The desktop wire bender from PensaLabs, DIWire, grew out of a hole in the design firm’s own prototyping process. That’s according to a new episode of LiveSpeak Radio which included Mark Prommel, a partner and design director at the company.
Some takeaways from the episode:
- $75,000 was the low-end for a wirebender when the team first started looking into it, and that’s for a system intended for full time manufacturing, with a trained technician by it full time. After the early bird specials, the basic kit went for $3,200 on the DIWire Kickstarter.
- Prototyping by wire beforehand probably involved bending wire by hand, using handheld tools. You lost a lot of precision that way, which made it harder to incorporate parts made by other precise prototyping tools, like laser cutters.
- “We had a vision that this should not be more complicated than if you use Illustrator, you create a vector curve … feed your wire in, press bend and that’s it,” Prommel said. Adding that users can go deeper if they want, but the basic function is plug-and-play.
- The software uses SVG files now, but they are working to expand functionality.
- In response to questions about other things they could build a machine to do, Prommel expressed caution about going too deep into adding features and effectively creating an entirely new device.
- That said, they expect to expand the diameter they can bend from 1/8″ to 3/16″, because feedback suggests that this would allow the device to manipulate brake tubing, which could be really helpful for people doing custom auto repair.
On using Kickstarter
- Prommel said that there are other ways to raise money, if that’s what an enterprise needs to do. The value in Kickstarter is in building the community who is passionate about the project, will evangelize for it, give you feedback and use it to its fullest potential.
- Pensa‘s DIWire campaign was funded in about 28 hours, but preceding that was over a year worth of work leading up to going to Kickstarter, building a community around the early handmade prototypes and taking it out to maker events.
- Working hard to build community first and get feedback enabled the company to really tell the story the right way, to the right people, in their Kickstarter video. He said its critical that Kickstarter campaigns know who they are speaking to in that video.
Kickstarter orders for DIWire are starting to ship in June. They are working to get pre-orders set up to follow that on the PensaLabs website, soon.
Join the mailing list so you can find out when the next lot of DIWire’s are available for pre-order.
“It’s exciting to join this side of the maker community,” Prommel said, “We were a little bit on the outside as a design firm.” He said the company had some inkling that if they needed the product, others would need it to, but they had no idea the breadth of the demand. Numerous people have told him that they expect DIWire to save them an enormous amount of time in their work.
Knowledge is power!
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