying to create myMVP or Minimum Viable Product. An MVP is the process used to get something started in many books like the Lean Startup approach.
Next up refinement and feedback.
Related: Step1: Ideas are Easy