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Sisyphus uses service grant to meet rising demand

magnetic marble on sand table

Based on traditional Zen gardens, the Sisyphus kinetic art table draws complex designs in sand beneath a glass top. After hosting a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $2 million (4 times the initial funding goal), Sisyphus faced increased demand for its product with more than 1,000 orders to fulfil. 

Turning to Protolabs, Sisyphus applied for a Cool Idea Award, which the company won.  This enabled Sisyphus to scale production of its kinetic art tables to a level sufficient to facilitate pending orders.

Created by Bruce Shapiro, CEO at Sisyphus Industries, the art table project initially set a Kickstarter goal of $50,000, a milestone quickly surpassed. With additional funding and high customer demand, the company required a manufacturing plan which is now in place (supported by the Cool Idea award service grant), and the company is on working to deliver orders reaching into 2018 for more than 1,500 kinetic art tables.

“As we started to increase our quantity, it became apparent that more efficient manufacturing processes were needed, and that's when we turned to Protolabs.
magnetic marble on sand table

“We were blown away by the reception that we received during our Kickstarter campaign,” said Micah Roth, chief operating officer at Sisyphus Industries. “As we started to increase our quantity, it became apparent that more efficient manufacturing processes were needed, and that’s when we turned to Protolabs.”

Available in a variety of models from end tables to coffee tables, the Sisyphus kinetic art table uses a metal ball to create unique and complex designs in sand under a glass top. When reviewing the project for the Cool Idea Award, Andy MacInnis, technical instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cool Idea Award judge, remarked, “Sisyphus is a wonderful way to lose yourself in art as it is being created.” In order to move the ball through sand to create these mesmerizing designs, the Sisyphus team originally planned to manufacturer several mechanical components through machined and laser-cut plastics. However, when demand grew and exceeded more than 1,000 orders, they realized that partnering with Protolabs to injection mould these parts would bring the quality they need in the right time frame as they scaled to meet demand.

“Without the support from Protolabs and the Cool Idea Award, the table’s manufacturing complexity and costs would both go up, but we’re now able to reduce design time and cost to bring Sisyphus to our customers more quickly and efficiently,” added Shapiro.

With help from Protolabs, Sisyphus will scale up production as it moves to a larger facility this year. The team plans to produce 200-300 tables per month as they fulfil Kickstarter orders. They will also begin to accept a new round of pre-orders as demand continues to grow.

“Getting from an idea to a prototype and then to a sellable product can be challenging for a lot of designers, makers and entrepreneurs,” said Protolabs’ founder Larry Lukis. “We are excited to work with the Sisyphus team to help them bring their unique product to customers and support time- and cost-efficient production.”

To learn more about the Sisyphus art table and to see the meditative machine in action, visit, or find them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.