About this project
Thanks, everyone, for a successful Kickstarter project! If you've missed the deadline, it's not too late. Go to our website and you can pre-order the EcoTruck for September delivery!
This truck will start a revolution!
- A super premium quality toy intended to last for generations. We designed this toy to have the look and feel of classic wooden toys that go back to an earlier era, when handmade toys were affordable and made locally.
- This toy will sell at comparable prices to toys currently on the market. With our innovative materials and manufacturing process, and no overseas shipping costs, we can make a higher quality toy and pass the savings on to you.
- At least 30% of the plastic will be replaced with organic fibers. We will use a new type of material that is a hybrid between wood and plastic. While it will have the look and feel of wood, it will also be injection moldable like plastics.
- Completely paint free - no surface coatings to flake off. Every parent knows that kids put things in their mouth. You will never have to worry about lead paint or other chemicals flaking off of the toy. The color is molded in.
- This toy is tough! Our toys are made with a 300% heavier gauge material than other comparable toys. It's more durable, and we think it's the only way to go.
- The toy industry thinks you don't care where or how your kid's toys are made. WE THINK YOU DO.
And thanks to all who helped spread the word….
NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL BACKERS: Because this toy is subject to stringent testing requirements, we have only budgeted for testing to US standards. Testing to worldwide standards would not be cost effective, so we can't ship this outside the US. Sorry!
Everything, from molds, to the injection molding , packaging and raw materials, is made in the USA.
How are we going to do this? With a new class of composites, which incorporate organic materials and plastic. We've spent the last two years researching and developing this brand new, sustainable way to make toys.
This is a team effort. We are proud to work with some of the best suppliers and manufacturers in the United States, each one an expert in their field. We can closely monitor our factory for quality to ensure that only the safest toys are delivered to your child's toy box.
Our toys are designed for preschoolers, but they aren't "baby toys". On average between 3 and 5 parts are needed to make a complete toy. The parts for the trucks are a standardized size, so that the cabs and bodies from different designs can be exchanged and still fit. When we designed the vehicles, we looked at real-life vehicles and depicted some of the most common features that they had. In general, we designed the vehicles so that they look similar to many real-life vehicles. Our designs are simple and direct, something a woodworker could make, given the time.
Testing, testing and more testing! There are questions to be resolved, including what material combinations will work best with the intended colors and still maintain the physical properties needed. Normally, this information is well known, but because we are breaking new ground, we are the ones who have to do the hard work. Once we learn the technical parameters of the organic fillers, we will be able to apply that knowledge to our toys.
That's why we are here. The testing of materials requires funding and feedback. We want to make a short run of these toys, get them out to you, and get your reviews of what you think. It's not often that you get to be part of something brand new, but for the toy industry, it really is like starting all over. Bringing production back to the US, making safety and sustainability key elements of design, and sourcing as much as possible from your own community is a radical idea right now. Let's make it business as usual!
This all got started back in 2008, when all the toys coming from China seemed to be tainted with lead paint. We started talking about what we could do differently, and it took on a life of it's own.
We are two sets of fathers and sons. We are a well rounded team. Luke designs the toys, using computer aided design software. His designs are simple, yet realistic, aimed at the child just outgrowing simple block style toys, but not ready for complex building toys. Mitch designs the packaging, logos and graphics, with an emphasis on sustainable packaging to complement the toys. Evan takes care of marketing and social media, building awareness of our goals. Using his business background, he also helps plan strategies to keep us moving forward. Jim has become an expert at the myriad details involved in the injection molding and plastic composites field. His pioneering work on this project earned him an invitation to deliver the keynote speech at an industry conference devoted to new composite materials and their applications.
TIMELINE FOR PROJECT COMPLETION
July 2012 to April 2014 - Research on materials and processes of injection molding wood plastic composites, preliminary testing of available materials, concept and design of toy truck line, 3D printing of mockups, production sourcing and cost analysis, design validation for safety
May 2014 to June 2014- Kickstarter fundraising
May 2014- July 2014- Injection mold tooling, specify and order composite materials and colorant, packaging
August 2014- Injection molding of parts, finishing, assembly and testing
August 2014 to September 2014- Packaging of finished toys, shipping and delivery of all rewards
Risks and challenges
As with any project that relies on outsourced parts, we are at the mercy of the suppliers we have chosen. It’s possible that one or several of our suppliers may not deliver on time. One delay can lead to delays all along the supply chain.
For that reason, we have chosen to work only with well established suppliers here in the US who have many years of industry experience. It is possible that we could have found less expensive contractors, but there is a much greater risk of delay and unacceptable quality.
The most important factor is the tooling, which takes about 8 weeks to complete. We have contracts with our tooling supplier committing them to our schedule, and they have an excellent reputation and client list to back it up. We are using steel tooling, which has a higher initial cost, but a better useful life and will be less likely to be damaged by the organic fibers flowing through it.
Our injection molding supplier has 40 years experience, and is well recognized in the molding industry. They have also committed to our time schedule.
Once we have funding available, during the tooling phase we can order the materials and colors, a process that only takes a few weeks. Part of the reason for the Kickstarter campaign is that it will allow us to test several materials and determine which one works best. It’s possible that none of them will live up to their specifications, and we will have to use less sustainable materials, or a lower fiber loading than we would like. For this reason, we are using a large, well-funded source for our initial materials. This company has already done the R&D required to bring this product onto the market, and should meet our requirements. In the future we hope to use materials from some very promising startup companies, but not for this initial trial, as the risk is too great.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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