3D Printing as a Long Term Solution for Independent Product Designers
Bhold is a line of 3D printed accessories for home, office, and travel. When bhold CEO Susan Taing founded the company last year, she didn’t want the launch to rest on one single item, but rather a cohesive collection of products.
“I wanted the bhold product line to tell a story from day 1,” says Susan. She also didn’t want to compromise on time-to-market, spending years or months in development.
“With 3D printing, I was able to launch 4 products within 90 days,” Susan says.
Susan was able to create a 3D printed prototype, get direct feedback from her bhold labs user testing process, and keep iterating the design through to the final product. The number of prototypes varies from product to product, “but we do seem to hit a magic number of 35″ says Susan.
Even once a product hits the shelves, so to speak, doesn’t mean Susan is finished improving the design. “3D printing allows you to improve and optimize products at a much more rapid and responsive pace than today’s industrial manufacturing, what we’ve been calling responsive product design. The analogy I draw is with the software industry and what happened when Internet became pervasive, going from annual and bi-annual to real-time releases,” Susan, who spent 7 years at Google, explains.
Case in point, her very first design — the bnug earbud wrap — was recently updated with a hollow core to wrap as little or as much of the cord as needed.
At just one year old, bhold has already launched it’s 7th product — the bheard sound pod for amplifying the audio of your speakerphone — expanded to a new office in Long Island City, and was recently featured in the New York Times.
Although additive manufacturing is used in the early stages of product development, bhold believes in 3D printing as a long term, supply-chain solution. “3D printing reduces waste, improves efficiency, and is creating an entirely new wave of independent designers,” says Susan.
Mass-production with 3D printing is also possible, thanks to Sculpteo’s new Batch Control feature. By optimizing multi-unit production batches for the 3D printing process, customers can achieve more than a 50% price reduction per unit.
“To keep up with demand and provide a better customer experience, we go with a hybrid model when it comes to inventory. Thus we need flexibility with volume pricing,” says bhold founder Susan Taing, “and one of my favorite features that Sculpteo offers is Batch Control, which lets me 3D print bulk orders at a better price.”
The bsnug wrap and bsnug stand are 3D printed from nylon plastic and available in 9 different colors. Other products include the bholdable espresso tumbler, a dual walled, 3D printed ceramic cup and the bstrong utility hook, which can hold up to 20lbs with its internal ribbed design.
Bhold products are availalbe at bholddesign.com, and Susan hopes to add other sales channels soon.
Susan will be sharing her experience this Thursday at Inside 3D Printing NY. “Meet the Makers” is a panel discussion featuring Susan and other designers using 3D printing. Visit the Inside 3D Printing Maker Summit for more information.
Looking for a bulk discount on 3D printing? Batch Control is available on Sculpteo.com and starts at 20 units.