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$3,786 pledged of $30,000 goal
backers
By Erik Roby
$3,786 pledged of $30,000 goal
backers

About

The Kickstarter campaign has ended, but head over to the Portland Reflector store to check out all of the reflectors that are available! 

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Thank you for all of the support! The Portland Bike Reflector will be back as the Portland Reflector, with design improvements based on feedback from review units. Get updates and stay connected:

Twitter  /  Facebook  /  Instagram

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"The bright colors are pretty easily visible even during the day, and at night you’ll have a huge glowing triangle on your back for drivers to see." -Jonathan H. Liu, GeekDad

"The big idea is that the reflector can attach to lots of different things and then be easily detached and stored when not in use on the road." -Michael Andersen, BikePortland.org

 

Thank you for checking out the Portland Bike Reflector project, a large reflector that attaches to jackets, backpacks, etc. using powerful magnets.

I need your help to bring the Portland Bike Reflector from a prototype to a real product. By backing you can help keep bicyclists safe and visible.

Choose from yellow, silver, orange, and pink
Choose from yellow, silver, orange, and pink

 

The money raised on Kickstarter will be used to help fund the two injection molds needed to create the rubber brace part of the product, as well as purchase the individual components and materials at a high enough volume to bring the costs down and make the product more affordable for everyone.

Made in the USA with imported magnets.

Patent pending.

The brace slides through the strap on a pannier
The brace slides through the strap on a pannier

 

How it began:

The idea for the Portland Bike Reflector started when I was at an event put on by the BTA (Bicycle Transportation Alliance). The BTA had a class on all-weather biking at the Portland Fix-it-Fair that I attended as I prepared to purchase my first bike since middle school. When the speakers discussed options for reflective clothing and equipment, they covered expensive bike specific jackets, orange safety vests, and reflective tape that could be attached to the bike or rider. I didn’t like any of these options; I already owned a perfectly good, but black, rain jacket. Even as an engineer with very little fashion sense I knew I wasn’t going to wear an orange vest. And the less said about the tape, the better. I asked if there was a magnetic option, and the presenters said they hadn’t heard of one. Another person in the class said, “You should make that!”

No lights, no LEDs, just reflection!
No lights, no LEDs, just reflection!

 

How it works:

The Portland Bike Reflector has two parts. There is the reflector which is worn on the outside of your jacket/backpack/etc. Keeping it in place is a flexible brace that goes on the inside of your apparel or equipment. There are powerful neodymium magnets in both parts that hold them in place. When you want to use it with a different jacket or backpack you just pull it off of the old one. No clips, no vest covering all of your clothing; no tape or glue residue. If you want to use it with your everyday clothing, you can do that. If you don’t want to have a reflector on your back after you get to your destination, you can take it off without having to change your whole outfit.

Put the brace on the inside of your backpack
Put the brace on the inside of your backpack

 

Next steps/what you are funding:

Now that the design is ready, I am here on Kickstarter raising money to make the two injection molds to produce the flexible brace part. The money will also be used to purchase the magnets and other parts in higher volume to help bring the final cost down. I have already received quotes for the injection molds and other components. I have also started looking into retail packaging. I am not considering this a requirement to ship the Kickstarter rewards; I don’t want it to delay the rewards or put them at any risk, but if there is enough time to finish the packaging design while the injection molds are being made, then it would be great to ship out the rewards in their final packaging.

Day and night - silver, pink, yellow, orange
Day and night - silver, pink, yellow, orange

 

As soon as the Kickstarter campaign ends, the injection molds will be ordered as well as the magnets. The reflectors will be manufactured once the magnets arrive, and the molds will begin producing sample parts to test once they are finished. Minor tweaks to the molds may be necessary to get the flexible brace to assemble correctly. Once the injection molds are ready, they will be transferred to the final molder, and parts will be molded. Next up is assembly, followed by packaging and shipping. Extra time has been built into the schedule to account for tweaks to the molds and minor setbacks.

Final brace design (back of reflector also shown)
Final brace design (back of reflector also shown)

 

The journey:

The project started with a 3D printed brace and a reflector made from strips of reflective material that were glued together with magnets inside the overlapping areas at each corner. The stiff brace wasn’t very comfortable to wear, and both parts were very clearly in the early prototype phase.

And the first prototype was born!
And the first prototype was born!

 

While searching for different reflective material manufacturers, I found a company that could make the entire reflector out of sheets of material instead of strips. This made the product much stronger and more durable.

The brace part has taken a lot more engineering time. After the original stiff 3D printed design, I decided to go with a flexible design.

Making the first version of the flexible brace
Making the first version of the flexible brace

 

In a future backer update I’ll detail the process to find the right design for the brace.

Testing clip designs to hold magnets in place
Testing clip designs to hold magnets in place

 

Who am I?

I am a mechanical engineer living in Portland, Oregon. I have worked on products for many different companies, including projects for consumer electronics where I was involved in part design from concept 3D printed parts all the way through high volume manufacturing. I also enjoy biking, and wanted a reflector that would attach to almost everything I ride with, which is why I created this product.

You don't have to be on a bike!
You don't have to be on a bike!

 

Magnet warning:

In order to create a product that would attach very securely to a wide range of apparel and equipment with different material thicknesses, very powerful magnets were used. The product should be kept at least four inches away from anything that could be negatively impacted by a strong magnet, including pacemakers, ICDs and other implanted medical devices, magnetic media such as credit cards and computer disk drives, watches, televisions, CRT monitors, and other electronic devices.

Silver and pink reflectors at night
Silver and pink reflectors at night

 

Credits:

I want to thank my friends and family and everyone else who has helped me get this project to where it is:

  • Molly and Darrel Roby: for advice and listening to me talk about nothing but this project for the last three years.
  • Jordan Doig: for editing the Kickstarter video and advice over the three years I’ve been working on this. Available for freelance work: http://www.jordan-doig.com/
  • Brian McCabe – Machine Sciences Corporation: for machining the molds that made the first prototypes of the flexible design. http://www.machinesciences.com/
  • Fareid Asphahani: for advising on patent matters.
  • Jeff Newgard: for creating some of the marketing material and helping to get the word out.
  • Laki Karavias: for shooting the footage used in the Kickstarter video and for some of the product pictures. Available for freelance work: http://www.lakikaravias.com/
Orange reflector at night
Orange reflector at night

 

 

Risks and challenges

I have tried to make as much progress as possible before going to Kickstarter in order to reduce the risk and potential for delays. The reflector has already been produced in small volumes by the manufacturer that will be producing it in large volumes, so I’m confident in their ability to ramp up production. Including the 3D printed design, there have been nine iterations of the brace design, most using CNC machined parts and molds to get as close as possible to what will be produced in volume to show the design will work once the injection molded parts are made. However, there are always risks that the final injection molded parts won't fit together quite right and will require tweaks to the molds. I have built some additional time into the schedule to account for minor tweaks, but things may end up taking longer than planned.

Any issues that do come up that may impact the final delivery date will be communicated to the backers.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Supporter!

    Thank you for the support! As a supporter you have helped turn the Portland Bike Reflector into a real product, and will be able to follow along with the updates.

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    Early Bird! -Portland Bike Reflector -US

    -1x Portland Bike Reflector - Any Color
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    *Color will be chosen in a backer survey.

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    Portland Bike Reflector - US

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    Portland Bike Reflector - International

    -1x Portland Bike Reflector - Any Color
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    Pledge $56 or more About $56

    Two Pack - Portland Bike Reflector - US

    -2x Portland Bike Reflectors - Any Colors
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    Three Pack - Portland Bike Reflector -US

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Five Pack - Portland Bike Reflector - US

    -5x Portland Bike Reflectors - Any Colors
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Funding period

- (37 days)