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.
This project idea was conceived as result of a comment that was made during a class at Normandale Community College by a Professor who stated, “Whomever can develop a solution for a better whiteboard marker need not worry about passing my class.” – B. Smith.
Benjamin J. Lindquist, Founder and CEO of the startup Lindquist Industries happened to be in that class and Project “EnduraMark” was born.
Inspired by the statement, Lindquist immediately began a designing a potential solution, but due to lack of funding at the time, the design was left on the shelf. Lindquist soon thereafter forgot about it, but over the course of his academic and work career continually noticed the necessity of whiteboard markers in day-to-day activities. In addition to their nature of necessity, he continued to watch the struggle that arose due to the short sighted design that was widely used in the settings in which he was exposed to the tool and the frustration that himself and others experienced due to their lack of longevity.
In November of 2016, Twin Cities Engineering offered entrepreneurial auditions to its current student’s in pursuit of sponsoring one for an engineering design project during the Spring of 2017. One of those students was Lindquist. He pitched the idea that the whiteboard marker needed to be improved to the faculty and student body. The hope was that the audience would be receptive to the project through common experience/struggle with whiteboard marker use and be driven to participate in the solution. Overall, the pitch was well received and allowed to move forward. This resulted in the formation of an engineering design team, which would become Team ReMarkerable.
A Problem Well Stated Is A Problem Half Solved
The driving forces behind the project were primarily economic, convenience, and environmental in nature. Currently, state of the art, dry-erase markers are inexpensive to purchase, up front. The issue is the lack of longevity, leading to the need for having new markers available when they fail, which frustratingly happens at the most unfortunate times. When the ink runs out, the marker can’t write anymore and can only be thrown away. If it is left uncapped, it dries out and can’t write anymore. The nib gets worn out with use and before long it can’t write anymore. The worst part is that you can’t tell if the marker can still write or not without trying to write something down and not getting a clear line. For regular users, the cost of replacing markers is continuously accruing.
In addition, users tend to throw the markers in the trash when they no longer work. This is because the ink filled nib and felt ink reservoir (FIR) are not recyclable due to solvent residue left over by the ink. These parts are difficult to separate from the body of the marker without special tools. This means that the user will throw it away when it stops writing. This is wasteful because most of the marker is still useful. The marker is manufactured, assembled, packaged, transported, and utilized for a few days before it arrives at its final resting place, the landfill. All of the processes are costly in terms of money, electricity, C02 emissions, landfill accumulation, and human effort.
Over 1.1 million whiteboard markers are thrown away each day in the U.S. alone!
The problem is that a frequently used and essential tool is discarded without the thought to refurbish and reuse. There is no current closed loop process or design to avoid this.
To date, nobody else has made a good enough solution.
Our solution is The EnduraMark
The EnduraMark is a whiteboard marker designed to address each problem with currently available products.
The EnduraMark is:
- Made of recyclable materials and is recyclable
- Designed to prevent dry out
- Transparent to show how much ink is left
- Four times longer-lasting when measured against similar products
Over 1,000 EnduraMark markers have been produced and distributed to date. We have conducted thorough market research and developed a series of tests to compare our prototype to competitor products. Our marker has consistently come out on top. Everyone we tell about our product, as well as everyone who has tested it, is excited about it and wants more. They agree that it’s better than the competition.
At the current time, we need funding to get our product manufactured for our inaugural 100,000 Marker Pilot Run.
Help us reduce unnecessary waste by providing a solution with an environmentally friendly, optimized design.
Risks and challenges
Large production runs are inherently risky.
Our team will actively mitigate these non-ideal scenarios with the following strategy:
1. Manufacturing Challenges
We tested prototypes from several manufacturers and have identified a list suppliers that will provide the highest quality products. We have immense pride in our design and only want to work with those that maintain that same mindset.
2. Freight/Shipping Challenges
We have extensively researched the costs and requirements to ship our product, both from our manufacturer's to us, and then from us to you.
Our primary challenge is expanding our grass roots operation into a commercial scale product launch. However, we have come too far in this endeavor to look back now. We want the public to have access to a marker that will not dry out before their idea gets out, because no great idea should be lost due to sub par product design.
We are entrepreneurial minded engineers with experience in a wide array of relevant disciplines. We have been researching and developing our product for over two years, which gives us a depth of knowledge on par with the current major manufacturers. If unforeseen issues come up in production, we will resolve them.
Please let us know what other questions you have, and we will be happy to address them as best we can.
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