Updated weekly, follow our failures and successes throughout our 10-week project.
Plyboo is being machined, bits are spinning, and lasers are burning! Both products, the Daily Display and the Key.pr, are underway with the goal of producing 200 units within a limited amount of time before selling takes place.
Currently it takes 39 minutes to cut 4 Daily Displays, 26 minutes to laser engrave 12 stickers, 14 minutes to etch the graphic onto the Daily Display, 2 minutes to shellac part, and overnight to cure the final varnish layer. At this point production is running smoothly!
Week seven was one of ups and downs. We soon realized we were not going to be able to fabricate the travel case for a multitude of reasons; i.e. too many parts to have workable product ratios, time constraints, market research told us product was not intuitive to users, and an overall consensus that this product was a beautiful one, but not best suited for our product runs.
We are excited to get started CNC'ing our product tomorrow and move forward with production of our personal organizer.
This week, our team conducted market research with our prototypes.
Oregon State University students focused on the personal organizer, while University of Oregon students focused on the travel case.
The personal organizer received positive feedback pertaining to it's aesthetic, functionality, and overall quality.
The travel case received helpful feedback as well such as adding straps to make it feel more secure, compared to only using magnets, and adding quotes or graphics to the front cover.
Recommended prices ranged between $30 to $40, which gave us a clear vision about customer expectation.
The University of Oregon Product Design students visited the Oregon State University's College of Forestry, to review and discuss prototypes, as well as decide on a final product to move into production. Each student was given a three weeks to design and prototype an idea using Plyboo.
The reviews and discussions included the following:
- Wine rack with removable tray center
- Coaster set in the shape of the state of Oregon
- Guitar stand with adjustable heights for various types of guitars
- Travel lunch box with living hinge components
- Tablet prop with laser engraved designs on surface
- Travel case for notebook/passport, IDs, and other small necessities
- Desk organizer for a place to prop a phone, store watches, keys, and other small amenities
With all of these great products up for consideration, there was a lot of discussions about whether or not each of these items would be a viable sell in the bamboo products marketplace. Other concerns for consideration was whether or not the machining would be time efficient, design flaws that may cause product use failure, and cost of additional materials for products that included components other than Plyboo.
All students voted and everyone decided to further develop two of the products: the travel case and the desk organizer.
This week we conducted more in-depth laser cutting tests. We focused on creating a live hinge by laser cutting horizontal lines that flowed with the bamboo grain to create a bendable hinge. From an efficiency stand point, relying on the laser cutter for two hundred units is not ideal.
On the bright side, we began the the process of making prototypes! Each student is to make their own prototype out of the Plyboo material. As a group, we will review the manufacturing capabilities, as well as the marketability of each prototype. This process is crucial for how the rest of the term will proceed while fabricating the products. Friday, February 3rd, both student groups will be collectively voting on a prototype to be produced by the end of the term.
As of today, there are a handful of ideas and designs that are solid, in terms of design and process, but we are waiting for the prototypes to be completed. From wine racks, wallets, coat racks and travel cases; we are so close to having a final decision for the product launch!
This week each student is required to create two product concepts and present them in class. Both groups of students went through a critique session on all designs discussing technicalities, logistics, and possibilities pertaining the material, machining capabilities, and personal concerns. Based on everyone's feedback there will be 16 prototypes created from the ideas presented, of these 16 designs, one will become the product we produce and sell.
We have begun testing the capabilities of the Plyboo to help understand it's properties and how to best utilize the material for our designs. We conducted multiple laser engraving tests and had great successes! Plyboo laser cuts and engraves very cleanly. We also placed multiple Plyboo blocks in OSU's College of Forestry conditioning rooms to study the material's durability under different moisture and temperature conditions.
We also tested the machining capabilities of the Plyboo on our CNC router. Both OSU and UO have 3 axis CNC routers, so we created a few CAD files to test for proper speeds, feeds, and router bits. We created a living hinge file and successfully cut a very bendable hinge out of the 1/4" Amber Plyboo. A living hinge is essentially a continuous joint. For a better mental image, visualize a door connected to a wall by a metal hinge, but instead of the metal hinge picture the door attached to the wall by a single piece of wood material that has the flexibility to open & close, THAT is a living hinge. It's something that none of us have mastered, so we're all highly motivated to experiment with this feature!
Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Oregon (UO) now have a new thing in common: Plyboo. In this experimental collaborative class, students from both universities will come together to brainstorm a product that will be created using Plyboo. Smith & Fong Company donated a generous amount of laminated ply composed of bamboo. Our team is comprised of a broad spectrum of backgrounds that include the Renewable Materials program from OSU and the Department of Product Design from UO.
The first group Meet n’ Greet took place at the end of week one during the winter term and was an utter success filled with enthusiasm to get started. OSU students visited UO Product Design's new Olive street space and the collaboration started to take shape. Both groups left feeling like they had a stellar team ready to design, manufacture, and distribute a Plyboo product to the local market. Stay tuned for the product teasers & launch!