Challenge: Create an affordable, large-volume 3D printer durable enough for industrial and commercial use.
In the summer of 2013, Acuity Design took on the Helix 3D printer project. In six short months, the Acuity team took the product idea to third generation, pre-production machines. The idea was straightforward: design and develop a large-volume, industrial 3D printer capable of making parts in multiple materials. Given the complexity of the machine and short timeline, the logistics of the project weren’t as straightforward as the idea. Acuity controlled and executed all aspects of the product design process including concept creation, engineering, industrial design, prototype fabrication, component sourcing, beta testing, and product launch.
The initial alpha design and prototype were a bit crude, but effectively served their purpose of concept validation. The alpha design and prototype process took less than two months. From there, industrial design on the beta machine began and the 3D printer’s form began to take shape. Hundreds of funcational refinements from the alpha to beta design were also incorporated. The beta design and prototype creation, amazingly, took only six weeks. After several weeks of internal testing, beta testers were identified and a Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign was launched by Acuity Design for Helix3D. The Kickstarter campaign surpassed its funding goal by over $30,000!
During the Helix 3D Printer Kickstarter campaign, Acuity was hard at work making improvements on the beta machine to to get pre-production printers in the hands of the identified consumer feedback group. The design improvements and component sourcing for eight pre-production machines was completed at the end of the Kickstarter campaign. Acuity began building the pre-production prototype Helix 3D printers, and in less than six months from the onset of the project, had completed the first pair of pre-production machines for delivery to beta testers. The Helix 3D printer project is a great example of how Acuity Design can get your product idea launched cost-effectively and quickly.