Production is go!!!
Well, I have to say, we are quite blown away by the response the bowls and plates have received! We are currently at just under $430k in pledges with 1659 backers, make that 1660, as I write this. I am very pleased to say that after two and a half years of development we have now started production. This is thanks to all you fine folk and the great response we have received. We will be taking photos and videos in the future showing you the production processes used to create the Magware range.
I want to give a bit of background into some of the trials and tribulations we have experienced during the design process over the last 2.5 years for Magware bowls and plates. And yes, I realize it sounds crazy that we have been working on this product for 2.5 years, but sometimes there are just niggly problems that it takes a lot of back and forth and scratching one's head to solve.
For those who are interested, and I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for some of you design geeks out there, that like to get into the weeds, please read on.
Above - Me measuring tolerance differences between samples.
So, the first big hurdle we faced is that as soon as a pressed metal bowl or plate isn't completely round your life becomes a lot more difficult. Just look at all the metal bowls and plates currently out there, well they all took the easy, well trodden route with the trusty circle. This isn't our style and it wouldn't have leant itself as a good solution to the magnetic connections and over-all design. The problem you run into with a non-circular designs is the edge finishing. Usually metal plates, bowls, mugs, kitchen implements and what have you, all have rolled edges. Because we had to keep the edge profile very slim and wanted to have tabs on the side we had to look at folding the edges instead. The first few times we tried the results weren't great at all, but after about ten sample runs our manufacturer soon learnt a few tricks and soon we were able to get a very clean edge and keep the design and form we wanted. You can see how tidy the edge now is in the image below.
The next problem we ran into, actually turned into the biggest problem we faced during the whole design process. After a lot of concept development, I decided the best way to connect the bowls and plates together was to have two magnetic connectors (the same as the cutlery) on tabs either side of the bowls and plates. One of the main features for the bowls and plates was that they connect tightly together eliminating any rattle. Well, as soon as you have two connection points in the middle you create a pivot point where the bowls and plates rock side to side. I tried to eliminate this a number of different ways, from tight stacking, increasing the connections surface areas, to adding little raised bumps in different locations around the plates edges (shown in image below). None of these worked particularly well, so we tried welding half ball bearings onto the locations where the TPU inserts are now located (shown in image below). With production there are always very slight tolerance differences between each unit so having a metal filler might work on one bowl but then not on the next. It also looked terrible, so we went back to the drawing board.
We needed a solution that would work with a range of tolerance differences between bowls and plates. This is when we tried the silicone filler push insert. This solution turned out to work great, the material swished as needed and filled a tolerance difference of up to 3mm. However after testing the bowls and plates vigorously for a few weeks we found that sometimes if you scrubbed the bowls and plates hard enough when washing that the inserts might potentially pop out, and were next to impossible to put back in. This is when I decided that the inserts needed to be over-moulded into place using TPU eliminating this problem. Well this process is a lot more complicated and requires more tooling, which isn't cheap. After a couple of months of waiting for the tooling to be completed, we began testing more samples and soon realized we were onto a winner (as seen in the image and animation below).
So as mentioned above we are now steaming ahead with production. There are still a few minor details to sort out with packaging design, but other than that we are in a very good position :)
Be in touch again soon.