May 12, 2012

Founding the new Jellypods company

Posted in Corporate, Funding, News, Production, Prototyping, Registered Designs, Uncategorized at 10:18 am by Kilo

Yesterday was an interesting day –  we founded the new Jellypods company here in Germany.

The German company formation process is a little bit complicated, involving the founders, three lawyers, a notary, a tax advisor and a bank manager, as well as some initial cash.

But as of yesterday the company is officially formed in Munich, with 25,000 EUR in initial capital and the objective of trading in silicone goods:-

It has taken several weeks to figure out what is the right form – and even country – to incorporate, and needed the help of specialized tax lawyers to ensure we did not screw up any future liabilities by founding in the wrong way or in the wrong place.

Once the basic decisions were taken, the whole founding process is managed by a German Notar – a notary – who makes sure all the key legal points are fully covered during the founding, and affixes a stamp to the documents to show that the founding has been done correctly.

All this process takes several weeks and has cost about 5,000-6,000 EUR in total, plus the 25,000 EUR capital injection into the company, and of course a reasonable amount of our time.

We now have to look at a few other legal steps, like transferring or licencing the trademarks and registered designs, which were registered personally, to the operating company. More tax and legal advice required soon!

But those are largely side issues, and we hopefully can now move on with the next steps, which involve taking prototype IV to a more refined, finished product. It is getting close – not close enough, but more real with each passing day/week/month.

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August 2, 2011

Jellypods Zipper Mk III

Posted in Design, Factory, Frequent Flyer, Materials, Modelling, Production, Prototyping at 8:33 pm by Kilo

Now that we have identified the strength and weaknesses (literally) of the revised zipper design, it’s time to move forward with what will hopefully be the final design, barring a few small amendments for fit and finish.

The new design seems to be much simpler, and more elegant, and also hopefully includes a couple of rather neat little innovations we’ve never seen anywhere else before on a ziplock bag or similar.

We’ve also taken this opportunity to adjust some things on the bagitself, such as the thickness of the skin and the length of the internal ribs.

Right now the design is back with our friends in Wisconsin, Veritas Forge, for a quick makeover from hand drawn rough technical sketches to full 3D CAD velvet.

More soon!

 

July 3, 2011

Jellypods Zipper Mk II/III under way

Posted in CAD/CAM, Design, Materials, Modelling, Prototyping, Uncategorized at 4:52 pm by Kilo

It has been a pretty quiet few weeks on the Jellypods blog, but behind the scenes there is lots of work going on to fix the zipper issues we discovered in the first prototypes revealed in the last few blog posts from the China trip.

Below you can see a shot of the first zipper molded in hard silicone, which was very bulky, unwieldy and despite looking good in CAD, did not work at all.

So after a few days of hard thinking, we went back  to an original concept from a few months back and our friends in China molded a protoype of that old deisgn to see if some new ideas and materials would work in practise.

The Mark II zipper has been moulded in a special mix of hard plastics and other special materials, and bonded to a rough of the top of a Jellypods body. This zipper was never really expected to work fully functionally, it was what Formula One teams call a “mule” – a development half-breed between a racehorse and a donkey:

Although never expected to be brought to life in final form, this mule gives us is enough solid information to move forward with the Mk III zipper, which will hopefully be a big step forward and close-to-final.

And the sketches for that design, which were worked up in a notebook  on an airplane flying between Sydney and San Francisco, are already sent to our partners for working up in to CAD and moving forward to the next steps.

Check out the next blog for more details!

May 9, 2011

Fixing the zipper

Posted in CAD/CAM, Production, Prototyping at 10:13 pm by Kilo

The biggest hurdle we face in production now is the zipper, which to be 100% honest just did not work as planned. Literally back to the drawing board….

But it’s not something to give up on. We’ve studied the issues with the zipper and come up with some nifty observations and found a couple of ways forward.

One of the studies shows how a simple thing like curvature has an impact on the useability of the zipper section. Compare and contrast these two videos:

Highly curved version

Soft curved version

Simple tests like this are key to really understanding what works in the real world and what will make the product clunky and worthless. The next steps are already underway!

April 4, 2011

Welcome to Hong Kong, en route to the Jellypods factory

Posted in Airlines, Competition, Frequent Flyer, Hong Kong, Marketing, Production, Prototyping at 9:20 pm by Kilo

Well here we are safe and sound in Hong Kong, wrapped in the very welcoming arms of the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

  

With an 11 hour flight and 6 hours of time lapse, we’re adjusting slowly, but it’s hard to stay sitting still in such a vibrant city, so we’re using a day or two to enjoy the sights and sounds: in just one day we managed to see the world’s longest escalators in Soho, scoot around the markets of Gough and Graham Streets where you can buy a bag of frogs (literally), stroll past what was once the world’s most expensive building in Central, visit the former colonial Marine Police HQ at Hutton House, grab Martinis at the 18th floor cocktail bar Cocky, with views across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island, and visit what feels like the world’s largest shopping mall by Star Ferry pier.

 

It’s all very lively and buzzing with energy and once our own bodies catch up we’ll let you know.

*** IMPORTANT NOTE TO BETA TESTER CANDIDATES ***

Those of you subscribed to the Jellypods email news service will know you are the special few who will get the chance to be a Jellypods beta tester, receviing on of the first 25 samples for free – we’ll even pay shipping. So if you haven’t signed up yet, you still have time to do so at www.jellypods.com.

But time is running out, and it’s now important that you sign up right away, as tomorrow’s blog will contain the details of the little challenge we are going to set those of you who want to own a beta sample, allowing you to become one of the first people on the planet to have a Jellypods travel bag.

Because we have more subscribers than Jellypods samples, we have set up a small, fair selection process. It will be very simple, with one component that is kind of skill- based, and one that is kind of time-based. Nothing silly, just a little bit of fun adna fair deadline as we have people reading this all over the planet. But miss the window and you miss the chance to be selected!

So stay carefully tuned in the next 24 hours for an email update!

March 12, 2011

First trial runs of Jellypods on the moulds

Posted in CAD/CAM, Design, Frequent Flyer, Materials, Production, Prototyping at 12:03 pm by Kilo

Exciting news from the factory floor – the first trials of the Jellypods moulds are under way and we have the very first picture of an actual Jellypod!

Below you can see a teaser shot of the very first real, live Jellypods prototype being stripped from the test mould:

How cool is that?

The colour looks quite shiny due to the high transparency of the material of the pod – that shine is the P20 mould tool steel shining through the skin of the Jellypod – and already you can see just how flexible the skin of the Jellypod is.

Already we are seeing some minor challenges in the production process, but nothing that will stop the show.

Getting to this point is a very major step for us, and hopeful in 3 weeks time we’ll be be sitting in a pile of the very first batch of these little products! Stay tuned to have the chance of being a lucky beta tester soon!

January 21, 2011

We’ve commissioned the Jellypods silicone moulds

Posted in Airlines, Luggage, Materials, Production, Prototyping at 5:56 pm by Kilo

After a lot of talk and about 40 blog posts, we’ve finally taken the first major step to bringing Jellypods to life.

Earlier this week we finalized the alpha design and we’re very happy to announce we have placed our first purchase order for Jellypods mould tooling.

Yes, that’s right – we’ve commissioned the mould tooling, which means we have started the clock ticking to actually getting the first Jellypods samples in our hands a few weeks from now!

This is a major step to making Jellypods real, and the finished tooling should be producing the first samples sometime in late March/early April. We’ll keep the blog as up-to-date as possible as we move forward, and hopefully sometime in the next few weeks we’ll post some video of the first Jellypods coming out of the factory gates.

And once we have those first-born Jellypods, we’ll be asking for a small number of volunteers to take some of the first samples out on the road, testing these sweet, soft, flexible, gorgeous little products out in the field as you travel thousands of miles across the world.

Stay tuned to find out how you can be one of only a handful of people on the entire planet to get one of the first Jellypods ever made.

In the meantime we have plenty of things to keep you entertained – new websites, design registrations, new models – tell your friends!

January 6, 2011

Refining the design

Posted in Airlines, CAD/CAM, Design, Luggage, Production, Prototyping at 11:20 am by Kilo

The last few days have been all about getting the design locked down ready for the mould to be built. We’re not expecting the design to stay this way for a hundred years, but it would be nice if the first designs we produce were as nice as possible, so a lot of time is being spent on little details.

Here’s a good example – making sure that the tabs used to help with opening the Jellypods are integrated into the mainline of the special slinky “zipclick/zippop” mechanism (this is one of the novel features of the design) smoothly, that they are big enough to get hold of and that the don’t make the whole design look clunky. Getting those curves and integrations right takes a lot of time!

Another small example related to cost saving is ensuring that any branding on the Jellypods is de-bossed rather than embossed i.e. that it sinks into the skin, reducing weight rather than  protruding from the skin and adding weight.

Hopefully today is the day that we get the final design approved and packed off to the manufacturer and by next week the mould tooling will be in full swing.

Don’t forget to sign up at http://www.jellypods.com for more information and occasional secret subscriber-only updates.

December 31, 2010

We’ve chosen a manufacturing partner

Posted in Airlines, Business model, Luggage, Materials, Packaging, Production, Prototyping, Uncategorized at 4:53 pm by Kilo

It’s official: we’ve chosen a manufacturing partner to help us finally bring Jellypods to life.

It’s taken quite a while to get to this stage, almost a full year since the first scribbles in a notebook, and a large part of that process has been finding and settling on the production partner.

It’s been an interesting journey in understanding production issues and developing various criteria in choosing a good quality supplier. We’ve been lucky in that one of the companies we were considering has been very very positive from the first moment, and has some great references in liquid silicone so we were able to see products they have produced before actually in our hands.

Now we are just waiting for final CAD outputs, which have focussed on final refinements and optimizing the weight of the Jellypods, so that we don’t have a huge beast of a bag to ship around the planet. In fact, this is in a way a kind of cost optimization exercise, and we’ve been able to take about 15% off the weight, which saves a fair bit of raw material cost and therefore helps us to meet out cost target almost exactly on the button we set about 9 months ago. 

Those refinements have taken a little time to get right, but we’ll get there very soon, and over the next few days contracts and purchases orders for moulds, samples and first production runs will be flying across the globe, and soon we’ll be heading out on a trip to visit the factory and meeting our new partners. That will be a very interesting series of visits, as we have to travel across the globe to get there – stay tuned for more updates in the New Year.

December 12, 2010

We’ve found a Jellypods manufacturer

Posted in 3D printing, CAD/CAM, Materials, Production, Prototyping at 12:08 pm by Kilo

A big part of the radio silence over the past few months has been to do with our everyday jobs – they keep us pretty busy.

But behind the scenes we have also been searching worldwide for a manufacturer of the Jellypods products. We’ve spoken with potential partners in Italy, Switzerland, mainland China, Hong Kong, Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK and the USA.

And with each meeting or email exchange we’ve learned a bit more about production processes in liquid silicone rubber molding, and show-stoppers in our design concepts. That has meant several loops – literally back to the drawing board – refining designs and building in new features or changes to allow the Jellypods to be made. The design has evolved considerably since the first sketch in a notebook almost 1 year ago.

So it was with great delight that we last week got the green light and quotations for supply of molds and production runs from two companies on about the 20th iteration of the design. Both have said they can make the new designs in the materials we selected, which is a big step forward. One of them even added in a surprising and pleasing process twist that takes us full circle to the original concept.

So what happens next?

Next step is to lock down the final design, which is happening over at our super CAD-jockey partner Veritas Forge, and to run off a final 3D rapid prototype before committing to the full-scale mold. Then we have to select the manufacturing partner, so there will be some back and forth over terms etc. before the New Year.

But by January 2011 we’ll go to the real prototype stage: commissioning steel molds and running some samples in various grades of silicone to see if they really work as designed. It’s almost 100% certain there will be problems in this stage that need to be solved as well; at minimum we need to settle on the two hardness grades used in the Jellypods design, which need to have strength, durability, stretchiness as well as transparency. This stage is also where the costs start to rise, as each mold will cost $10,000-$20,000 – not huge sums, but with each step we get a little deeper.

It’s fairly certain something will not work as planned, and we will need to iterate the design another couple of times to get to what web companies would call the minimum viable product. But part of the fun of this project is figuring out ways to solve those issues, and working with partners from all around the planet to bring Jellypods to life.

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