Co-Founders Wendy and Steve didn’t let their lack of experience stop them from creating The HopBlast Company, instead they used their time to create an amazing prototype utilizing Sculpteo’s services. If you have an idea but no prototyping or 3D printing experience read this article and learn how these Co-Founders turned their idea into a company.
Can you tell me and our readers a bit more about what The HopBlast Company is?
Wendy: Sure. Steve and I home brew beers, and while home brewing we noticed that a lot of the oils that contain the hop aroma are lost in the process. So we decided to see if there was an enclosure for the hops that could be clipped on the side of the beer glass; we wanted an enclosure that hovered over the liquid so the hops can add to the aroma of the beer. We searched but couldn’t find one, and that’s when we decided to make one, even through neither of us had any product design or 3D modeling or 3D printing experience.
Wow so neither of you had any prior experience in 3D modeling or 3D printing before starting this project? Can you tell me a bit more about that process?
Wendy: Sure! Yes it’s true we had no prior experience with 3D modeling or 3D printing before we decided to make this product; actually Steve did the design work so I’ll let him talk a bit more about that process.
Steve: Because I had the product in mind that we wanted to create it was actually pretty easy to get started. I picked a software that wasn’t too hard, it was 123D Design by Autodesk and I spent about a weekend learning to make the HopBlast enclosure. Don’t get me wrong, I put in 10-12 hours of dedicated YouTube tutorials and trial and error modeling everyday that weekend, but it was easier than you’d think.
That’s amazing! How did you hear about 3D printing for prototyping and final manufacturing?
Wendy: Luckily 3D printing is more common now then ever before so I believe we learned about it from a magazine, website or the news. We also wanted to keep our cost down and 3D printing is the best option for that.
Steve: That’s true, it took a lot of iterations to perfect the size and shape of the holes that release the aroma of the hops, and if we were doing this with injection molding it would not have been cost effective. 3D printing is a better option for prototyping. Originally we decided to purchase a 3D printer and try to make it ourselves. But the quality wasn’t what we were hoping for so we instead decided to turn to Sculpteo. The quality was better and also the turn time was great because I modeled it in a weekend, and we received our first prototype later that week.
If you can, please share a hurdle that you had to overcome when working on your prototypes so that our readers can learn from your experiences and maybe plan ahead or at least be aware of some of the struggles you faced while creating The HopBlast Company.
Steve: In the beginning it was a bit difficult to find the right software to use, but once I found that it wasn’t really that bad. The biggest hurdle for me was the revisions. With every iteration we needed to go through an entire quality control process that included making the tweaks and changing the model then testing and analyzing and then tweaking and changing the model again, until we had the perfect product.
Where do you see 3D printing heading in the future?
Wendy: One of our friends is a middle school teacher at a public school and he wants to get a 3D printer for his students. We also have another friend interested in 3D printed drones which is a trend that we’re starting to see.
Steve: Yes drones are a growing trend along with toys and statues, useful household items, and enclosures.
That’s very true enclosures, drones and robotics are really catching on; I’m curious if you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Steve: Yes I’d like to say to the readers, don’t give up on your idea. 3D printing allows you to give it a try.
Wendy: We’d like to offer your readers free shipping on their domestic orders. Within the U.S. we can ship your order for free through the month of September by visiting our website and using the promo code ‘SCULPTEO’.