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.
SPoE is unlike any printer you've ever seen. There are no feeders, trays, or messy cartridges to worry about. Instead, SPoE uses a patent pending retractable tread system to almost levitate across just about any surface. That's right, you can print on just about anything, all just as easy as changing a cartridge.
Beyond a prototype
The graphic you see is NOT an illustration! We cut up a few printers, burned through half a dozen 3d printers, and used more filament than we could count to get a working prototype. But that was just to get a printer that moved and sprayed ink. We then had to take what we learned and do it all over again with our retractable tread system to get SPoE to the point that we could do it right.
The magnified graphic above is a detailed shot of a print done on a t-shirt by our SPoE prototype. This t-shirt had also been washed close to ten times before this shot because what's the point of it all if it gets washed out after one rinse cycle?
Need Proof?We know that people are naturally skeptical, and rightfully so! With all of the editing possibilities and movie magic, it's hard to know what to believe. So we put together a straight shot showing SPoE in action on an untreated piece of wood. It's a little bit on the long side but it was all done in one take to show you SPoE doing it's thing, so please be patient and pardon the fact that it's not a fully edited production.
The cartridge is where the magic happens, and SPoE has plans for 3 cartridge versions to handle any surface you want to print on. Changing them out is a snap: you pinch the rings and snap a new cartridge into place. You can easily swap from one cartridge to another and go from printing on t-shirts to metal, all from the same printer.
No price gauging on ink! We can't understand why other companies need to charge such ridiculous markups for such a small amount of ink. That's why we're committed to keeping cartridge prices at $29.99. All of our cartridges will be high yield, allowing for up to 100 full-color t-shirt prints from a single cartridge.
The Tread System
This is how we roll! Well, we don't actually roll, it's closer to levitating the way that SPoE moves across a surface. Our patent pending retractable tread system took the bulk of our time in the development of SPoE. Omni-directional wheels had far too many problems, most notably being that they couldn't maintain a straight line or return to an exact 0.
But the treads were work, a lot of work. We went through literally hundreds of pounds of material from various manufacturers before developing our proprietary blend. We then had to add a reinforced mesh to prevent stretching and slipping along the gears in the middle of a print job. Once we had it dialed in we let out a sigh of relief and SPoE was alive!
SPoE was Built to GO!
We designed SPoE with a small footprint in mind, because how are you supposed to print on everything if it can't go anywhere? Considering that the average Direct To Garment printer is around $20k and about the size of a coffee table we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by SPoE's petite size.
Who is SPoE for?
We think SPoE is for everyone but we think some people may find it more useful than others, particularly:
Teachers and classrooms
We could seriously go on forever, but we believe SPoE could benefit so many more people than we have time to mention.
Bring SPoE to Life!
We've made it this far, now we need your help to bring SPoE to life! We're offering some amazing discounts for early backers so don't let someone swoop in and take advantage of your savings, make your pledge today.
October 2017 – Launch Kickstarter Campaign.
February 2018 – Finalize Production Model.
May 2018 – Complete all software programming.
July – 2018 – Finish final sourcing, hiring, and setup for center in Chattanooga.
August/September 2018 – Packaging and begin shipping all SPoEs.
October 2018 – Take a breath, then open up all of the fan mail from people who love SPoE!
Our plans also include being a Veteran Priority Employer. This means that we will go out of our way to hire the best and brightest people who have served in our Armed Forces. This is not to be confused as a marketing gimmick, this is our way of employing some of the best employees our country has to offer.
Matt C. - Support Matt has been integral from the initial idea of SPoE, he has quickly stepped up to learn anything to make SPoE a reality.
Joey Zeleny - Inventor Joey is the creator of SPoE, the man with the print expertise and determination to see it through. He is committed to delivering SPoE to the backers and the rest of the world!
Travis S. - Engineer Travis brings his CAD skills to the table and has helped polish the SPoE from shell to prototype.
Not pictured, but equally as important;
David M. - Logistics David's continued support both financially and logistically has helped bring SPoE closer to becoming a reality.
Stefani M. - Finance Stefani's bookkeeping skills have helped keep team SPoE efficient.
Amy Z. - Finance Amy assists in the world of finance but she has also shown her skills in helping mix the proprietary blend that makes up SPoE's tread system. Her attention to detail has also caught a typo or two from time to time.
Todd B. - Web & Media Todd was glad to lend his support from behind the camera, and sometimes in front of it. Initially opening his office for filming he quickly became an invaluable addition to the SPoE team.
Risks and challenges
With SPoE, we refused to launch our Kickstarter campaign until we had addressed, and overcame, hundreds of challenges over the last three years. However, as with anyone seeking to bring a new technology to the market, there are several risks and challenges ahead.
Currently, the majority of hardware, power, gears, and even the composition of the treads are all proprietary to SPoE. There are two components, the print controller board, and the inkjet heads, that were utilized from another printer.
As we are using the other manufacturer's controller board and inkjet heads, we had to also use their software. We attempted to utilize open source software, but the resolution and rotary encoder both were unreliable, and we ended up using the printing software for the internal components.
We’ve come as far as we can with what we have had. We went through half a dozen 3D printers, countless rolls, brands, and combinations of filaments, and literal gallons of inks to find the right quality. We spent nearly a year just to perfect the tread system.
It has taken over two decades of experience and 3 years of nonstop work just to get SPoE to a production-ready prototype. As we move forward, we do not want to rush to bring a sub-par product to the market, but we recognize that our backers do not want to wait several years for something they back out of good faith.
That said, prior to launching our campaign, we have lined up and met with over a dozen engineers, software programmers, injection molding manufacturers, and fulfillment firms. We have narrowed it down to a handful of potential programmers, supply chain specialists, and sources that have provided us with samples that we believe will help us bring SPoE to full production and distribution. Joseph Zeleny has already relinquished a promising future at Apple to ensure the ability to personally oversee every last component of SPoE is brought to the masses in a timely manner.
As a show of how grateful we are for your support, we will add your name to our “Backers Thank You” page of our website where you can show off to the world how you were an instrumental part of making SPoE a reality. You'll also have the inside track as we progress over the next months to make SPoE a household name.
Your support is awesome. We only hope our thank you will be just as awesome. On top of the immortality of being on the thank you page, we will also be sending you a thank you gift. We already know what it is and honestly, it’s pretty sweet. The only reason we aren’t telling is because we also enjoy torturing people with surprises. We can give you a hint though. We won’t, but we could.
Wow, thank you so much. You get a SPoE with everything to get you rolling (literally). The full color cartridge, the long power cable for larger jobs, and a physical thank you will also be included by someone on our team.
You Rock, and soon, you will rock in style. Thank you for helping strengthen making our dream a reality. You will receive a SPoE, a full color dye pigment ink cartridge, power cable, startup manual and a special piece of swag to proudly display.
A pond didn't stop you from supporting us and it won't stop us from thanking you either. You will receive a SPoE, a full color dye pigment ink cartridge, power cable, startup manual and a special piece of swag to proudly display.
For those truly dedicated to making SPoE happen, we are going to give you a SPoE we are reserving only as special gifts. You will be able to do everything that everyone else is doing, only your SPoE shell will be something to behold. You will also get a personally signed thank you gift from the SPoE team that will be unique for you.
Whether you are going to use SPoE to start your own business, want to give this SPoE to your school, organization, or favorite NonProfit; this huge thank you includes 5 SPoEs, 10 Cartridges, a separate box of swag filled with personalized goodies and blank items for you to print on, and we will name our next hamster after you. So whether you are keeping one for yourself and giving the rest to friends and family, giving them all to an organization close to your heart, or are just planning on having them battle it out in a slower but more colorful version of battle bots; we can’t think of how we could thank you more.