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The Packaging Rap
SKS Bottle & Packaging Newsletter


Behind the Scenes: Product Design and Prototyping

January 2014


Behind the Scenes:  Product Design and PrototypingBehind the Scenes:  Product Design and Prototyping

SKS always has strived for innovation in packaging. We offer a variety of shapes, styles, and materials to suit every customer's needs. We are no stranger to developing a product from start to finish.


When we set out to solve a problem by designing a new product, it is an extensive process that starts with a thought and ends with full scale production and a brand new product to hit the shelves.

We take pride in our products and welcome you to learn about what happens behind the design of some everyday objects. First, the idea is drawn out in an industrial drawing, then it is modeled in 3D software and fabricated on a 3D printer. The arrival of consumer grade FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printers has turned rapid prototypinginto an exciting and quickly evolving field.


Behind the Scenes:  Product Design and PrototypingBehind the Scenes:  Product Design and Prototyping

These FFF printers have opened up the market to a lot of new innovation that simply wasn't possible when a printer costs tens of thousands of dollars. FFF printers work by feeding a strand of plastic filament through a heated nozzle. The printer draws the base of the object on the platform. As it completes each layer, it moves up (or, in some cases, moves the platform down) in order to draw the next layer. Other printers work with liquid resin or powder. When complete, the only artifact from being printed this way are little lines, each a bit thicker than a hair, running down the sides. The layers of the print are fused together completely, and cannot be pulled apart.


Behind the Scenes:  Product Design and PrototypingBehind the Scenes:  Product Design and Prototyping

The prototypes are used to test dimensions and capacity of the designs. When the process is complete and the design is approved, it is sent to be made into an injection mold (a common large scale manufacturing process) for production.

Become the designer yourself with SKS's customizable bottle on thingiverse! Thingiverse is an online community for consumer level 3D printing. With the tools available on Thingiverse, you can create your own SKS bottle to print. A (free) Thingiverse account is required. Make your own and share your design with us!

Build Your Own >

3D Printing is very quick for making something unique, but for repetitive manufacturing it will always be quicker to use traditional techniques such as injection molds. SKS has created several custom mold of designs we have created over the years. See our custom molds in our Product Spotlight and even more on our informational site, BottleInfo.com.


From a Professional: Advice from an Industrial Designer

Advice and insight from our design team at SKS.

The Process:
The process should always be 3 steps: Gather data on what they want, do research. Then evaluate the data, look at it from different angles, crunch it all. Then execute the drawing or part. For bottles, you have to think, can you produce it? Ideas are easy to come up with, but there are requirements for bottle thickness, shapes, sharp edges, you have to avoid those kind of things. The plastic has to be uniform or it won't flow evenly, there might be a fat section and a thin section. if there is a soft spot it might collapse, you have to worry about these things.

Starting Out:
Research what has been done in prior years. Designs, shapes and things come about in cycles, every 30-35 years people have new ideas and every so many years they repeat themselves. Do something that you are familiar with, don't look to the other side of the street. Look to what you know are are interested in to make your designs. You have to be aware of what's out there.

3D Printing and Barriers to Entry
3d printing has added tremendous speed, time. It allows a person to go from a drawing to a working model where years ago you would have to take it to a computer and someone would manually cut the piece out. Everything was done manually, all dimensions, measuring, you would have to go to a tool shop and they would build a part. Then you use the model to make the bottle mold. 3d printing allows a person to look at something, test it, and go back and forth. It requires a lot of testing for things like size and capacity. Machines that used to cost thousands of dollars now have competitors well below $1000, and what used to take weeks can be done in hours. The hobby of being an inventor has never been more accessible, it is a very exciting time.





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