A soon as we had our first 30 backers for the 7$ pledge we started working on making the so called 'backer case' - an iPad case featuring the names of our $7 pledge backers. We got so excited to see all the names of the people who are supporting our project on the actual iPad cases – we decided to share it with our backers and everybody else. In this update we'll take you through the process of designing, engineering and 3D printing of our products.
Turning the names of our backers into physical products
At this point in time we still need to do lots of things by hand, that’s why we’re building customization tools through our Kickstarter project. For this case we started with a vector drawing of all the backer names nicely aligned in a grid that fits perfectly on the iPad case.
This vector file is imported into our 3D software where we extrude it, essentially giving it thickness. We also remove all insides of letters which otherwise cause problems when producing. We import the digital 3D file of the iPad case, which we prepared earlier.
Now it’s just a matter of selection what to subtract from what, in our world we call this a “Boolean operation”. In this particular case we subtract all the names from the case. It basically punctures the surfaces using all the names as the tool, this leaves us with the final digital file for production.
All products in our Kickstarter project are manufactured using 3D printing, this technology uses digital 3D files to make physical replica’s layer by layer. It’s a bit like stacking pancakes, but then on a nano-scale and using Grey Nylon powder as the batter.
There are many different types of 3D printing machines available, you get your hands on one for just over a thousand dollars. However the printers we are using for making the iPad cases are highly advanced machines, the kind of machines that would pretty much fill up your whole garage.
We're currently printing our first cases, so we can show them in about a week. In the meanwhile we've got a movie of something else Freedom Of Creations' designers have designed in the past. In the movie you can see the making off a 3D printed punchbag, the material used in the process is white Nylon. The material we are using for the Kickstarter products is identical but in a new graphite color.
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