We are a small Industrial design shop, with a passion for unique design.
Thomas and I met over a chance job posting on Craigslist. I was looking for an experienced industrial designer to do auto CAD work for another project I was working on at the time, and Thomas stood out for his attention to detail and his enthusiasm. After we met a few times, I shared some other product ideas I had, and after throwing different concepts around, we agreed to scrap the other project and work on something else as a team. After a tour of the industrial design facility he worked at, it was clear we had all the tools we needed to get this project off the ground.
Our objective was to create a high end dock that was different than anything on the market. To create something so exquisitely crafted that it was more of a mechanical sculpture than a run of the mill iPhone accessory.
Why another iPhone dock?-
Thomas and I asked ourselves one question when designing this product. What could we make if we didn't have to compromise to reduce costs? The result is the Infinity Dock. We realize this product isn't for everyone, and that is why we chose to limit production to ensure we maintain our attention to detail.
The Infinity Dock is not cheap, and that's because you get what you pay for. Our margins are slim, and that represents the true cost of machined goods manufactured in the USA. We could have just made a simple hockey puck dock like everybody else, but we chose to make something unique instead.
We need to find at least 250 people to help us reach our goal and make this product economically feasible to produce. Aluminum has to be extruded into the block sizes we need for the two main parts, and then machined separately with multiple operations on a 5 axis CNC machine. Parts are then air blasted and anodized, resulting in a quality finished look. All these costs add up and don't make sense for us to pay unless we can guarantee a minimum interest threshold. Below I'll highlight some of the features of the infinity dock, Followed by the steps we have taken so far, and we will finish up with more background on our production plan and Thomas and I’s goals for the company.
Designed, Machined, And Hand Assembled In California- Every step of the machining, anodizing, and assembly is done in California, less than 100 miles from our home base.
Micro Suction Technology- We are using Regabond x, a material developed in Japan that contains millions of microscopic suction cups. Individually, they are very weak, but together they provide a durable solution to keep the Infinity Dock from moving around or scratching your desk. Two die cut pads are included with every dock, and fit on the bottom like a glove.
Easy Cord Removal- Unlike every other smartphone dock, the Infinity dock makes it easy to remove your cord when you need it. Like when you are leaving work and need a cord at home.
- VC metals: aluminum supply- Ventura, CA VC metals is the largest aluminum wholesaler on the central coast. Their costs are usually greater, but they extrude various shapes to make the machining process easier and more efficient.
- Aero Machining- Buelton CA Is a high volume, ISO registered machine shop with multiple 5 axis mills and over 10,000 square feet of machine space. The bulk of the machining will take place there, while we will finish up the final precision operations In house at intellitek
- Elite Metal Finishing - Ventura, CA An aerospace company thats been in business for 25 years, all they do is anodize aluminum, the best in their field.
- Bangor cork, Philladelphia - High quality custom cork stoppers. If its made from cork, these guys can make it.
- Excel Corporation: Japan - Manufacturers of Regabond-S, a unique microsuction foam pad that will be die cut to fit perfectly on the bottom of the infinity dock
- Misc parts: Mccmaster Carr, worlds largest industrial parts supplier.
- We will assemble them locally at a job house in our industrial complex, before sending them off to a fulfillment center in San Bernadino to handle shipping & tracking.
- August -Initial design gets 3d printed, Huge design change and simplification.
- September - Second version 3d printed. Changes still needed
- September - October Complete sourcing research/ machine quotes and continue to tweak design.
- October - Graphic design for project
- November - Finalize design and begin prototype production
- December - Anodize prototypes and prepare for filming
- Continue to refine design, source parts, finalize deadlines with suppliers work with a marketing team to promote project and answer all questions.
March- Receive funds and immediately purchase raw materials, meaning the extruded aluminum that will help speed up the production process.
- April- Cut materials to size, begin ordering parts.
- May-Begin machining process End of May- order all parts , cork, cord, micro suction pads,
- June-parts are ready and waiting for final assembly.
- June-July Machining Still going on at this point.
- August - Anodizing process started. Finished anodized parts are inspected for inconsistencies by our job house. Finished first edition docks are laser engraved and serialized in the order they were produced
We are using the best materials and manufacturing processes we can afford, and our total cost for each dock is over 65 dollars. Without crowdfunding, we couldn't leverage a large amount of people to make this product possible or worthwhile to produce.
Zach: I have been designing/inventing stuff since I was a little kid, and I have been doing it for a living since I was 19. I have end to end experience with the product design process. From concept, to rough sketch, to sourcing, logistics, and fulfillment/retail. I am extremely excited to start working with Thomas on even more products. I believe the most exciting thing about crowdfunding is the ability to leverage a large group of people to create products that were too expensive or not economical to produce 10 years ago. Ultimately I believe that this will bring a new era in product creation that will produce higher quality products, and force people to think outside of the box during the design process!
Thomas: Hands on engineer, with a passion for problem solving and effective design. From the napkin sketch to the final assembly, I work hard and with pride to bring idea's into reality, while meeting every functional requirement and striving to construct highly dependable, quality, systems. I obtained a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering technology from Montana State University in 2012. While working at intellitek, I have worked with clients like Lockheed Martin, Flir, and Medtronic on highly technical parts to fit their specific applications. Extremely excited to be making my first product. Below is my linkedin Profile.
Risks and challenges
CNC machining is an extremely time consuming process, and you can crank out 500 units a day like you can with injection molding. If the project is more successful then we anticipate, it will take us longer to make all the docks. Although this is a problem we would like to have, we were extremely conservative in our estimated delivery date, so we think we should have it under control.
Sourcing Parts: This is always a pain, because usually people tell you one thing when you need a bid, and another thing when you are ready to order. Luckily most of our parts are off the shelf, and nothing is extremely complex. I have a lot of experience sourcing parts overseas, and with this project 95% is happening within 100 miles. I can only assume I will have an easier time dealing with suppliers.
Also the cork pads are not finalized. We are still deciding on the color and material for the back bumper. Bangor cork is a huge comapny that also supplies a wide variety of recycled rubber materials to use as our bumper, so we are confident they can deliver on whatever material we end up going with. We chose cork for aesthetic reasons, but ultimately we might end up using recycled rubber due to its temperature resistance.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, thanks to the adjustable cork pads, you can adjust the bumper depth to fit a wide variety of cases.
The micro suction pads never lose suction power, but they probably will get dirty. To clean them simply use a moist rag to wipe off the dust and debris. Make sure to let the pads dry after you clean them, as the pads wont work when they are wet.
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