Going from computer aided design to production would not of been possible without the use of extensive prototyping, 3D Printing was used to evaluate design of the base prior to going through with tooling up CNC routing or plastic injection molding machines for final production. A CNC laser cutter was used to rapidly prototype the upper support structure, having access to such tools meant that many iterations of of designs could be evaluated in a very short time frame.
Electronics prototyping started off on breadboard then quickly, evolved into a home made circuit board utilising the well documented art of photo transfer and chemical etching. As the quality was not representative of the final form, PCB prototypes were subsequently outsourced to a specialist company ITEAD Studio this resulted in high quality circuit boards within the space of a week from time of order at a very reasonable cost.
Prototype Tea Dunkers
Evaluation, Prototyping to Production:
The Tea Dunker Machine is currently in the final phase of prototyping. We have functional models and are looking forward to user group testing (primary and secondary school students). The plan in the coming weeks is to observe a test group of students as thy interact with the product and seek their feedback on fit, feel and function. Our plan is to expose the students to the model and observe how they assembly it. The second stage will be how do we interact with them to program it!
Moving forward we will be looking at a small production run, we have selected a quantity of 300 units as it is a trade off between getting the unit price down and being able to wear the cost of production with our limited budget.