By Joel Townsan, creator of the Flipout Screwdriver
When my crowdfunding campaign failed, I was pretty devastated. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong — my Flipout Screwdriver had just won the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, had gotten tons of press coverage and people really liked the video (not to mention the product). Yet, I fell short, raising only $17,000 of the $50,000 goal I needed to move forward. I’ll admit, the product was priced a little high ($130 compared to most electric screwdrivers that go for $30 to $50 in stores), but I still couldn’t understand what went wrong. I had spent six weeks emailing every gadget magazine, tech blog and DIY forum I could find, but was somehow unable get my project into the coveted “Popular Products” category on Kickstarter — a section on the site that can seemingly make or break a product overnight. I thought it signaled the end of Flipout. Fortunately, it was just the beginning.
The Flipout cordless driver has a 360-degree range of motion with 380 possible configurations.
In addition to simply raising capital, there are a lot of bonuses to running a crowdfunding project that can actually benefit an inventor more in the long run. When the Kickstarter clock expired, I thought my project had failed, but really, it was the beginning of a crazy roller coaster ride that would result in a DRTV deal with Lowe’s — one of the largest big box retailers in the world. Regardless of the success or failure of a Kickstarter project, there’s a lot of good that can come from the campaign. It’s kind of like running a marathon; it takes months of training and then you run like you’ve never run before, but once you cross that finish line, it can be life-changing. Thus, my excitement crowdfunding.
Here are 11 reasons why every inventor and entrepreneur should consider a crowdfunding campaign:
Our short video series continues with a look at the three different injection molding processes available at Proto Labs. See how we manufacture plastic, metal and liquid silicone rubber prototypes and low-volume production parts so fast.
Use CNC machining more? Take a spin through one of our high-speed mills. And if you’re curious as to how we’re able to turn your 3D CAD model into real parts in only a few days, check out our Art to Part video.
Hush Technology, Inc. is the latest recipient of Proto Labs’ Cool Idea! Award. The company has designed a first-of-its-kind smart earplug. (photo courtesy of Hush Technology, Inc.)
California-based startup, Hush Technology, Inc., is the latest recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award. Its product, Hush, is the world’s first smart earplug that combines sound-eliminating foam and noise masking technology to keep unwanted noise out while allowing important alerts in.
Hush helps users sleep through snoring, loud neighbors and a host of other noises that disturb nightly sleep. It connects via Bluetooth with a smartphone app so users can choose which notifications, including emergency calls and alarms, can get through to them during the night. The device includes a tiny speaker in its design that can play soft soothing sounds like white noise, ocean waves, and rain drops for over 10 hours. Continue reading
An SL machine displays a final ABS-like part with supports.
There are many questions to consider when determining if your plastic parts should be 3D printed or machined. Can you test form, fit and function by using plastic-like materials or do you require engineering-grade thermoplastics? Do you need a broader selection of plastic materials during protoyping? Is your part geometry simple or complex? What are the cost considerations for both methods?
Our latest April Design Tip takes a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both 3D printing and CNC machining. It aims to help you determine which method is better for your particular application. Continue reading
Spring is a time of renewal, so keeping in that spirit, we’ve made some key improvements to our ProtoView software — the technology behind the design feedback in your interactive quotes.
ProtoView lets you review your automated design for manufacturability (DFM) analysis as a fully manipulatable 3D model that can be rotated in 360 degrees to explore any required or advised changes that may be needed to your part. Continue reading