Product | Open Gigabot® Kickstarter
Open Gigabot® is an open source, small-batch production 3D printer by re:3D and funded by the Kickstarter Community. Throughout the design process backers were engaged, leading to the creation of the largest, most personal, maker-accessible, and inherently useful human-scale 3D printer on (or off) the planet.
Project & Product Lead
- New Product Development
- Artistic Renderings & Photography
- Branding, Copywriting
- Kickstarter Campaign Manager
- Management of Open Source Documentation
- Weekly Meetings & Quarterly Reviews
- Community Management
What began as a simple prototype and 10 page PDF turned into a fully-realized Kickstarter to bring a product to market.
OpenGB is a high-end 3D printer specifically designed for super-users in mind. In order to make the product without disrupting core production, internal R&D processes were built and OpenGB was offered as a limited run unit. Backer feedback over the course of a year kept our team priorities straight — first, improve user experience; second, bolster high-quality 3D printing output; and third, distribute Open Source resources to empower super-users autonomously.
Still as large, clean and affordable as Gigabot, OpenGB enhances user experience and offers a host of new features.
As a huge, fully enclosed machine which can now fit through your door, OpenGB utilizes linear rails, front-homing print heads, dual extrusion, out-of-filament detection, a heated bed, bottom-loading filament, and a touchscreen interface with it's own custom software, OpenGB App.
To better understand our objectives for running a Kickstarter, we set out to:
- Design how we approach R&D as a boot-strapped hardware startup
- Develop in-house knowledge to challenge ourselves in areas of discomfort
- Eliminate roadblocks in areas where we are relying on external suppliers
- Increase use of as many 3D printed components in assemblies
With a community-first approach, we took lessons learned from our customers and translate them into a design proposal for a new take on product development.
"It solves a problem in that a lot of 3D printers are just not functional because they're too small."
Inside Open Gigabot®
To keep the project scope focused, OpenGB was outlined with 8 key tenants including:
Online Platforms & Documentation
Product communities have potential to be a company's biggest asset. Not only is community important when you're small, it is the lifeblood of our innovation economy.
57 Project Backers, 10 Units Sold, $50,239 funded
Hosting simple to advanced printing tips, 3D printed parts files, assembly information, and instructions.
Host to the OpenGB backend and front-end framework, written in Python and Vue.js. Features for consideration in future development are tagged as GitHub issues for the community or team to build on at any time.
Posting scheduled meeting times, sending out design surveys, typed meeting notes, and inviting discussion around large format 3D printing.
An inclusive, open forum monthly call to facilitate discussion among super-user customers, enthusiasts, and our production team. These calls were used to share project updates and evaluate our priorities based on their needs.
Videos deconstructing CAD sub-assemblies, feed from recorded On-Air hangouts, and other project goodies from the team.
Once Backers receive their Open Gigabot, we encourage them to join the community forum to share their hacks and feedback. By using Zendesk's support forum, we are able to streamline support ticketing and track issues.
From Concept to Production
When designing the hardware for OpenGB, we considered user experience not only in ease of use, but also in repairability, and open modification for the DIY'ers. From the very beginning, we shared rough mockups and artistic renderings with our customers in order to convey the decisions we were making. What resulted from that simple approach led to the development of a clean and understated aesthetic.
3D Printing Applied to Open Hardware
Alpha 3D Prints & Torture Tests
Electronics Testing Evaluation & Set-Up
Product / Market Fit
OpenGB was created for artists, teachers, DIY 'makers', design professionals and engineers in mind. As a beta, small-batch product, OpenGB offers entire functionality, hack-ability, added features (not originally scoped in the Kickstarter), and is beautifully packaged for it's owners.
The production shipment of Open Gigabot ended up being a steal. With it's nominal cost on Kickstarter, verified reliability, and host of new features, the OpenGB product produced broad appeal. Compared to other commercial or industrial 3D printers, OpenGB was offered for $3,300 and $4,300 as opposed to $40k, $200, and in some cases, $1M.
👏🏼 © Katy Jeremko