As a journalist dealing in technology, a significant chunk of time is spent trawling through crowdfunding campaigns trying to see what is relevant and what isn't. Seldom does a product excite me enough to share with friends and colleagues. However, being a fan of camping and festival going, the Coolest Cooler had me sharing all-over the place; twitter, smsing, smoke signals you name it I had to tell everyone about this Swiss-army knife of coolboxes. If only there was a 3D printing angle...
Of course, there was and I just didn't know it, like with most innovative products hitting the market now, 3D printing played a massive role, specifically in this case, MakerBot.
The technology allows innovators to quickly iterate designs and a video posted by MakerBot shows just how influential the 3D printer was in getting the Coolest Cooler not just in front of Kickstarters but eventually to the world.
In his Portland, Oregon (where else?) garage CEO and inventor of Coolest, Ryan Grepper, was able to quickly iterate all of the gadgets and gizmos that go someway to making the coolbox a massive hit. Several parts on the prototype that made it to the Kickstarter campaign prototype were 3D printed at some stage; the battery connector had at least two design iterations and the blender interface three, all printed on a first gen MakerBot Replicator.
Grepper suggests in the video that the cost of the machine, raw material and his own time saved him thousands of dollars in the prototyping process as well as saving him weeks of waiting for iterations.
“We launched looking for $50k and at the end of the month we ended up with $13.2m, which at the time was the highest funded crowdfunding project of all time, without MakerBot, 3D printing and hours of fun in the garage that wouldn’t have been possible.” – Ryan Grepper.
3D printing and crowdfunding has often gone hand in hand in terms of launching new machines like the Form 1, Micro 3D, or 3Doodler, but launches like this showcase how effective the technology can be to innovation. With 3D printing lowering the barrier to entry for product innovation and crowdfunding lowering the barrier of entry in getting products to market, the Coolest will surely not be the only success story we see from this match made in heaven.