About this project
VISIT SMASH-CUP.COM TO LEARN WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO SINCE COMPLETING OUR CAMPAIGN.
Smash Cup is an ultra-portable, sealed travel cup you keep with you - great for hot drinks (like coffee and tea) and cold ones. When you're not drinking, it collapses into a compact, liquid-tight disk, saving you space in your backpack, handbag, briefcase or jacket pocket. Since it's reusable, it eliminates the waste of disposable coffee cups - At work, coffee drinkers throw away about 500 cups EVERY YEAR. And you'll be able to take part in bring-your-own-mug discounts at coffee shops. It's a no-brainer to choose a green product when it makes your life easier and saves you money.
A few years ago, I took a trip off the corporate track and started designing products. Through a lot of sweat and work with mentors, I learned 3D CAD modeling, protoyping, manufacturing sourcing, IP drafting, and much more -- all the ins and outs of building a great product. I have an extremely supportive network of friends and family who always bring up new problems to solve. I was actually at a coffee shop with a couple of them when one of these discussions started up. We began talking about the paper cups we were holding. We go through tons of these cups, and don't like the negative impact we're having on the planet. However, big travel mugs with handles are so cumbersome in a city setting. We started to think about what a reusable cup would look like if it were made for someone like us - a person who lives and works on the go ... with no car for storing a travel mug ... who carries everything they need for the day on their shoulder. Our discussion at the coffee shop became one of those very quick, excited, collaborative brainstorming sessions. A cup that changes shape to become very small and is completely sealable would totally help us make the 'right' decision to ditch disposable cups. As an added plus, it would allow us to take advantage of coffee shops' bring-your-own-mug discounts. A few days later, one of the guys sent me a simple 2D drawing of Smash Cup. My juices started flowing. I looked around for other products like it and found none. I started modeling early concepts. Those friends who helped come up with the idea felt it was worth putting some money in (we're now financial partners on the project) and we were off and running!
We started off with a few requirements. The cup needed to:
- Collapse and expand in one easy motion
- Seal any liquid inside
- Be comfortable to hold in your hand without a handle
- Be easy to clean
- Use high quality food grade materials and require no adhesives or other chemicals during assembly
We vetted multiple design concepts before prototyping.
Then, we developed detailed specifications for the most promising concepts and ordered our first prototypes. From these first prototypes, we learned that the steep slope of the cup's "V" shape (compared to other collapsing silicone products), made it pretty difficult for people to smash in a repeatable, user-friendly way. We needed to redesign our folding pattern.
We were introduced to Dean, a mechanical engineer at TomorrowLab, who had experience designing a bunch of collapsing silicone products. He recommended a new fold design. After lots of mockups, we were comfortable prototyping again.
Success! We vetted manufacturers, finally landing on RSP, a family-owned business based in Wisconsin with production facilities overseas. With a small investment, we developed compression and injection molding tools for mass production. The samples from the tools worked even better than the prototypes. We tweaked the tools a couple more times to improve sealing. The samples you see in the photos and video are from these modified tools.
Smash Cup is finally ready for production, and we're going to use this campaign to prove there is demand for our product and fund our first mass production order.
- Kickstarter campaign (4 weeks, July through early August)
- First production run and sample approval (6 weeks, August through mid-September)
- Ship to New York (3 weeks, mid-September through early October)
- Ship to our backers! (2 weeks in mid-late October)
We've worked for over two years to develop Smash Cup, iterating through various prototypes and overcoming manufacturing obstacles. Our production is ready to go - We're asking for your support to fund our first large-batch run and prove Smash Cup is a product people want. Be the first kid on the block to own a Smash Cup and help us make our dream a reality!
How to expand Smash Cup when it's collapsed (it's easy!)
Risks and challenges
We already know our molds create a high-quality final product (what you see in our video and photos). After production, our manufacturer will perform rigorous quality tests and send samples from the run. When the quality is approved, the product will be shipped to the US using a freight forwarder who we have already identified. The freight forwarder will ensure the shipment clears US Customs and arrives safely in New York. Then, for this first batch, we will package each Smash Cup ourselves for shipping to our Kickstarter backers!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, at the end of our campaign we will send out a survey for you to choose from a:
- Blue, Green, Orange, Red, Pink, Black or White silicone cup
- Black or White plastic lid
Your Smash Cup holds 12 fluid ounces. It weights 4.5 ounces without a beverage inside. Smash Cup is 5" tall when expanded and 1.75" tall when collapsed into a disk. The diameter of the base is 2.1 inches, and the diameter of the collar and lid is 3.5 inches, which approximates the gripping size of your hand.
The following is a sticky analogy, but it takes about as much strength as it does to crush an egg on a table (if the egg is standing tall/vertically).
We would not advise anyone to put a Smash Cup in their bag while it's filled with coffee or tea. While the liquid in all likelihood would be secure, there is a chance something inadvertent could occur, and we wouldn't want your Smash Cup to be to blame for a drenched bag. For example, if the stopper were to get snagged on a backpack zipper, it could dislodge, and liquid would spill out of the spout. The ideal use of Smash Cup's leak-proof feature is in its collapsed configuration. When your Smash Cup is mostly clear of liquid (some moisture and drops are fine), you'd collapse it down into a disk and throw it in your bag.
Heat transfer through the silicone cup is similar to the heat transfer you feel through a disposable paper coffee cup (without a sleeve). We purposefully designed the plastic collar and lid so you can hold Smash Cup comfortably, with no heat transfer to your hand, when your coffee or tea is at its hottest.
Of course! We use safe, certified food grade BPA and phthalate free materials.
Thanks to the money raised through this Kickstarter campaign, we will be able to upgrade our manufacturing tools and provide a completely microwave safe product!
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- (30 days)