Developing prototypes

Prototypes can be full-size, working models of a product, and are the next stage of development after modelling. They are often made from the same material as the product and often have fully functioning parts. Prototyping is expensive, so a product needs to have already been modelled and tested.

Reasons for prototyping

  • a manufacturing specification can be produced from a prototype and allows for the planning of cost, materials and quantities
  • following client and user feedback, small changes and improvements in aesthetics and function can be made before production starts
  • user trials with a prototype can check functionality, marketability and whether a product is fit for purpose before spending money on production
  • specialist tools and equipment can be planned for and costed for when the product is later produced for the mass market

Prototyping can help work out the cost of manufacturing a product, including how much material is needed and what machinery is required. The percentage profit can be worked out from this and can be improved by lowering production costs, eg by using cheaper materials or fewer workers.


A bookcase costs £25.00 to make in a factory and sells for £45.00 in a shop.

Profit = £45.00 − £25.00

= £20.00

Percentage profit = (profit ÷ cost price) × 100%

= (20 ÷ 45) × 100%

= 44%


A manufacturer sells headphones for £12.00. They originally cost £10.00 to design and manufacture. Find the percentage profit made per sale.

Profit = £12.00 − £10.00 = £2.00

Percentage profit = (profit ÷ cost price) × 100%

= (2 ÷ 10) × 100%

= 20%

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