Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 18, 2013.

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3D printed interchangeable Pebble watch covers to give it a fresh, new look.

A couple of weeks ago I received my Pebble Watch in the mail. While waiting for the SDK to be released, I realized that if I couldn't improve the software, I should improve the hardware. Thus the Pebble Cover was born.

The Pebble Cover is a 3D printed PLA plastic protective cover for your Pebble Watch. Currently, it's the only hard cover available. The Pebble Cover is interchangeable, reusable, and customizable.  The Pebble Cover is available in five designs and 16 colors.

Thank you for checking out our project! If you missed backing the project, you can get your Pebble Cover at PebbleCovers.com. Thanks again to all the backers, these would never have been possible without your support. - Drew

Red Bevel Design with matching Watch Band Loop
Red Bevel Design with matching Watch Band Loop
Max Design in Grey with matching Watch Band Loop
Max Design in Grey with matching Watch Band Loop
Bevel Design in Kickstarter Green with matching Watch Band Loop
Bevel Design in Kickstarter Green with matching Watch Band Loop

I've created a few designs using 3D CAD software along with the 3D files released by Pebble (and a borrowed 3D printer).  With money from this project, I'll be able to buy a 3D printer and raw materials, complete the design and testing of different designs, and produce Pebble Covers in multiple designs and colors (including a personalized version with the backers initials).

CAD Renderings of Bevel Prototype (with cutaway view)
CAD Renderings of Bevel Prototype (with cutaway view)

Why 3D Printing?

3D printing allows for low-cost manufacturing that I can do myself. It also allows for rapid customization and gives me an opportunity to hand test all covers.

The PLA plastic will also not scratch the Pebble's screen while putting the cover on or taking it off.

3D printing gives each piece a unique look and leaves a rough grain-like finish (similar to fine grain leather).  The nerd in me prefers the finish from the 3D printer, which highlights the use of this new technology.

Multiple Designs

The Pebble Cover comes in five designs and I'm hoping to add one or two more. I'm still working to improve the quality, consistency, and subtle design elements.

5 Designs
5 Designs

The Bevel Design appeared in the pictures above in Red, Natural (Clear), and Kickstarter Green colors.  Here are more pictures of the designs ...

Bevel Design (in Black)

Bevel Design (in Black) - prototype design using ABS (and not PLA)
Bevel Design (in Black) - prototype design using ABS (and not PLA)

Square Design (in Red)

Red Square
Red Square

Oval Design (in Red)

Red Oval Design
Red Oval Design
Red Oval Design
Red Oval Design

Rounded Design (in Red)

I tried to make this more like the Pebble with straight sides and a rounded top and bottom.

Rounded Design with top and bottom rounded edges
Rounded Design with top and bottom rounded edges
Rounded Design with top and bottom rounded edges
Rounded Design with top and bottom rounded edges

Max Design (in Grey)

The latest design includes a full cover design to protect all corners of the Pebble. This is excellent for activities such as yard work, boating, camping, cycling, working out, and other activities where your Pebble may get knocked around.

Grey Max Design
Grey Max Design
Grey Max Design (without cutout for charging cable for maximum coverage)
Grey Max Design (without cutout for charging cable for maximum coverage)

Due to the Max Design shape, the extensions that cover the "arms" of the Pebble print with a rough texture prone to more imperfections.  This is purely cosmetic and is due to the nature of the overhangs while printing.

The Max Design extends beyond each Pebble 'arm' by 2.25mm but only rises above the center of the watch face by 0.5mm.

Max Design
Max Design

Charging Cable

All designs except the Max design allow charging without removing the cover.

Cover with charging cable attached
Cover with charging cable attached
Side view of cover with charging cable attached
Side view of cover with charging cable attached
Side view of cover with cutout for charging cable
Side view of cover with cutout for charging cable

All the designs fit over standard stickers, wraps, and screen protectors.

Personalization

One advantage of 3D printing is that it allows for rapid personalization. For backers who pledge for the personalized rewards, I can engrave up to three initials in the corner or bottom of the designs.

Personalized Engraving Prototype
Personalized Engraving Prototype

Many Colors + Glow-In-The-Dark

The Pebble Watch Covers come in 12 Standard Colors and 4 Premium Colors.

Standard colors include: Black, Grey, Blue, Translucent Blue, Light Blue, Kickstarter/Lime Green, Translucent Green, Natural, Red, Orange, Yellow, and White.

Premium colors include: Glow in the Dark, Silver, Gold, and Neon Yellow.

Color Options (Not shown: Orange, White, Yellow)
Color Options (Not shown: Orange, White, Yellow)

Click on the chart below for a full size version.

Color Options (shown with Bevel Design)
Color Options (shown with Bevel Design)

Update: Please read Update #4 for full size pictures of the Bevel Design with 13 of the colors and of the new Max Design

Pebble cover and band loop printed with sample of Natural (Clear):

Natural (clear) Bevel Design
Natural (clear) Bevel Design
Natural (clear) Oval Design
Natural (clear) Oval Design

3D Printed Watch Band Loop

I've also designed a replacement for the standard black rubber watch band loop for any backers that would like to support my project but do not need or want the cover.  The loop adds a nice accent color to the band and will fit any watch band that is 22mm wide and about 2.5mm thick.  The band loop has a cutout in the back that makes it easy to install and remove without removing the band from the watch body.

Watch Band Loops
Watch Band Loops

Here are some pictures:

Red Watch Band Loop
Red Watch Band Loop
Rear view of Watch Band Loop with slot for easy installation and removal
Rear view of Watch Band Loop with slot for easy installation and removal

Rewards

Backers can choose rewards that include various combinations of single or multiple covers, one or more colors, and standard or personalized designs.  These include:

  • One watch band loop - any color
  • One cover - any design, any standard color
  • One cover - any design, any color including glow-in-the-dark and premium colors
  • 3 or 5 covers - any combination of designs and colors
  • 5 personalized covers - one personalized design in 5 colors
  • 5 personalized covers - any combination of designs and colors

After the project is funded, I will send out a survey requesting the design, color, and personalization information from each backer.

Stretch Goals

After the project is done I will have gained a 3D printer to facilitate future engineering projects. I will use extra funding to enhance existing and future rewards. Some items I would like to improve for my backers include:

  • More colors
    (Update: now available in 16 colors vs. the originally planned 5!)
  • More designs
    (Update: now available in 5 designs including a 'max' design for full cover protection vs. the originally planned 3!)
  • Watch strap loops for all backers
    (Update: every cover includes a matching watch band loop with slot for easy installation and swapping!)

Production Plan

Update: Please read Update #2 regarding new printer and plans.

Over the next month, I will continue experimenting and improving my designs.  I've been adjusting and testing various designs over the past few weeks and suspect I'll continue to make improvements.  The designs in the video and the pictures above have already gone through numerous iterations.

My Basement and Dining Room (aka my design, testing, and printing lab!)

My basement 'cave' with early design and prototyping setup
My basement 'cave' with early design and prototyping setup
Our dining room table with my new Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer
Our dining room table with my new Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer
Table of test designs, prints, and notes ...
Table of test designs, prints, and notes ...

After successful funding, I'll contact each backer to finalize their order for designs, colors, and personalization.

I anticipate printing will take 8-12 weeks.

Update: Please read the Updates for the latest status and printing schedule.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

As of now I have very limited access to 3D printers and I'm currently testing with a borrowed printer. The money raised on Kickstarter will cover the purchase of my own printer, rolls of plastic filament, packaging and shipping. I have not accounted for my own experimentation, development, and production time. (see Update #3 for new printer and latest prints)

The possible problems that I foresee all pertain to manufacturing. Consumer printers as of now aren't very consistent and will breakdown on average every 50 hours. Luckily, I have hundreds of hours of printing experience and I'm well versed in troubleshooting and fixing problems. My experience will enable me to deal with any problems I face. I project the printing will require about 175 hours of printing time for the reward target levels.

Printing, testing, and refining each cover in large quantities will also be rather time consuming. This will be difficult for me to do while in high school, but many of my Advanced Placement classes end early, and thus my schedule will clear up a lot. I should be able to ship most of the covers by the end of August and all the covers by the end of September.

If I get too many orders to handle myself, I plan to set up a 3D printer farm and hire high school students from my robotics team with the extra funding. This will ensure all covers are shipped on time. It's also a great opportunity to give fellow aspiring engineers work experience.

The covers also may break during shipping. If so, I'm prepared to reprint any damaged covers. I am exploring the safest way to ship them that fits my pricing model. I want to minimize the damages as much as possible so my backers can get their covers when they should.

FAQ

  • Yes, black is considered a standard color.

    Last updated:
  • It will fit over any standard sticker, wrap, or screen protector.

    I've tested this on Pebbles with Slick Wrap stickers and screen protectors, which I believe are standard thicknesses

    Last updated:
  • I've decided to make black one of the colors offered and to conduct a survey for the remaining colors.

    Last updated:
  • UPDATE: Our stretch goal of $7,500 was reached! All covers will now come with a watch band!

    Last updated:
  • The cover is only about 1mm thick all the way around. I've added a CAD rendering cutaway view that shows the cover from two angles and the thickness of the cover.

    Last updated:
  • 3D printing leaves a unique grain-like finish with small imperfections along edges and corners. There won't be any big bumps or major imperfections. However, the covers will not be as smooth or consistent as a plastic piece produced with common injection molding. 3D printing is a layered process and you'll also be able to see the layers or lines produced while the plastic is extruded. You can see some of these lines and small imperfections in the pictures.

    Last updated:
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