A prototype mold is a term that most designers and manufacturers are familiar with due to the fact that it is connected to the process of bringing a concept to life. Usually, when industrial or product designers have a concept for a product, they will go through various stages in the quest to take the concept from a mere idea to a more realistic representation of the product in the form of something tangible that represents what the product will look like after it has been manufactured. While a prototype mold is used to create a representative object that fully mirrors the concept the designers have in mind, it is different from a production mold in the sense that the prototype mold is far less costly and less permanent than the production mold.
The prototype mold is created in such a fashion that allows for any further amendment to the product due to the fact that the prototype mold is only used when the product is still being fine-tuned. For example, a designer that has a concept for a type of desk lamp would first use the mold to see what the finished product will actually look like. It is during this phase that the designer can add any additional touches to the product in order to make it conform to the idea for the product. Assuming the results of the sample from the prototype mold are not satisfactory, the designer will make several changes to the mold in order to produce something that looks more like what the a designer has in mind. This is different from the production mold in the sense that the production mold is used for mass production and is more permanent than the prototype mold due to the fact that at this point the objective is not to fine tune the design, but rather to go into full production.
One of the reasons why a designer might choose to use a prototype mold before using the production mold is due to the complexity of the concept, something that might require a lot of attention to details in order to achieve the design. As such, the prototype designing phase will consist of several incremental steps until a satisfactory result has been achieved. Depending on how complexity of the design, some designers can create the mold themselves, or they can engage the services of prototype developers.