Author Archives: dukudesign

3D Printing

In the last few years, there has been a media explosion about 3D printing which has led to a huge amount of interest in the technology in new areas. The increasing affordability and availability of 3D printing machines has allowed the technology to be used in a wide range of new areas such as jewellery design, fashion, and the home ‘hobbyist’ market.

On top of this, bespoke 3D printing has become much more prevalent in high-tech areas such as automotive, aerospace and medical industries. The rapid turnaround and ability to print complicated parts that may not be viable to produce using traditional manufacturing methods has opened up a wide range of possibilities in these areas. Super-light aircraft and vehicles, incredible shapes and styles, and 3D printed inserts for use in the human body are only some of the more exciting developments in the 3D printing world.

Recently, a pioneering facial reconstruction operation was performed on a patient using 3D scanning and printing technologies to rebuild their facial structure – find out about it here

The possibilities with 3D printing technology are seemingly endless, there is even the possibility of being able to 3D print human organs in the future.

At Duku, we’re very familiar with the world of 3D printing, as we often use the process when creating early prototypes during the product development process.

3D printers come in all shapes and sizes, and varying levels of quality. They can print models from a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals, paper and even food!

In order to create a 3D print, you first need a CAD (Computer Aided Design) model. A CAD model creates the 3D data that is required in order to manufacture your 3D print. There are websites available that allow you to create models based upon pre-existing templates, but if you’re after something truly bespoke then you will need to commission the services of a product design company to create your CAD model for you. Duku offer a wide range of CAD services to suit all budgets and projects Find out more about our CAD design services here and contact us to discuss how we can help you create a unique design and 3D print.

There are now a huge variety of 3D printers on the market, but the process in which they work is nearly always the same. Essentially, they work in a similar way to an everyday desktop printer, by adding a material (in this case plastic instead of ink) to a surface. A 3D printer slices your CAD model into thousands of ultra-thin layers and then builds up the profile of your CAD model one layer at a time, adding a thin layer of material every time the print head moves over the model. When you look closely at a 3D printer, you will be able to see these individual layers. Generally, the better the quality of the 3D printer, the better the resolution of the finished model and the less visible the layers.

Whilst the 3D printing revolution is no doubt exciting, it is not yet at the stage where it has become a viable manufacturing method for mass market products, what it does offer however, is the chance for people to explore their ideas more readily in 3D as well as offer the opportunity for high end users to create bespoke, one off parts without investing in expensive tooling.

At Duku, we currently see 3D printing as a valuable part of a wider prototyping and product development process, that allows us to explore and test ideas and create a better end product as a result.

This video gives an interesting overview of how 3D printing works and some of the current applications.

We look forward to the day when we can print production standard parts at the touch of a button! Although this does open up an argument about to protect innovations when technology exists that will allow home users to reproduce designs so easily.

In the meantime, contact Duku to discuss how we can assist with product development, 3D printing and the manufacture of your invention.


Successful prototyping development

prototype your design with Duku

Prototyping is one of the most important stages of the design process, it allows essential features of the product design to be assessed before the final product is manufactured. This can include evaluating styling, mechanics, electronics, materials, colours amongst other things.

This is important not only for the design development of the product, but also for potential buyers of your product. 3D CAD design and high quality computer renders are an essential tool for visualising designs and explaining how they work, however there is no better way to present your design than in the form of a real-life physical product. This allows people to get hands on with your product and explore its form its function.

A thorough prototyping process will often result in a better end product as each prototype can highlight potential refinements and improvements that can be applied to the design to make the product better. For this reason, companies will often create multiple prototypes sometimes hundreds of them before committing to the manufacture of a product.

Types of prototype
There are a wide range of prototyping methods available during the product development process, and Duku can advise you as to the best method for you depending on the required outcome. 

Proof of concept prototype
A proof of concept prototype is an initial test prototype that is often constructed using off the shelf parts to prove that certain features and mechanisms work correctly. Whilst the overall geometry of the prototype will be based on the potential design, this type of prototype does not focus on aesthetic detail, nor would it necessarily be suitable for presenting to potential buyers, but instead provides invaluable information about the design of the product that can be used to inform the design moving forwards.

Development prototype
A development prototype can take many forms, from cost effective visual models to test the styling of a product, to complex prototypes to test mechanics and functionality. This type of prototype acts as a way of evaluating and refining your product design before committing to final presentation prototypes. These prototypes are usually produced using accurate 3D data generated during a CAD design phase. This date can then be accurately reproduced in a cost effective manner using rapid prototyping techniques such as SLS, SLA, 3D printing, Vacuum Casting and CNC machining.

Presentation Prototype
A presentation prototype is one of the most exciting stages of the product development process, usually commissioned when the design is finalised and ready to show off to potential buyers. This type of prototype will be of the highest quality possible without investing in more expensive mass production tooling. It will accurately reflect the final design, functionality and aesthetics of your product. Often at this stage multiple prototypes can be produced using cost effective prototyping methods such as vacuum casting, should you wish to demonstrate your product in multiple colours or configurations, or to multiple buyers.

The correct product development approach?
Every project requires a unique approach to product development, selecting the best approach dependent on your requirements. Duku can assist at every stage of the prototyping process and advise you as to which prototyping methods are best suited to your product development route. Our experienced design team will ensure that the manufacturing viability of your product is considered from the outset. At the beginning of your project we consider innovative ways in which your design can be improved, from a usability, patentability and aesthetics point of view.  This approach means that many potential issues have been considered and addresses before initial prototypes are made, resulting in a cost effective route to market.

Duku are product design specialists, offering a complete design to market service including concept development, CAD, prototyping, patents & trademarks, product promotion, and manufacturing.

For more information visit or Contact us to find out how we can help you develop a successful product prototype.

Dragons Den

It’s that time of year again, the new series of Dragons’ Den begins on BBC2 this Sunday at 8.00pm. For anyone unfamiliar (there can’t be many), Dragons’ Den is a unique format that allows inventors and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a panel of wealthy investors.

As fans of the show will know, gaining investment is not easy. The Dragons will ask and probe about every last detail until they are satisfied it is a worthy investment. If they haven’t done their homework they will be subjected to a thorough grilling, which is always fun to watch!

The ideas put forward vary from new business concepts to phone apps and innovative new products. These new product ideas are the ones we find most interesting at Duku as very few programs feature new inventions and it’s fascinating to see what people have come up with.

At Duku we can provide clients with all the help they need to go from an initial idea, right through to standing in front of the Dragons with a fully developed product.

So how is it done?
Well it’s a process many won’t be familiar with, the program itself doesn’t feature the work these entrepreneurs have put in to reach the point they’ve got to, however almost all will have used professional design companies such as ourselves, in order to develop and prototype their ideas. All ideas start with an initial spark of inspiration and that’s all we need to get started. We take the idea and combine it with our experience and expertise to turn it into a design that is feasible and fits the brief.

Depending on the type of product, we will then create a virtual model using state of the art CAD (computer aided design) software. This three-dimensional computer software enables us to visualise and develop the design into something that can be made. Using the 3D model, we can create accurate prototypes which test the design and make sure everything works as it should. It is often these prototypes that feature on Dragons’ Den as they enable the inventors to present a fully working, realistic model which is by far the best way to sell the idea.

At that point there are two options; sell the idea or manufacture it yourself. The program features people who are looking to do both options. Some would like to sell the idea to a Dragon (usually in the form a design patent). Others are looking for them to invest so that they can manufacture the product and help pay for the set-up, manufacturing and promotional costs.

Duku helps people whichever route they wish to take and offer advice, expertise and services to ensure a successful project.

So have you got an idea?
We speak to people every day that have had an idea and want to do something with it. You may be thinking someone’s thought of it before, or it will cost a lot of money to develop. Well why not contact us today, we will give you a free, honest opinion. We can help you find out if it has been done before by offering professional patent searches and will give you a free quote to develop the project before you commit to anything. Everything we discuss is kept 100% confidential whether you decide to work with us or not and who knows, maybe that idea you’ve had could be the next big thing!

Contact Duku today and you could be in front of the Dragons this time next year!

Click here to fill in our enquiry form and we’ll send you our free info pack and idea submission form.

Introducing Duku

Introducing Duku.

We’re a brand new product design consultancy based in the beautiful spa town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Duku offers a complete product design service to take your new invention to market. At our design studio in Cheltenham, we work alongside chartered patent & trademark attorneys to develop and protect your idea.

Duku provide a unique service, combining innovative product design, patent, trademark and design protection under the same roof. This combination streamlines and simplifies the design to market process and ensures cost effective yet thorough intellectual property protection. 

We’re always working on interesting projects, and as product designers we have an interest in all things design, which we like to share with you! Alongside our Facebook, Twitter and Linked in feeds, our blog will aim to give you more detail about what’s going on over at Duku HQ! 

We’ll be updating the blog on a regular basis with news, case studies, things we like, things we don’t and many other hints, tips and advice on design and patenting issues. 

Until then, its bye for now. We’re off to prepare ourselves for the new series of Dragons Den – its always interesting for us to see what exciting new inventions people have come up with as we’re ideally placed to help people develop new ideas.