As always, Matt and I have been busy. This time in the update, I have photos of the initial prototype and a few takeaways we have gleaned from this project. These are most certainly not exhaustive, but they might give you an idea into what we’ve been learning over the past three weeks.
Over the weekend, Matt learned how to 3D print, and he has been extraordinarily helpful in pushing forward the movement on the prototype.
The scaffolding on the side of the model prevents it from tipping over during printing. The 3D printer takes filament from the top of the printer and threads it through a heat element to fuse it together into a 3D object.
When we finished printing the parts, we sanded them down using fine grit sandpaper and an X-Acto knife to make this:
We’re going to take these photos to the Indiegogo campaign and update our contributors on the 3D prototype. I’m hoping to work through a few more of these prototypes to make sure that we have a solid product to cast. Also, we have a few kinks to work out with the pose-ability of the arm, which will be done in subsequent iterations.
We’ve also learned a lot with this project. I’m going to give you two takeaways—one from myself and one from Matt so far.
Don’t assume that you will always be pitching to an agreeable audience. Always make sure that you have evidence of your craft.
My past experience in getting work and donations has always been through family and friends, which are, by default, an agreeable audience. I have already built a rapport through them, and they are aware of my skill because I talk to them about it or show them on a consistent basis.
In this same way, I think I assumed that because we had a good product and some great high-fidelity sketches, we were golden as far as preorders were concerned. This was an incorrect assumption, and I think it made us out to be less honest than we were aspiring to be. In the end, the problem was solved with a detailed FAQ and some shots of the 3D printing in progress, but I could have skipped that embarrassment by asking myself more skeptical questions about the preorder, such as:
- Why do I want to buy this?
- What is the proof that this is legitimate?
- How will you be spending my money?
- What will happen to my money if you don’t get funded?
Now that I know about this, I’ll be making a list of talking points to the product and making sure that I’m addressing concerns about the project before they happen. I want to make sure that people who preorder our arm are excited and happy about our product, not anxious and afraid.
Take how much time it takes to 3D print. Then times it by three.
Matt and I were continually amazed how much time it took to set up the 3D printer, set up the model, and then the subsequent re-prints if the models accidentally snapped in two. The filaments are pretty finicky, so if we have any problems with the filaments catching on the equipment, we’ve got a broken model. We’ve gotten a lot of use out of the 3D printer, and have gotten better each time, so overall using the 3D printer has been a great benefit to us.
That’s the update on our progress so far, and then a small taste of the lessons that we’ve learned. I’m looking forward to Saturday when we give our full presentation, and as the project continues, I’ll be updating you all on everything!
Signing out (for now),
Chelsea + Matt