Top 25 Resources for Everyday Inventors

25 InventorResources

New invention ideas don’t just happen. It takes a great deal of effort, persistence, and a little bit of luck to come up with new ideas that will materialize into a new product design that people want to buy. Successful inventions are few and far between, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on your ideas as soon as you hit a roadblock. Here are some useful resources you can turn to for advice, recommendations, practical lessons, experimentation, prototyping, and motivation.


Just like Velcro and Penicillin, some of the greatest inventions were discovered by seemingly ordinary occurrences. You don’t know when and where the lightbulb moment will happen, so you need a reliable method of keeping note of ideas. The tools listed below will serve you well for this purpose:

inventor notebook1. Personal notebook: The most basic form of record keeping is to keep a notebook. I’m not talking about a laptop, but an actual writing pad where you can write and draw anything using a pencil instead of a keyboard and mouse.

Evernote logo2. Evernote: In case you need something fancier than a notebook, this mobile app is a worthy investment. It allows you to record ideas via text, email, and voice memo. Evernote works well for all major smartphone platforms including Android, iOS.

3. Wridea: Not only can you save ideas with the service, but also share them with friends and colleagues. Wridea is an online idea management service equipped with an assortment of brainstorming tools.

phone audio recorder4. Phone/voice recording: When ideas come just before bedtime and you’re too lazy to get up and write them down, make a recording instead. As an alternative, you can purchase an audio recorder which may have better battery life and will give you a better recording quality than a phone.

While it’s true that you can use a smartphone to keep a record of ideas, you’ll need some additional tools to keep everything organized and more easily accessible.

Blogs and Social Networking

Social media is a good place to share everything from pictures of your lunch to personal stories, but ideas need a different kind of social websites that offer security on top of the community.

1. Quirky: Empowering communities of inventors, this network opens the doors for everyday inventors to safely share ideas and collaborate for improvement. Quirky even helps you sell and earn money from your invention.

2. Edison Nation: All ideas submitted to Edison Nation website are well protected. The service thrives by connecting inventors with companies to bring their ideas into reality.

3. Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Indigogo: If you have a working prototype (and preferably a patent) for your idea, these crowdfunding websites are a great place to start your fundraising and marketing campaign.

Remember that not all ideas are worth investing in, and online services including crowdfunding websites can help test your ideas and see if you’ll generate enough interest among investors and consumers.


inventor documentationYou can do rudimentary record-keeping when ideas are still in the brainstorming phase, but better documentation with the proper organization is necessary once you become more serious about production. Here are some of the easiest tools you can use.

Google docs logo1. Google Docs: There are times when you need to collaborate and share thoughts with companies or partners. An online word processing tool could be a great help. Google Docs offers free tools similar to Microsoft Office, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Keep for notes.

2. Zoho Office Suite: Similar to Google Docs, Zoho offers more apps for project tracking and management including customer relationship management, invoicing, and conferencing.

3. Dropbox: You can opt for a more user-friendly offline office suite but using cloud-based storage will let your partners access the files, too. Dropbox is one of the most popular tools in this category.

4. 3D Model and Rendering Software: Create a 3D model (static or animated) of your product using the software of your choice. Make sure to save it to a cloud storage so your partner can access and open the model easily.

Cloud-based file storage provides easy online access to documents and images related to your projects. It also acts as a backup in case your computers are damaged or the offline files get infected by viruses.

Copyright, Patent, and Trademark

uspto logoThere is a governing body in every country that sets the rules, regulations, and requirements for filing a patent and registering a trademark. It’s also generally the same office to which you’ll file the applications for both. In the U.S., here are the resources to visit:

1. USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office): USPTO is loaded with all the information you’ll ever need for acquiring a patent for your intellectual property and running a patent search in the United States.

2. U.S. Copyright Office: The office mainly deals with protecting copyrighted works. As a part of the Library of Congress, it maintains records of copyright registration in the U.S.

3. Google Patent Search: Before you file a patent application, it’s wise to do a simple patent search online. This can prevent you from filing a patent for an already existing idea.

Worldwide patents don’t exist. Every patent must be filed and obtained in each country, but there are international efforts to streamline protections against infringements. There are indeed some exceptions (such as European patents and PCT patents) where you can file a patent for multiple countries with a single application.

hire a patent attorneyFor those who live outside the U.S., make time to visit your country’s government directory and find the governing body or office that handles patent and trademark registrations. Hiring a registered patent lawyer will also simplify the work for you but you’ll have to pay for the service.

Services and Additional Resources

In addition to the aforementioned, there are plenty of tools, resources, and services you might want to use on your journey to becoming a successful inventor.

1. As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, this website exists to provide training and assistance for protecting intellectual property. It also gives information on webinars and roadshows you can attend.

2. Inventor Organizations: The USPTO also offers a list of official organization for inventors at the state level you can join.

3. Inventors Digest: Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Inventors Digest is one of the most reputable magazines for everyday inventors. It will keep you updated about the latest market trends.

4. National Inventor Hall of Fame: Here you can find inspiration and learn from the experiences of the best inventors in the world.

5. National Inventor Fraud Center: This service helps you protect intellectual property and keep you from wasting your money on fraudulent marketing agencies.

6. Telebrands: Telebrands is a marketing agency to help you promote your products through infomercials, print media, and the internet. Make sure you have a valid patent before submitting your ideas to any marketing agency.

7. Freelancer Marketplace: Online platforms like Cad Crowd help you outsource almost every aspect of product design with professionals with 3D modeling, CAD design, and mechanical engineering backgrounds.

8. 3D Printer: A 3D printer is a peripheral to create simple prototypes of relatively small products. Prices for consumer-grade 3D printers are now becoming more competitive, so the benefits of the tool outweigh the costs.

9. 3D Rendering Software: For ideas that cannot be prototyped using a 3D printer, an animated model is the next best alternative.

Etsy for inventors10. Etsy: Sometimes your ideas are creative but filing a patent doesn’t make financial sense. You can sell your creations directly to consumers on Etsy instead. Many products are handmade and some are simply modified or improved versions of existing products in the market.

inventor design services11. Design Service: It’s entirely understandable that you have ideas but find it difficult to create a prototype or 3D animated model to showcase them. In this case, find a professional 3D design service to handle it for you. Be sure the company includes an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) your contract to protect your intellectual property.

Even professional product designers, 3D modelers, and engineers need help every now and again to transform concepts into tangible achievements. Cad Crowd is the place where you can find skilled 3D modelers and designers to transforms your ideas and concepts into a professional form for presentations.

Tell us about your project or idea and we will match you with a vetted designer who meets your needs. Get a free quote today and get started making your dreams a reality.