April 20, 2010

The first full scale Jellypod prototype!

Posted in 3D printing, CAD/CAM, Design, Modelling, Prototyping tagged , , , , , , at 6:57 am by Kilo

As part of the design process we have been regularly “printing” 3D models of the first Jellypods products, to check that they look right and work as designed in practice. And here, finally, is the world’s first full scale prototype of a working Jellypod:-

What a cool toy these 3D systems are – a few days and a few hundred dollars ($650 in this case) and you get a full scale, fully functional model of the product in your hands, in a material (Objet Tango Grey) that has soft and pliable characteristics similar to the final mix we will use (but obviously nowhere near as transparent, tough or stretchy). Before you do this the first time you question the value, but it is an immensely useful step.

We are using these prototypes to check that the product will actually behave as expected in the hand, and also to spot weaknesses before we go to production. A good example is shown in the shot below: you can see all the uncured 3D material from the printing process in the box, and also a crack in one of the corners of the Jellypod prototype.

This crack was caused by handling the brittle material but it helped us identify a couple of issues with the zipper that would definitely not have been obvious without this modeling process. These weaknesses and other early stage issues have been fixed in newer designs, and these new variants are now in the hands of a variety of potential manufacturing partners based in Asia and Europe for discussion of full scale production. The confidence these prototypes give you in the final design is really quite helpful, and we are acquiring a lot of knowledge that is not simple to replicate.

This Jellypod has brought the whole concept to life, as was demonstrated when we took it on an airline trip in hand luggage. Later this week we will be telling the story of that trip – and a nice little moment when x-ray security staff saw a Jellypod for the first time…

Thanks for various photos to Gordon Crum at VeritasForge.

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