By Sun Kim
Posting in Design
The fundraising platform redesigns its guidelines for hardware and product design projects.
The announcement, made on their blog, outlines that:
- Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
- Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.
Offering multiple quantities of a reward (i.e. sample product as a thank you) has also been banned. Revamping stricter guidelines for submissions is an attempt to reinforce the Kickstarter mission of connecting creators and audience, not to provide a retail experience. Fancy digital renderings and offering multiple quantities in advance of actual production, Kickstarter feels, over-promise and lead to disappointment for backers.
This could be a bit of a dilemma for Kickstarter and their potential designers. Producing renderings and other visualizations are a huge part of how designers develop products. So the new policies will definitely affect the number of projects submitted, especially those projects that were hoping to get funding to produce prototypes.
What do SmartPlanet readers think? Is the push for prototypes a good or bad thing for Kickstarter, creators, and would-be funders?
Image: Trostle Flickr
Sep 23, 2012
In rapid prototyping a working model that serves as a mock design can be created very quickly. The prototype can then be tested to check various aspects like performance and functionality. Prototypes can reflect new ideas and product features to gain instant feedback from users which in return, aids in the design process.
With the availability of 3D printing, rapid molding services, and rapid machining services (like ProtoLabs), a prototype can be had for a few thousand dollars. There's no excuse for not having a hand-built working model before going to Kickstarter.
Building a prototype clearly defines the issues to go to a pre-production unit. It also builds credibility of the product in real-world operation. And credibility of the designer. Many items look great on paper but never work out when a prototype is built and tried in the real world. I'll bet Sir Jonathon Ivie can back that up.
I have been designing a project for several years now but it's only on paper. I need funding to produce a proof of concept prototype on which I'd develop plans that would enable others to reproduce my design. Of course part of the funding would be used to develop the plans. The actual product to come from the project is the plans, not the prototype. I had been contemplating contacting Kickstarter with this project. Not sure what to think now, though it certainly looks like I would be rejected because of the prototype aspect. Even though I believe Kickstarter is the #1 site for crowdsourcing, with this new restriction I might seek funding elsewhere...or drop the whole idea of getting essential development cash this way. They have the right to run their operation the way they see fit, of course, but I wonder if this will put a serious damper on what has been a great way for little, seriously cash-strapped guys like me to see their dreams finally achieve reality.
If you live near any decent-sized city, there's sure to be a group of hobbiest 3d printers. Most of the ones I've met would do it for beer & the fun of it. From what I understand, you can build your own 3d printer for well under $1000.
In my case, if I had a few thousand to build the prototype, I'd also have the rest of the plans development money (which would be in the hundreds) and wouldn't need Kickstarter. Sort of the same ol' same ol' -- in order to get money one must have money. That's also assuming my project can be built in that manner, with 3-D printer, etc., which it can't. It uses readily available off-the-shelf new or used components configured in a unique way. One of the main components can be bought new for a couple hundred dollars or used for about fifty, but if purpose-built by a machine shop, would cost five thousand. This is just one component of roughly six that this concept utilizes.