A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
More information about this project will be available at nCampStove.com
I’m Dan, an industrial designer and educator with a lot of experience and success in product development. I have worked as a design director for an award-winning design firm and as an independent consultant. Throughout my career I’ve worked with brands like DEWALT, Nike, Colgate and Sunbeam to create user-centered products that are successful in the market. As a Professor, I work with young designers to develop their knowledge and skills, while encouraging them to make a difference.
The nCamp Stove is a product that I am passionate about. I believe there is a market for it, and as I take it to production, I will be setting an example of entrepreneurialism for design students.
Recently I talked with students about the value of prototyping: building concepts for the sake of testing, visualizing and getting feedback. I used one of their projects — focused on creating a new product for an outdoor goods brand — as a prototyping example. I researched, identified a problem based on personal experience, observation and inquiry, then I started to sketch and build.
I identified multiple problems relating to food preparation camping equipment, which the nCamp Stove solves:
The risk of running out of fuel or weight/bulk associated with canned fuel stoves - the fuel for this stove is readily available in forests –sticks, twigs and other combustible material.
Current wood burning stoves are bulky because of the nature of a combustion chamber – this stove is compact and easy to store because it has a collapsible combustion chamber.
Packaging/trash associated with canned fuel – the fuel for this stove is available in nature and there is no packaging-related waste.
Canned fuel stoves use fuel that is derived from fossils – the fuel for this stove is renewable.
Lack of a cooking surface to set utensils – this stove has a cooking surface.
I focused on using wood from the forest as fuel. Wood is typically a readily available source of combustible material and existing wood-burning camp stoves are bulky because of the nature of a combustion chamber. I examined methods for reducing this bulk, and experimented with a collapsible chamber. I developed a series of prototypes; The first example for students was a miniature prototype with a collapsing chamber represented by a plastic camping cup. Next, I began to experiment with foam core models to evaluate size and proportion. Eventually I developed works-like and looks-like models.
With the help of my friend and colleague Haishan Deng, the project moved from concept to pre-production prototypes.
The final patent pending design for the nCamp Stove burns sticks and twigs and can also use liquid or solid fuel, such as diethylene glycol or fuel cubes. It is compact —about the size of a medium-size paperback book. The work surface allows one to rest cooking utensils or cookware. It is made of aluminum and stainless steel, and is durable, stable and lightweight. Ashes can be clean out by inverting and shaking when cool. The storage bag keeps residue contained until it is time to thoroughly clean.
I have produced prototypes, and the concept works, I have quotes for tooling and unit cost, and I have a commitment to produce 2,000 units, delivered within three months of securing funding and approving the production design (intended shipping is early 2017).
My goal is to raise $60,000, which roughly breaks down as follows:
Tooling and Production Run of 2,000 units – 75%
Consulting Support – 10%
Shipping and Incidental Expenses – 10%
Kickstarter Fee – 5%
I will forgo compensation and focus all investment on getting the best product into the hands of backers and consumers.
This project is important to me for several reasons. It enables people to enjoy the natural world, reduces waste relating to packaged fuel, and reduces reliance on fossil-derived fuels for cooking. Additionally, the project helps me provide an example to my students of entrepreneurship and leveraging the many product development resources now available.
Add-on: For any pledge over $35 you can choose your bag color by adding $10 for single stove rewards or $20 per multiple stove rewards. The current plan is to have 3 to 5 colors available (these will be noted in the survey) and for multiple stove orders you can choose multiple colors.
To add an Add-on to your pledge, follow these steps:
1) Press the ‘Manage Your Pledge’ Button. If you have not pledged yet, it will say ‘Back This Project.’
2) Increase your pledge in the ‘Pledge Amount’ box by the total of the add-ons your want to add (you don’t have to change your pledge level/category).
3) After the end of the Kickstarter campaign you will receive a survey that will ask you questions so that you can explain how you would like the add-on money assigned.
Risks and challenges
During development, characteristics of the stove were carefully thought out: Effectiveness, weight and size were balanced to achieve what I believe is a great end result. However, the product has limitations and will not meet everyone needs. Some things to consider: The stove works best when a 'starter stick’ is included with the sticks/twigs. This accelerates the process and more quickly brings the temperature higher. A wood-burning stove of this size needs to be fed throughout the cooking process, it is not a ‘turn it on and cook’ solution. Burning wood produces creosote, which can cover parts of the stove and cookware. This can be cleaned off, but is a reality of using wood for fuel.
Also, working prototypes have been produced that reflect the intended design and performance. However these were not production units, so they do not necessarily reflect the effects of design changes made for the sake of mass production.
Finally, I have done my due diligence in assessing manufacturers, however I don't own the factory that will produce the product, so I cannot control production and delivery schedules. I believe the assurances that I have been provided on timing are reliable and I have tried to build time into the production schedule to account for assessment and refinement.