How Rex Specs™ Revved Up its Product Development Cycle

June 14th, 2017 by

We’re excited to highlight Rex Specs in the first installment of Voodoo’s Customer Spotlight series. This new series will explore the inspiring stories and product development processes behind some of our most innovative customers.

Launched in December 2014, Rex Specs has been creating the most durable, reliable, and functional protective dog eyewear available. Simply put, it’s eye protection for the active dog.

Rex Specs Goggles

 

From basking in the sun to extreme sports in the snow, harmful UV rays and debris take a heavy toll on our eyes. It’s not only human eyes that are affected, though – our canine companions also struggle in harsh outdoor conditions, often with long-lasting effects.

When extended UV exposure started affecting Yaz and Tuckerman’s eyes, limiting the amount of time they could spend outside, their humans Aiden and Jesse Emilo went in search of a solution. The duo tested out multiple brands of dog goggles, but none were able to keep up with their canines’ active lifestyle. Refusing to limit their family’s outdoor activities, the Emilos set off on a product development journey to create the first protective goggles designed specifically for working and active dogs.

Time = Money a.k.a. Speeding Up Product Development

Given that the Emilos reside in a ski town, it was only natural that the first version of the soon-to-become Rex Specs goggles were made primarily from deconstructed human ski goggles. While out field testing their initial homemade prototypes, the goggles attracted a variety of supportive comments, compliments, and even the couple’s first customers. Having identified an underserved market, this outside encouragement led the Emilos to bring on a product designer and create the first official Rex Specs prototypes.

Rex Specs Prototype

Rex Specs Prototype Goggles

As the company’s momentum continued to pick up, the Rex Specs team found itself facing a bottleneck that’s all too common during product development: slow iteration cycles. The prototyping services that the team originally used took far too long – over 2 weeks – to deliver a single pair of goggles, and cost upward of $300 per pair. Never the type to be complacent, the team sought out a prototyping service that could keep up with its fast-moving product development cycle.

With speed, quality, and affordability in mind, the Rex Specs team settled on Voodoo’s Direct Print service to meet its rapid prototyping needs. In fact, by using Direct Print to 3D print its prototypes, the Rex Specs team has been able to double its product development cycle speed at a fraction of the previous cost to produce its prototypes.

From Prototype to Finished Product (“Paw-duct”?)

Of course, creating a 3D printed prototype is just one step along the path to making a finished product. After iterating through a number of versions, the Rex Specs team completes a final round of testing using a batch of production samples. Once the samples are deemed acceptable, the goggles then move on to a full production run and are mass manufactured using injection molding.

Meanwhile, the Rex Specs marketing engine shifts into full gear: photoshoots are arranged, the company’s website is updated, and a range of marketing campaigns are prepped in anticipation of the launch.

Rex Specs while boating

The Dog Days are Here to Stay

Hands (or paws) down, Rex Specs is spearheading its way to becoming the highest quality protective animal goggles on the market. Thanks to Rex Specs, active dog-owning families can rest easy knowing their pets’ eyes are safe while out hunting, boating, fishing, hiking, or enjoying a range of other outdoor activities. The Rex Specs footprint extends beyond outdoor family fun, too. Currently, the company’s goggles are being used by the U.S. Military, Coast Guard, and police to protect working dogs’ eyes from UV rays and flying debris while on duty.

So, what’s next for Rex Specs? This year, the company plans to expand the Rex Specs line to include a wider range of goggles that can comfortably accommodate dogs of all shapes and sizes. These new goggles are expected to be available either later this year or early next year, and they’ll make the perfect holiday gift for any important pup in your life.

For more information on Rex Specs, you can visit the company’s website here.

Rex Specs Dog Goggles

How We’re Building a Robotic 3D Printing Factory

March 17th, 2017 by

Manufacturing is one of the most fundamental, yet inaccessible building blocks of modern society. It is how we produce the overwhelming majority of parts and products we use both intentionally, and inadvertently. “Manufacturing”, unlike “making”, can be described as the process of repeatedly producing a physical object at scale. Over the past couple centuries we’ve transformed our methods of manufacturing from the human-first approach used to make textiles during the Industrial Revolution, to the assembly line structure introduced by Henry Ford, to modern just-in-time production invented by Toyota, to today’s imminent robot revolution. Continue reading

New Features: Direct Print Status Tracker and Order History

February 15th, 2017 by

We’re excited to announce the launch of two new features on our website – the Direct Print Status Tracker and Order History.

The Direct Print Status Tracker gives you real-time visibility into the status of your order. Anywhere on the site, you can see whether your order is being prepared, has started printing, or is en route to be delivered. This is a feature we’re especially excited about because it stands testament to the value of digital manufacturing when it comes to quantifying the manufacturing process.

We’ve also now launched Order History, which allows you to view all your active and past orders with us. Both these new features should make it easer to stay updated with your order info so you’re never left wondering when it’s going to arrive. To access these features you must create and checkout with an account (not as a guest).

These features have been in the works for a while now, and we’re thrilled that they’re finally ready for you to try out. Let us know if you have any feedback or ideas for new features, we’d love to hear them.

WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS: Taking a Stand Against the Recent Immigration Ban

February 3rd, 2017 by

We Are All Immigrants

It goes without saying that there’s a lot going on within our country right now. Regardless of political belief, most of us can agree that the issues at hand are important and will significantly impact the lives of many.

Although some companies avoid taking stances on hot button social and political issues, many have recently started to speak up about what they believe in and take action. As a team, Voodoo Manufacturing believes that it is our duty as citizens of the United States, and as human beings, to do what we can to make the world a better place for everyone. While it’s possible to disagree about what that means and how to do it, hopefully it’s easy to agree on a few fundamental ideas, with the core being that all people are created equal and should have equal opportunity to live free and happy. Continue reading

High-Volume 3D Printing vs. Injection Molding

February 2nd, 2017 by

High Volume and Bulk 3D Printing

So you’re launching a physical product. Maybe it’s just a simple object, maybe it’s a hardware product with integrated electronics, or maybe it has mechanical functionality. You’ve built one (or probably many) prototypes, you’ve launched a successful crowdfunding campaign in order to manufacture your first batch, and now you need to do just that.

This is the point at which many entrepreneurs run into trouble – how do you scale from 1 to 1,000 units? Or 10,000? Maybe even 100,000 if you’re lucky. There are many factors to consider when scaling your manufacturing, but one of obvious concern is the method with which you’ll create the physical components for your product.

So how does someone go about choosing the right method that will scale along with his or her business? Here we’ll explore the pros and cons of two popular types of plastic part manufacturing: injection molding and 3D printing. Continue reading

Promotional Products in Vegas: The 2017 PPAI Expo

January 27th, 2017 by

PPAI 2017 Recap

Pulling Up to PPAI

When we heard that the annual Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo was “the Super Bowl of the promotional products world,” we knew we had to go and see for ourselves. (Yours truly was also curious if this, like the Super Bowl, would also involve some sort of Halftime Show.)

Held at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, the 2017 PPAI Expo spanned January 8th through the 12th, with the last three days reserved for vendors to exhibit their products and services. Given that a considerable amount of the work we do here at Voodoo spans the realms of marketing, advertising, and promotions, we had a good feeling that there would be demand for completely custom 3D printed promotional items — and we were right.

Here’s a glimpse at our first time attending the 2017 PPAI Expo. Continue reading

Looking Back at Filament Jam 2016

November 22nd, 2016 by

It’s been quite the year here at Voodoo Manufacturing. Over the past 12 months we’ve doubled our office and factory space, grown from a team of four founders to seventeen full-time employees, and have partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands including Microsoft and Viacom. Not too shabby for just one year, right?

So when deciding on how best to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments, we knew there was only one option that felt right: bringing back Filament Jam.

Last year, our public launch was marked by the first of what has now become the annual Voodoo Filament Jam party. While “filament jam” typically refers to the failure of plastic filament to feed through a 3D printer’s nozzle, we noticed that the term had a nice ring to it, and joked that it could pass for the name of a music festival or show. Thus, Filament Jam was born.

Filament Jam 2016

For a quick (and we mean quick) recap of the party, you can watch the time-lapse video below. Keep reading on to hear about the party’s 3D printed portraits, an unconventional yet awesome Drake cover, and the delicious elixir that we may-or-may-not have dubbed “VooJuice.”

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The Future of 3D-Printed Prosthetics

September 14th, 2016 by

This article originally appeared on TechCrunch on June 26th, 2016. 

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The recent ubiquity of 3D printers and innovations in prosthetic design, manufacturing, and distribution offer a viable solution for the millions of people living with limb loss around the world. In the United States alone, close to 200,000amputations are performed each year, yet, with prosthetics priced between $5,000 and $50,000, having one can almost be considered a luxury. Traditionally, the process of getting a prosthetic limb can take anywhere from several weeks to months. Since prosthetics are such personal items, each one has to (or should) be custom made or fit to the needs of the wearer. However, as 3D printers become more affordable, with some available for under $200, the possibility of anyone being able to design and print a prosthetic limb in their home or local community is rapidly becoming a reality.

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A Life-Size Human Model, 3D Printed on 88 Printers in Under 24 Hours

June 10th, 2016 by

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For Mother’s Day this year, you could have given your mom a $30,000 3D printed model of ‘you’ if you cashed in on the viral Groupon offer. The idea was that you could give your mother the ever-lasting gift of your presence, or at least something to occupy your now-empty childhood bedroom. While this was a unique one-time promotion, making full-size custom mannequins is actually possible, and costs only a fraction of the hefty Groupon price tag. To prove this out Voodoo Manufacturing teamed up with NYC-based startup, Body Labs, to build an economical end-to-end pipeline for 3D printing life-sized human bodies in our Brooklyn 3D printing factory.

Body Labs makes highly-sophisticated software for interpreting human body shape and pose by translating raw 3D scans, or basic measurements, into 3D digital body models. In essence, they’ve built a way to take unprocessed 3D scans of people that may be noisy or incomplete, and turn them into fully semantic, clean models of your actual body shape. There are many applications for Body Labs’ technology beyond making 3D printed mannequins, such as predictive health tracking, advanced clothing design, mass product customization, virtual simulation, and more.
Body Labs

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Will Food 3D Printing Really Become a “Thing”?

May 16th, 2016 by

This article originally appeared on VentureBeat on April 17, 2016. 

“Food 3D printing” is something of a mythical creature. It’s been talked about a lot, and there have been a few sightings of it, but no one’s quite sure if it’s real or not. Well, I think it’s about time someone takes a shot at cracking open the case.

In essence, food 3D printing is this: you take a standard 3D printer, replace the non-edible material (like plastic filament) with something edible, and voilà, you have a food 3D printer! In reality though, the results have been less than amazing. What you typically get with a food 3D printer is a purée of perfectly good food extruded into an odd-looking shape. Today there are a few companies trying to pave the food 3D printing path.

The PancakeBot machine. Image Credit: Kickstarter

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