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.
Stretch Goals Just Added!
The support this far has been incredible, and we've decided to add some colour options as stretch goals. Check out the Prototype Gallery for some additional photos. Note the rod in the photo with the orange tinted Knucklebone is just a coloured material sample, not a reward or add on.
In 2017, Aroundsquare (AO2) launched its first precision-machined Knucklebones. The "kbones" are a low tech EDC item that can function as a skill toy, worry stone, and fidget item. The clean, ergonomic design quickly gained popularity across diverse groups, ranging from knife collectors to skill toy enthusiasts, to students, designers, and other creative professionals looking for something to help keep the hands busy and the mind quiet. In a short time, the Knucklebone has helped spawn a whole community of related knuckle rollers, with many inspired designs. More details on the background of this unique item can be found on the AO2 website.
As a skill toy, players are still just scratching the surface of what is possible with the kbone, and we have a growing library of trick tutorials on our YouTube channel. But the real beauty of the kbone is that it functions just as well as a simple worry stone, and people with no interest in learning tricks seem to love their kbones just as much as those on the cutting edge of technical play.
While Aroundsquare has been around more than a decade, this is our first Kickstarter. As the Kbones have gained popularity among collectors, there has been a demand for new and interesting materials, many of which require significantly higher up front costs and larger minimum order quantities. Kickstarter is a natural fit to help gage interest and raise the funds to undertake this production. We are extremely excited to introduce three new models to our lineup through this campaign.
Clear Acrylic "Ice Bones"
High grade acrylic is a very robust material, and can be produced with extremely high clarity. This unique Knucklebone is our first application of this material, and we are very excited about the prototypes we've received. Not only do they play well and hold up extremely well to drops, but they are also intensely interesting for their optical effects. The refraction of light through the Ice Bones results in flipped and distorted images that just happen to lend themselves to smart phone photography. As a pocket carry item with very low weight, we're hoping this model will catch the attention of a whole new audience, and in so doing, introduce them to the other properties of this funky little toy. These weigh roughly 11.5g per piece, and have a smooth, grippy texture.
Wenge Wood Knucklebones
Wenge wood is an exotic species with a dark colour and gnarly striated grain patterns. Aroundsquare has produced kbones in four different woods previously, and each has their own personality. Wenge is, hands down, the most rustic, with a beautiful aged appearance, and an amazing texture that lends itself to all styles of Knucklebone play. These will be shipped raw, and the wood has a tendency to darken with use, accentuating the grains while polishing the surface at the same time. The wenge models, like the other wood models available currently, comes laser etched with our AO2 logo. These are quite variable in weight, due to the variable density of the wood, but most pieces are between 8.5g - 10.5g. The texture is rough, but not sharp or grippy.
Mokume Gane Knucklebones
Since the very early days, folks have been asking for this material. Mokume gane is made from fusing together layers of metals, and working the billet into a patterned material that almost resembles wood grain. This elegant model may not be for everyone due to its weight and price point, but for those who know what they're getting into, you're bound to cherish this piece, and to appreciate it even more as the metals begin to patina and the grains pop. The weight of the mokume gane kbones is similar to the existing brass model, around 83g per piece, making it great for momentum based play, and for exercising the fingers. These will ship with a polished finish, which is smooth, but has some grip to it.
By popular request, we are adding in a couple of options for "add-ons". You can now choose to add on some new rewards, by increasing your pledge amount accordingly. Just add: $45USD (58CAD) for a titanium Knucklebone; or $15USD (19CAD) for an additional Ice Bone (if you're already Dual Wielder or above). Just click the button on the project that says "Manage your pledge" and you can get in and change the amount, or change the pledge level you've selected.
Add-on #1: Gr.5 Titanium Knucklebone
The first "add-on" option is the original gr. 5 titanium Knucklebone. This is the classic king of bones, sand blasted for optimum performance and a comfortable feel, and laser etched with the "aroundsquare" word mark letting everyone know this product is the real deal. These things age beautifully, and will last a lifetime. They normally sell for USD $60, but we're offering them for a steep discount as part of this campaign (approximately $45 as an add-on to any other backing level).
Add-on #2: Additional Clear Acrylic "Ice Bone"
The second "add-on" option is an additional clear acrylic Ice Bone, for just $15. *Please note that this option is only available for those pledging at the "Dual Wielder" level and above. If you are currently backing at the "Roller" level and would like a second Ice Bone, you can change your pledge level by clicking the green button in the project that says "Select this reward instead".
WARNING: Metal versions are heavy and solid--they can break things or hurt things if dropped. It is recommended that you play over carpet, couch, or the like, or outside. Other versions may look almost tasty, so keep them away from young kids, and don't let anyone try to ingest them. These are intended for people over 10 years old and up.
Risks and challenges
Aroundsquare has been producing and selling toys for over a decade, and we have a reputation for maintaining high quality standards and good customer care. That said, this project is getting into some new territory with materials and production methods we have not tackled before.
Risk 1: Clear Acrylic Ice Bones
Our production partner has been highly responsive during the prototyping process, and has ample production output. However, the production involves a large minimum order, and the challenge will be to ensure that high quality control standards are maintained during the bulk production. Each piece will be hand inspected by Aroundsquare prior to shipping to backers.
Risk 2: Wenge Wood Kbones
As we have seen with our other wooden models, the natural characteristics of wood pose some challenges for uniformity in production. This is particularly the case with woods that have pronounced and unique grain patterns, as is the case with wenge. There is a possibility of cracked, chipped, and misshapen pieces. Our production partner has been effective in screening these prior to shipping the freight to us, but Aroundsquare will hand inspect each unit prior to shipping to backers.
Risk 3: Mokume Gane
This is a new material for Aroundsquare, and we are working with a new production partner to bring these amazing pieces to our backers. Initial samples have been perfect in terms of shape and finish. However, this material is hand made through a labour intensive process, and care needs to be taken to ensure quality and consistency of the material itself, in addition to the precision machining. In addition to factory-side quality control, Aroundsquare will hand inspect each piece individually to ensure that the highest standards are maintained.
Risk 4: Fulfillment
As an established company, Aroundsquare has good fulfilment capacity, and we have access to additional support personnel if the number of backers exceeds what we are able to manage with our own hands.