It took a while to fine tune the design, and with the help of a number of focus groups and face-to-face and Skype discussions, we finally decided to go ahead and order our first prototype!
Now this was not entered into lightly! Building a prototype is a time consuming, stressful and expensive process. All of the bits and pieces need to be acquired and gathered, the circuit boards (which are very fiddly) need to be assembled and tested. Once they’ve passed the tests they have to be sent to a specialist factory to over-mould the outer casing. And at the end of it, all you get is one, yes ONE, product!
So the order has been placed, the bits and pieces gathered, the circuit boards created, tested and passed with flying colours. All that’s left to do is the over-moulding, which is waiting for the arrival of the completed circuit boards. And we’re left waiting……. just like waiting on the delivery of a new baby!
Testing the lights
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After months of discussions about form and function, looking at 3D pictures, playing with one dimensional cut-outs, debating size, shape and a host of other variables, today I held a 3D print of my design in the palm of my hand!
My Industrial Designer, Jason from Invention Steps, has a 3D printer and printed off the outer casing of the product so that we could get an idea of the size in relation to the component parts and also in relation to the handbags it could potentially fit inside. The 3D printing process is really cool. And if you’re after a printer, Jason sells a couple of models. You can get in touch with him by going to www.inventionsteps.com.
The way I understand 3D printing is that it uses a plastic filament which is supplied in a coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle. This nozzle heats up and melts the material and the printer then forms layers, making up the 3D printed item.
Here are some of the pictures of the printing process:
Excess material is chipped or sanded off and voilà! You have a 3D object of a complex CAD drawing!
What we have now is the way the product will look, but without the parts that make it work – just a hollow shell. From this we can determine if the product is the right size and shape, if we need to increase or decrease any parts, and how it “feels”.
Where to now? My next step is to hold a couple of focus groups to get some user feedback on the product. I have to make some final decisions about size, colour etc. I’m also busy researching the crowd funding process and the various crowd funding models. Watch this space…..
On a visit to the country of my birth, I was out on the town with my girlfriends and desperately trying to find the car keys at the bottom of my handbag. My friend Allison’s comment of: “why on earth are the insides of most handbags so dark?” fired up my imagination and the concept for “light my life” was born. And better still, I remembered the idea the next morning and proceeded to make numerous drawings and designs on the very long flight home.
I then approached a friend who is a patent attorney with my simple idea. I had absolutely no idea of how to go about formally designing, patenting and then sourcing the required components. I was lead to Ernst Le Roux of Eagar and Martin Patent Attorneys. He explained pricing and timelines, and directed me to Industrial Designer, Jason Koch of Invention Steps. Jason has been an invaluable source of knowledge and information, guiding me through the design process and helping me with applying for domain names, website hosting and setting up my own website. He has also encouraged me to look to crowd funding to raise the R & D costs of this project.
The initial concept was very basic, as you can see from the drawing above. Nutting out the concept involved a discussion of every detail, and a very sharp learning curve where I quickly learned about circuit boards, reed switches, plastic composition etc.
The final product is a plastic device which has two clips which secure it to most handbags. These will be made of transparent plastic which will be less intrusive on the outside of the handbag. When the bag is opened it will engage a switch which will then switch the light on, illuminating the inside of the handbag. The light will go off when the bag is clips are together, securing the handbag. In addition to the light, the device also holds an emergency charge for a mobile phone which is accessed via a USB port on the side of the device. The light has a lithium battery which can be recharged with the supplied charger into a USB port. Initially the product will be available in white, but other colours will be included at a later stage.
The product will be available as a crowd funded concept. Please add your details below so that we can send you an alert when the crowd funding campaign is up and running.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, such as sourcing all of the component parts, checking that they all conform to Australian and international standards, creating the crowd funding campaign……………. the list seems endless, but it is also a very exciting venture!