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Prototype storage

If you make a prototype of a design, what do you ultimately do with it after final production?

It seems like it should be kept along with associated drawings and notes, although in a separate storage place, using a system of identification to match notes and drawings with the prototype for easy retrieval in the future.

That is a good plan but I barely have enough storage space for documents, let alone the 3 dimensional objects.

If you save them, how do you store them?

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I appreciate this question and expect I’ll learn something great from all of you! People tell me I’m organized but I feel anything but. I spend a lot of time frustrated that I’m not better organized, just never have any extra time.

Most of my work is one of a kind. But I do have several pieces that compromise a line, those I saved the original prototypes. I keep them in job envelopes in a box (very fancy I know!), I write the name or description on the front of the envelope and any tricky details involved in making it on the back, as well as pricing notes. Also note if there is a rubber mold and its number.

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You posted a photo recently of your bench setup, and it’s obvious you are organized.

Are you saying that everything (except the rubber mold) is stored with the prototype? I’m specifically thinking about drawings with notes about dimensions, gauges, weights.

Thank you for your response. You’ve made me think about how much I am keeping: sketch book, filing cabinet, computer and prototype.

Well, just so you know, I cleaned that bench before the photo. I’m usually working on several things at once. So it’s usually fairly cluttered. My wife was just in my shop a few minutes ago and couldn’t find a place to put something down. Ugh!

The sketches I don’t really ever refer to again once the prototype is made. I save them but have so many after 38 years of work that I’d have to search through many hundreds in a banker box to find it. I used to organize them by job number or put them in a special sketch book but found that I so seldom go back that I could skip that. I do make any needed sketches on the job envelope.

The prototype molds I keep separate from any other molds, on a shelf with a number on the mold front and a sketch on the top. I note wax injection pressures on the mold if needed. I’d note that I did have several important molds stolen by an employee years back, so it’s a good idea to keep them locked up.

The photos I store on a computer. Although I am terrible at stopping work to take the time to photograph it.

The notes for making on the envelope are things like tubing diameter and wall thickness, even how I coiled the tubing and the final inside diameter of the coil. Just so I remember how I made the components. Like that.

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For me, I keep my masters in a fire safe in job envelopes so they can be labeled. The rubber molds are with my rubber molds and all of my notes for each item are in a file folder with any other random info. Those folders are in a drawer of my fire safe close to the masters.

Gerald A. Livings
Livingston Jewelers

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