How to succeed with Kickstarter and Shapeways 3D printing.

We mentioned Joshua Harker’s Kickstarter project a few days back where he was looking for $500 worth of backing to get his intricate skull sculptures out into the world but with 34 days to go and over $25,000 dollars raised it is fair to say Joshua is very happy with his decision to put his project on Kickstarter

We also mentioned the Mathematician’s Dice by Matt Chisolm who raised $19,620 when seeking $2000 to get his project off of the ground using Kickstarter. I am sure a market research department would have been hard pressed to find enough respondents to take the product to market through any other means, but crowdfunding reveals itself to be a perfect way to find a market for really unique items.

And of course you know how much we love the Glif which raised over $137,000 when seeking $10,000 to get their iPhone tripod connector off of the ground using Kickstarter. The guys from Studio Neat have become the poster boys for success on Kickstarter by successfully launching a second product, ‘The Cosmonaught’ that even trialled a Radiohead inspired ‘Pay What You Want’ pledge. Maybe not for everyone but definitely proving the point that products are becoming more digital, in that the way they are designed, fabricated, sold and distributed

Dan Provost & Tom Gerhardt were super generous to share the method of their success on their blog, every little detail is documented, from idea, to their Shapeways 3D prints, to submission to Kickstarter and the avalanche of interest from people around the world.  They also go on to discuss the way in which they took their design into mass production and the changes needed to take an item from 3D printable to mass produceable.. 

Admittedly, it took quite a bit of good fortune and luck to pull off the
success we had with the Glif, but I hope this piece can serve as a
template for any inventors or entrepreneurs out there. The world is
changing in a pretty incredible way, driving the financial risk for a
project like the Glif basically down to zero. There is no excuse to not
get your idea out there and see what happens. You never know.  

Of course just just because you 3D print something and put it on Kickstarter it does not guarantee instant success, take a look at the project Fresh Fiber/ Freedom of Creation put up to customize iPad cases. Somehow they missed the mark with the Kickstarter community despite getting considerable attention in design blogs they fell well short of their goal of $20,000. Perhaps because backers did not actually get an iPad case until they pledged $77, perhaps their packaging was a little too slick revealing that they are an established design firm and not as ‘up and coming’ individual hungry for success, perhaps the design is just one of thousands of iPad cases and the ‘customization’ was not enough to differentiate itself to a higher price point?

What lessons can you learn from this to kickstart your project?