Only about 24 hours remaining, so I thought it worth posting a final update.
For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, I should start by saying I almost ended the project early. Soon after posting my previous update I realized just how little actual support there would be for this effort. Crowdfunding product design is, in my opinion, too new an idea for most people to wrap their heads around. In fact, I've just received another designer Q&A-interview email with the question: "If this project is not going to be economically benificial, then what will drive the manufacturers to produce this toy?". Clearly someone completely misunderstands what this effort was all about and, by my own admission, I'm not sure I can make it much more clear.
In any event, here's what I posted to Twitter subsequent to that realization and after some reflection as to what I should do:
* Thinking I should end my 100K Stray Toasthed #Kickstarter effort. Funding is doubtful & I don't like tying up people's money. #IndDes
* "price based on the content wrapper" esp relevant to #IndustrialDesign: "Why Your Content is Worthless" - http://bit.ly/368lPI #IndDes
* #IndustrialDesign w/out a manufactured product is a virtual good, but unlike virtual goods, #IndDes is disconnected from virtuality.
* So while virtual goods is a booming business, #IndustrialDesign is more likely to repeat the experience of other "wrapper" goods. #IndDes
* Crowdfunding (virtual) #IndustrialDesign development w/out also offering "wrapper" rewards -selling tangible goods- seems unlikely. #IndDes
* I don't think it's the product as much as the market. CNC users are DIY to extreme. They'll design their own product.
* The open source people are, imo, mostly open source to the extreme; they want it free and free of IP.
* The Industrial Design community just isn't interested, from what I'm seeing/hearing.
After posting those messages a couple of contributors requested I not end the project early, and because I was curious to see how the Kickstarter site operated in this regard, I acquiesced and let it continue; but admittedly with little enthusiasm remaining.
Actually, the audience I was targeting was CNC users, but I don't think the current users believe they need help. I emailed some CNC admin types and site owners but never heard back. I sent a few messages to the guy behind CNCZone forum (not wanting to spam their forum). They are, after all, DIYers, so a lack of interest makes some sense. Should also mention that while there are plenty of 3D model collections, it's oddly difficult to find files prepped in some fashion for CNC machines. Even the ShopBot people retweeted my Twitter question regarding a central repository for such files; they don't have one. And Thingiverse has very few CNC-tagged files; a fair number being CNC files for the MakerBot. The only ones I found aggregated [online] were those being sold.
A second audience was the open source community. However, I now believe that for most active participants, anything with IP - even if it's to curb corporate abuse - is verbotten. They want free or not at all. I've seen this behavior before, so this too isn't a surprise.
The third audience was the industrial design community. While some designers privately messaged me with verbal support, there wasn't much monetary [or public] support. Mostly there was silence. Personally, I just don't believe that industrial designers in general have an interest at this point and suspect most just don't grok what I'm doing. They also probably don't like anything that moves product design to the internet. There's been a lot of hand wringing over crowdsourcing (which many have only recently discovered), so anything that smacks of "crowd" is probably not going to get much support in this economic environment.
Unfortunately, what the design community doesn't realize is that sitting on the sidelines is a bad move because it may set a poor precedent. In fact, the funding target was adjusted in part to meet current toy designer rates, even though I can easily undercut them. Future projects will not be similarly adjusted.
So, what happens now? Well, for one, another project I have in mind makes more sense to pursue, mostly because it would be intended for a different audience: niche product consumers. However, it comes with a different set of issues which I'd need to resolve, and that will take time. As for the Stray Toasthed toy, I'm unsure what will come of the sketches I've done and the new ideas I've generated. Maybe I'll just do things the old fashioned way and try to sell my work to a large toy manufacturer.
In the meantime, thanks to all of you who supported this effort. Hopefully you got something out of it.