About this project
Thank you to all of the backers for a successful Kickstarter campaign. We are really excited by your support and are ready to move Bumprz forward. We will keep posting updates as the product takes final form. We are now taking pre-orders and will be working hard to get the product ready to ship to you.
I guess what they say about necessity being the mother of invention aptly describes why we started Case of Steel. We kept breaking screen after screen because we wanted the iPhone to be in it's intended virgin state - without the brick-like cases in our pockets.
And so, Bumprz was birthed.
"If you Google Cult of Mac for “minimal iPhone case” you get a lot of results... But you should ignore every last one of them, because the Bumprz really is a “case” so tiny you almost can’t see it."
— Cult of Mac, Bumprz Shames All Other So-Called ‘Minimalist’ iPhone Cases
What is Bumprz?
Bumprz is an innovative and beautiful idea to protect your phone’s screen without the obligatory bulk of the traditional cases.
The fact is screens crack when they are dropped and the corners get a chip or crack. At this point your screen might have broken, or it might be ready to break on the next fall. Take a look at your phone. Where is the most damage? Of course... on the corners.
Our goal is to be minimalistic, beautiful, and very functional. Simply put, we protect your screen beautifully.
"The shock of impact is absorbed by 3M adhesive, according to the product’s creators, meaning your Bumprz-equipped iPhone should be able to withstand a sizable drop without coming off too badly. Don’t believe us? Check out the [drop test] video... Impressive, right?"
— AppAdvice, Bumprz: A Screen-Saving 'Anti-Case' For The iPhone 5s
Why it works - See the great drop tests
Bumprz not only strengthen and protect your vulnerable corners, they also beautify your phone in the process. Phone bling! A double win.
So how do they protect the corners without adding unnecessary bulk? Bumprz are made of strong metals and attached with amazing 3M adhesives. This combination prevents the seam of the screen from hitting corners.
"But wait, there's more! Bumprz is a minimalist iPhone "case" that consists of four little steel bumpers that attach to the corners of your favorite smartphone. And surprise -- it actually works! The designers at Case of Steel have been dropping their Bumprz-equipped iPhones left and right, with nary a scratch or broken screen."
— TUAW, The best of Kickstarter...
How does Bumprz™ stack up to all the myriad of cases on the face of the planet? Good question.
Bumprz doesn’t compare at all because we’ve created a bit of an anti-case; a case for "less of a case" but more protection for what matters. Another goal was to make your phone as accessible as possible, in it’s original design form — without the barrier of bulky cases — while protecting it’s most valuable asset… your screen.
"There are so many iPhone cases on the market but all they do is cover up the whole design and look of the handset itself, the iPhone 5S for example is an expensive product so why would you want to hide it just to protect it – Say hello to the new Bumprz, which eliminates and mocks all other iPhone cases... If you want functional, minimalistic and beautiful looks then Bumprz are the way to go and you should really back the Kickstarter project."
—Phone Review, Bumprz eliminates and mocks iPhone cases
Bumprz absorb an impact and with the help of the 3M adhesive directing the forces from the impact to the face and side of the device where the device can handle the high compressive and shear forces without failing.
Bumprz are machined out of Stainless Steel 303 and 360 Brass at 0.7mm thick. Metal can absorb and displace the impact better than a plastic of the same thickness. There are some advanced polymers that can do well here, but they just don’t look as nice. We are currently prototyping Phosphor Bronze 544 which is a beautiful color polished and even stronger than the current 360 Brass. This color is drop dead on the champagne iPhone 5S.
Black Bumprz are Stainless Steel 303 Bumprz that are finished with a Hot Black Oxide finish. Black oxide will not chip. It has a more natural organic feel. It will take the oils from hands and age with time. Hot Black Oxide chemically reacts with steel to form a layer of Magnetite. Bumprz in Black are a perfect addition to the Bumprz family.
Bumprz™ look good. They are an additive feature As Intended. Your phone feels and works like it was designed to work. You see the beauty and functionality of the phone as it was meant. There is no taking off cases to charge or hook up accessories. There is no bulk added to the phone. Barely there.
Bumprz does not get in the way. It fits in your pocket and handbag. Saves face.
Bumprz also let you flop your phone face down without worrying about any scratches.
The Production Story
As I was riding my bike home from work, in the summer of 2013 after I broke my 2nd iPhone 5 screen I had an idea of how to protect my phone screen. This was my 5th or 6th broken screen in 4 years. Each time I broke the screen the corner hit first and caused a failure that cracked the screen throughout.
At first I searched for a case to protect the corners of my phone. After searching for a month I started playing around with ideas to protect the screen. In July I took a HVAC aluminum tape and cut tiny pieces for each corner. The aluminum was very thin, but it protected my phone on one fall and inspired the idea that became bumprz.
At this point 3D printing came in to help size and make a product that was minimal and looked great. (Hats off to the Shapeways guys). The first prototypes where printed in steel. The look is rough, but it lead us to the direction we have today.
"We love to see innovative Shapies pushing the envelope and making their dreams come true. Take, for instance, Matt Veenstra of Case of Steel. What started as frustration—iPhone 5 screen keeps breaking but bulky cases are annoying—turned into some sketches. Followed by 3D designs, prototyping on Shapeways, and now a Kickstarter to break through the world of bulky phone cases with Bumprz™, the the world's most minimal iPhone case. Made of strong metals and attached with amazing 3M adhesives, Bumprz protects your iPhone 5 while adding a bit of bling to it. Great for the minimalist in all of us!"
— Shapeways, Kickstarter Spotlight: Bumprz, The World's Most Minimal iPhone Case
While we were waiting for the samples we started the research on adhesive. People know 3M has great stuff, but on top of it, they are helpful, even for a small group like us.
After a few sample purchases on Amazon and lot of pain cutting the tiny double sided adhesive, we were set to test how everything actually works. This means drop the phone and drop it some more.
- Drop it down the stairs.
- Drop it on the drive way.
- Drop it on the hardwood.
- Throw it when you talk about it.
Lucky for us, everything worked better than our expectations. I actually liked showing off my ability to drop and throw my phone.
At this point we refined our product and tested some more. We used more decorative materials and got ready for our trip to China to meet with manufactures, assembly and packaging partners.
After our trip to China we identified a top manufacturing partner and they produced our first manufactured samples in stainless steel and brass. And they look great.
Now it is time for you to get Bumprz on your phone and take this to the next level.
Production timeline - oh so boring.
- Kickstarter goes live.
- Finalize packaging, manufacturing, adhesive and assembly contracts.
- MANUFACTURING BEGINS!
- Production samples sent for final approval.
- Air shipping for Kickstarter Campaign
- Ocean Freight delivery for other markets.
- Protect your phone's screen equally or better than a standard case.
- NOT hinder the intended design and use of the phone.
- Enhance the look and feel of the phone.
- Differentiate from the existing products saturating the market.
- Fit a price point that is typical of and competitive with traditional cases.
- Finalize partners and production schedule for the first 10,000 units.
- Receive final samples and packaging for approval.
- Finalize adhesive die cut with pull of tabs for easy of installation.
- Funding (Kickstarter).
- Marketing...Marketing...Marketing. Guerilla. Blogs. Ads as money can buy. Hard work. (Obviously this is not an issue for success on Kickstarter.)
- Fulfillment, distribution, and sales.
Requirements for Bumprz™ Success
The product MUST:
Work to be done
Bumprz™ started as a side project and is currently funded by our day jobs. As we have been working with manufacturing partners, we are planning a first run of a minimum 10,000 sets. Our initial costs for this run is approximately $22K for manufacturing and assembly.
Bumpers, bumper, bumpr
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk to the project is aligned manufacturing, packaging and assembly to get a product out the door in a timely manner. Cases and such for phones only have the lifetime of the particular make and model of the phone they are designed for.
We are set to address this as we have worked through most of the major hurdles. We have partnered with a great manufacture in Shenzhen, China. We already have our first manufactured prototypes in hand.
Distribution of a successful project is always a challenge. Once we have the part in hand we have a big job of getting it out to all of our great pledgers. This will be a labor of love, along with some high school helpers making some weekend fun money.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Bumprz do not cover the back of the phone. There are a few reasons for this and I will explain below.
Bumprz had 3 design objectives
1. Protect the screen.
2. Be as minimalistic as possible to maintain the original design.
3. Be aesthetically pleasing.
With those 3 objectives in mind we put serious consideration into wrapping around the back and determined that the best move was to not wrap to the back.
As for the back, this is the most durable part of the phone. The lens is virtually scratch proof. The back is metal. The glass is very hard to break. You are more likely to scratch the back from keys in your pocket than dust and dirt on the table.
There are also 2 points from a technical perspective. First Apple is very clear not to cover the back glass with metal for reception reasons, and bumprz takes reception seriously. We have run many tests to make sure your reception works. 2nd the adhesive is a pressure sensitive adhesive. This means the more time and pressure applied to the bumprz the stronger it gets. If we were to have the bumprz wrap around the back we then start applying "counter" pressure. When we press against the back, this loosens the adhesive on the front and vice versa. At this point your Bumpz could be at risk of falling off and failing.
I hope this answers the question and sheds light into our thought and design process. We think you'll agree that this is the right decision once you have it in your hand.
"I like to carry my phone in my pockets and am not convinced yet, that the adhesive will last longer (sic) than a few weeks. What is your experience? Could you make a comment how hard it is to tear of (and loose) one corner? Will there be plenty supplemen
Phil asked the question above and it is very valid. All I can say to this is if your Bumprz fall off I have failed miserably in the design of the product. I have had Bumprz and test adhesive on my phone in various states for the last 4 months. I carry my phone in my pocket. I have never had a bumpr fall off by accident. And my wife will attest that I am not careful with my phone. I abuse it.
This piece is very important to me. If they fall off I feel the product does not work.
As for including extra adhesive this is not the plan. You would only need extra adhesive if you intentionally take them off and need to reapply them. In this case we will help you out.
This is a commonly asked question. Bumprz can work with screen protectors or skins, but I do not recommend it. Bumprz are designed to not come off unless you need to take them off. Screen protectors and skins need replaced regularly. Since the Bumprz would go over the screen protector there is a problem when you need to change out the screen protector. You would need to take off your Bumprz to replace the screen protector. Now we have to put the Bumprz back on and they are not designed to be reapplied. We will try and help people solve this problem if it occurs, but they will need new adhesive.
I personally do not like screen protectors. Since screens only scratch with sands, dirt, rock and minerals I do find that Bumprz help here. If your phone is placed face down on a flat surface, Bumprz keeps your screen off of the surface and off of the dirt preventing it from a scratch when the phone slides.
I hope that helps in the understanding.
Bumprz are not designed to be taken off and reapplied. They are basically designed to be permanent and protect your screen for the life of the phone. With that said they can be removed if needed. We will get a video showing this as we get farther along, but it is not so hard. When we say this, the next question that people jump to is do Bumprz fall off accidentally? We have tried very hard to make it so Bumprz do not fall off accidentally. We have not had one fall of in day to day use with our current adhesive. We had one fall off on a throw test where the phone was thrown 15 feet to the other side of the room and struck the wall. The wall impact knocked off the bumpr. Of course the phone was fine.
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