The Hailstonez Spherical Ice Mold
Why round Ice? Because it lasts longer, and won't dilute your drink. Introducing an Ice ball mold as practical as any ice cube tray
Spherical ice has become a growing trend in the last few years because of the growing awareness that it lasts longer and dilutes your drink less. However, the practicality of the process of making them is what keeps then from mainstream use. Most molds are either expensive, time consuming, or both.
Our Patent Pending design may be the first to solve all of these problems. By shifting the dimension in one direction and connecting the cavities together, many more ice balls can be made a lot faster. Stacking the mold cavities vertically allows you to fill them all at once instead of one at a time, and the two pieces are made to simply seal and snap apart in one motion which allows them to be opened and closed easily. They can also be made from an FDA compliant Polypropylene, which means that they can be produced very cost effectively.
I currently have three versions of this mold that will be produced.
The one you see above is made firstly to demonstrate that ice balls can now be made much smaller practically and in much larger quantities. It is ideal for small cups and for people that like crushed or slush style ice. They also fit better in a martini glass. The second is likely more like what the average person would like to see in their drink. Obviously a larger ice ball will last longer so I made one that produces 24 one-and-a-half inch ice balls. This one is good for tall glasses and large cups. I call this one the Mixballer because it is likely the choice for most mixed cocktails and styled drinks.
The one that is most trendy right now for whiskey drinkers and connoisseurs, the Whiskeyballer. This mold can make eight 2.25 inch Ice balls at a time.
The whiskey ball is by far the most popular form of Ice sphere on the market because you only need one, and it lasts roughly three hours. They are also very classy for any on the rocks style beverage in a short glass.
All have their respective best uses for mixology and style. For Restaurants that have Exclusive specialty drinks, It is a little more practical to offer them with Iceballs than before. Top shelf drinks, can be enhanced as well.
We have gone through many iterations of the design in order to work out the flaws. The first few were not of uniform thickness which via the injection molding process would create bends and divots in the shape due to uneven cooling of the plastic. The tooling of the Aluminum mold would have required two cavities in order to make both sides of the Ice mold.
Through the process we eventually figured out how to make a universal part that has both male and female connectors and can snap into another identical part, making it much more cost effective. This way we can build a production mold that needs only 1 cavity for both sides of the mold and has reduced the tooling cost by almost a half.
Likewise, We have evened out the thickness of the design as uniform as necessary so that it cools evenly in the injection molding process and produces a perfect part every time.
I have also found a cost effective way to construct it out of FDA compliant plastics. The prototype that you see in the video was made from a Nylon 12 plastic which worked well but was stiff and the snapping parts were hard to separate when opening the mold. The plastic that I have chosen has the flexibility to have a durable lasting snapping part and stiff enough to account for the expansion of the ice.
The part is sealed with a sealing grove around the edge that prevents water from escaping while it is standing up. In the groove is a Flexible FDA compliant silicone O ring cord that is designed to account for any expansion due to the ice freezing.
The seal is the most important part of the mold and the part I am most proud of. I have actually had to design the mold around the seal and not the other way around.
Keep in mind that only one prototype has been made and tested. Most of these images are photo-realistic renders. They will need to be tested as well.
What is the $$$$ For?
Since the testing of the prototype in the video, I have found three ways to improve the molds,
First, the mold was hard to open because it had too many snapping parts. I have figured out a way to make it with two snaps instead of four. This not only makes for a simpler design, but makes it much easier to open. There are less parts to break as well.
Second, the prototype itself had a tendency to bow in the middle, making it leak over time. I realized that it needed to be able to seal on the bottom as well, so I have added a tongue and groove mechanism on the bottom that will give a nice even pressure seal along the long axis of the mold. As you can see it is also designed to be universal.
When they fit together, it makes mold much more stable.
Third, The trough needed to be deeper to capture more water. Most people will want to fill the mold from a refrigerator water dispenser, which means that it will likely be held directly over the floor. So I have deepened the trough to make sure that it catches all of the water.
The money that I am asking for is for three things. The prototyping of the of the new models, the construction of injection molds for mass production, and the Initial orders, including shipping packaging and warehousing.
Prototyping is very fast these days, Usually you can have one printed and shipped within two days. If they pass the testing as expected, then the Injection mold will be ordered which takes about two weeks.
Note - If I find any new issues then a new prototype may have to be ordered. I Have allocated about 5% of the funds (about $3000.00) for the prototyping process. This includes the 3D printing of the final models that will determine the finishing touches for the Building of the final molds for mass production.
80% of the funding (about $46,000.00) will go to the building of the 3 Aluminum thermoplastic Injection molds, one for each model, Which will also need to be tested. This process, while also faster than it used to be, will be the most time consuming part of the process. Special thanks to Nick Robinson and Nina Goldman from Protolabs for helping get the price and size just right ($46,000 was the cost of just one mold the first time I got it quoted with another company). They will be helping me update the shape of the mold right up to the order of the Injection molds.
The final 15% (roughly $8500) will go to the Initial orders, shipping, and any unforeseen expenses.
The closest breakeven figures we can generate to date say that we can breakeven at about 2500 units, which means that we will have made enough to fulfill the requirements of this project and order enough inventory to go into business. By all accounts that is very reasonable and attainable by May. That is why I chose to go for a more reasonable amount. I do, however, have some other designs that may be possible to fund from this project.
If I receive more than the amount I'm asking, they will be applied to additions that can be made to the product lineup.
We are also working on a design for a middle piece that would expand the capacity of two of the molds to make them a little wider but double their capacity.
This middle piece will also be designed to be universal so that multiple parts can be snapped together into a "kit" that can produce as many ice balls as you would like. This would make it practical for restaurants and bars to offer them with certain specialty drinks. Below is a 5 piece configuration.
Because there are potential design and price issues, we don't feel comfortable offering these middle pieces yet as rewards for investment.
If the project funds over $80K then we would like to produce and offer them as rewards as well to people who donate enough to get multiple molds. In that case we would like to offer them as an added bonus for anyone who donates more than $300.00. That fits well into our breakeven analysis, however we don't have accurate enough figures for cost yet to know how many to offer. We will however make sure to keep you informed on the progress if I fund over $80K
It looks as if this project is not going to fund this time. I have been informed by many of you to do a simpler project that focuses on just one mold. Since the Whiskeyballer is by far the most wanted, I am going to launch a much more modest project for this one mold:
The New project should launch about 2 weeks after this project ends. If you'd like to be part of the new project, please give me your email address: http://eepurl.com/bdnciX I will keep you updated and let you know when it launches
Again, Thank You all for the support and feedback, and most importantly, for believing in me.
I owe you all!
Risks and challenges
We are very confident that we have worked out the major issues with the production of the product. However there are a few contingencies that we must be prepared for.
1. The possibility that one or more of the Actual Thermoplastic injection molds will have to be retooled or completely reconstructed. While a lot of effort has been made to reduce the cost of the tooling process, the time lost will be significant. We have prepared for that inevitability by setting our delivery date by May. If one or more molds needs to be modified, then it should be repaired and ready to be delivered by May. Of course the possibility exists that it will take longer. We will of course make sure to keep everyone involved up to date with the progress so that there are no surprises.
2. The prototype seems to work fine but the actual product will be made with a stiffer more consumption friendly plastic. It may behave in a drastically different manner. This is not likely as the material itself was chosen for its density, stiffness and cold resistance, but as with all things untested, it may have some surprises. Most issues can be solved by retooling, or in a drastic case, modifying the injection molds for another material which would take time. The only way it would be expensive is if a completely new mold has to be tooled, which we have prepared for as in step 1.
3. As confident as we are about the material, we have to prepare for the possibility as well that the material might affect the flavor of the ice as some other ice cube trays have. Again not likely, but it would require a retooling of the injection mold for a different material, the same solution as the two aforementioned.
Aside from the Three risks mentioned above there are always logistical issues that may arise involving shipping, packaging etc. These are mostly time issues so the worst problem is not delivering on time. Again we are preparing for this contingency by setting our date to account for that.
We will pledge to be as honest and transparent as possible and to keep every one of our investors as informed as possible. You are the ones that are going to make this happen, and you deserve to know about the progress of this project!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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