Designer Spotlight: Kickstarter + Shapeways

This week’s Designer Spotlight focuses on the innovative ways people are using Kickstarter and Shapeways to fund and realize their creative projects. On demand 3D printing makes it possible for artists and designers to realize their ideas, and platforms like Shapeways and Kickstarter make it possible to reach a massive audience with no financial investment or risk. It’s inspiring and easy to get started!
There are three main ways that Shapeways can help your Kickstarter project: to create the prototype, create the final product, or, easiest of all, to create the rewards for your backers.
Prototype
The huge advantage of 3D printing is how cost effective it is to have a quantity of one manufactured. This makes it an ideal technology for quickly prototyping ideas.  Within 10 days you’ll be holding your sketch in your hands and you can test it out in the real world. Claire Delaunay used this to develop Botiful, a telepresence robot for consumers and a very cute way to use Skype!
Speaking to someone by Skype from your phone can be a bit awkward at times, with person on the other end often seeing only half your face or a closeup of your earlobe.Enter Botiful. She raised over $90,000 on Kickstarter and has racked up some support by others who are hoping for more natural remote conversations, including TechCrunch and Skype’s former Chief Architect Ahti Heinla. One thing to note is that Kickstarter does not allow photos of renders in their projects, so be sure to print a physical copy of your prototype and photograph that to include in your project description.

Product
The guys from Studio Neat have become the poster boys for success on Kickstarter with the Glif, an iPhone tripod connector which raised over $137,000 when seeking $10,000. They used Shapeways first to prototype their design, and then as the final product, when they offered it as one of the reward tiers. Backers could get a Shapeways made pre-order Glif to use right away, before the injection-molded final product was ready.
They shared their secrets to successful  Kickstarter campaign using Shapeways in this great post, discussing prototyping and manufacturing with Shapeways, their tips on a great Kickstarter video (shots!) and getting the word out about your project by finding appropriate bloggers for your design.

Rewards
There have been many examples of successful Kickstarter campaigns using Shapeways, the most notable being Joshua Harker’s Crania Anatomica, which became Kickstarters #1 most funded sculpture project of all time! 
Joshua wanted to raise $500 to exhibit his newest sculpture via Kickstarter before it went the traditional gallery route. He offered the sculpture as a reward for backers, so anyone who pledged $25 or more got their very own 3D printed skull. The response was astounding, and the money he raised means he is able to continue to pursue his career as an artist. He’s making a new project now, you can hear all about it and his experience using Shapeways and Kickstarter in this interview.

The easiest thing about making your rewards with Shapeways is you can wait until the end of your funding cycle, and then place an order for exactly the amount of rewards you need. So even if your project wildly exceeds your expectations, you are not suddenly faced with hand-making 1200 individual rewards!

More examples from the Shapeways community include the MeshUp and Iconic.am. Have you launched a Kickstarter project using Shapeways? Share your Kickstarter + Shapeways project with us!

3 comments

  1. chrisc

    It would be nice to leverage shapeways distribution channels as well. At the moment all printed objects are sent to the buyers a address, meaning they have to set up any shipping themselves. If you could leverage shapeways shipping instead it could solve quite a headache.

  2. Cliff

    The link “great post” in this section (shown below) is broken. It doesn’t go to the star studded article that I was hoping for. Just their sales splash page for the product. Can you point me to where that article actually is? I’d really like to read it.

    “They shared their secrets to successful Kickstarter campaign using Shapeways in this ((great post)), discussing prototyping and manufacturing with Shapeways, their tips on a great Kickstarter video (shots!) and getting the word out about your project by finding appropriate bloggers for your design.

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