The complete guide to prototyping in China

Prototype mitigates the risk of moving a project forward without enough information. It provides key information that helps engineers make decisions. We have a detailed description of the prototype in our previous article: 7 reasons why prototyping is important. Now let’s move on to choosing China prototyping company.
In China, the technology of rapid prototyping service is close to developed countries. Many countries have sent orders to China prototype manufacturers because of the low labor cost. Finding a qualified China prototyping company has become a required course for many overseas companies.
There must be confused and nervous to order the first prototypes, especially when you are unfamiliar with the prototyping company. The process would be much easier once you know more about the China prototyping companies.
To work better with China prototyping company, you need to know your suitable prototyping company type, prototyping process, and various considerations. Dont worry. You will know all about it in the following reading.  

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4 types of prototyping companies

There are thousands of factories and countless platforms that can provide custom manufacturing services in China. The modern information network lets you find China manufacturers in various ways. However, different types of the factory can make a huge difference in quotes, manufacturing way, maintain services. A right prototyping company depends on various factors like, whether you have engineers, or designers on your team, or your design integrity, etc. We simply divide them into rapid prototyping or 3D printing shops, manufacturers of specific product categories, big design firms, and prototyping companies with both speed and manufacturing.

Rapid prototyping or 3D printing shops

Small rapid prototyping shops have become common and you can even find shops near you. These shops can provide more flexible communication and can be checked the prototyping process easily. But they have a fatal defect that prototyping shops are lack engineers to improve your idea and support future volume production. Many engineers who prefer 3D printing for prototyping, may have to redesign for volume production without considering volume production. Prototyping & 3D printing shops might be more appropriate for simple processing or low-volume production.   

Manufacturers of the specific product category

This kind of manufacturers can only produce samples from their existing products. Their fixed producing pattern and technology decide that only minor adjustments can be applied to the samples. They are more interested in getting larger volume orders, and not usually interested in custom products for startups or entrepreneurs. You may lose some or all of the ownership if they help to develop.
For example, you have a full-fledged earphone design that is ready to be manufactured. There is a minor difference in appearance, parts of functions between your designs and earphone manufacturers. It would be easier to work with this type of manufacturers. Just keep in mind to protect your product right.

Big design firms

Big design firms usually have a team of engineers and designers. This team can help with almost everything from idea design to final production for a prototype. Some of the companies may entrust the manufacturing to prototyping factories. The prices from design companies are too high to lock out many startups and entrepreneurs. The design firms will be a perfect choice if you only have a good idea but fail to work the following.

Prototyping companies with both speed and manufacturing

Prototyping companies are usually equipped with large factories and equipment to cover CNC machines, 3D printing machines, etc. The complete facilities make themselves to produce fast and get experiences. Prototyping companies and factories have professional engineers to offer advice. 2fprototypes is such a prototyping company. We can provide both rapid prototyping services and mass production. The transition is more flexible for our clients.
Procedure working with China prototyping companies


Procedure working with China prototyping companies

Now you know your preferred prototyping company type and are about to talk with them. There are several steps for communication.

Files preparation

Prototyping companies require 2D and 3D files. Usually, the 2D files are PDF, and 3D files are in STL, STEP, IGS format. Once you know what you need, show your ideas to your engineers and let them design the model. Startups or entrepreneurs can ask design firms for assistance. It may cost hundreds of dollars based on different designer abilities.   
The process of modeling is the first verification of your idea. It is the first step to turn your idea into something real to touch. There are kinds of problems that will come for it, such as functions, appearance, or details. You will feel more confident about the communication when you know each difficult point clearly. China factories are willing to sharing their experiences. A final prototype is a common purpose for both sides.

Sign your needed agreement

It’s important to sign the non-disclosure agreement(NDA) if your product is the first in the market. Such an agreement protect your design from sharing out. Keep in mind that the NDA must sign with the end prototyping manufacturer. If you are working through a sourcing agent, you will need both the agent and prototyping factory to sign the agreement.
To restrict the factory to expose you to other customers, a complete includes the following bullet points for protection:
Company information such as contact details.
Product information such as appearance, function, and model details.
Packing information such as logo, package design.
Order information such as Qty, shipment plan, order plan.

Request for quote (RFQ)

Almost all prototyping begins with the quote. RFQ means you outline what you want to your prototyping manufacturer. Prototyping website usually provides contact email or online form. 2fprototypes provides both contact email and forms for you to submit the request. You need to send your 2D and 3D files based on the provided contact info. The prototyping company receives your files and assesses the cost according to the material, producing equipment, and labor time, etc. The prototyping company will reply to you with the quotation after the calculation.
The more detailed file you submit, the more accurate quote you receive. That’s why we usually require our clients to provide the 2D files. The 2D file lists something that can’t be found from the 3D model such as material, Qty, surface finishing, etc.

Decide the material and production process of the product

China prototyping companies accept orders from all over the world. They get more knowledge in this field to provide you with advice. They can notice your unwise choice of quality or cost and make the improvement.

Pay the company to make the prototype

After the quotation and necessary communication, you will pay part of the service expense(deposit). The manufacturer starts prototyping after payment arrives.

Continuous feedback

A professional prototyping company will keep you up to date with the progress. The prototyping company will inform you of any issue and change in time. Your engineers can get the info to avoid the delay.

Test or improve your prototype

Use it, test it, and collect all the comments when you receive the prototype. Pay attention to those bad comments and try to revise the prototype on reasonable conditions. Build the prototype again until it points to a perfect prototype. We recommend you to work with the original prototyping manufacturer as it is familiar with your need. Consider finding another manufacturer If you are unsatisfied with the previous service.

8 considerations to choose a China prototyping company - 2fprototypes

8 considerations to choose a China prototyping company

The global market is changing related to various factors. China provides the balance between quality and price in the prototyping world. Choose a right and reliable China prototyping company might be difficult for worldwide customers. Understanding the necessary features of a reliable China prototyping company can help the choosing easier.

Factory qualification authentication

Certifications indicate that the factory has passed an audit by an independent body. Certifications can’t tell the whole story, but they are a good start. Check with your China prototyping factory if they pass your needed industrial certifications.
More authority means they are qualified to serve more industries from all over the world.
2fprototypes has passed ISO 9001 (Quality management system), IATF 16949 (Quality management system in the automotive industry), and information security management system. Click here to check our certificates.

Customer service

Good customer service means adapting to new and unusual requests. A right prototyping company’s sales are willing to take as much time as needed to answer your questions. All they have done is trying to help you to improve the project, not just pushing you for the order. Choose a company that prioritizes clients’ needs at all times. Its useful advice can prove strongly that you make the right choice.  


Intellectual property security should always be the utmost concern when you build the product prototype from an external factory. Otherwise, you may wind up having your product idea be stolen and mass-produced. Ask your China prototyping suppliers to sign the NDA or check whether they have passed information security certification.

Investment in equipment

Technology is constantly changing every day. The development allows to make a more complicated prototype and to higher the material workability. China prototyping company with state-of-the-art technology can provide cutting-edge competitiveness for your product. Check whether your China prototyping company has enough manufacturing equipment, inspection devices, and precise machines. Though your current prototype doesn’t require elaborate technology, a prototyping company which grabs the technology development can enhance your product and even the knowledge of the whole product development process.

Prototyping technology

Working with a reliable China prototyping company that can “do it all” guarantees your prototype security. The more prototyping companies you are exposed to, the higher the security risk for your prototype design. A highly skilled and capable prototyping company avoids prototypes from factories with different capabilities. Find a China prototyping company who is committed to providing top-quality rapid prototyping and low volume manufacturing services of CNC machining, 3D printing, plastic injection molding, and vacuum casting, etc.

Professional team

Any reliable China prototyping company is equipped with a diverse team. This team includes extensively trained machinists, experienced engineers, and patient sales.


Fast prototype delivery is essential to get your competitive edge in the market. The slow producing time is expensive in the long run. If your China prototyping company fails to meet your deadlines, it’s best to check elsewhere.

Quality control

Not only check your prototype before shipping, but quality control also means documentation and certification, ensuring that your prototype is made properly.

More verification information

We recommend you to try the most useful way to verify, which is to visit your China prototyping company. In the current case of COVID-19, you can consider more information about the prototyping company:
How long your China prototyping company have been in business.
Whether your China prototyping company export and to which countries.
Your China prototyping company’s MOQ.
Your China prototyping company’s business licence.
Prototypes can determine the success or failure of your products. A reliable and trusted China prototyping company can save your production cost. 2fprototypes team has worked with numerous startups and enterprises for many years. We can provide you with quality prototyping services in many ways. Please click here to contact us if you would like a prototype quote.

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