A pen, with interchangeable ink refill tubes, that doubles as a spitwad launcher for total awesomeness!
Remembering back to my adolescence, I used to love experimenting and creating. One of my early inventions was taking a clickable pencil, breaking off the head which would release the inner rod, cutting a slit in the eraser that's attached to the inner rod and then tying a rubber band between the eraser and the clip which would allow for an item to be loaded in to the barrel shell from which one could pull/release the inner rod to shoot the projectile out. To my surprise, it was quite accurate.
My friends would always want to borrow it and test their aim. We would set up targets and challenges. It was all quite fun and entertaining.
Well, contrary to what my friends may have you believe, I'm no longer a child. I'm 32, but who says I can't still enjoy the simple things in life and have a little fun? I recently read up on a few Kickstarter success stories and thought back to the device I used to make as a child. Remembering back to how much fun my friends and I enjoyed playing with it, maybe it's time to bring my idea to life for the world to enjoy.
The grown-up in me says I should make a pen that is practical, purposeful, comfortable and writes well.
My inner child tells me to make it a gadget that can transform in to another device to shoot out spitwads and the like.
My business sense tells me to combine the two functions to make for one awesome, and yet totally cool, device.
I'm ready to move forward and am committed to making the best pen + spitwad launcher ever! The first and only one of its kind, I believe.
So, I've Built An Initial Prototype
The photos below depict my process for creating a spitwad launcher. Please keep in mind that this is merely to demonstrate the assembly and use of the device.
See It In Action
To demonstrate our concept, in action, we have prepared this short video.
The Final Product
The final product would essentially function in the same fashion as described in the above video; however, the device will be a slightly over-sized pen instead of a pencil. The product will be made of plastic and will consist of an unscrewable top, rubber grip and durable elastic rubber band.
- The unscrewable top will allow you to unscrew and swap out the different color ink tubes or use as a wad launcher.
- The rubber grip will provide comfort, for your fingers, when writing.
- The pen tip, itself, will be a ball point.
- The rubber band will be used during wad launcher mode. The rubber band itself will be very durable, elastic and provide great snap action. We will ensure that the rubber band will be made so as to not break or dry rot. However, we will offer replacement rubber bands should, in the rare case, one ever break.
- Wads ammunition. Each wad is a small capsule that can be loaded in to and shot out of, the pen. We will offer a variety of different wads including regular wads and sticky wads. Wads will be made of a Nerf-like material.
Product / Accessories
For initial product launch, we intend to offer the following product and accessories:
- Main device (pen / wad launcher).
- Wads. Both regular wads and sticky wads will be available.
All designing, prototyping and packaging will be done out of our office in Virginia Beach, VA. The manufacturing and assembly will be handled at the location of the manufacturer (China).
Designing - I will be leading the industrial design effort as I have a background in graphic design. I've created most all of the design works for my ad agency over the past 18 years. My 3D background experience is a little lacking, having only worked with 3D Studio Max and Cinema4D on hobbyist-type projects, but I plan on brushing up on my 3D design skills to develop the look and feel for the Wads device. I'm a fast learner and work diligently on my own. In researching online, I've found that Autodesk123D seems to be a popular 3D design platform for use with 3D printers. So, I plan to start there. We estimate this process to take 1 month.
Prototyping - Once our 3D designs are complete, I'll begin creating prototypes using a 3D printer. I'm still researching which printer would best suit my needs as this product will require a very high layer resolution in order to output a smooth surface. I'm leaning towards MakerBot's Replicator 2x. Handling this process, in-house, will allow me to tweak the various design components of the device until everything is perfect (Lord knows I'm a perfectionist!). We estimate this process to take 1-2 months.
Manufacturing & Assembly - Once we have successfully created our fully functioning prototype, we will meet with our local outsourcing partner to demonstrate our product and deliver our final 3D files. They work with local companies that require outsourcing their product development needs. They have relationships with manufacturers in China and act as main point of contact throughout entire development process. This will help us out tremendously as we don't know a lick of Chinese. We've worked with them in the past and feel very comfortable with their capabilities. Based on initial conversations with this company, there's often a little back and forth with the manufacturer when developing the molds. Tweaking of specs and so forth. Given that, we estimate this entire process to take between 3-4 months.
Packaging - All Wads products will be packaged by us, in Virginia Beach, VA. This will allow us to keep a close eye on quality to provide you with the best product possible.
We hope to be ready for orders by May 2014.
Future Plans (Interactive Game)
Please note that all items listed below are "Future Plans." They will not be included in initial product launch. The good news is that you will not have to replace your device when we do release these new products.
Wadboard - We plan on offering both a laser pointer accessory and a Wadboard (think dartboard). The laser pointer can be attached to the pen for aiding in accuracy. The Wadboard will be able to sync with a user's mobile device (phone/tablet). On the mobile device, the user can download our native app. This app, which communicates with the Wadboard, will allow the user to take part in challenges with other Wad users, track the distance of wads shot out of it, measure accuracy, community rankings, scores and more.
Wads - We will offer a variety of additional wads including glow-in-the-dark wads, rocket wads, etc.
Pen wraps - Cool design wraps, on an adhesive material, used to customize the look of the pen. We'll offer a gallery of different wraps, for purchase, on our website. In the future, we'll allow for users to create their own wraps, through our website, from which we will print and mail to customer.
We're stoked about bringing this product to life. We just need your help and support in making our dream a reality.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Realistically speaking, all companies face challenges. A few challenges we have identified:
01. Determining the best suited company for developing our product and the technical challenges they may encounter. Such technical challenges may involve identifying the best type of elastic band to use. We'll need one that is durable and provides an appropriate amount of stretch without fear of tearing or dry rotting.
02. Making deals with retailers to carry our product.
03. Developing the necessary print collateral and packaging for the product.
While we do not have expertise in product development (this is our first time developing a tangible product), we do have many years of business experience in dealing with vendors, managing projects, developing websites, etc. We believe this experience will help us see our product through to fruition.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Wads prototype. Same one used in photos of this Kickstarter campaign.Estimated delivery:
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