Very proud of the product design we accomplished with Epoca International. This product also won Good Design’s BEST PRODUCT for the 2016 Housewares line! Here you can see it in action. Below is a little about the product.
A revolution in popcorn has arrived! The days of pre-packaged, unhealthy, and often burnt popcorn is now a thing of the past. With Ecolution’s Mico-Pop Popcorn Popper, you can make fresh, delicious, and healthy popcorn any time of the day with total ease. Simply measure your kernels in the silicone lid, drop them directly into the popper, place the lid on top, and put it directly into the microwave. No oils or additives needed. Within minutes you will have fluffy white popcorn ready for you and your family. And for an added treat, the silicone lid can be used to melt butter directly onto the popcorn in the microwave. Ecolution’s Mico-Pop Popcorn Popper is an easy, safe, and fun way to have the perfect snack at any time!
Design Sharpener uses Solidworks for 3d printing functional prototypes for Industrial Design. 3d printing has quickly become the norm for prototyping quick parts and prices have fallen dramatically to 3d print parts. Even software such as solidworks, 3ds max, sketchup, rhino and more are now available to anyone because the software has become so intuitive that anyone can learn it without having to be an engineer, industrial designer, architect or in a similar field. Remember when making a photo realistic change in photoshop was magic? Now everyone knows a little something about it, has the software or a similar kind and can tweak their photos without thinking about it. Will 3d printing become that way for us? My personal opinion is no. Below are some thoughts I have about 3d printing, solidworks software, keyshot rendering and the projection I see Industrial Design taking in the years to come.
First lets talk about usability or practicality of 3d printing. Here at design sharpener we can take our designs from a very early stage and 3d print them for a client to test out for instance, the grip on a pan handle. Now in the “old” days as a designer right out of school from Pratt Institute I would literally carve foam with all sorts of tools (hot wire, knives, rasps, sandpaper) and use paper guides to get the foam model as close as possible to the design drawings. Now, all we have to do is click print. The difference though is that a foam handle is relatively easy to sculpt where as a print can take a week or more to have in hand. If a client wants to get the ball rolling fast, that could be a problem right?
Okay so a lot of clients ask before we a design sharpener get going on a project what they can expect to pay for a prototype or 3d print. The honest answer is that until I get going on the design and see what it looks like I won’t be able to tell. 3d printing costs are calculated by size, complexity (all those handsome little textures all over your design take time to print) and material, which I will cover below a bit. 3d printing costs are generally much lower than they have been but they can still be high, also because of print resolution and how you need to use your print. Does the 3d print need to feel like the real thing? Does the prototype need to act like the real thing? Does the prototype need to look like the real thing? These are all additional considerations for your prototype, costs and what you should expect to think about when considering a 3d print for your project.
There are so many options for 3d printing let alone pricing changes that its hard to predict. And without a solidworks 3d model to upload, your out of luck predicting. The thing to remember though, is that no matter how expensive a 3d print can be it pails in comparison to paying for a mold to manufacture your product for real. So its far wiser to test and possibly re-test your idea so you know its viable before going all out and paying for injection molding for instance.
3d print material can now be made of aluminum, steel, gold, all kinds of plastic that can flex, plastic that is translucent, plastic that is colored in different areas. Just about anything you can think of its there. The one material that continues to evade 3d printing, at least for now is silicone. This is a difficult material to print and while their are somewhat flexible choices out their nothing compares really to the real thing. So for now if your product is silicone (like a dog toy for instance) your stuck casting your idea the “old” way by hand to get a functional and feel right prototype.
3d Print complexity is also a major factor in predicting cost and if its the right way to have your prototype made. For instance, if their are a number of parts and they are heavily dependent on each other fitting right it important to remember 3d printing has larger tolerance requirements (depends on the material too) than a final injection molded plastic would be. 3d printing is not as precise and that is a limitation to might mean you should have a machine shop make your parts or maybe you don’t require such precision? It all comes down to your needs. Its important to understand 3d printing and its limitations before having your part made by a industrial designer.
Software is available for free like sketchup to model your idea. If you aren’t willing to learn a program and spend the untold hours learning how to use it finding an industrial designer will take care of that in a snap. Industrial designers are trained to take your napkin sketch idea and turn it into something that can be made while all along managing your expectations and guiding your design in the direction of a successful product that is economical to produce and that looks unique. Sometimes a clients attachment to that extra doodad on a idea of theirs needs to be changed to be made. Its a hard job but someone has to do it.
All in all I don’t see 3d printers being in every house-hold like a star trek episode. Between the cost, the practicality, accessibility, material, print quality, the print finish and appearance, I’d say its got a long way to go. But for now, it proves a valuable tool in a industrial designers tool box that can help a client see what their idea looks like in 3d, test out functionality and understand its viability before shelling out the big bucks for the final product. Its got pro’s and its got con’s. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
This product line up shows different ways of visualizing new product design. Sometimes as a designer you don’t want to show the product as a “final” because it makes the process seem like its too fast. Sometimes its better to show a “progress” render to make sure the concept is understood rather than the finish. These are all issues I wanted to explore we these renderings. For instance a special feature of this bottle is that the spout is centered on the bottle cap. As far as I know, no other bottle top spout does this. To help better visualize this, one of the rendering samples utilizes the x-ray render option to show the client whats hidden beneath the surface.
If you need help with your product design please get in touch. Design Sharpener can take you though the conceptual design process all the way to a 3d printed prototype, to renderings showcasing your product, to vendors and manufacturers that can actually produce the final product.
Simply get in touch!
Artist Booth Rendering using Solidworks and KeyShot 5 for a vendor application at an Art Fair for the Cherry Creek art fest 2016 in Denver, Colorado
This render was made for an Artist Booth Rendering using Solidworks and KeyShot 5 for a vendor application at an Art Fair. Using the dimensions and images provided by the artist Design Sharpener was able to design a booth to scale and apply images. The booth and frames were modeled out in 3d using solidworks. We were then able to apply wood texture mapping to the frames of each artwork to match the “real” version. After thatwe applied the artworks photos as decals to each frame. The rendering was accomplished using Keyshot 5 an after affects rendering program that can utilize solidworks 3d models.
Eco Vessel Glass water bottles are in with a fresh new design, from right here in Boulder, CO. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe and recyclable (also made from recycled glass). A sporty silicone sleeve has been added to this design to curb the disaster of breakage from a drop. The new designer top features the straw centered in the bottle. A design element I have not seen my self in a any other bottle. This feature also allow a floating eco vessel filter to be centered in your bottle without clanking up against the side. You can purchase one of these bottles direct from the eco vessel website here. The cap is also used on insulated bottles that keep your beverage at the temp you want for many an hour. Kids versions with cool designs are also available. Eco Vessel is a small but growing company out of Boulder, CO that I have been freelance industrial designing for, for a few years now. They donate 1% of all sales to water for people, a non-profit that gets clean drinking water to poor areas all over the world.
Sometimes our clients have the design and are just looking for some renderings to showcase their product for investors, crowd sourcing, packaging, factory understanding of product, finish samples and more. No problem! Design Sharpener will take your files and transform them into a photo-realistic rendering.
Don’t have the product designed yet? We can 3d model your product design using Solidworks. We can animate the product to showcase its function, its cool look and we can generate product renderings you can use to show off your design on facebook and more!
Design Sharpener can create the CAD lines you need to laser cut your project, CNC it, Water Jet it and more! Just looking for a prototype or a small batch run? No problem, we specialize in small businesses with clients who are just starting out or have been around for a while too. We can cut up to 1/4″ Acrylic and Wood. We can also etch those materials plus glass and anodized metal. Not only that we have a rotary attachment that allows us to etch on round objects like pint glasses, wine glasses, pens and more. Shoot us an email with your design idea for a custom free quote.
Design Sharpener can custom design and screen print you very own t shirts, pint glasses and hats and more! We can engrave custom glassware, flasks and jewelry. Pretty much any concept you have Design Sharpener can make your product dream a reality. Simply get in touch! We are a full service Product Design firm located in Boulder, Colorado. That said, we can handle jobs from anywhere! No matter is your just starting out with an product idea and need help to develop it or if you already have a product and need some cool renderings to generate interest our team can help make it happen. Shown here is our Bike Gear T shirt with a Spinal Bike Gear Exploded view on the back. You can purchase these shirts on our etsy page here.
Design Sharpener is a new company with a growing list of successful products. We have a long list of skills from Industrial Design to Technical Illustration to Product Renderings + Animations. If you have something you think we may be able to help you with please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!