MAPLE PLAIN, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The rise of makerspaces — whether in libraries, college campuses or out in the community — has contributed to the acceleration of ideas and products vying for success and commercial appeal. In thousands of these informal spaces, ideas come to life through collaboration and support.
A recent makerspace success story, kinetic art table-maker Sisyphus Industries began its journey as an idea brought to life in a Minneapolis makerspace. Created by Bruce Shapiro, CEO at Sisyphus Industries, the Sisyphus art table is seeing continued success after raising nearly $2 million in a Kickstarter campaign in Fall 2016 — making it the crowdfunding site’s most funded project in the Art category.
With an initial Kickstarter goal of only $50,000, Sisyphus quickly surpassed this milestone. But with so much demand, the company needed a manufacturing plan and is now working to deliver more than 1,500 kinetic art tables to its global Kickstarter backers starting now, and into 2018.
Luckily, Sisyphus Industries applied for, and was awarded, a Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB) Cool Idea! Award service grant. The funds from the grant will allow Sisyphus to continue its momentum and produce all the tables required — for both Kickstarter backers and other customers.
“We were blown away by the reception that we received during our Kickstarter campaign,” said Micah Roth, chief operating officer at Sisyphus Industries. “As we started to increase our quantity, it became apparent that more efficient manufacturing processes were needed, and that’s when we turned to Proto Labs.”
Available in a variety of models from end tables to coffee tables, the Sisyphus kinetic art table uses a metal ball to create unique and complex designs in sand under a glass top. When reviewing the project for the Cool Idea! Award, Andy MacInnis, technical instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cool Idea! Award judge, remarked, “Sisyphus is a wonderful way to lose yourself in art as it is being created.” In order to move the ball through sand to create these mesmerizing designs, the Sisyphus team originally planned to manufacturer several mechanical components through machined and laser-cut plastics. However, when demand grew and exceeded more than 1,000 orders, they realized that partnering with Proto Labs to injection mold these parts would bring the quality they need in the right time frame as they scaled to meet demand.
“Without the support from Proto Labs and the Cool Idea! Award, the table’s manufacturing complexity and costs would both go up, but we’re now able to reduce design time and cost to bring Sisyphus to our customers more quickly and efficiently,” added Shapiro.
With help from Proto Labs, Sisyphus will scale up production as it moves to a larger facility this year. The team plans to produce 200-300 tables per month as they fulfill Kickstarter orders. They will also begin to accept a new round of pre-orders as demand continues to grow.
“Getting from an idea to a prototype and then to a sellable product can be challenging for a lot of designers, makers and entrepreneurs,” said Proto Labs’ founder Larry Lukis. “We are excited to work with the Sisyphus team to help them bring their unique product to customers and support time- and cost-efficient production.”
About the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award
Offered by Proto Labs, the Cool Idea! Award helps entrepreneurs bring innovative products to market through grants that support product prototyping, testing and production. For more details and to apply for a Cool Idea! Award, go to protolabs.com/cool-idea.
About Proto Labs
Proto Labs is the world's fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. The technology-enabled company uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for designers and engineers and an on-demand resource throughout a product’s life cycle. Visit protolabs.com for more information.