It’s a popular project which collected over US$2m from 26,457 backers during its 34-day crowdfunding campaign.
Have you ever just wished you could lift your pen off the paper and see your drawing become a real three dimensional object? Well now you can!
3Doodler, designed by WobbleWorks bills itself as the world’s first and only 3D Printing Pen. 3Doodler uses both PLA and ABS plastic (the material used by many 3D printers), 3Doodler can draw in the air or on any surface. Unlike conventional 3D printers it’s compact and easy to use, and requires no knowledge of software. Just plug it into a power socket and can start drawing anything within minutes.
In an interview with Daniel Cowen, co-‐Founder and COO of WobbleWorks, the core characteristic of WobbleWorks is their desire to take an idea and bring it to physical reality, whether a new product, a process, or a design variation. “This was the essence of our work prior to 3Doodler, when we were using 3D printers to rapidly prototype our own ideas and inventions. The hope is that by placing the power of 3D creation in such a simple and accessible form, even more people who previously may not have considered themselves makers, creators or even artists will become exactly that,” he said.
According to Daniel, prior to their Kickstarter campaign, WobbleWorks LLC and 3Doodler were self-funded. They were able to operate this leanly due to the infrastructure support they have had from the Artisans Asylum, and due to the fact that they do all of their own R&D.
3Doodler has raised over $2.3 million from their Kickstarter campaign, attracting 26,457 backers during their 34 day crowd-funding campaign, meaning at the time the project was the most popular 3D consumer printing device and one of the top 25 Kickstarter projects of all time.
“Taking 3Doodler to Kickstarter was the plan for at least half a year prior to launch. We took 3Doodler to Kickstarter because we wanted to speak directly to the maker community and get their feedback as well as get 3Doodler off the ground. That nexus of fundraising, proof of concept, and building a community around our product was perfect for us,” Daniel added.
Daniel also said that they have an exciting product roadmap for the 3Doodler and surrounding products, such as accessories and materials. At the same time, they are putting a lot of focus on the community aspect of the product, ensuring that their users will have the content and support to create truly amazing things with their 3Doodlers.
“As for the evolution of the 3Doodler, look at it this way: in just under a year we have shipped 100,000 pens to individuals across 80 countries. We went from 100 to 100,000 in such a short time, and the degree of creativity we are seeing is just amazing, with our users inspiring other around them. Now times that by three, and then again by three, and we’re close to 1m pens in the hands of 1m individuals. I think we'll start to see some truly remarkable things once we hit that scale. We're already seen the power of this creative tool in our own hands and the hands of thousands of users. Now times that by millions!,” Daniel exclaimed.
Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth met while working at WowWee in Hong Kong, originally starting WobbleWorks in late 2012, and then joined forces with Daniel Cowen in late 2012 to launch the 3Doodler.
At WowWee, Maxwell was responsible for taking products from ideation right through to production and distribution, while Peter was working there as an inventor, specifically working on robo-dinosaurs that could be taken to retail. Daniel previously worked as a corporate lawyer, manufacturing consultant, and launched two award winning software companies of his own. Max and Pete have know each other for six years and worked on multiple products together at both WowWee and WobbleWorks, and he has known Max for almost seven years now, and Pete for two.
The idea came about as they frequently use their own 3D printers for rapid prototyping. They wanted to see if the process could be sped up and made "freer" by placing the parts of the 3D printer in a pen form. “The first iteration was called the “teacup", basically an extruder with a handle. It worked horribly, but it did work! We then added to this, creating a unique cooling mechanism and evolving to the 3Doodler you see today,” said Daniel.
The craziest things they did for their startup
Daniel revealed that starting up costs them insane amounts of sleep deprivation. They have gone without sleep for 50-60 hours when they first launched the 3Doodler on Kickstarter.
“The adrenaline rush was intense, and the buzz of what we had achieved kept us going, but after that we were completely exhausted,” said Daniel.
And after the Kickstarter, they pulled out all the stops and built a team, taking a product from handmade prototype to mass production with tens of thousands of units in just six months. Daniel added that anyone who knows about manufacturing and production will tell you what a feat that is, and it required that they relocate to Hong Kong to be closer to the factories so that they could monitor things night and day.
Daniel also shared how they used modern marketing methods to launch 3Doodler with their initial mailing list.
“We had a list broken down by country, and as countries woke up we would systematically email bomb them one by one, seeing what the clock and reaction rates were. Country by country, timeline by timeline, we amended the pitch to make the intro email that much more effective; from the success we had on Kickstarter we can only assume we’d nailed it by the time the USA woke up!,” Daniel explained.
Name of the company: WobbleWorks
Founders: Daniel Cowen, Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth
Total funding at hand: $2.3M
Source of funding: Kickstarter campaign
Start of operation: 2012
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