Before the new Lupe Pure Cordless vacuum hit a single store shelf, over 1,700 of them had already been sold. This feat is a testament to the innovative thinking of the co-founders and engineers behind the product, who not only used Kickstarter to become the biggest-ever crowdsourced vacuum cleaner, but who thought outside the box when it came to the resources at their disposal, calling on 3D Systems’ On Demand services for beautiful and compelling, functional pre-production concept models.
Launch a compelling new product as a start-up company without sacrificing quality or vision.
Accurate and functional pre-production concept models via 3D Systems’ On Demand services.
- Achieve the fit and finish of injection-molded parts;
- Access the expertise and know-how of a large organization;
- Win over 1,700 new customers;
- Save on tooling time and cost by streamlining communication with the manufacturing floor.
Access to expertise and capabilities
With awareness of the technologies available to modern manufacturers from their previous research and development positions, Lupe’s co-founders also knew it was possible to access expertise if working with the right service provider. The ability to tap into the resources and expertise of a larger organization became a highly valuable approach for the young company, allowing it to place part orders and move forward on prototypes and design without a major investment in equipment and personnel.
Ordering 3D printed parts on-demand enabled the new brand to iterate its new cordless vacuum quickly and effectively. Yet as the final design took shape, Lupe needed more capability to be able to show the world what it had to offer with a final model that mimicked the final production aesthetic. To do this, it turned to 3D Systems’ On Demand:
“3D Systems’ On Demand team had the capability and in-house expertise to make the prototypes we needed through vacuum casting. They could make them at a competitive cost, and make them to a high quality, so we entrusted our project to them,” says Lucas Horne, co-founder of Lupe.
Fully-functional pre-production prototypes
Lupe wanted a pre-production prototype that would look like injection molded parts without requiring too much finishing or painting. Working with 3D Systems On Demand, the final model was therefore a combination of 3D printed parts and vacuum cast parts. Lupe opted for vacuum cast parts in order to get physical and material properties that more closely resembled injection molding.
“The main benefit for us of using 3D Systems as a small company was to easily access the expertise of a large organization,” says Lucas. “The components we had were quite challenging pieces to vacuum cast, but 3D Systems told us they could deliver them, which gave us confidence, and the parts turned out as promised.”
In the end, Lupe received five full-sized pre-production prototypes. Beyond enabling Lupe to show a high-quality product to retail, trade, and investors, these realistic prototypes were also functional, allowing Lupe to perform final testing before moving into tooling. In fact, if you watch Lupe’s Kickstarter video, you will be watching one of the prototypes in action. The ability to use these prototypes to inform tooling helped Lupe save time and energy by streamlining communication with the manufacturing floor.
“3D Systems enabled us to present a very finished article before we were actually in mass production, which was very beneficial,” says Lucas.
Additionally, by prototyping more realistically Lucas says Lupe was able to mitigate the risk of having to redo steel tooling later on: “We needed processes that were as realistic as possible to ensure that all areas of our design would be sound once produced. The properties we achieved using 3D Systems' materials enabled us to verify the design, confirm that it was good for tooling, and ensure that it met our strength and durability requirements,” says Lucas.
Designing products for the long-term
According to Lucas, the Lupe Pure Cordless vacuum is not just different in its production and marketing approach, it is a different type of vacuum cleaner with a different ethos. “We are very much in favor of designing products for the long-term,” says Lucas. “If we can design a good platform on day one, then we can help our customers with future upgrades rather than new machines. We put a lot of thought into our design because we believe in less waste. Our ethos is that we will keep our products performing well for as long as our customers want them to perform.”
Lupe plans to deliver production units in 2020, and fulfill the orders of its Kickstarter backers. As a small company, Lucas says Lupe is always on the lookout for commercial opportunities and partnerships with other companies that share Lupe’s vision and want to help Lupe in its mission to deliver better products to a wider audience. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to [email protected]
For help with your next concept model, or for more information on 3D Systems’ complete range of product lifecycle support services, contact our On Demand experts.
Whether you need fast turn 3D printed parts, advanced prototyping with assembly and finishing services, or low volume manufacturing including CNC, urethane casting, and injection tooling, 3D Systems’ On Demand services can help advance your project, timeline, and goals.