The Semantics of Robotics
These days, few topics are discussed and debated as much as that of robotic automation. What jobs will robots replace? What industries will they benefit the most? Are they dangerous, or how will we make them safe? These are all relevant and important questions that deserve the many discussions already in progress, but I think a good place to start is to talk about some of the history of robotic automation, and how robots are changing and improving.
If you’ve ever searched for fresh, unique, or useful promotional products to giveaway at an event, you’ve probably seen plenty of 2D corporate logos printed on t-shirts and pens. Maybe you’ve considered that your target audience has already seen plenty of these, too. Maybe the irony of boilerplate “custom” products isn’t lost on you — maybe you’re ready to make a lasting impression at your next event with hyper-custom 3D swag.
Everything we make at Voodoo Manufacturing is 100% unique, which means 100% never-before-seen. With a Voodoo-made product, you’re guaranteed to leave an authentic, lasting impression of your brand, service, or event. But don’t just take our word for it – according to a study by BPMA and PPAI:
- 87% of people hold onto promotional products for longer than one year.
- 79% of promo product recipients are likely to do business with the advertised brand again.
- Giving away promo items is six times more effective in generating referrals than other marketing methods.
With that in mind, allow us to introduce your new favorite (but not even slightly real) music brand, Elephant Entertainment. We’ve created a myriad of promo products for this fake company to serve as inspiration for your own very real brand. We invite you to put yourself in Elephant Entertainment’s shoes and imagine even more exciting possibilities for your own brand or events.
Below are 14 simple yet impactful ideas that serve as project templates, or jumping off points, to start 3D printing unique custom promotional products for your next corporate event.
Fulfilled By Voodoo: Plug-n-Play Manufacturing & Fulfillment for Online Product Stores
Ever since we started Voodoo Manufacturing, we’ve been excited to build a service that allows anyone to manufacture products and start businesses. Our goal has always been to empower people to invent, design, and deliver products without the tall barriers that manufacturing typically creates. That’s why today we’re incredibly excited to announce a new service that marks a major step in this direction: Fulfilled by Voodoo.
Fulfilled by Voodoo, or “FBV” for short, is a full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service that makes it easier than ever to start and scale any business selling 3D printed products online. With FBV, you can link your e-commerce storefronts directly to our factory and outsource the 3D printing, quality control, assembly, packaging, and shipping of your products. Every time you receive an order from a customer it’s automatically routed to our factory, where it’s manufactured on-demand and then drop-shipped directly back to your customer.
Overcoming Modern Manufacturing’s Biggest Obstacles
For anyone who’s ever designed and sold a physical product, they’ve learned how difficult it can be to set up a reliable, scalable, and affordable manufacturing pipeline. For many people this is an insurmountable hurdle that they fail to overcome. At Voodoo, we believe manufacturing isn’t the essence of a product – it’s a means to an end. Just as technology isn’t important for its own sake, but rather because of what it does for you, manufacturing is important because of the product it enables you to make. For how amazing modern manufacturing is, there are still so many examples of people failing to successfully manufacture a product. Or, even worse, people who never even start on their journey to bring a product to market. This happens for many reasons – from high upfront costs, to long lead times, to complicated design-for-manufacturing requirements – but at the core of this lies the fact that manufacturing is still a largely difficult, painful, and treacherous process.
The team at Voodoo is always looking for new ways to bring your biggest and most creative ideas to life, and lately the ideas customers bring in have gotten even bigger: we’re talking life-size custom mannequins. With the recent launch of our Large-Format 3D Printing Service, custom 3D printed mannequins just got even faster and cheaper to make.
We sat down with Voodoo’s 3D design team to learn why 3D printing is the cheapest, fastest, and most scalable option for any and all life-size projects: custom mannequins, dress forms, statues, props, replicas – you name it.
Interested in creating your own custom 3D printed mannequin? Check out our microsite.
Redefining “Custom” Mannequins
Building on the momentum of the 3D Printed Life Size Human project, which resulted in a 6’1” 3D printed replica of Voodoo co-founder, Jonathan Schwartz, our 3D designers recently set out to create a second Schwartz mannequin, this time with a new and improved modular design framework optimized for large-format 3D printing.
Does your company recognize employees for their hard work with an annual awards ceremony? Or maybe you work at a school and need to order custom trophies for academic and athletic competitions? These days, your options are no longer limited to the standard metal trophies, wooden plaques, or lifeless paper certificates that have been around for ages. With 3D printing, you can embrace your creativity and design unexpected, totally custom trophies that truly could not be fabricated using traditional materials or manufacturing methods.
Check out this roundup of some of the most impressive custom trophies we’ve made here at Voodoo.
1. A Faux Metal Greek Goddess for Atalanta
When global food importer Atalanta needed help creating custom trophies to honor their top salespeople, they requested something that looked similar to an Emmy, but featured their namesake, the Greek goddess Atalanta.
Last month, Voodoo teamed up with Mic, the leading digital news company for society’s Change Makers, to bring to life a 3D printed statue of Colin Kaepernick kneeling as part of the company’s Black Monuments Project. The four-foot tall statue consists of 17 individual parts 3D printed in our Brooklyn factory, and was displayed at the Mic office in 1 World Trade Center on February 28th, the last day of Black History Month.
Imagining a Better Future
To celebrate Black History Month, digital media outlet Mic introduced its powerful Black Monuments Project. The initiative reimagines the world we live in by honoring black historical heroes in hopes of confronting our country’s legacy and turning the impact of monuments in all communities into one that is positive.
Mic envisions a country that celebrates its previously unsung heroes and makes space for positive change to come. For the Black Monuments Project, the Mic editorial staff chose 54 black heroes—one from each U.S. state and territory—who deserve to have monuments erected in their honor. The group includes a mix of both widely known figures and those who are less familiar, representing fields ranging from politics to sports, from music to science, who have made a significant impact on American history.
Today we’re excited to announce a new capability for our customers: Large-Format 3D Printing. How large are we talking?
You can now print single parts up to 11.8 x 11.8 x 23.8 inches (300 x 300 x 605 millimeters). At launch, we’ll offer large-format parts in PLA with 5-day turnaround for production. Over time, as we scale up the service, we’ll offer faster production speed options.
To give some context, we previously required single-part prints to be smaller than 11 x 6 x 6 inches (285 x 153 x 155 millimeters). This means that Large Format 3D Printing offers nearly 8 times our previous max build volume for a single print.
What does this mean for designers and fabricators of all things even BIGGER?
- Projects with dimensions in excess of 11.8 x 11.8 x 23.8 inches can now be printed in fewer large parts, rather than many small parts
- With fewer parts, large scale projects are now easier to assemble after printing
- Fewer parts means fewer (visible) seams
- Reducing seams means increased overall part strength and higher visual quality
Now it’s easier than ever to produce parts that might have been impossible to make, or would have required difficult and time consuming assembly. We think the new capability will allow our customers to bring new, bigger ideas and products to market faster, and with higher quality.
This is the second installment of our Customer Spotlight Series with Nina Cheng, founder of Wild and Woolly. The first part of our conversation covered what it took to leave her job in finance and launch a high-end accessories brand with no previous experience in product development or manufacturing, and how outsourcing her 3D printing needs enabled her to launch her business.
To finish up our discussion with Nina, we talked about fulfilling a high volume of orders with 3D printing, how an organic endorsement from the Kardashians catapulted (or should we say, katapulted) her brand to international success, and her sage wisdom for budding entrepreneurs.
What is your timeline like from developing a prototype, to printing it with Voodoo, to getting the final product in stores?
It depends on how many stores want to order each new size, and where the store is in terms of their budget, but we can make them pretty quickly. If it’s not a huge order and we don’t have anything else lined up, we can probably fulfill an order in about two weeks.
As a business owner, what’s your favorite part about outsourcing 3D printing to Voodoo?
I really like that you guys take care of cleaning and basic post processing. If I bought my own printers, the amount of resources and time I would have to put into QC would probably be too much for me to handle.
On top of that, you guys started making quality improvements that never occurred to me, like torching the inside of the case to refine the surface. It’s almost like torching a crème brulee [laughs]. The technical knowledge and familiarity with materials has really helped because I had no prior experience with 3D printing materials or engineering. Having the team at Voodoo serve as my sounding board has been very beneficial for the growth of the company.
“The Dokku is a thing for your iPhone, your Airpods, your watch, some watch bands, and maybe a dongle or two.” – www.electrictrout.co
In this installment of our Customer Spotlight Series, we sit down with David Stychno, shopkeep at Leon’s Electric Trout Co. His digital storefront includes one-of-a-kind objects found around the world along with 3D printed pieces that David designs and finishes himself, like the quirky yet practical Dokku.
We chatted with David about the evolution of the Dokku, how 3D printing allows for incremental testing and agile product development, and how he strikes a balance between a monetized hobby and paid occupation. Our conversation follows.
Could you tell us about your background prior to launching Leon’s Electric Trout?
I’m a graphic designer by trade, but I basically come from a long line of salesmen. My father was always talking about the beauty of entrepreneurism and the “free market”, so it’s always been something that interests me.
Eventually I ended up in e-commerce designing for a customer analytics company, Custora, and after a few years I started daydreaming about having a shop of my own. Empathy fuels design, and what better way to learn about e-commerce than to actually do it? It took a few years of mulling over what I might sell, and I finally collected enough things and ideas for things that I decided it was time. It’s been beneficial to have a Shopify platform because it allows us to test new software for my day job too. It’s this really cool overlap of a personal hobby that is also relevant to what I do.
This installment of our Customer Spotlight Series highlights the founder of the popular brand, Wild and Woolly. Nina Cheng didn’t always plan on running a high-end accessories business. The first phone case she made was designed not as a marketable product, but as a personal solution: why wasn’t there a case that not only looked good, but also kept cold hands warm while texting outside during a New York City winter? When she couldn’t find a suitable fur phone case already on the market, she decided to make her own using a combination of 3D printing and hand-worked materials. Nina’s prototype received so many compliments that she realized she had a viable business on her hands. In September of 2016 she left her job in finance to launch her brand, Wild and Woolly.
We sat down with Nina to learn more about her design and manufacturing process, her experience working with us at Voodoo Manufacturing, and what’s in store for Wild and Woolly this season. The first half of our conversation follows.
Were you experienced in 3D modeling or 3D printing at all when you set out to make your first phone case?
I had no experience with 3D printing, I was just aware that it existed. At the time, I was researching various possibilities within tech for another startup, so I understood the value of a lean business with low commitment in terms of inventory, cost, and time. With that in mind, I decided to look into 3D printing as my first option because it was so cost-effective.
I wound up outsourcing the task of 3D modeling, which made things easier. I received the first model within a week, and sent it off to get printed. It was clear that this was the perfect production process for me: I bought fur online, I printed the case out, and I sold that case within a day [laughs].